Hm Build a Lot in isometric. Played for a while, but is really a total clone... sorry to say that, but there are SO many similiarities with Hipsoft game...
We are about to finish our new game Townopolis and want hear some remarks about gameplay, controls or visuals. It's a casual strategy sometimes called time-management or tycoon. You have to build houses and other structures in order to earn money. You also need to place buildings in the right place where it will benefit form its surroundings, because each building affect other adjacent buildings in terms of happiness. The game has built in tutorial and help so it's pretty accessible.
Thanks for your remarks!
You're right Jack. I'm not trying to hide that we've been greatly inspired by build-a-lot. We're looking for some commercial success this time, because our last game was 'too' original and was a flop.
I can't comment on the game it's been inspired by, as I haven't played it, but what I can say is that Townopolis is very, very good.
High production values, a great tutorial and a fun game mechanic. You really want to achieve the trophies available.
Good work - and good luck with your sales.
I haven't played it yet... hope to find time this weekend... but just looking at the screenshots you might want to reconsider your UI colourscheme and the busy background - with that much detail in the playable area you don't want the players eyes to be caught all over the place with busy and bright icons and backgrounds.
I haven't played it yet, but I hope to find some time tomorrow. Just looking at the screenshots on the web site...the iso perspective is interesting. However, I'm a bit surprised regarding how much you've "borrowed" from our game, Build-a-lot.
It will be interesting to see if this is perceived as inspiration or more of a rip-off by the distributors and players.
I do like that you have "clearing plots" that are treed. We talked about this for Build-a-lot 3 but decided not to add it.
Last edited by Scorpio; 09-18-2008 at 08:31 PM. Reason: Fixed formatting
I played through the first two sets of levels (8? 10?)
I think the times for gold are a bit unreasonable. There's a LOT of waiting for enough money to buy materials or extra workers ($20,000 for 250 in materials right from the start is a bit much when you're only getting a few hundred dollars in rent), and a LOT of houses needing to be repaired. Just when you've got enough money to build a new house, you have to use up all the materials to repair the existing three or four that are damaged.
On the last level I played, I had townsfolk who were unhappy because there wasn't a diner or restaurant, but that particular set of blueprints was locked, so I had no way of meeting that need.
It'd be nice to have an option to turn the tutorial off. After getting most of the way through the early levels I wanted to restart to try and get the gold (no chance when you're following the tutorials), and I had to sit through the tutorials all over again. Of course this time I knew what he was going to tell me to do, and managed to stay a step ahead most of the time - this led to arrows pointing to open spaces ("build a house here" pointing to the house button, but there WAS no house button), and telling me to do things to houses when the house wasn't yet built.
I like how you've got all the house buttons and buildings right on the screen and don't have to go into menus.
I haven't play it either. But just by looking at the screenshot, it almost look like it could have been a WIP BuildALot3... It is a shame you didn't build your own twist or make some noticable change to the gameplay. People who played BAL might not see the point with an identical game.
It is a good idea to avoid the menu, but the screenshot looks extremely busy. You might scare a bit some casual players.
Like DayDream, I think you should rework the U.I. The color scheme is not very pleasing.
Good luck with your new game.
Downloaded and had a play of the game - would have to agree that it does feel very much like Build-A-Lot.
Happened to stumble across some bugs:
When being greeted by the mayor/mayoress of each area, the names of both the town and character aren't being loaded. You also have some grammar problems with the commas:
Also, when going through level 4 of the first area, you are asked to clear the debris but no icon - granted, the area is still being demolished but the tutorial bubble does appear instantly after demolishing starts.
My biggest critique has got to be the UI - I feel it is far too cluttered for its own good. I did a small re-shuffle - this is not to say this is how it should be done but to me, it feels a lot more organised:
A plain background would have sufficed - although the detail is muted, it contributes to the overall 'messiness'. A simple light blue gradient would look nicer.
I would have to agree with Shaz - the times for getting a gold are somewhat difficult to achieve considering the delay to buy materials/workers with a small revenue. There were also times I didn't need to buy 250 materials - sometimes 100 was all I needed to complete the level but I had to wait ages until I could gain the capital and keep the material reserves in check due to repairs.
All in all, it's interesting but I feel it has far too much in common with Build-A-Lot.
You are right width that tutorial. We'll add the option to turn it off.
to Jack Norton and jcottier:
We want to keep the core gameplay from BAL, but there are many new features not seen in BAL and there are many features form BAL you can't see in Townopolis. Saying this is a total clone is a nonsense.
Mayor and town names will be supplied later. This is not final version.
Thaks for your UI design. I think it's a very personal how everybody feels it. I'll be waiting for another tips. I'm also think that plain blue gradient would be better but my brother thinks not so. It's a dilemma.
Yes, the gold star is difficult to get. However, there is a silver star too, for those who aren't so skilled yet. It wouldn't do any good if you get the highest level star at the first pass. You have to play almost perfectly to get one.
Centurion, it's not what you or your brother like or don't like. It's what your customers will like or not like.
There are a lot of grammar errors, though I don't recall any typos at all. What kind of a tester base do you have? They'll soon tell you what works and doesn't work and whether the screen is too cluttered. If your testers (who should be a good representation of your target audience) find it too hard to meet the goals or get confused about how much is on the screen or where it is or what it does, it's a good indication that the rest of your target audience probably will too.
