LeapDay – Made it to a tower

I’m still messing around with LeapDay and learning a little more all the time. The goal, as developer Danc pointed out in the comments to my last post, is to save the land from evil ghosts. In order to do that you have to (as step 1 anyway) defrost towers and then deliver a specific item to them. I’ve gotten a tower defrosted and found it needed Polished Gems, made with 1 water, 1 stone, and 1 wildcard (anything as the 3rd component).

I set up a track and a factory to build polished gems easily enough but actually getting the gems to the tower is going to be a bigger challenge. The Flans that travel the roads will pick up any resource they walk past. So I can’t run this deliver road past anything but the factory pick-up spot and the tower where I’m delivering the gems. Otherwise the Flan will pick up some other resource and just circle around with it endlessly (the tower will only accept Polished Gems). I solved this issue with an elaborate series of 3 cranes, as shown here (you might want to click to get the full sized version):


The problem now is I need 5 houses (at least) to spawn Flans. 1 for the Polished Gem making track, one for the delivery track, and one each for all 3 of those little 1 square sections of road (these will span a Flan who just sits in one place accepting a Polished Gem from one crane and passing it along to the next crane, I hope.

Sadly I don’t have the $$ to do that yet so I have to put my project on hold until later tonight. I still have really big questions around whether or not I’ll get a Polished Gem to that tower before the day runs out. I might have to add additional Flans to the builder track and/or upgrade from the cheap dirt roads to faster stone ones.

What a compelling game… you really need to try it. But be prepared to do a lot of thinking and trial and error when you do. For instance you might wonder why I don’t move the factory closer to the Tower. If I did that I’d pass more water resources and would be in danger of getting 3 water in my factory which would then produce (I think) a barrel of water, which the delivery system would hand off to the delivery Flan and the tower wouldn’t accept, thus gumming up the whole works.

Things I learned:

After your first game (which takes 4 days of real time) you’ll unlock trains and train tracks.

This is 100% a co-operative game. You and the other 7 people on your map all win or you all lose. There’s no ‘score’ to compare yourself to other players so there’s no incentive to trying to ‘beat out’ the other guy. Quite the contrary.

LeapDay beta gameplay example

Let’s get one thing clear. I don’t know squat about LeapDay, a game from SpryFox that entered beta this week. I spent maybe 45 minutes figuring it out before I knew I had to share it with my friends.

LeapDay is a browser-based game that tasks you with gathering resources by way of laying down little tracks that your vaguely Gumdrop-shaped workers will follow. As a worker passes a resource he grabs a chunk of it. When he finds a place to put it, he drops it. That place could be your HQ (in which case you’ll get some gold) or a factory. When a factory fills up with resources it generates another, presumably more valuable resource. At that point you need a worker to come past the factory and pick up this more valuable resource to deliver somewhere.

That’s the basic gameplay. I’m not clear what the ultimate goal is… I know I was playing on a map with 7 other people and we had 3 days to beat a boss or unlock a final item or something. I was fixated on the basics, frankly. So before I go any farther, here’s LeadDay in action. Remember I’m still a noob and only have a few tools and a small amount to space to work in:

Every day your workers leave their little houses and start following their tracks and doing their thing. When night comes along they despawn, and resources all renew. Soon enough it’s morning and things start again. As items make it to HQ your town generates gold that you can spend on creating new loops to collect more resources. Your town will collect $$ even when you’re not playing, so there’s a bit of ‘time management’ gameplay here too. Eventually you’ll be able to buy towers that expand your usable area (I have one right next to the crane). I’m not sure what happens when you connect your playable area with another players; perhaps your tracks can mingle.

Here’s a crappy screenshot identifying a few parts of my ‘town.’ Sorry I didn’t do a better job with this… I wasn’t planning on using it for a blog post when I created it. Click through for the full size version:


For as cute as it is, I’m finding LeapDay pretty hard. Your workers only turn to the right and available space is cramped. If a track is too long the worker won’t make many circuits before the day ends. If it’s too short the worker might clear out all resources and just be running in circles doing nothing. The nice thing is you can sell parts back for full value so trial-and-error is definitely encouraged (though I do wish you could just move an item rather than selling it and re-purchasing it to place it in a new spot).

In that screenshot my main loop up top drops 4 workers (1 per house) into the track that feeds the factory. You can see all 4 going past the factor as I snapped the shot. The first two have dropped water in the first 2 factory slots. In a second the 3rd worker will also drop water into the last slot and the factory will generate an item. That lone worker on the loop to the right will come around and pick up that finished item and carry it to the HQ. Over on the left is a loop where a worker is feeding the main loop via a crane. Eventually the 4 workers will exhaust their resources and they’ll need more. The crane helps feed them. Towards the bottom right are 2 tracks that are just gathering basic resources and taking them to the HQ. Nothing fancy there.

