Yet Another Hive Time Status Update

Hello, friends!

Slightly belated mid-month Hive Time status update here, looking at things that have changed in the game since the general August recap. Most of this stuff is also covered in the recent stream, as well as the devlogs on the game's website and Itch.io page 


Menus

Crossing off a long-standing todo item, I finally got around to storing save metadata (the time and date that the save was made, playtime, game version, etc.). Alongside that, I'm now also saving a screenshot of the hive to use as a thumbnail.

The screenshot is grabbed by a separate camera that ignores the HUD and renders at a different resolution from the game. I also used this camera to grab crazy high resolution screenshots for the Hive Time postcards that I've printed to send out to Patreon supporters.

I need to work on layout, since at the moment, it's not well aligned and causes horizontal scrollbars, but for now, I'm happy to have that functionally taken care of!

I found time to pop in some 2D bee silhouettes that zip around the menu. They're not super prominent, but it helps make the menu feel less static, which is exactly what I was going for. I'm still undecided on whether I want to give them the same kind of bumbling offset/rotation that the in-game bees or leave with a more simple presentation.


I also added in a config slider for mouse pan sensitivity, which should make panning a bit more accessible for anybody whose mouse speed doesn't match mine ^_^



Audio

While working on some construction/upgrade related bugs, I decided to record some placeholder construction and destruction sounds to help better communicate what's going on.

Initially I was going for a complex smashing sound for destruction and a solid thump sound for construction, but I couldn't come up with anything that felt right. In fact, it turned out that the stuff I had planned for construction felt better for destruction since it was coming out with a sort of "poof" quality. In the end, I pulled a part out of one of the destruction sounds I'd made that sounds a bit like a saw or a drill (in Hive Time mouth-sound tradition, it's my teeth running along a zipper), and recorded a new "poof" type sound for destruction.

I'm not super happy with them, but they're doing what they need to do for now, and maybe they'll grow on me the way the rest of the UI sounds have.


Peter has continued to work on music for the game, with most of his focus in September going towards a piece for/inspired by the game's Ticket to Ride event, which has a portion of the hive's population switching roles to become Foragers so that they can attend a live concert by "The Beetles."

This piece has gone through a bunch of iterations, progressing toward an increasingly more authentic mid 60s Beatles styled pop song. At this stage, I'm feeling uncertain about how the piece should fit into the game and what kind of reaction it should be eliciting from players - I don't see the electric guitar and vocals evoking an immediate "Hah, that's cute!" in the way that the early version's marimba, ukulele, and buzzing did.

That said, I'm confident that Peter and I will be able to review feedback and find a good balance that matches our intentions. Regardless of what does and doesn't end up prominently in front of players, I'm really happy to have facilitated/sponsored the creation of a cool homage.


Peter also had a go at reworking an unused piece he'd initially composed for another project, which initially went into the game as "bee calm," but we eventually pulled it since it wasn't really coming together in a way that felt like a good fit for the game. It's normal to explore paths that ultimately don't end up being the right ones to go down, and as Peter said here, sometimes you just have to leave things that you're proud of to one side. There'll always be future projects though, and I hope that someday this piece finds the home it deserves :)


Last but not least on the audio front, I fixed a bug where music volume wasn't being restored after returning from the main menu or loading a game. We still don't have a lot of background music tracks in the game, but what's there now has the right level of prominence, I think.



Art

After popping in the new Wax Assembler models last month, I had some references for painting a vignette/info screen background image for them. After doing that, I also did the same for Honey Refineries and Jelly Refineries, which means that all the production images have been painted. Huzzah.

I've also been spending time painting vignette/info screen backgrounds for storage cells. Above is what pollen storage currently looks like. So many shadows to paint -_-



UI

In an effort to (hopefully) better communicate cell layouts and their spatial relationship to which cell players have clicked on, I updated the cell allocation preview image to include a full "flower" worth of greyed cells. I still need to put a highlight effect onto the selected cell (which I've been meaning to do for ages), but so far, it seems to be making that a little more readable.


I'm pretty sure I added red colouring to the population HUD last month, but forgot to mention it in the monthly update. In addition to using red to indicate when populations are over capacity, I also (and this definitely happened in September) added red colouring to resource values when they're zero, added a red fade to resource values when trying to construct or research something that there aren't enough resources for, and added a red fade to the resource limit when new resources are received but stores are full. All subtle small things, but things that help make everything a tiny bit more readable.


I did a run through of all the building info screens and bolded important words so that they now match the style of the tutorial events. I'll need to run through and do this for all events and vignettes eventually, but there's no rush on that just yet.


I also fixed a bug where radial menus weren't being pixel-aligned, causing the resource icons to be slightly blurred. They're sharp now, so be sure to not cut yourself.


Gameplay

The major gameplay addition of the past couple of weeks is support for cooldowns - a cost that prevents something from being constructed/researched/etc. within a certain period of time of that thing previously being constructed/researched/etc..

The current implementation is for spawning new Queens, and is set at half a Queen's lifespan (no more babies making babies \o/), and starts activated at the start of a new game. I'm not sure whether this will take any pressure off early on, but it does stop certain players from having a dozen queens out at once and that feels worthwhile.

Bigger picture, I'm thinking of exposing researchable resource boosts that increase in cost and cooldown every time they're used. These might help kickstart hive growth in the early game, or offset the impact of an effect that eats a specific resource.


That's about it for the first half of September. A build with a fix for the cooldown related crash seen in the stream should be going up tonight! :D

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