Devlog #3 – June 29, 2019

Economy, Time Engine, Save State

Please note that images and features in this dev log a subject to change and may not be in the final draft.

Good day and welcome to the third instalment of our Commuter: The Game development log. Thanks again to everyone who has been following along on Twitter, Instagram and Discord.

Business Updates

Before I get started into whats new and exciting in the development of the game I just wanted to take the time to welcome a new addition to the team.

Jordan Tessier is a Toronto based artist and personal friend of mine. Jordan is an absolutely amazing artist and also has an equal passion for video games. Jordan has agreed to join the development team and will be assisting with the design portion of the game. Please join me in excitement for him joining our team. Below is some of the artwork that Jordan has created. It is absolutely stunning.

Game Economy

This wouldn’t be a simulation game without some sort of economy with it right? This past week we have been focusing our development on the economy engine of the game. With the style of gameplay we are going with we had to come up with a unique way to do this.

Frequency and Current Funds

The easy solution you would like would to have a script running and holding all the economy functions but that is proving to be more of a challenge to this game. What we had to do is a hybrid engine that both runs per level and overtop the whole game with them both talking to each other. There were several reason for this decision but the main reason was performance we don’t want a sluggish game.

The game has to not only count money collected by each sprite when they pass a “fare gate” but it also has to calculate the idle parts of the game such as profit per minute to ensure the game can run in the backround. I will admit that I am not 100% happy with the way the game is running this part of the game. But for building and development purposes it’s working. We can fine tune it later.

The only thing that we need to study is if we want to do a truly idle based game. That being the game runs in real time and when it’s night out for you, it’s night out for the game. The other option is to run the game in its own time based system. This will completely eliminate the need for an idle based system.

I/We are currently exploring both types and will make a decision soon about what type of economy I/We are going to pick. To be transparent I am leaning to the non idle based system as it allows the game to run smoother and provides the user with more depth in the game.

Time Engine

Time on bottom bar

It wouldn’t be a transit game if there wasn’t a time engine running. This was a simple to make engine but it will provide yet another important backbone to the structure of the game. I’ll even admit now that we have this part coded into the game it’s starting to look more like a game someone can play vs just a set animation that runs and runs.

The time engine is simply just figuring out when the trains should run at what user controlled frequency. How long until the next train. What time of day it is? Just to name a few key components of the engine. Yet another foundation piece placed for the game.

Save State

This honestly was not a part of the game I was looking forward to making. If you don’t already know. Save states are… complicated. I started to code my own system and quite frankly it just wasn’t working for what we needed for the game.

Thanks to the Unity asset store it made my life WAY easier. Now I just need to call one line of code to save and one line to run and thats is. Now, every-time the game restarts the users info is remembered! Woohoo!

Thanks for reading this weekly devlog for Commuter: The Game. Please follow us on Twitter and Instagram for more behind the scene looks. Also, take a visit down to our discord and join the conversation! I hope to be making some video ones soon. Stay tuned.

And finally, to all my fellow Canadians. Happy Canada Day!


Devlog #2 – June 21, 2019

Pathfinding & Animations

Disclaimer: The images, artwork and sprites in this devlog are not the final draft and are designed for testing purposes. It will look different, maybe.

Greetings friends! Welcome to our second Development Blog for our first title Commuter: The Game.

Before we dive right into the content. I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone on their warm welcome to the game. Our post on the r/tycoon subreddit and the comments we have received on our Instagram and Twitter pages has been so heartwarming! It really is motivating to see such a good response from a game that is just in its early stages. This also will keep me motivated! So thanks everyone!

Okay, enough of the sappy stuff.


As I promised on Reddit. I thought I would dive into a little bit more of the gameplay and how it works. Keep in mind, what I say below might change during the development process

Commuter is intended to be a top-down style 2D game. This is where the comparison to Airport CEO and Prison Architect come into play. Those style games are something I have always enjoyed and in fact their stories of their development is what inspired me to do this.

When the game starts out the user will be met with a menu in the style of a transit map you would see on any subway system. The user will be responsible for managing this “map.” Each station is a tap-able object that will enter you into the station where further management will come into play.

Rough draft of the station selector and main menu

Once a certain threshold has been reached. The user will have the ability to unlock the next station in the line. The game will increase in difficulty and as you progress down the line more and more challenges will come up.

On top of all this there will be an event system. Think of like a sports event or parade. These will increase ridership and the player will be responsible to managing the line in an efficient way.

Line management will have three main measurements

  1. Rider Satisfaction/Safety
  2. Train Frequency
  3. Profit

The user will be responsible for managing the ticket prices, setting the frequency of trains (more frequent means more breakdowns and maintenance cost), and ensuring the riders are comfortable and safe.

There will be more to come as it develops but I hope that gives you an idea of what the gameplay will consist of.

Pathfinding and Animations

Sprites entering and exiting train

This week we have been really focusing on ensuring the NPC sprites in the game know where to go and don’t get stuck. If anyone who has a tiny bit of coding knowledge you would know that Pathfinding can be incredibly complicated to code.

The other tricky issue here is that a lot of pathfinding tools are meant for a mouse click or tap style path. (I.E Tap the screen and the player goes there. Or something like that).

This game has multiple targets that the NPC sprite has to find from start to finish. Not only that the sprite has to wait for doors and clearance to board. So, yeah, this took WAY more time then I wanted. After about 1000 lines of code (and counting) between 4 scrips the pathfinding base is complete.

Two trains on the platform

Now that the base is complete, pathfinding will just consist of calling some code and the engine will do the rest. Tedious but important step for this game.

Next step is to work on level development and get some of the gameplay engine going.

As always, please follow us on Twitter or Instagram for more photos and videos. You can also check out our Discord where I hang out while making the game. We also have a subreddit if that’s more your thing.


Devlog #1 – June 11, 2019

Announcing Commuter: The Game

Vertigo Labs is proud to announce its first title. Commuter is a mobile transit themed management game. We are still in the earliest stage of development. Commuter will be initially launched on iOS and Android and will later be ported over to Steam and Standalone platforms.

At this time we do not have a set release date as we are still in the process of developing the core aspects of the game. Once we get an idea of how the game is coming along, we will feel more comfortable providing a release date. We don’t want to let you down and push back dates that we cannot keep.

Game Play

If you have played Mini Metro and Airport CEO then this will be the game for you. It is intended to be a top down 2D style with relaxing sound. The management will be real time and also idle. This wont be an idle game where you can quickly exceed 1 Trillion dollars. Realism is key along with the management in this game.

The main world will be fictional allowing the user to customize how they want their transit system to work. Additional DLC is in the action plan to include REAL cities but that’s a long term plan.


Vertigo Labs has a strict value where games shouldn’t consist of pay-to-win style game play or be filled with obnoxious ads or having to watch an ad to get a boost in the game. While we are sure that’s good for the bottom line. We just wouldn’t feel right to do it and we wont.

Just like the release date we are not set on a price for the game yet. This will be depended on a bunch of factors but we promise it will be a fair price for the game play you receive. Once we get further into development we will poll the community for pricing options and what will work best for everyone, including us and our values.


We plan to release pretty regular Devlogs here. But, we have created a discord where we will have ongoing discussion about the game and you can get a behind the scene sneak peak at the game.

You can join it here. We also have setup a subreddit here.