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Production District

by Steven Miller - Mini LD 69 Entry

WARNING: This game is finished in terms of gameplay, but currently has no story. An update will be released very soon.

---Note: Updates are now listed on the itch.io page in the forum---

Big Update (8/21)

Changes:

-Tweaks to color-blind mode

-2 new chapters and 8 new levels!

-A new mechanic, stampers!

-Synthesizers now light up upon activation

Sound for stampers and some more tweaks will come soon-ish!


Medium Update (8/9)

​Changes:

-Changes to settings menu

-Color Blind Mode! Enable in the settings to make the game color blind-friendly.


Quick Update (8/9)

-Changed the depth of boxes

-Alternator now activates even if the box is synthesized

Quick Update (8/7)

-Fixed level select screen


Audio Update (8/6)

Changes:

-3 Songs

-Sound Effects (may be modified in future updates)

-A settings menu


HUGE New Update! (8/3)

Changes:

-8x speed is now in the game! (The setting existed before, but was not actually worked into the UI yet)

-Some graphical changes (the red highlight for where a box will land is now easier to see)

-The way the speeds work is different (yet again), fixing the last issue it had

-HUGE CHANGE: The game now records cycles (how long your solution takes) and machines (the number of pieces you used) as well as your best scores for each level

-Levels now display a screen showing your results rather than closing abruptly

Note: The system for locking levels and chapters is already in the game, but I've left everything unlocked for now. Audio and story will also be added in a future update.

New update! (8/2)

Changes:

-Fixed a bug with boxes continuing to move after the machine crashes

-There is now an indicator for where a block will move to, which helps make it more obvious when pushers aren't properly oriented.

-The tutorial icon is now a question mark, the mail icon will be used for story pieces later on.

-Slight color changes for level select and error messages

-Speeds now work differently (it doesn't look quite as smooth, but the old system had a very small chance to make the machine crash)

-There is now an indicator to show where the machine crashed

More updates coming soon!

Production District is a puzzle game inspired by SpaceChem, Infinifactory, and The Sequence about moving boxes from the input to the output zone.

Production District is not quite finished, but I'm uploading it now for miniLD #69.

It has 32 levels and 8 chapters, but lacks a story and some fine-tuning.

Downloads and Links


Comments

KJB of IBwWG says ...
Aug 3, 2016 @ 9:35am

Interesting, how do you make the up/down arrows as seen in the animation on itch.io?

What's the significance of the six sites and four machines per site, like what's the goal there / is there some meta strategy or you just want to get all the machines running in any order?

KJB of IBwWG says ...
Aug 3, 2016 @ 9:36am

Ah, I happened to not start at the left machine of the leftmost site, so I didn't see the tutorial button :)

KJB of IBwWG says ...
Aug 3, 2016 @ 9:40am

Now that I know how to play, I really like this concept. Well done!

KJB of IBwWG says ...
Aug 3, 2016 @ 9:56am

One UI suggestion, so you can play one-handed (or with only a mouse, or on a tablet) also: you could make it so repeated clicks on the machine part selector will rotate them in-place, so that any placements after that are rotated that way. (It's not as quick to use as keyboard+mouse but it's nice to have the option for puzzle games.)

KJB of IBwWG says ...
Aug 3, 2016 @ 9:59am

Also a 3x speed button would be nice :)

georgi says ...
Aug 3, 2016 @ 10:36am

Really nice gameplay, actually it is a very thoughtful one. I would've liked it even more if things happened a bit faster. I would also like some music and sound effects but overall it is a good experience. :)

georgi says ...
Aug 3, 2016 @ 10:36am

I hope you actually finish this one! I will do share it if that happens. :)

Steven Miller says ...
Aug 3, 2016 @ 10:48am

Hey guys, thanks for the feedback! I will definitely finish this, though in terms of levels, I do not currently plan to add more unless I add more mechanics.

As for faster speeds, I actually have an 8x speed, I'm just trying to figure out how to work it into the UI and still have it look decent.

KJB of IBwWG says ...
Aug 4, 2016 @ 6:35am

If you're only adding the one 8x icon, you could just shift the bottom row to the left one, and have two spaces in the middle...I think it'd still look OK or at least would be worth the extra functionality ;) But you've probably tried that and would prefer a different way :)

Steven Miller says ...
Aug 4, 2016 @ 6:52am

Actually, 8x speed was added earlier today (with a bunch of other cool new features)! I would recommend checking it out, as the most recent update changed the game quite a bit.

