I have to be honest though: building the features was very exciting and rewarding, but… balancing the game? What a pain! It's super hard, and requires a lot of math, and I'm terribly bad at that. And thuuuus… I kind of didn't do it? Kind of?

Let me start from the beginning. In the morning, I read the great feedback I got from my dedicated players, and took note of all the pain points they met. What was not clear, what actions where painful to do, what worked well and what didn't. That gave me a good todo list of things to improve in the UI!

I started by adding icons to the tiles on the world map, making it clearer that camps in red belongs to demons, and that villages in blue belong to you. I changed to blue to green, too. And then, to make villages stand out more, and to differentiate them easily when you have several, I gave them names! That was a cool moment for me. I also added a little widget to show which village is currently selected, and to quickly navigate through your villages without having to go back to the world map.

Look at that beauty:

By that point, I was quite satisfied with the World Map view, and I knew that the Village Map was needing a lot of love. So the next thing I did was to rework the village tiles. I made them show, first, an actual picture for each building type (instead of a name), but also the level, if it's upgrading, if it can upgrade (with a cute animation), and for military buildings, how many soldiers are being trained. That changes the village view completely, hopefully you'll enjoy it!

After adding pictures to buildings, I knew I wanted to do the same for soldiers. I thus dug back into game-icons.net (where I took all the pictures of the game) and chose a few illustrations that fit each of my soldiers. I took that occasion to rework the military buildings UI a bit, and ended up with something that looks like this:

And that's about it for the UI updates that I made today. I managed to do most of them, and I've hopefully addressed the major complaints that I received!

Now, making the game easier to play is nice, but that's not all there is to it. The overall reaction I got from players was that the early game was interesting because there was some tension, but as soon as you got to the middle game, it got repetitive, boring, and super easy. There are several reasons for that problem, one of them being the lack of content, another being the evolution of the strength of demon waves that attack you.

Adding content is something that I really wanted to do, but knew that would not have the time to do. And right I was: I did not add a third of the content I wanted to put in the game. I had to make priorities, and decided that I'd rather have a game that feels good to play, than a game that is actually challenging all the way to the end. Why? Because that was much easier to do, and I only had five days! That's the harsh rule of game jams!

The strength of demon waves was something that I really intended to do, but it's 7pm when I'm writing this, and I have to go bake a pizza. Time caught up to me, the little bastard. I did get started on that work though, so it's highly possible that there will be another build coming up in the next few days…

How is that for a disappointing end to this Solo Game Jam Challenge? Very anticlimactic! Let me apologize to you by giving you what you all deserve for reading through this blog series: the final build of my game!

Wait! I forgot something! What's the name of my game??? Well… It doesn't have one yet. And I didn't get any good ideas while thinking about it. So, if a good name comes up to you, don't hesitate to reach out: I'll be happy to hear it! You can find me on Mastodon, Twitter, or in the comments of this post.

Alright, there we go! The source code of the game is up on my GitHub repo: adngdb/village-builder. Aaaaand for the final build of this game…

Play Village Builder - Final Day Build

Thanks a lot for reading this series and playing my game. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed doing this solo game jam!

/me leaves to bake a pizza, because it works up quite an appetite to make a game!

Edit(May 9): My awesome playtesters reported a few small but annoying bugs, and I took the liberty of fixing them this morning, then updating the Day 5 build with a corrected version. Enjoy a (hopefully) bug free game!