Devlog 13

   Posted in: Devlog

As ever, I have been working hard on Overcrowd since the last blog and in that time have made lots of incremental progress, plus some key feature additions that are really bringing the game together. Here’s a broad overview starting from low level more system stuff going up to larger gameplay design. You can now wishlist the game on Steam and I expect to hit Early Access soon.

Contextual cursor, GUI and UI

First up, and lowest level is GUI work. I spent a fair amount of time on updating the cursor to include contextual information about what you are doing/what mode you are in at that time. So when you’re in build mode, you can see how much you are going to spend and on what.

If you have staff in deploy mode you can see that, and if you are hovering a tool to pick up/de-equip it will tell you that too. This makes (I suppose unsurprisingly in retrospect!) a huge difference to how it feels when you’re playing the game, because basically you know what’s going on all the time.

Overcrowd is (I suppose) fairly complex in so I think it’s good to explain as much as possible. In a similar vein all buttons and GUI elements have a hover over tool tip, but that’s been in place a good while.

Some other GUI updates include more status alerts to show you problems – eg. If you run out of power and several other things, and some new text alerts that explain what is upsetting or making a commuter sad. This helps to convey what your commuters are feeling – which directly impacts on your station reputation.

I also added a bunch of other lower level stuff like volume sliders, redefinable control mapping, user defined screen scroll/push margins and acceleration, plus more hazard icons to highlight things like dropped litter, rats, vomit and fumes when you hit pause (spacebar by default). Thre is also more GUI to show commuter anger level as an icon that fills up red, plus improvements to staff files, showing negative effects when hungry or sad, and how this might make them perform worse.

I also recently added a new UI which hugs the edge of the screen, letting you see more play area, and has a smarter more modern feel with a flatter look.


Trains are obviously a key part of the Overcrowd experience! A tube station without trains would clearly be a bit of failure. Up until Autumn last year I only had 2 carriage trains. This update I added the ability for having trains of any length. This was tricky but is done now.

In terms of gameplay, the ability to have trains of different lengths was really critical. The game is all about designing the best space for maximising commuter turnover, so having a longer platform allow longer trains was key.

Procedural maps

Finally I have formalised the way procedural terrain generation works. When you enter a new map a play area is generated with a different size, different starting shapes and different rocks. A selection of track blueprints are placed (where you can decide to build platforms) and pavements at the perimeter (where you can choose to build entrances). Each track or pavement comes with a set of figures – commuter rate (how fast commuters enter/fill train from said point), and then some baseline commuter behaviours mean anger, health, money, crime rate, litter rate. The commuters who enter from that access point will have behaviours randomly grouped around those values.

The idea here is that each map is a sort of dynamic puzzle space. You will have a target to shift a certain number of commuters, and to use a certain number of tracks/entrances. The starting floor space is free, and also permanent (you cannot sell it). In this way you get to choose how to use the space – taking into account the type of commuter you might get from each access point, and how many.

Want to use those doors with a high flow rate? Sure thing, but beware because they are really angry when coming from that doorway. But that might be ok because you have staff good at coping with angry people (ie high security skill). Or perhaps that entrance is a bit hard to build to, being fairly distant and costly to reach.. but the commuters from there are happy and do not litter much, so it’s worth it, because this means you will save on buying so many bins.

On top of the commuter behaviour aspect, is the pure design of the station, allowing enough space, directing the commuters in a shape and that makes sense.

In addition there are obstacles like rocks, water and grassy areas that cannot be built on, about which you must design your layout.

Dynamic Staff

Applicants are now generated procedurally per station with different base skills and abilities. More skilled or more able staff cost more to hire and pay. You can choose who you want. Maybe you want a super fast staff member with low strength as they are only doing one job. Or maybe you want an all-rounder who costs a bit more, but with high perception. Perception is fairly valuable as it governs how large a radius staff will autonomously act on their priorities. Aside from that staff can be manually deployed, in a pausable RTS style.


Something I’ve long planned as a mechanic is heat and thermoimaging. Heatwaves have always been a possibility in the game, but now I’ve gone ahead and added full temperature modelling which required a crash course in Newtons Second law of thermodynamics. I’m not saying its totally physically accurate of course, but the net result is all objects now have a heat capacitance and temperature conductivity is modelled. Over time machines and humans will generate heat which will gradually disipate into surrounding areas. If people get too hot they will pass out and need medical attention.