Also, you are correct, I was trying to add the icon without having the 2-space gap, but by adding some cool new features, I was to fill that gap with something new and exciting (the new layout can also be seen in the new gif on itch.io).

Aug 4, 2016 @ 3:28pm

A really great game - reminded me of all the great hours I spend with SpaceChem (before it became too difficult for me to still enjoy it :D)... I even played your game while listening to the space jam soundtrack before...

I really like it - well done! Only thing that might be improved (or rather was a little bit hard to get used to) was the timing of the box fusions (I almost always tried to fuse them too early and have a crash). But you get used to it :) So nothing that specifically needs any change...

Darenn says ...
Aug 5, 2016 @ 10:40am

Played after update (8/2) Waw, it's a cool game very addictive ! It's true that with some sounds and musics it would be better. I'm impressed by the number of different levels you achieved to do. The exclamation point on the help button is a good signal. Cool game, keep creating games !

Steven Miller says ...
Aug 5, 2016 @ 6:48pm

Audio is coming up soon! Also, I'd recommend trying the 8/3 version if you continue playing it, it keeps your save and adds 8x speed, a cycle counter, and a machine counter.

KJB of IBwWG says ...
Aug 9, 2016 @ 3:36pm

Like the update! 8x works great, and it's cool having the stats at the end, so it's not just about beating the level, but there's a way to challenge your previous solutions. It'd be cool to know what a perfect solution is, or maybe have an online (anonymous) leaderboard in case it's difficult to calculate/prove a perfect solution, you at least have the world's best to compare with. :)

KJB of IBwWG says ...
Aug 9, 2016 @ 3:54pm

I think I found a bug though: for some reason a diamond switch (the ones that alternate where they're sending something) didn't switch after the first package went through it.

Also I see now your itch.io page and the top of this page is more up to date than just the last posted comment re: audio here, so I should note that I can't hear any sound or music even with volume cranked up. Win7sp1x64. What lib/engine are you using for sound?

KJB of IBwWG says ...
Aug 9, 2016 @ 3:57pm

For the bug I made a gif showing it, watch the purple package go through the switch into the packer, but not change the switch. The second time it goes through it does, but not the first. http://makeagif.com/i/4-77og

KJB of IBwWG says ...
Aug 9, 2016 @ 4:20pm

Heh, I was proud of myself for beating 5.2, but 5.3 is really difficult for me :)

Steven Miller says ...
Aug 9, 2016 @ 8:39pm

Have you checked the settings to make sure audio isn't set to 0? It probably isn't, but it may be worth checking. I use GameMaker: Studio because it's really fast (I made the original version of this game in the last two days before the deadline), and I haven't had any audio problems in the past. I will certainly look into it.

Also, synthesizers always take priority, so I will hard-code a fix for the alternator right now. However, I do feel it is worth noting that you can put just a normal pusher facing up where the alternator is and the purple block will behave correctly (Nothing ever has to move onto/into a synthesizer, just pass by it at the same time as the case). I will try to explain that better in the tutorial. Thanks for pointing it out, I will fix the alternators and have it updated soon!

Also, as a side note, I'm thinking of not doing a story, as I feel the stands better alone as just a puzzle game, but I'm not to sure. I feel like it might be more fun to add challenges. I currently want to include these challenges:

Complete 5-3 without using the destructors (this might be changed to using only 1 destructor because while 0 is possible it is a bit too limited)

Complete 4-3 with only one alternator

Complete 2-3 with only one synthesizer

Complete 6-1 with only one stopper

Complete 6-2 with only one synthesizer

Complete 3-2 with only one alternator

Then I would have achievements for beating each chapter and some additional optimization challenges (for example, complete 6-4 with 35 or less machines).

Steven Miller says ...
Aug 9, 2016 @ 8:56pm

The alternators are now fixed! An update adding three more sound effects and potentially achievements will be released soon (probably tonight/tomorrow)!

KJB of IBwWG says ...
Aug 10, 2016 @ 6:54am

Yes, I had checked the audio settings and tried fiddling with them, no dice.

That's how I had been using synthesizers generally (since that's how the tutorial shows it), but in this case I wanted to do it this other way. I had thought it had worked too, once before.

I think lack of story is fine in the context of this game, the puzzle element is quite strong and polished, so it doesn't feel like a story is missing or anything. Maybe just a one-liner would work :) Also the minimal text makes this a great candidate for easy localization...

