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(6 edits) (+1)

Really cute and positive-minded game!

Here is a bunch of random feedback. Just brainstorming...

- After completing a couple of hive, what is my incentive to keep playing? I would like some challenges, or some bosses to beat!

  (Challenges could be optional. There could be a list or tree of challenges, any of which could be achieved on purpose or by accident.)

- Perhaps some kind of a story or journey, where I can place each new hive on a different part of the forest, and each part of the forest has a specific challenge to meet / threat to overcome.

- How do I know what could be improved about my hive? Perhaps show me efficiencies of current cells, so I can see which ones are performing better or worse. Then I can try to work out why!

  (For example, this could be achieved with a heat map, so I can see which cells are efficiently hot, and which are inefficiently cold. It might help to flip through the different heatmaps for each different type of cell.)

- Similarly, let me compare the performance of different hives, so I can see if there is something about the current hive that could perform better (has performed better elsewhere).

- The spots on the exits are very small, so it's hard to see how many are taken and how many are free. Maybe extend the dots into bars, so they are larger and easier to see? (Or some other way of showing when they are over capacity. Maybe they could turn red when they are full.)

- Since the queen is the boss, perhaps she could give occasional instructions (challenges) which could yield a reward if they are achieved within the time period.

- Consider tweaking the menu: After a click it opens in a circle. How about after sub-click, the next circle appears centered around the clicked item, rather than centered around the original point.

- A recreation cell, which is a place where idle bees go to. This might be useful to 1. see how many idle bees there are, 2. position idle bees so they are near to where they might need to be in future, 3. give the hard-working bees a little break.

- If you wanted to simplify the game, you could skip the construction of empty cells and let specific cells be created directly. (Although empty cells might still be needed to extend the hive into new areas.)

- Building lots of the same type of cell becomes tedious. How about right-click on a cell to build the same thing as the previous?

  Ah I see now that it's Shift-click. This was introduced right at the start of the tutorial, but that was a bit too early, before I needed it. I did eventually see it in the Settings (and the second time I started a new game.) Perhaps the optimum time to teach this to the user would be when they have just built 4 identical cells.

- Offer keys '?' or 'F1' to pop up a list of the keyboard/mouse shortcuts.

- Fighting the bear was not very exciting. I couldn't see anything happening. Some possibilities: 1. add some scary music, and 2. show a progress bar for the bear's attack, and a progress bar for our defence. Whichever one fills first will decide the outcome.

- I feel I have too much freedom in how to arrange my hive. How about bonuses for putting certain cells in certain places (like Scrabble or Infinitode have)? Then I would have to think a bit harder about where I want to put stuff, to make the hive optimal.

  Advanced levels could have lots of obstructions, so it's more challenging to lay out the necessary shapes.

- Ideally the mouse wheel would zoom into the place where the cursor is pointing, rather than into the center of the screen.

- When spawning a new queen in a new hive, my system reports a lot of memory is consumed. Perhaps it might help to ensure the old hive is freed from memory and garbage collected, before spawning the new one. I'm on Linux. "ObjectDB instances leaked at exit (run with --verbose for details)"

- You told me that all cells are equidistant (bees travel equally fast no matter the distance). Would you consider changing that, to make positioning more important? ^_^

  For example (and just for sharing) the following game Islanders is a curious redux. It increases the player's score for creating layouts with good proximity. And it doesn't even use any actors! 

- Rendering: The bees are cute but their colours are sometimes similar to the cell behind them, so I cannot see them clearly. How about a thin border around each bee? Like cell shading, which seems popular in games these days. (Maybe a transparent grey outline, which would contrast with the white jelly and also with the black beeskin.)

- Rendering: Light diffusion would really help to make the bees and the cells look more real. Not easy to implement though.

- Rendering: I think the Depth of Field option looks odd because the projection is isomorphic. If you could switch to perspective projection when zooming in, the DOF might look better.

- Rendering: When completely zoomed out, you could switch to a top-down view, with no projection. (I am not desperate for this. It's just a thought.)

  For example, the video game Carcassonne offers a perspective view mode and a top-down view mode. Players can choose whichever they prefer.



Thanks for the fun game! Interested to see where it goes in future.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Glad to hear that you're enjoying the game! I'll try to answer the direct questions and cover anything that is already in the game.


