Harvest Mania Developer Diary #2

I’ve come up with a new HUD since last time.

The new tidiness

The most important change is the new Gas Meter on the left, which not only replaces the time limit.

By putting the current yield quality on the Gas Meter, the link between income and expense should become more apparent, and encourage the player to get more crops out of the same travel. Replacing the time limit with a gas limit should also prevent driving around aimlessly and the exploit of reckless speeding — previously the time used to reach 100% silo warranted too much bonus so players could (and did) ignore precision and yield quality while still get high scores. Balancing might have helped but the time limit never felt right. Also the time bonus criterion “100% silo fill” was ill-defined. It was based on field area while considering the yield quality multipliers, so the player would reach 100% somewhere in the middle of a level. I was never really happy with this.

So now the crop is counted using tons, collected in shrunken silos which replace the GrainCollector. The function remains the same: to act as intermediate units that are completed quickly to give frequent positive feedback. The absolute figure also removes the soft limit implied by a 100% — the only limit really should be nothing but one’s own performance.

Once the Gas Meter was fleshed out, sorting out the remaining elements was more straightforward and less worth mentioning.

I haven’t managed to implement this new design yet, and the score report is still missing, too. I’m not too disappointed by the “limited” progress though, because I also did something on/with the code, making sure that the yield requirement now actually depends on the field graphics. Previously the speed requirement was also ill-defined by some arbitrary curves. So now the varying brightness of the field indicates the speed requirement, which is both more true to the actual work, and less “gameplay with menu”.

I don’t how much better the updated game design is, but putting the finger on issues that have been “a bad feeling” — and progressing on it — is very rather motivating.

edit: part 3 is now up, and the HUD was redesigned again now.

Yu-Chung Chen

Yu-Chung Chen is a designer working primarily on video games. He studied at Köln International School of Design and has contributed to a number of published games. Currently he works as a freelance UI designer at Keen Games.

2 responses to “Harvest Mania Developer Diary #2”

  1. sirleto

    yes, sounds so easy to base on “fuel” … but its not that easy to get to this point when developing with total developer freedom.

    nice that you wrote about it, its often those things which seem /trivial/ that weren’t at development time.

    ps: ui @ keen? not characters anymore??

  2. Yu-Chung Chen

    Easy? If you find that the new design seems obvious than that’s a good sign, right? And yeah, it was not straightforward when working on it; “time” seemed obvious (”doing things asap”) and claimed its position as efficiency-indicator early. I’m eager to see how it works out.

    P.s. Yeah, wanted to do something else than characters for a change; the timing was perfect too as I was about to graduate last year.


The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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