Devlog 2 – Post PAX/SIX

Devlog 2. Let’s go!

Edit: 9/18/2018
Elliott lost his internet and his updates were added.

Buoyancy was at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment booth at PAX West 2018. We are all alumni of the Academy of Interactive Entertainment and were lucky enough to be showcased by our school at PAX.

Thanks to everyone that played Buoyancy at PAX and SIX!

Our booth was swamped by the time the doors opened until the Expo Hall was closed. We were also at the Seattle Indies Expo on Sunday with another overwhelmingly positive response from players. The plan is to have Buoyancy released well before next years PAX West.



“Floaters” are buildings that have been disconnected from the main Town Center foundation. This can happen from player destruction, storms, or fires. Originally the floater would still technically be attached to the city and follow you when you moved. Villagers on a floater section would still usually function if possible; like mini city ecosystems.

Now floaters will completely be detached from the city. If you move your city away from a floater section then it will stay in that portion of the ocean, but now you have 2 new options to reattached your floaters back to your city. The first is the original way, but with a twist. Originally you could just build new structures that connect the floaters to the main section. Now you have the option of moving your city and rotating it around your floaters to rearrange your city’s configurations. You can also just ram part of your city into your floaters and it will reconnect/snap to the collision point.



City Analytics


City Analytics is a new feature I’ve been working on. This tracks the production of resources over the course of the days you have survived. This will be graphed on the UI for visual representations. This will initially be used by the devs for balancing, but hopefully in the future it will be polished and be apart of the players tool-set for managing their cities. Aside from resource production we also plan to graph: Happiness, Nourishment, reproduction, and possibly more.




Tech Tree


The upgrade system that we originally had was a step in the right direction for a greater player experience but it didn’t seem to work well gameplay-wise. It didn’t feel rewarding and there was too much randomness involved which left players feeling hopeless when they wanted to improve a specific building but was never able to find the upgrade needed. So it was back to the drawing board.

That’s when the tech tree concepting began. We have gone through many iterations – which I’ll show here – but we believe we have narrowed down the design. To use the tech tree you must have acquired “tech points”. These can be found from relics of the old world, purchased from certain traders at a high cost, or stolen from other cities. There is also a plan for a building to be added that provides a slow but steady income of points.

This is our first draft. It started out as a web that each discipline would branch out from the center of small tech nodes that led to larger more valuable nodes. Eventually, if enough points were invested, the player could reach the highest and most valuable tech available for that branch. It is very much a traditional looking tech or talent tree. However, as of this draft, there were too many duplicate techs that forced the player into certain directions if they wanted all of the points for one of the smaller ones.
The second draft opted to remove duplicates and give the player the benefits that they wanted in a simpler form. For the player to reach each major tech in the tree, they had to follow the trunk that preceded it. Then once the player invests in three of the five major techs they would be rewarded with the bonus tech (which was formally the top tier for that tree). This gave the player more freedom to pick and choose what techs they wanted but each set was very straightforward and not very exciting.
To give the player more meaningful choices and not lock them into selecting techs that they don’t necessarily want, we drafted up the “orbital” tech tree. For this the player needed to invest in just over half the the smaller techs around the major one to unlock it. Once unlocked, they would need to purchase it with more tech points. This gave the player even more freedom to choose the exact techs they felt they would benefit from the most. Then, once again, when the player invests enough to unlock three of the major techs, the top tier tech would be rewarded.














Here’s a closer look at what one of the orbit concepts would look like. This was to follow a more celestial theme as if guiding your floating city by the stars and planets.
This is where we began to hone in our design. This draft shows a tree with a couple different branches that the player can invest points into. The smaller techs are optional techs that the player can invest in to give themselves a small bonus to certain aspects. The way this tree would work is this: The player would purchase a major tech to immediately gain its benefits. They may then purchase the next major tech in the tree (which costs more) or become more specialized in any unlocked tech by purchasing the smaller tech(s) (which cost less).
This is the current draft – while pieces can still be moved around, added, or removed, it is the current plan for the tech tree. Each section of the tree would originate from the “Max Population Increase” central tech which creates a spireweb like tree. The player has the option to go down any connecting branch, unlock major techs, and/or invest in the smaller techs (which now have a number of times than you can invest in them – creating more variety for players to build their own unique route). Once again, the top tier bonus will be rewarded to the player once the criteria for the number of major techs invested in has been reached.




















