BeeFriend#1 Announcement

Hi, this is the announcement of our new project - Bee Friend. The idea is to create a possibility for the player to build a fantasy honey empire. Some may say beekeeping is boring. I don’t agree. For me, it’s more chilling than boring. For sure in this game, we will not have shooting guns and impressive explosions, so it may be boring in that sense. It will be about taking care of your bees and expanding honey production. We are planning to have it a bit similar to our previous project - Tea Puzzle. Common parts are - 3D, mobile end devices, and chilling purposes. In contrast, Bee Friend will be a lot easier, there will be no option to lose. The worst case is to reach lack of resources and the player will need to wait a bit for a refill.

New team member

The good news is, now our team has two people. Tea Puzzle was done by a single person - my brother, and I was mainly helping with stuff like the website and vlogs. Now I have more time, so in this project, I will have a lot more active impact on the production process.

Start

We are working on this project for two weeks now. We started by creating a plan. In this plan, we put all our thoughts that have a sense for this game. So we have a lot of ideas written down, but it’s impossible to do it all at once. By using the golden principle “divide and rule” we used one element from the plan to split work into smaller chunks. This element is the story. Yes, we want to have a small taste of the plot in this game. And it seems to be a perfect candidate for work planning.

Acts

So on this large ideas file, we focused on the narration. We divided the whole story into acts. Acts are also split into smaller parts. Each part has a little story and some objectives to be fulfilled by the player. When current objectives are done the game is moving to the next act part. With it, every act can be treated as level. The next step was to precise first act only. Now it contains four small paragraphs and seven objectives to do. It is enough if we will think about it as a first level. Having this done, we described tasks which are needed to create this first act, and the next day we started work. Let’s see what we already made.

Map on paper

Our idea of a map looks like this: Map This is only to visualize how we would like to place various objects on a map. From the left, you can see the apiary. This will be the main part of gameplay, you can also see hives have honey storage level indicator. Then we have a honey center, this will not be available in the first act, but there you will be able to create automation and lab experiments on honey. On top, we have a set of tanks, its purpose is to keep a large amount of honey, also selling honey will be available from the tanks interface. In the corner we have mountains, it is mostly part of the environment, but we also might use it somehow in storytelling. The same applies to the river, bridge, and forest. On right, you can see a small dwarf, he will be your friend and will provide some items and services like hive upgrade. And the last element is the honey market, we would like to not make static honey price, it will be varying a bit, so on market, you can observe those movements, and make some other deals.

3D models

Jacob created some 3D models, the first one is a bee. It is a small insect that will be the main worker in the game. We rather plan to use it as a symbol of many bees, so we will not show in-game million replicas but just a few of them. The number of displayed bees will be also depended on your level. The second model is a hive. This object is consisting of a few smaller ones, so our hive is modular. Separate modules will indicate the next tiers. We have prepared four hive tiers for now. As you can see we have also prepared a look of anti-ant hive protection, this will be one of the game mechanics.

Map in Unreal

To create a map environment we reused some components from our previous game. So you can see trees, grass, a river, and a bridge which are the same as in TeaPuzzle. We might change it in the future to make it more customized, but for a start it is perfect.

Player view

The camera angle will be static, but a player can move the view horizontally. We will experiment with the best angle later when we will have more objects on a map. For now, we have already implemented left and right camera limits. Moving can be done with a mouse and fingers on mobile devices as well.

On top, we are displaying the most important info, so your current amount of honey and coins. In the circle, we have the current act number. When the player clicks on it, more info will appear.

Act info

Doing act info widget we started by making a design. We are trying this honey theme, I think it looks sweet. We will just need to be cautious to not make honey overwhelming. Having the design ready, we moved it to Unreal. This speeds up work a lot since experimenting with a widget in the design tool is much faster than in Unreal. Having the widget created, we created logic to handle buttons and for loading current act parameters. It’s working well. It will be nice to have some animations in this widget, but it is not the right stage of a project for this.

Engine update

We started the game on the Unreal Engine 5 Preview 2 version. In the meantime, the official 5.0 version was released. In the previous project, the engine update solved a few issues, so we didn’t hesitate this time. Also, it’s the beginning of a project so switching is easier. We didn’t notice many differences so far, but it’s good to keep tools updated.

Icon

I created a small game icon. The first idea was to draw a bee, but it didn’t go well, so we decided to go with a honey jar. The honey is pouring off the jar to make it a bit unique. Then I put BF letters on glass, and it’s done.

Other updates

Other than this, we have also small news regarding our previous project. We built a Windows port of TeaPuzzle. You can download it on itch.io link. It is not an ideal build because it shows info about an unrecognized application, but we will not be registering us as an official Windows apps publisher for now. It is the same game as on Android, but the graphic is much better, enjoy!

Bye

That is all for today. I hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for watching!


Tags: BeeFriend