World-building in games is tough! Establishing a sense of visual, aural, artistic, and narrative consistency can really help make a game feel alive, a world fleshed out, and accomplishments more rewarding.
As you can probably tell based on past updates about Techtonica, we’re working hard to establish that sense of “life” in our game.
Our team recently achieved another notch on the belt of world-building in Techtonica… we got the Assemblers to animate the construction of the thing they were actually assembling.
I promise that’s the one and only comic book joke in this post.
Obviously, a factory automation game like Techtonica aims to deliver a rewarding feeling of accomplishment after players devise solutions to massive logistical undertakings. That rewarding feeling can come from a nice audio cue, an unlocked mechanic or machine, or even a juicy animation.
Here, we wanted to reward players for their work by showing their intermediates come together in a rush of molten metal and lasers on the pedestal of the Assembler. Here’s a GIF to show you how it looks.
That’s right, the iron components that the Assembler was set to construct are what players will see appear on the plater during construction.
The animation syncs up with the crafting time the item requires, too. That means complicated stuff like memory cores takes a while to assemble, and animation time matches that assembly time. For simpler recipes, like iron frames, the craft time is much, much faster, so we only run the animation once every three times the intermediate is complete.
I’ll admit, I’ve stared at this for too long a few times already during our internal play sessions.
Finding the right animation
Assemblers are a super important machine in Techtonica. They represent the core of automation, and they are required to make specific items. We knew we wanted them to look and feel really hefty.
Part of that heft comes from the animation. The Assemblers chug, and a group of them looks like a series of pistons on an engine block. Unless they magically all drop at once like they did for me while grabbing the GIF below.
The chugging animation was built to look satisfying from far away, and the big motions really work.
But, that granular, detailed animation we were after? We knew we wanted it to deliver a satisfying vibe, and that’s how we iterated through these designs and animation efforts.
We actually have a timelapse of the assembler animation, at least an earlier iteration, coming together in dev.
Oh, also… This might be some of my favorite concept work done during the animation discussion process. Can you tell that it wasn’t done by one of our artists?
If you want to chat with the devs about the intricacies of world-building and minor touches in Techtonica, then you should join our Discord! Come hang out with like-minded factory automation folks.
Until next time, Groundbreakers!