Shawn, Keenan

With the new renown system and interactions with the various cities and factions, we decided to dive deeper into what each faction believes, how they act, and who their leaders and key figures are. At certain points in the game players will be able to ally themselves with one of the three major factions – or remain completely independent – with each play through.

Currently planned are three Factions: Pirates, Sea Trade Federation, and the Peacekeepers

In addition there will be independent cities that belong to no factions.

We have also been working on writing the world origins. This will be discovered by players through gameplay mechanics such as exploring and piecing together relics of previous civilizations, scientific research, etc.


Interactions, Renown, and uhh cannibalism


I made a notification and choices system. When in range of something applicable a notification will pop up. Clicking on it will give choices; these choices are stuff like Trade, Take Prisoners, Demand Resources, and uhh cannibalism. Some of these choices are evil but your city might need food, stuff, or you just wanna be a badass pirate city. In the end we want your decisions to impact what happens later in the game.

Renown is our first step in making a reputation type of system that will interact with Factions and other cities. Unforgiving acts like cannibalism and imprisoning survivors will reduce your renown, while making trades will net you some renown. I’ve been working on some formulas and diminishing returns for this stuff.

Low renown (being evil) will have benefits as well as being high renown will have its own benefits.

Save them or eat them… new interaction features for the game from BuoyancyGame


Movement Controls


The movement controls have been reworked based on the convention feedback. Resource nodes and other world things to click on can now be accessed during movement.  Left click had to be abandoned for that feature, and so Right click is now the default movement destination setter. We disabled the right click quick build menu for this change. Entering movement mode is now Spacebar. For experimental purposes building placement has been enabled while moving. I also added some line renderer thingies to show your cities path.

In summary, movement mode is a lot quicker to access and you can do more while in it, compared to just watching your city move.

an attempt to guide the player during city movement from BuoyancyGame

The anchor has been disabled after much detest



Trade Post


The trade post asset is done and is in the game. It is a world node that you can find exploring the vast waters. Finding them will allow you to trade and destroy for resources. (Thanks zom for the concept to work on.)


UI Mockup



Another project for me is experimenting currently with UI design. Our current one has a lot to be desired and its about time that we find a comfortable and visual engaging UI for players.



Other Updates:

  • Construction now pauses when on fire
  • Efficiency overlay now scales based on camera distance
  • Villagers now apply an AOE death drain on other villagers that were on the same platform as them when they die
  • Villagers now have a reaction system for certain events
  • A notification is now sent when nodes are depleted
  • Particle effect for when a building attaches to a resource node
  • Players notified when their city collides and stopped
  • Renown and happiness are rewarded from defeating pirate invasions (at the summary)
  • Trades give some renown, excess trade (donation types) give more renown
  • Added text to inform players they can’t move when they are docked by attackers
  • OnHover effects added to Popup UI and Cursor change to give the player feedback they can drag the windows
  • Increased trade ship request range
  • Decreased movement mode init time
  • Pirates ship sink and play explosions when destroyed by a Tower

Bug Fixes

  • Buildings no longer catch fire before they are built
  • Pirate facing on jump was corrected
  • City movement particle direction cleaned up
  • Villager speed boost on platforms now have a smoother transition
  • Medicine hut bugs fixed
  • Fixed brewery efficiency overlay
  • Resources now get properly unreserved when the villager that reserved them dies
  • Motors now properly ask for more fuel while moving
  • Proper Fire-fighting position
  • Fixed bug with traders spawning with Driftwood
  • Resource nodes shouldn’t spawn on top of each other anymore
  • Pirates should defend themselves from Guards now
  • Whale shouldn’t clip through foundations anymore
  • Popup UI stuff should clamp properly now
  • Removed floating junk particle effect from Main Menu
  • Most world nodes changed to box colliders
  • Snapping fully disabled
  • A lot of tooltip related bugs squashed
  • Fixed a bad collision bug with the trade post
  • Fixed resource bug with Tower building
  • Fixed trades not removing Beer
  • Towers should now shoot at disguised pirates and boats
  • Some building placement and click bugs squashed
  • Misc UI sprite bugs fixed

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