Challenges OTOH sound like a great idea!

Thanks for the updates!

KJB of IBwWG says ...
Aug 10, 2016 @ 12:30pm

The latest update has working music and sound!

KJB of IBwWG says ...
Aug 10, 2016 @ 12:33pm

One thing though, when you do get a production error, sometimes there's a lot on the screen and you don't even see what it is, because the sprite disappears. Leaving it there would save two or three runs just to figure out what the error is, before trying to fix it. :)

KJB of IBwWG says ...
Aug 10, 2016 @ 1:20pm

Also, the pause button I almost never use. But, it'd be really handy to have a slomo/step button for those last few puzzles!

Steven Miller says ...
Aug 11, 2016 @ 3:36am

I'm probably not going to update the game much more before just calling it done, especially now that the full event is getting so close and the miniLD post is no longer featured.

However, I will most likely continue this and release a more complete version for the October Challenge (or sooner if I can fit it into my schedule). The full version will have a story, some slight tweaks to the graphics, the slow motion setting you suggested, a few new mechanics, and more levels (80-100 total unless I decide that it would get too repetitive). That way I could make the difficulty curve a little more forgiving and add even harder levels at the end of the game (but not too much harder, since I still want it to be accessible). Levels like 5-4 (and a few other I thought of but didn't end up putting in the game) would be optional challenge levels, and I would have one at the end of each chapter/sector.

In this version, I gave players access to all of the levels immediately, but if I do make a more complete version, I was thinking about requiring the player to complete at least half of the previous chapter's levels before the new one is unlocked. The ability for the chapters to lock actually exists in this version, but I just made them unlocked by default so players could skip around and get a general idea of the game. I think unlocking chapters in the way mentioned above would help the progression of the game while still giving players some breathing room in case they run into a level they can't beat. It would also make the story a lot easier to structure, since I could guarantee that at least some levels in each chapter would be played.

I still plan on adding achievements, but I may only have around 10, just to save time so I can have the game finished and posted by the end of the week.

KJB of IBwWG says ...
Aug 12, 2016 @ 4:47pm

I like the unlocking with half idea.

I found a bug in the latest version though, again with a switch going into a synth, for your future bug hunting :)

http://makeagif.com/i/kaAAA9

Steven Miller says ...
Aug 12, 2016 @ 8:20pm

I don't see the bug, it should synthesize since they are across from each other and the alternator should switch because the block passed over it. Everything seems to be working as intended. Can you clarify? Even if there is no bug, if there is any confusion, modifying the tutorial to better explain it better would prove very useful. I believe what you mean is that you wouldn't expect it to synthesize the second time, but remember that a block doesn't need to move directly onto a synthesizer to fuse, it just has to pass by it at the same time as a case.

KJB of IBwWG says ...
Aug 27, 2016 @ 8:38am

Oh, now I see the logic.

Like you said, I had expected the switch to take precedence, so that it would alternate between synthesizing and going away from the synthesizer. Now I see that the synth would operate before the switch would have a chance to change the direction, since that would happen on the next frame. Makes sense now. :)

KJB of IBwWG says ...
Aug 27, 2016 @ 9:57am

I have to say, this is a brilliant setup. You, as the designer, make any crazy solution you want, and the puzzle is automatically defined by it. It may or may not be the most efficient machine, but it doesn't matter, you've proven there's a possible solution.

I like the new stampers, BTW, but it puts the game balance a bit strangely--the green level is pretty difficult, and then the purple level is very easy even though it comes next. But maybe that makes for a nice break :)

Steven Miller says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 8:43am

Thanks, all the levels will be rearranged a bit in the full version to help with balance issues. Also, those last four levels in this version are VERY hard and will probably be bonus challenge levels.

Aug 30, 2016 @ 11:58am

Quite the fun game! I included it in my compilation video series of all of the MiniLD 69 games, if you’d like to take a look :) https://youtu.be/fqpIvqrRLGw

KJB of IBwWG says ...
Sep 4, 2016 @ 7:32am

What changed in the latest update?

Steven Miller says ...
Sep 4, 2016 @ 11:33am

Bug fixes and such. I've been making lots of new levels, but can't put them in yet without messing up the saves and level select.

Steven Miller says ...
Sep 4, 2016 @ 11:36am

Also, since this page is now pretty old and will only get harder to find as new events happen, I enabled discussion boards on the itch.io page.

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