Big Pharma Vlog #23 – Modding in new effects

Episode 23 of the official Big Pharma video blog.

This vlog shows you how to add new effects to the game via modding, if you’re into that. Even if not, it’s kind of cool.

11 Comments Added

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  1. Recep 2 years ago |

    Big Pharma Turkish Language Please

  2. Robert 2 years ago |

    Love BigPharma. Lots of fun. I had to go somewhere and sit for an extended period of time, so I brought my Surface Pro 2 with me. Turns out, Big Pharma is NOT touch friendly. Looks like it should be, but you can’t play it without a mouse. Fortunately, I brought along my type cover, so I was o.k., but would rather have used touch.

    Keep up the good work.

  3. Kabo 2 years ago |

    Hey Tim,

    Looking at the data files for effects, I see there are commented lines for “cureRate” on the side effects. I’m guessing this is to have side effects also influence the demand of cures, but isn’t yet implemented?

    Also, have you considered allowing multiple reaction paths on effects? I think this could open up some very interesting modding options; obvious ones being things like cure families with branching upgrade paths or side-effects that give you both the option to remove, but also to upgrade to a cure.

    Granted, it would take some work as you’d need to handle overlapping reaction rules, and it would make the cures diagram significantly more complicated – you’d also need to figure out a way to resolve upgrade loops, which currently break on loading. Regardless, I think it’s something worth thinking about.

    • Tim 2 years ago |

      This is something that I actually implemented way back in development. You can kind of see this in an old vlog: http://www.twicecircled.com/2c/big-pharma-video-blog-ep1-2/ where there is a list of reactions on the on-hover for each effect. The problem was it became really difficult to make a nice looking GUI that was clear and functional; both for the on-hover and the cure map. So I simplified it to one reaction, like you see in the final version of the game.

      Tangentially: This was actually a really big learning outcome from Big Pharma for me in terms of game design. Just because something works mechanically does not always mean it will work in the game. Conveying information efficiently to the user is probably the number one difficulty when creating strategy games and over development it became the most constricting factor for design, way more so than mechanical or technical concerns.

  4. Acme Labs 2 years ago |

    Tim, would you do VBlog (or document) describing all the various files? Covering what they contain, layout, etc.

    Do you have a UDL for Notepad++ for the files that do not format well for human reading like the game saves (.sav). The Javascript language, included with Notepad++, doesn’t format it at all. I have found the Postscript language makes it a bit more readable but still not the best.

    As I know very little about modding but may start with a simple mod as I suggested in this forum post: http://positech.co.uk/forums/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=49&t=14309 Is there an API in the works to access a running game’s data? Or is this included in the Unity software?

    • Tim 2 years ago |

      Copy the JSON into a json validator and it will format it nicely for you. Watch out for comments though, most validators don’t like that. http://jsonlint.com/

      Yes, I could potentially do another vlog down the line and just run through the files and try to explain them. For now I recommend starting with one file at a time and trying to tweak the values a bit and see what they do. They have relatively descriptive names. The hardest one is probably effects.data but I covered that in this vlog.

      Try creating some new levels perhaps using scenarios.data – I think that one is quite straightforward. You can find all the various gamesettings by exporting a custom game and looking at the .map file that is generated.

      Hope that helps,

      Tim

  5. Matt Alden 2 years ago |

    I want to preface this by saying I have no technical knowledge when it comes to code or modding, so I’m unsure how difficult what I propose is to accomplish.

    Is there a way to either change the base game, or create a mod, that will allow the graphic levels to be changed in a high-medium-low configuration, rather than only allowing for the screen size to change?
    I absolutely love this game, however when ever I get into late-game production my RAM can’t handle the amount of machines on screen and lags to the point of unplayablility.

    Hopefully someone will be able to help me.

    Thanks

    • Tim 2 years ago |

      To be honest, it’s unlikely to be memory that is your issue. Slow down is normally CPU limited. I do intend to do further optimisation over the next few weeks. Hopefully I can improve things a little. By the way, what CPU do you have?

  6. Harry 2 years ago |

    Well done and congrats on a very successful game!
    One note on replayability– I (and many others I’m sure, from forum posts and personal experience) would love to see randomize start instead of having fixed parameters for cures etc. from game to game. I’ve created a meta-mod (very much WIP) that creates “mods” –it generates effects.data files within specific parameters. http://www.nexusmods.com/games/mods/1&selected_game=1093/?
    Any thoughts on including similar mechanics into the game itself?

  7. Kabo 2 years ago |

    Fair enough, I can’t disagree with you there. I think the one-reaction route was the best design option for the “final” game.

    Since I studied to be a chemical scientist, my thoughts were really just imagining the reactions I know and considering the potential for modding if multiple paths were an option.

    • Tim 2 years ago |

      Yeah that would be pretty awesome! Maybe someone could mod it so that all ingredients came with 2 cures as standard. Then the choice would be which to develop or maybe to develop both if their concentrations lined up nicely. Would have to reduce cure values a bit or make side-effects worse to compensate maybe.