Week of July 17, 2011
I threw out the procedurally generated map creation thing I had spent a week making. For starts, I was lagging on the overworld map for some reason, which pissed me off. But more importantly, it just… wasn’t very interesting. It was ugly (tiles only, no items, final destination) and there wasn’t a lot of ways to make it cool. So now I’m designing the maps, and will have to make them. The first one is just half of one of five lands in the game, and it’s already pretty damn complex. And the main quest, which I wanted done, is sort of a ‘grand tour’ where you visit all the lands at least once. So I’m mulling over three ways to do this, because I like to underestimate the time I have left.
1) Release a demo of the first act on January 25th, with only the first area, but make it as big and expansive as possible.
2) Only do the areas I need, gimping the exploration aspect.
3) Release the full game, as planned, but with placeholder graphics.
I actually like the 3rd one. I want the full game done, and graphics come last for me on the list of priorities. But, honestly, I probably will be able to whip them up near the end. I work fast. I just prefer to manage time as if I have half as much as I actually do. And ‘quality over quantity’ is one thing, but ‘having a full product’ is another. I like to tell a complete story, period.
Anyway, here’s a bullet point parade. Focused more on the RPG side of the game and less on pure action. But there’s still very little story implemented. Script’s still on the go after all.
Stats are now named for the five elements in the game. Fire, Water, Earth, Wind, and Lightning. I know it’s traditionally supposed to be 4, Lightning isn’t one, blah blah blah, I don’t care. I wanted them to be kind of vague, so that they don’t imply anything about the character you’re playing, which I felt would result in incongruency. For example, if you want a ninja character that does lots of raw damage with melee attacks, but imagine them doing it with agility and skill, you don’t want the stat responsible for melee damage to be called ‘strength’. That would imply muscle, and therefore max strength would imply some kind of hulking badass. Now it’s ‘Wind’, which makes more sense for a ninja-y character. I was just of Oblivion, where I might imagine my character as a handsome, charming mofo, even though the Personality stat might be like 30, because I never upgraded that stat, because that stat is fucking pointless and doesn’t do anything. Same with Fallout: New Vegas where I talked my way through every encounter in the game with a Speech skill of 100 and a Charisma stat of 3. Out of 10. So, yeah.
I know five stats isn’t much for an RPG, but it narrows them down and lets me make sure they’re all balanced and equally useful. When I see 8 stats in an RPG, it just makes me think ‘okay, which of these are the useless stats’. Once again, Oblivion – Personality, Luck, and Speed are all a waste of time to upgrade, whereas Endurance is absolutely necessary.
It explains what each stat is, of course, and the elements are associated with a ton of other things so that it makes sense which is which – it’s far from arbitrary. The tribe associated with wind, for instance, are described as spirited and ‘strong of heart’, and tie the element of wind to the idea of strength and energy. It’ll make sense, trust me.
Pause Menu. Inventory, Stats, and Skills (not implemented) can be accessed from it.
Enemies can now ‘miss’, simply going through you without doing damage. Same with bullets.
Enemies now attack on a timer, not random chance.
Leveling overhaul. You get a certain number of points per level to put into stats. 100 is the max. Stats get more expensive with each point put into it, for now – I’m still working on it. For now, point is having the programming there.
Charm and Willpower now affect player speed and acceleration
Damage reduction. Subtracts from all damage taken.
Damage resistance. Subtracts a percentage from all damage taken. Two different things with different stats. If you want to play a tank that takes almost no damage, you can… though, I can’t imagine that kind of build would be able to doll out much damage.
Optimizing enemies – certain distance checks with the player only needed to be done once, as opposed to 10 times. 40 – 50 enemies can now be on-screen at a time before the framerate gets bogged down. There’s like, 30 enemies in a single dungeon floor, max.
Enemies explode if they hit the ground hard while already heavily damaged, same as being thrown into a wall.
Ranged attackers are now a minority – at least half of enemies will end up being melee.
Fucking save system broken. Not my fault – Game Maker had an update and now it will only save so many variables to an .ini before it… I don’t know, gets bored? It does write to the .ini, it just stops after a certain number of them. Not even an error message. So, I’ll think of a way to redo it, because I’m not waiting on the Game Maker guys to stop being retarded.
Enemies show level only if moused over.
Critical hits! Do 2.5x damage, plus the player’s ‘Fire’ stat (0.04x), doing up to 6.5x damage. Might make it dependant on Water, though. The chance also goes up with the player’s Fire stat. Fire is basically agility, speed and luck rolled into one. Thief/rogue types will want.
Health no longer regenerates on its own – only when killing enemies.
Shields! They don’t take much hits, and they’ll go down quick if you’re swarmed, but they regenerate, unlike health. The intelligence stat determines shield strength, and the willpower stat determines its regeneration rate. This lends itself to the ‘modern’ style of gameplay – retreat and hide to regenerate health, and pop out when safe. This doesn’t really match the playstyle of a pure warrior character… and so, shields will be pretty weak for a ‘tank’, who will instead rely on health, which only regenerates when you kill things. They’ll probably take a skill to make the shield explode and damage enemies, too. This keeps the tank from falling into the mindset of retreating. Mage and thief builds, on the other hand, will probably be fairly happy keeping their distance, avoiding damage, and keeping their shield strong. I find the regenerating health thing works for tactical shooters, where damage can be avoided, but not games where you’re in the fray almost constantly, DUKE NUKEM. Basically it encourages hiding and retreating. Fits a mage; not a warrior.
Charge meter for attacks is now an actual meter. Before it was a number over your head that showed the percentage of charge. Now it’s a bar.
Multipliers! This goes up with each attack, and after a while, will go down on its own. It increases the player’s base attack and speed. This encourages the ‘go nuts’ attitude of combat, for some builds. Strength and Willpower makes it go up (up to twice as fast), while Endurance and Intelligence slow it from going down (by at least half). Jesus, how long was this planned but not implemented? I think it was planned as part of the combat since that first blog post I did on it…
…I think that’s everything I had planned from the start, actually. With the exception of magic.
Fire stat makes the ‘Spin Attack’ more reliable. If an enemy hits you, it has a chance of knocking you off balance, stunning you, but ‘fire’ will make this less likely, and even impossible when maxed.
Items now fade away if not picked up. Ordinarily I hate that kind of impermanence in games, but they were getting kind of annoying.
You now right click to jump. Holding RMB still locks onto a target.
Save system fixed. Kind of. Now takes several seconds, as opposed to none at all. Yes, really. I had to put pointless delays of 5 milliseconds for every variable that needed to be saved, even though saving all of them should take less than a second. Game Maker devs! Fix this shit! God!
Now lose special attack charge while taking damage… unless ‘fire’ is high, in which case it only decreases a bit.