This feeds into the dynamic puzzle nature of the station design. If you build too small an area it will heat up all the faster with resultant problems – although it will be cheaper. Further we’ve added a bunch of objects you can procure to mitigate overheating. Multiple classes of fans and also air conditioning are possible to help – but then you have the pay off of more energy use. And of course.. power generators are one of the biggest heat generators.

Currently you can let heat out of your station by building grills, and I hope in the future we’ll have a full air duct building, however that wont be until we are later into Steam early Access if at all.

The mechanic further plays into environment considerations: build near water and you can have hotter things because the water is great at soaking up the heat. (although, of course, what if there is a flood!? I say no more just now!).

Procurement (tech) tree

Unlike other base builders, there are no resources to harvest as such in Overcrowd. However transporting commuters acts as a kind of resource, in that the more people you shift, the more “currency” you earn with City Hall, who will pay you bonds. These can be spent to unlock new tech to either further automate, improve or expand your station. Alternatively, they can be used to hire staff, as an initial one off fee (following that staffa re paid hourly with money from station funds). I have now implemented this system and it seems to be working fairly well in testing. I feel like it completes the game loop well.

Next steps

Depending on stability, optimisation and testing, I am cautiously optimistic that I can hit Early Access in the nearish future. I hope you can follow the dev and maybe consider wishlisting Overcrowd on Steam and maybe even helping shape the game throughout early access and beyond.


Following is a very incomplete list of changes. Excuse the typos, they are sometimes added to the list in haste. I’m not going to put bug fixes here because it’s not really necessary until the game is public.

