Developer Tools and Iron Mines

When I started designing this game I wanted something that didn’t require a lot of developer tools. They take a lot of time to write and extend. I wanted to focus on the game. As a result there are no level editors or object editors or model previewers. All data is either text, images, waves, and models.

Unfortunately I run into processes that waste a lot of time time, and then I do write a tool to automate it or speed it up. My current gripe was waiting for the game to load to see changes in artwork.  As the game has gotten bigger, it takes longer and longer to load. Loading a saved town at the moment takes around 15-18 seconds, plus a few more seconds to click through the front end menus. It adds up if you do it 10 or 15 times an hour while working on a new model.

To fix it I wrote a tool that will reload resources while the game is running. All I have to do is save a new image or model and the game detects the change and reloads it. It’s far better than a model previewer since I can see the model within the context of the rest of the game, place other objects around it and make small tweaks that I wouldn’t have previously made since I can see the changes immediately.

This led to a quick finish for the artwork for the next building in the game: Iron Mines

The mine’s purpose is  for mining iron out of the ground once the loose ore scattered on the ground is gone. It has to be placed on a hill or mountain and requires a large workforce. Today I’m working on a quarry  which serves the same purpose as the mine but produces stone instead of iron.