About this blog: we would like to invite everyone to comment on what we post. So don't hold back and tell us what you think! Making games is a process where you constantly learn new things and where you have to adjust to them, evolving the game in something new. All things that we show here are very Work In Progress and should be regarded as such.
Welcome back for a new developer update! This time we are working really hard on refining the combat systems and everything that's involved. And of course that's something we'll talk about in this update.
For this period of time we are focusing on reworking the combat systems, controls, skill selection, adding more enemies, add a boss, adding breakable props, adding traps, reworking the AI of the enemies. That's quite a lot!
I had some days off last week for, uh, "research"... OK, Fallout 4. But this week I'm back and went back to work! Honest!
Part of last week and the beginning of this one I've been mostly bugfixing some new trouble. Since refactoring several aspects, some very old (and some relatively new) non-issues became issues as the code became more efficient and straight-forward. Performance bottlenecks showed their face finally and were promptly removed. Many hacky or dirty code broke down, as expected, and were handled. Our debug boys have done a good job at finding some very obscure issues, too.
Improving enemy behaviors
Implied previously, I've taken up the task to improve the enemy intelligence and overall quality of the enemy behaviors. Their intelligence remains to be seen but I've been working on making their behavior much more flexible. Enemies will now alert their friends if they spot you and share target data with each other. They will chill out and sit down if there's no action (or wander around as they've always done). In progress is also their ability to heal themselves or protect their allies, something which wasn't possible before as hostile enemies meant they do nothing but chase you with no regard for their friends. A sense of teamwork might surprise you.
Behavior update might be ready next week but I'm anticipating some heavy work still to go, especially because I haven't finalized their individual behaviors yet and how intelligent they will be. It will probably be something stretching out beyond our current Combat centric development cycle so no rushing it this time.
As I said, until next week I'll be simply laying down the groundwork for this new system and over the following days to weeks I'll add better systems to it in a much faster pace. That said, next week I will have a working new behavior for, at least, one or two basic enemies to test.
Controls, again and again
As always, I've been working on the controls. I completely overhauled the way skill casting works. Before, when you simply clicked once the skill wouldn't completely charge and would go in it's cancel state resulting in not casting the skill. I reworked that into that a single click always charges to full and then immediately attacks. When you hold the mouse button you can keep it charged until you release the mouse button and will then attack.
Before, to cast a skill that you had not selected, you had to first switch it to either your left or right mouse button and then you could finally cast it. I reworked it so that you can now cast a skill by simply pressing the 1, 2, 3 keys. It doesn't really sound groundbreaking, it has been done in a lot of other games, yet it is a real change in behavior for how skill selection works.
As it was one of the big feedback points we got in the alpha, I think a lot of players will be pleased to see that it is evolving in something better.
I also did some work on the save data, because it got corrupted for some users during the alpha. I now save the version number alongside the actual data to check if the data is current or not. If not, it has to rewrite all the saved data.
A long time ago Martin made a roll skill, something we implemented a few times but had to scrap because it didn't work the way we wanted to. Now it's back!
And of course a little bug fixing here and there.
I will make an editor tool for Viktor to make breakable props and traps. Fun!
It's a trap!
This week I made a start making one of the traps/hazzards which Jom has designed. It differs a bit from the concept art, the treadmill is now a lose object which supplies power to multiple saw-contraptions. As you can see bandits are very resourceful when it comes to generating and storing power ;)
Also one of the more time consuming tasks was playing the game over and over again to test the changes made in the refactor week. The debugboys crew can proudly say that a lot of Bugs have been found and exterminated.
Making some more props to complement levels.
The game has a few key scenes which includes the warm safety of a campfire scene after a day of adventuring! But how does this scene feel and look like, well that's when I step in and start designing it. First off lets make some thumbnails!
Now that we have thumbnails I can bring the team together and discuss with them wich direction we are going for. Choosing elements of each thumb and combining them is the next step.
As you can see I opted for a scenic experience so that Viktor can have his own creative input while creating the campfire scene.
The Capi-blade trap!
Next up i started thinking and creating traps for the game, because what is an adventure game without traps?! This time I did the whole process of designing and concepting alone and created this Capi-Sawblade wich felt right. But the team did not really appreciate it and want to be more involved in the process of creating.
More trap designs coming your way!
The last few weeks I’ve been working on some new designs for the Bandit enemies for our Forest theme. The two medium-sized enemies we currently have, were very similar to the player’s looks, this is why we chose for a redesign.
The current design:
For the redesign I focused on the gear, making the values around the head contrasting. So they have a dark on light headgear and collar. For the hunter I had some ideas about some camouflage leave shoulder pads or a headgear in shape of a bird, because we might give the hunter a bird it can command. For the trapper, which is currently just a bandit with a sword, I was thinking in a more tribal design. Wearing only furs and having a club as weapon. A bludgeoning weapon as a club, is a better weapon to use in combination with a net, for hunting game for instance.
The Boss design is the leader of the bandits. We decided he’s big and muscular, wielding a huge throwing axe. From a collection of boss-thumbnails we picked assets we liked and I combined them into the version we now have. I named him General Drub, Tyrant of the Woods. He resides in his throneroom, deep in the forest.
Players will be able to get unique loot drops from each boss. Currently we are planning that a boss will have 4 different loot drops. The drops are based on a Kill, Skill, Drill, Thrill objective. Kill-Loot will drop the first time the player kills the boss. Skill-Loot will be dropped by killing the boss on a certain difficulty. Drill-Loot will require the player to kill the boss a numerous amount of times. Thrill-Loot will require the party to perform certain actions during a boss fight, similar to an achievement.
The drops will be varied equipment of the boss, like a helmet, shoulder pads etc. Each item will be view able in the player’s hideout. Bringing an item to an adventure will give the player opportunities to certain skills or cosmetic effects, like a glowing blade.
Back to making the Interface a better design.
Thanks for taking the time to read this development update. Remember that you can sign up for the alpha if you want to play the game in this early stage of development. If you like the game, please tell your friends!