saveable volume and music sliders
updated in game menu to new layout
make windows last click on top
added stairs must be positioned betwen an upper and lower floor error
new stair placing far more responsive
rocks scale height depending on view so they do not obstruct view
new perimters
new floor gfx
station doors can be on lower levels
turnstiles automaticelly calibrate to point to platform
clock gui shows time of day dawn, sun, dusk, moon
selling objects cost neutral in set up mode
many more alerts in set up mode
more alerts for stairs
stairs less fiddly to be build, rotate on cursor point, show up and down areas, do not attempt to rotate self to nearest fit as was glitchy and lacked precision
stairs can point up or down to a destination now – so you can have people go upstairs to a platform if needed
double click on staff centrs view on them
staff profiles at top of screen with icons to indicate urgent needs
staff create particles depending on needs
turnstiles reconfigure when you move them but keep same destination
tracks sell for true value/half price in set up/full game correctly
track blueprints different colours
tracks match floor level
toggle which floors you can see with new view button
make back wall perimters tall but all others flattened so can see better -omg took so long to do v complex
rotate actually really works now and centres around middle of screen when you rotate
when floor level focus is toggled, you can only build from or select that level, other floors do not occlude selection
blue arrow for sign cfg should be red or yellow with exclaim
rotate around grid centre seems bugged if window size changed
toggle track blueprints
multi carriage trains
can selectg number oif carraiges in pop up
power usage of a train scales to number of carriages
cannot change alighting point when train at platform
train stop at mid point of a track, correctly centred around stopping point whatever carriage size
bridges work
solids obscure alighting points on trains and commuters will not leave closed carraiges, nor attempt to board obscured carraiges
added ability to toggle game is pause don alt tab, and toggle lock cursor to game window in game options
staff should level up more
solve issue of adjacent tracks that can be unreachable if directly adjacent and require a bridge over one
create EMPTYING BIN and DUMPING LITTER IN BIN text for staff to be clearer
auto label build icons, replace current ones with text
make turnstiles auto direct arrows
selling objects cost neutral in set up
make stairs omni directional?
free place stairs?
draw train doors only open on correct sides or both
tracks should not be closer than 2 infront of a pavement
increase perception to include over floors
increase base speed of staff
GAMEPLAY PRIORITY: fewer refills needed
ROOMS: Add utility room – power gens must be built in here, wheelie and garbage compactor can be built here
ROOMS: Tool room – all tools must be built here, and wheelie, and garbage compactor can be
ROOMS: All rooms build button go in infrastracture menu
CHALLENGE: Ability to place entrances on floor of different levels
ROOMS: Alert to say “object must be built in x room”
get rid of basic supplies?
TOOLS: Tool and amenities have waypoints. INCL wheelie bins which are bugged with total cells var currently
HUD: In pop-up say where object must be built
ROOMS: Staff rooms should not come with basic supplies
STAFF NAV: staff should occupy physical space to each other and use amenities one by one
STAFF HUD: Tool unavailable because of negative buff
STAFF HUD: Vertical stack of tool icons above staff heads
GUI: hover tip on track says signal box. Should say platfotm x.
STAFF HUD: Refill HUD, contextual cursors for refill and deploy to object
GUI: contextual cursor to select on staff
Ability to place entrances on floor of different levels
GUI: contextual cursor to show number of carriages that can fit on track
STAFF: Increase perception radius
New contextual cursors for:
– staff deploy to object
– track – number of carriage
– staff refilling
GUI PRIORITY: contextual cursor to show number of carriages that can fit on track
Rat blood
XP pixel particle
remove red money notes and just have text
STAFF HUD: Remove staff name
OBJECTS: Plants:
* Add death HUD
* Add needs watering HUD
* Make rate of death slower
* Make dead plants un-revivable
COMM: Leave station at night even if in behaviour state
COMM: Disgust far less contagious
COMM: Make anger and illness non-binary, i.e. 3 states or show a progression
COMM: Late icon should remain
STAFF: Staff take damage from fumes
OBJECTS: Bin odour
selling objects in set up mode should be cost neutral
when moving object show movement penalty per cell in contextual cursor
OBJECT: moving objects does not appy same test and contextual cursor errors as placing an object
CHALLENGE: Make tracks delete rock to leave a 1 cell corridor between platform and rock formation
GUI: New turnstile buttons
GUI: New stair buttons
HUD: fumes hazard icon
GUI: one configure icon per platform
GUI: fix conifgure icons for stairs- only 1
remove build alert window replace with central text and text on cursor with display options
GUI: update contextual cursor to include if using edit floor on permanent floor or not and change square colour to match
OBJECTS: added christmas tree
COMM: react to xmas tree xmas cheer +1
OBJECTS can hover tip and sell xmas tree
GUI: configure track icons should be on track
staff gui contextual text on deploy – eg “dump litter” ‘pick up tool’ ‘assist commuter’
track gui hover should show number of carriages
anger reduces over time
no money for selling floor you start with/starting floor can’t be deleted
toggled state for orange buttons make brighter
ART: On low res: font size under orange floor buttons too small vs blue buttons
allow different room types again?
anger icon fills up and when full become triggered to punch
change cursor to contextual select person cursor if deploying to a person and do not create area of effect
contextual cursor for deploy units on person
fumes hazard icon
put gui alaert hazard like open door/cfg sings on top of actual object not above them, and one ontop of middle of stairs not both signs, oin top of turnstile, plant etc
tools have waypoints and are shown in front of tools eg a cross hatch
OBJECT: added new logo to ticket machine
GUI: added gui showinf inflow rate of tracks and entrances