As you can see my space is pretty cramped and it’s going to be hard for me to get more tracks to run next to the HQ in order to feed items into it.

Anyway, it’s a nifty game. It runs in a browser (you’ll need the Unity plugin) and is free to play. It won’t be for everyone, but it’s unlike anything I’ve played in recent memory and is definitely worth checking out, IMO.

BrowserQuest is a simple little time waster

The Mozilla folks, of all people, have launched a simple little multiplayer ‘RPG’ (mostly you fight and get better gear…no stats or levels or anything) called BrowserQuest. Bookmark it for one of those times when you’re sitting in front of your computer bored and want something to occupy your time for 10 minutes. Or two hours. Depends on how compulsive you are.

They created it as a way to show off how awesome HTML5 is. But aside from some guards with the HTML5 emblem on your shields, you’d never know it.

In Town looking for rats to kill:

And out into the wilds!

Small Worlds (Browser/Flash)

This is another one of those “How’d I miss this?” posts.

Small Worlds is a flash game described by designer David Shute as “A short atmospheric game about exploring.” You may have already played it; if so, why didn’t you tell me about it!?

It takes a few minutes to hook you, but once it does (if you’re anything like me) you won’t be able to stop playing until you’ve explored everything (which doesn’t take very long). There a very retro vibe and you won’t be shooting or fighting or even dying. Just jumping and exploring.

Meh, don’t waste time reading my ramblings about it, just go play it.

Nile Online status update


» [8:02 pm] You sent off ships loaded with resources to found a new city! It will take 12 hours to complete.

It took me three or four days of focused gathering and buying, but I established my second city!! Or am establishing it.

I’ll now have leather as well as kohl to trade.

In other news, I got all official and stuff and added an “About me” page.

Nile Online

And now for something completely different…

Tilted Mill, the folks who made the rather enjoyable Hinterland that I’ve previously posted about, have a broswer-based city-building game now in beta, Nile Online.

I’ve been playing it for a week or so now. At first I thought it was really interesting. Then I got kind of bored with it since it seemed to lack depth. And then I realized there was more depth than I at first saw, so now I’m finding it really interesting again.

The basic idea of the game will be pretty familiar to strategy gamers. You start with a small settlement and need to feed your people and grow your empire via resource management. Every starting plot, as best I can figure, has wheat, clay and reed resources. Also each plot has a 4th resource that varies from area to area. I started with Kohl, used in cosmetics. Huh?

Each city has a finite number of building plots. You’ll erect bakeries, brickworks, basket shops, pottery shops, etc. Then you assign your labor pool to either gathering a resource or working in a shop. There are more products than there are building plots, so you’re not going to be able to make everything you need. Building a Market gives you access to goods that other players are selling. Curiously, the currency of the world is bread, which is also the way you feed your people. Buildings and resource plots can be continually upgraded to become more productive.

Nile Online runs in real time and is kind of low-impact gaming. As an example (I’m writing this on my lunch hour) I started upgrading my Market at the start of the hour, but its going to take about 2 hours for that upgrade to happen. So I’ll check in when I get home tonight, perhaps. Early on, level 1 buildings go up pretty quick… 10 minutes or so. Also low level buildings require pretty basic resources, so they’re easy to get going.

Soon enough things become more complicated. My next palace upgrade (which will give me a larger labor pool) is going to require Bricks, Baskets, Perfume, Pottery, and Jewelry (and 3 hours, 40 minutes of time). I can make the Bricks & Baskets, but I’ll need to buy the other items from the Market. I can grow a lot of wheat and bake a lot of bread to buy them, and I’m doing that, but I’ve also been trying to sell some extra pottery. I have a Cosmetics shop to turn my Kohl into Cosmetics, but I also need Henna, which I can’t produce, so I have to buy that. Hopefully I’ll be able to sell Cosmetics for enough to cover the costs of the Henna and still make a profit. Cosmetics are required to found additional cities, and if someone is rich enough to do that, I figure they can pay me well for my goods.

As far as I can tell, there is no player vs player combat in the game, but you can produce troops. Outside my city are “Monument plots occupied by raiders” and I assume these are what troops are for? Documentation for the game is sparse, to put it nicely (but again, this is beta) so I’m learning by doing, and I don’t have the resources (Bronze and Leather) to produce anything from my Spearmen building.

So, still a lot of questions, and ultimately it might not hold my interest. After the initial building process there’s kind of a dead spot where you’re just waiting to have enough bricks and bread to build a new building. But things get more interesting when you start playing the market and needing resources that you can’t product on your own.

It seems like anyone can join the beta. You do have to apply but getting in is really quick. If, like me, you have a lunch hour to fill every day, this is an interesting way to use up a bit of it. And I do find myself checking in before and after work. I’m looking forward to seeing what else the game holds as I grow my city.