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Dragon Tax Return Simulator 2015 Post-Jam Update

Posted by (twitter: @http://twitter.com/umrain)
Friday, August 28th, 2015 8:18 pm

So I’ve been hard at work polishing the game and adding some things I wanted to add that I didn’t have time to add before.

You might not know if you only played it once, but all the paperwork in the game is randomly generated. Right down to the specifics of the tax rules in the instructions. I wasn’t really happy with how some of the notes looked but I had to release. And now I’ve finally spent some time working on nice letterheads.

Here are what complaint notes from nobles and shopkeepers looked like in the jam version.

old noble complaints
old shopkeeper complaints

Here’s what they look like in the update.

new noble complaints
new shopkeeper complaints

I think it’s a big improvement. Also, the shops all have cool generated names now.

Other improvements:

  • Bugs fixed.
  • Typos untypoed.
  • Added a load screen to preload all the webfonts I use.
  • More sentences for the letter generators to choose from.
  • Other text and UI polishing.

But the coolest new thing is Print and Play Mode! You can print out the game and play on your own desk or table! Print right from the browser.

print and play

How to print and play

  1. Open the game.
  2. (optional) In your browser, go to your print settings and turn off headers and footers.
  3. (optional) Do a print preview to make sure everything looks good. Should be around 20 pages.
  4. From your browser menu, select print. Or try Ctrl+P or Command+P.
  5. Wait for all the paper to come out.
  6. Put aside the Answer Checker Table to remove temptation.
  7. With scissors, cut out the appraisal reports and small complaint notes.
  8. (optional) Set a timer.
  9. Lay out all the papers and fill out the D-1045 form as usual. This is the game!
  10. When you’re done, use the Answer Checker Table to check your answers and see how you did!

Other ways to play

  • Try to finish the form together with a friend.
  • Print multiple copies and race against a friend or friends.
  • Make up your own rules, there’s no wrong way to play!

print and play

Play Now!

Dragon Tax Return Simulator 2015 – Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @http://twitter.com/umrain)
Tuesday, August 25th, 2015 6:50 pm

Dragon Tax Return Simulator 2015 is my first Ludum Dare entry. Once the theme was announced I brainstormed a list of about a dozen ideas, and then narrowed them down based on whether they were 1. doable, 2. interesting. Somehow this dragon tax game idea came out on top. While I was originally trying for a compo entry, when I realized I wasn’t finishing on day 2, I adjusted trajectory toward the jam.

Tools
Javascript – This is a mostly from scratch (libraries used below) HTML5 game. So if it looks bad or doesn’t work for you then I probably didn’t test in your browser/os.

Google Fonts – A great resource and allowed me to take full advantage of the “Fonts are allowed.” exception. I doubt I’d have even tried this idea if I didn’t know about Google Fonts.

Handlebars.js – I’d never used it before but it was great for making templates for all the various forms that got created.

jQuery – jQueryUI made it super simple to make all the paper draggable.

The Good
I feel like I really got a lot of value out of simple randomization.

The instructions use random values for most of the ‘rules’ so you can’t just learn the tax code.

The random name generator was really fun to make even though all it does is stick some random syllables together (about half the time it just picks a ‘normal’ firstname from a list). I decided this was not the time to try and figure out markov chains or anything fancy like that. I think this simple randomizer still came out fine.

names2

I’m also happy with how well the random note generation worked out with its simple templates.

For example here’s the farmer complaint template (with the HTML stripped out):

Hey {{dragonEpithet}}!

{{exasperatedComplaint}}
You burnt up {{value}} gold worth of my crops!
{{farmerAppeal}}
{{peasantNotice}}
{{partingShot}}

{{randomName}}, {{location}}

P.S. {{grovelling}}

And the results:

farmer complaint note

It was fun to write all the sentences that filled these templates, but I still want to add more since the notes can still get repetitive.

The Bad
Originally, the ‘time limit’ in the game was only going to be 5 minutes. On the second day I actually tried a test run. One thing I noticed was that 5 minutes was nowhere near enough time. I used that discovery as an opportunity to cut extra forms, simplify the main form, and increase the time limit to 10 minutes. I probably could have saved myself a lot of time if I’d tried playing the game earlier.

Also, I probably shouldn’t have waited until the third day to add all the logic that makes it “a game”. I mean stuff like the dialogs, finish state, endgame report, etc. I was kind of pushing my luck as I rushed to get those all in before the deadline.

Ideas That Didn’t Make It
I wanted to add more graphics. Just things like little official seals/stamps for some of the paperwork. Burnt edges on the papers. A little pixel art dragon claw cursor.

And I wanted some of the complaints from shopkeepers to be on shop letterheads with randomized shop names but I was running out of time and ended up just reusing the design from the peasant notes.

Dragon Tax Return Simulator 2015

Posted by (twitter: @http://twitter.com/umrain)
Monday, August 24th, 2015 8:30 pm

Play Now

This is a game about what it’s like to be a dragon doing your taxes.

When I decided to participate in Ludum Dare I didn’t expect to be spending most of my time dealing with stupid CSS issues. But I think it worked out in the end.

This is my first Ludum Dare.

Pen & paper and/or calculator recommended.

Play Now

 

 

 

 

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