OBJECT: entrances spawn commuters with varying degrees of baseline litter rate, anger, health, money and crime rate as displayed in inflow HUD above entrance/track
each zone of station has a varying random spread of commuter baselines calibrated to be harder in harder zones about gaussian curves
added seperate sandbox bode with no constraints and seperate quick challenge mode to test proc gen for different zone difficulties and terrain building
inflow hud shows commuter behaviour baseline
pavement to match floor colour and maybe look different at lower level
label above entrances showing flow rate and if underground with arror vertical pointing down
put numbers on track columns so know what floor they are on
variable in flow at different entrances
allow choices of which track blueprint
GAMEPLAY PRIORITY – how does charing and recharghin powered tools work
clicking on unit while recovering after tool use makes instance recharge of stamina
when you move an item – show running total of rep loss for moving it
added goal update
live goal: cash bonus for opening station
train doors open faster
trains stay in station less time
GAMEPLAY: staff unlocking for campaign
proc gen staff
missing hover state view toggle level 0 high res
proc gen challenge
gain tokens at end of map as a reward – eg track record (all tracks used) no vomit, clean living station, sales etc
Track delete extra cell’s width of perma-floor
Remove first aid and caution from initial load out
Ensure more staff become available
Generate track differently – specify desired number and ranges of floor over which they can be placed
Generate entrances last
live goal: track record
live goal: all entrances
After zone 5/4 no tracks on level 0 and at least 1 entrance on level 0 for all zones
tech tokens needed to unlock longer train carriages
entrances and track blueprints need flow meters above them for more strategy
Track gross income on every purchase and show on score sheet
track total stock spend and show on score sheet
live goal: reward for shifted in tiers
score sheet reward: complete in less than day bonus etc
score sheet reward: track record use all tracks
end goal: all entrances
summary of level stats at end
ticket animation SE
divide sttion rep by 10 on final score
layout on final score more space subheading
add billboard and newspaper to start loadout
Train doors close slowly
build min platforms does not display grant
total station cost to be calculated correclty
re-add ovc icon
Make staff match their portraits
staff skills and attributes to high
carriage for train should goin a card and be aligned
track ad earning
cannot sell entrance or track after staion opened
rush hour
small bridges
way doors
Entrances should be toggle way in or out?
object manus appear next to an opbject when you click on it now
HUD: Win and game over screen
GUI: New platform menu
call train button move to top of obj menu
green tick on to do list
rush hour
chair icon
build entrance contextual cursor error says cannot be built on other object
billboard contextual error say s cannot build on object
New object menus (train only?)
have black on screen before fade in to campain map strart with text scroll up and time
cannot sell entrances or track out of setup
insigate chair for staff rest
late icon
show shifted x/y
change rush hour sound
hazard icons should have hover states?
show inflow on entrance object menu
toggle way in or out in entrances
job marketplace – procgen staff, one time available. Buying a staff adds them to roster.
Use same token in jon and tech market
at station end – station valued at sale price and refunded – as collateral for next station. You have been given a loan against the equity of the prior stations value. (for next station)
station starting capacity money added on top of last reclaim
new goal – cash bonus for opening
profit stat at end of level
shop after 1st station complete
randomise station names on map screeen
low rep warning message
perception should not become zero however sick, hungry etc for staff
Recharging/refilling meter very slow and no in correct place – confusing?
for tools top priority is top of icon colunm
change what display toogle window full screen says to be clearer
make inventory names match build names array poptile as source
Entrance and track HUD should hide only when under top HUD
scale track cost on length
show goals at station start in middle of screen
prevent window size larger than screen on any axis
staff needs not reset between stations so need to use staff rooms much more!
zone gated tech shop
tech shop has tab to show what you already have
Staff maintain hunger etc. stats between stations?
lvl 2 bins not emptied
examine how much cash comms start with and ensure working. Consider showing an icon of wallet value if cannot afford an item?
entrance check list on card and smaller text
Signal box allows keys to order trains
Signal box/relay auto call trains
improve thermoimaging draw
commuters get ticket even if can’t afford
added functional tech tree
brought tech tree in game (not campaign screen)
earn bonds in game by shifting commuters
added generator fuel level
added tool box tool
added generators need to be refueled by staff holdiing tool kit in area
added barrel of fuel to be built, required for staff to refuel
added ability for staff to “carry” jerry can to refeul (visible overheard)
added staff manually carry bin bags from concourse bins to wheelie bins to complete refuse “un-supply chain”
added staff visible bin bags overhead when carrying bin bags
added air vents can be built infront of street access to reduce heat
balanced newtons law of cooling to effect heat of cells and objects in game with difference heat capacitance values for humans,machines and floor
added fans level 1 can cool 3 cells infront
added fans level 2 can cool 4 cells infront
added air conditioner can be built in rooms and cool larger radius
added drawing of air ducts outside when vents placed
ensured heat does not diffuse between levels
stairs have heat capacitance
added control room type
added signal relay, built in ctonrol room
added wiring of signal relay
signal relay calls trains with key press – ie expands interface
added signal automater for contrlo room, also wired, calls trains at set intervals
added arrival board has a chance to reduce anger when trains are late
added bins level 2 and 3 with larger capacity
added maps that lost commuters read and find where to go



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