Also, no, it's not completely personal how someone feels about a UI. There's a science to it. For starters, you can read The Non-Designer's Design Book, which is a good general introduction to the fundamentals of good design.
Strange. It's hard to track such bug without better info. Can you be more specific?my mouse doesn't work in game, neither it moves nor clicks are detected.
But how - that's the question. It takes a lot of testing to get this final UI. It's not perfect I know, It's a mere compromise between accessibility, logicality and simplicity.UI - it really needs to simplified/decluttered
Same for me with BAL. I've been really confused with its tabbed bottom panel and all that sub-menus. But that's no matter -- I'm not a casual player. I like things accessible right at hand.I couldn't justify buying it having bought and played Build-A-Lot.
Can you tell me an example? I'll forward it to guy behind localization. (As you can see I'm not a natural English speaker)There are a lot of grammar errors
I'm afraid none. It's a shame but we're a tiny team with almost no budget. We are trying to get some responses on forums like this. At least your remarks will be for good. Thank you all for your remarks!What kind of a tester base do you have?
That's what one of them recommended to us. Look at the bestseller and make a clone of it -- that's what they said. I don't like cloning, but that's how things work at this time. You can't be creative without cash.It will be interesting to see if this is perceived as inspiration or more of a rip-off by the distributors
It's very professional I think. Their main goal is sales, profit, money...So a portal owner told you that? quite unprofessional approach honestly.
If you want to see a completely original game, you can visit our homepage and try our last game. Don't ask about how it sells, it's not worth it. That's why I've tried some "inspiration" form outside this time.
Many thanks, we're definitely going to get rid of that blue overlay.
I've posted a new screen for the UI below:But how - that's the question. It takes a lot of testing to get this final UI. It's not perfect I know, It's a mere compromise between accessibility, logicality and simplicity.
Before, the materials/workers are too spread out and clutter the screen. Arranging the buttons/text in the new way presents a more organised feel as well as reducing it from 45% to 15/20% of the left-side.
Have some kind of rollout menus. Have a single button for the houses, one for apartments, one for businesses etc. - click on the button and the new icons are shown. You've now reduced the clutter and freed up the majority of the right side. Now the system is starting to look more simple, logical and accessible.
Who's playing this game - you or the customers? I like things to be accessible as well but it has to look nice and well-organised!But that's no matter -- I'm not a casual player. I like things accessible right at hand.
to Jack Norton:
Nice examples, but most original games end up as flops. Each clone will have at least average sales. Clone always be 'safer' to produce and publish. Why don't give the players what they like? This is business point of view.
Nice work! I've got two comments about your version:
1. Keeping material and worker icons close to each other can lead to accidental clicking on wrong one, especially in hasty situation.
2. I would like to avoid roll-out menus. We have plenty of space all around map, so why don't use it? Yes, yes for simplicity. However, in later stages it comes handy that all is already 'rolled-out'. It seems it won't be so easy to design ideal UI for such diamond in center. Anyway, nice try. Thank you.
I just played the first tutorial level. It felt relatively polished from a game-mechanic perspective. Looks like we've already helped you enough so I won't list any of the problems I encountered. :)
I would say a clone is a game that takes another game's mechanic and then changes the theme.
I would say a ripoff is a game that takes another game's mechanic AND takes the theme as well.
Granted, almost every clone or ripoff adds some new things and drops others. For those that don't, I would call them "complete clones" or "complete ripoffs". Clearly this game does not fall into those categories.
Clones are a part of the casual market. It will be interesting to see how distributors and players react to a ripoff. Will distributors take a ripoff? (some have told us they won't...it will be interesting to see if they follow through). I'm guessing players will always buy a good/fun game regardless of whether it's original, clone or ripoff.
Hm... I think they already didn't follow. e.g. Magic Farm, Spa Mania, Ice cream Deelites and many others, this games were mostly complete ripoffs.Will distributors take a ripoff? (some have told us they won't...it will be interesting to see if they follow through).
I still think you should have try to hide where you did get your inspiration as much as you can. So people would feel like they will get something new with your game. It looks like you try to show the exact opposite: your screenshots says "Hey look this game is exactly like BAL". For example some of the icons looks like they are the same as BAL for example (money, yellow hard hat...). You should have try to give it a different feeling.
I'll contact some of our distribution partners directly to get their take on the whole ripoff issue.
This would be very interesting to know.I'll contact some of our distribution partners directly to get their take on the whole ripoff issue.
Anyway, I'm starting to think you are a bit aggrieved by our game. I don't think our game is a ripoff of BAL. If you call Magic Farm and other examples ONLY clones, than I have to say Townopolis is completely different form BAL.
BAL wasn't only game from which I've picked the inspiration. I've took inspiration also from SimSity societes and other games. I'm trying to improve original ideas and mix them into playable casual game. This is not simple ripping-off as you see it.
Since I'm impartial (I am not related to hipsoft or lonely troops) I can say that hipsoft is quite right. There so many little details that cause this game to be a rip-off rather than a clone.
Was so hard to put different icons for workers, not use a firework when you finish a level, not use progress bars, not use the same icon when a house repair...?
And those are things I noticed just playing the game for 5 minutes.
If you don't want to see the reality, I'm sorry, but that's what it is.
I think the thing that hurts this game the most is the ugly UI. The blue background = horrendous.
Also, it would of been so easy to copy the mechanics yet change the theme somewhat