Terminal Rain: A game where you search for meaning in an cyberpunk sprawl, with only the neon light to guide you…

Did you notice the title changed? I used to call this game ASCII Rain, but all instances of that have been scrubbed in favor of Terminal Rain. Thanks to Thaumaturge on TIGForums for helping come up with that, I think it’s really cool.

In this devlog, I’m going to go over the visual changes in the game’s lighting and interiors, as well as the some of the gameplay interactions I’ve added in lately.

Terminal Rain bar exterior

There always seems to be a random NPC standing too close to the cars in these gif captures.

The main addition to the lighting is a bloom effect. Even with this effect, every tile still only has two colors, but now the secondary color is not always black. Lights also now flicker at varying rates, and while I’d like different types of light (neon, fire, streetlamp, interior) to all have their own flickering profiles, I’ve kept it simple for now. Lastly, I rewrote reflections to have a downwards bleed effect, and work better with lampposts (although that still needs some work).

The bloom effect really benefits the interiors. They now have dark floors, which looked a bit too empty as pure black. I think the ambient lighting really spices them up.

Terminal Rain bar interior

It’s a bit chaotic looking, but I kinda like that!

If you check out my last blog post you can see that the interiors have undergone a lot of work. It’s almost too much to describe, but a lot of the work has gone into improving the structure and tooling of buildings to make them hopefully easier to make part of future procedural generation. Visually, I tried to make them as cool as the outdoor scenes, which were getting a lot more attention. As a side note, I’ve made a lot of progress into making the world infinitely large, and more details on that will probably come in the next devlog.

So, with all the progress on graphics and tooling, what kind of gameplay additions have I got around to?

Terminal Rain bar interior

“Let me tell you a story…”

If I was a smart developer, I’d probably be putting a lot of time into the gameplay loop, but I haven’t been that inspired to work on it recently. I think the main reason is that at this point I need to add all the classic gameplay systems like keys, locks, moving enemies, puzzles, resource systems, all of which can feel so… abstract.

Instead I’ve been much more interested in interactions based on the real world, like sipping whisky and asking people what mood they’re in. This is the kind of thing I can’t get enough of in open world games. When I played Ultima IV for the first time a few years ago, I was taken aback by how you could ask every NPC their name, job, and health. So few games let me feel so conversational! I’d like mine to be one of them.

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