The core incentive to continue playing is whether or not you find that fun for its own sake. I've made and positioned Hive Time as a play-as-long-as-you're-having-fun type game in the vein of 1989's SimCity. I am wary of making the game more attractive to people who aren't finding the experience of playing intrinsically rewarding, since this will invariably lead toward experiences that are more negative than just not finding the mid to late game interesting. I have done some early design work on a goal tracking interface and loadable scenarios as part of a possible future update, but they'd be framed around inviting players to explore and discover creating their own goals/ways of playing rather than shifting the mid to late game's focus on to gameplay-extrinsic rewards (Beepedia entry unlocking is probably the closest the game gets to that).


Regarding bee efficiency and bees taking breaks (referred to as "bumbling" in-game), that already happens, though there is intentionally no specific cell type dedicated to or required for that. The Activity screen accessible from the upgraded Throne Room shows the ratio of idle bees to working bees over time for each role, and can be used to track that once playing at a scale where this can no longer be observed for a reasonable portion of the hive when zoomed in.

The Upgraded Workshop has a cell list that can be useful for seeing the number of given cell types (such as exits) and when viewed with the "three bees per cell" rule in mind, can give an idea of infrastructure load/redundancy.


I'm wary of doing anything that specifically guides players toward highly optimised play - one of the concepts that Hive Time is built around is that too much optimisation creates opportunities for risk and instability. There are efficiency cues and a little feedback there for players who want to pursue that sort of thing (and it can be fun), but I'm not sure that explicit framing would be a good fit for Hive Time's identity (this is why the Activity screen has the name it has, while it's is called "EfficiencyMenu" internally).


I'm not intending to make relative cell position more important - making layout primarily cosmetic was an intentional design choice aimed at simplifying the simulation and giving players freedom to make hives that look and feel interesting to them without having to work against the game. As a self-embraced constraint, designing layouts where storage needs to be near exits and production facilities is wonderful, but I don't want to impose these things beyond the adjacency requirements/bonuses that some cell types have. "Triple letter score" tiles have been on my todo list since the original jam prototype, but have been lower priority than all other development.


When we spoke last night, I think you mentioned that you were running an older version and needed to upgrade. I fixed some memory leaks recently - could you send me a copy of your game log when run with --verbose if you still continue to see the object leaks warning with a current build of the game?

Thanks for the responses.

I am not very familiar with sandbox games, although I am in favour of games that let the player express their own creativity (Minecraft and Captain Forever spring to mind).

I'm also fascinated how simple rules can produce unforeseen consequences, emergent phenomena. (Game creators do not always know the optimal strategies. It may take years for the players to discover them.)

I can certainly set some of my own placement goals. Thanks for the suggestion! I would like to balance optimal positioning along with redundancy, so the hive is not too fragile to attack. (So far I have managed to withstand all bear and wasp attacks, so I don't actually know what an attack looks like. So I think absorbing and surviving an attack should be one of my goals! Yay!)

I certainly wouldn't want to eat away at the sandbox style of the game. I was wondering if there might be a best-of-both worlds, so a player could choose whether to set their own goals, or achieve those suggested by the game. But perhaps the existence of one option negates the other.

On Freenode IRC you gave me some nice suggestions:

"What's the fastest you can get 600 jelly from scratch? What's the smallest population hive you can get 600 jelly with? Can you get 600 jelly without researching a jelly refinery? Can you get 600 jelly without upgrading anything but the Workshop?"

These are interesting ideas which I hadn't considered. Perhaps some suggestions like this could appear in the game, even if they aren't explicitly coded as challenges, as a starting point for people like me who never imagined setting their own goals.

I'll go back to the game with this new point of view (and --verbose) and see how I get on. Cheers!

Sorry for the slow response! I'd written a reply out last week, but it appears that I forgot to post it. Here's the vague gist!


Expectation management is tricky, and I try to be conscious about what I potentially lead players away from by having the game explicitly frame things as important.

I was hoping that the final tutorial, which shows a bunch of aesthetically different hive layouts would lead players toward considering aesthetic constraints, and organically discover the idea of exploring the simulation's boundaries from there. I'm open to supplementing that with a Beepedia topic in the Help/Tips section that suggests some of the kind of things I'd mentioned on IRC, though.


There are a couple of events within the game that require the player to do something within a time limit in order to avoid negative outcomes, though their presentation would benefit strongly from that goal tracking UI. If it happened, that update would bring in a number of new events with conditional outcomes along different axes, and it would also include loadable scenarios as another way of exposing alternative ways of playing (you can read a little about that here, but that's a large scale change, and outside of smaller patches, Hive Time's future is currently uncertain).