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Member Since 21 Aug 2004
Offline Last Active Dec 26 2015 04:22 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Linux c++ debugging

14 September 2015 - 08:16 PM

I've never been a fan of DDD because I don't like it's user interface, even though it's a very powerful tool. Haven't used it in a few years though, so who knows. I use KDB myself, which I find a lot easier and more intuitive to use.

In Topic: Why are artists less likely to work on free/hobby projects than others?

10 September 2015 - 07:45 PM


If you want artists to work on your games, how about bringing them in as equal partners from day 1?



I've realized this from day 1 with my own project. No one wants to work on someone else's dream game. If you're asking them to work for free, the least you could do is ensure them a seat at the table for determining the game's general design (not just art design). Here's the exact words I put in my most recent help wanted ad seeking artists:



This project has six active team members at the moment. We want to continue building a team of dedicated, passionate individuals who share the vision of what Allacrost is to become and want to be a part of making it happen. Becoming a member of this team means more than simply getting told what to create. We strongly encourage people to participate in design discussions and offer their own ideas to improve the game and the project itself. Although the core design of Allacrost is pretty well-defined at this point, there's still a lot of unanswered design questions and features we have not yet implemented. There's still plenty of room for you to influence this title should you be interested in doing so. While we are seeking core team members, we're also happy to welcome contributors who prefer to help out here and there with adding a new feature or creating new art or music, but aren't as invested in this project.


And this is further reinforced on our new contributors page, which is the very first thing someone that is new or interested in joining the project would see. I think it's a good set of policies that our team has, and have helped this free project survived where others have failed. Despite all this, it doesn't seem to be enough to interest artists any more than your average "come make art for my awesome game" type post.




Earlier in this thread someone mentioned that because art can be instantly evaluated without needing it in a game, artists aren't that interested in contributing to a free project because they can build their "portfolio" without needing any game project at all. This is true and a very good point. But then shouldn't the same hold true for composers? I can listen to a piece of music and feel how talented the composer is. They don't need to contribute to game projects, yet I get so many interested that I have to turn some away (we really can't have more than 2-3 composers realistically).

In Topic: HP displays on enemies or visual indicators?

03 September 2015 - 03:56 PM

That's a solid suggestion. We did something similar to that in the past (the numbers sat in the middle of the bar and were drawn over the top half of it). We recently changed to this scheme because we added a new feature to our battle system which included some additional information to the bars (the darker section you see in the above screenshot), and this information was obscured by having the numbers drawn over the bars. So in this case doing that wouldn't work well for us, but should work well for most other games.

In Topic: HP displays on enemies or visual indicators?

03 September 2015 - 03:22 PM

why not both?


Health bars give a good quick indication of how much health is left while damage as a visual cue just adds to immersion, they work great together as a pair imho...


I strongly prefer both myself. Showing your current health point amount and not just a bar is crucial. Usually you see enemies dealing a certain range of damage to your characters, and you use that information to gauge about how many more hits they could take before the character is knocked out. But you also want an idea of how much health you are missing because you want to know if your health restoration abilities are going to recover enough. Some games just use raw current / max numbers, like "HP: 1362 / 2058". I don't like this because it's more difficult to read and figure out (okay, I have roughly 60% health right now). Plus if you have all your character's HP amounts next to each other in a little menu, it's even more difficult to read.


We recently wrapped up some work to improve the health information interface in our battle system (for a JRPG). This is the result of a lot of back and forth.



In Topic: Alternatives to Hit Points.

03 September 2015 - 03:14 PM

Our team is working on a JRPG and we recently came up with a new mechanic (at least, one I've never seen/heard of before) for dealing with health and mana. Our goals at the start of the design discussion were the following:


  • Remove the tediousness of requiring players to go to the party menu and heal/restore health and mana after battle
  • Allow characters to use their full set of skills in any given battle (ie: don't follow the case where a player just uses basic attacks for normal enemies until they get to a boss, and then go all out with their most powerful abilities).
  • Require the player to have a strategy so they are penalized if they frequently use their most powerful attacks or take too much damage (ie, make dungeons have a sense of danger)
  • Determine a way for mana to restore naturally so that the player feels more comfortable and using high-cost skills regularly in battle


The system my team came up with is something we call battle fatigue. Here's how it works:

  • All characters are restored to full health and mana at the beginning of every battle (so no need to heal outside of battle)
  • If a character takes damage, they accumulate health fatigue. This fatigue reduces the max health until the player can visit an inn
  • When a character uses a skill, they accumulate mana fatigue. This fatigue reduces their max mana in the same manner.
  • Characters have two attributes that determine fatigue accumulation: stamina for health fatigue, and resilience for mana fatigue.
  • Formula: health fatigue accumulated = damage received - stamina. So a stamina value of 20 would cause no fatigue accumulation unless the damage dealt to the character is > 20.
  • Formula: mana fatigue accumulated = mana consumed - resilience. So skills that have low mana requirements do not produce any fatigue
  • Mana regenerates a small amount every turn. Health does not regenerate (must use items/abilities to restore health).


I think it's a pretty awesome mechanic. What this means is that when a player is in a dungeon, if they are constantly using their most powerful abilities to end a battle quickly, toward the end of the dungeon they'll find that their max mana is very low and they will struggle a little more against tougher enemies and bosses. At the same time, if the player is too conservative with their skill usage and takes too much damage from drawn-out battles, their health fatigue climbs greatly and they have a lower max health when they face tougher enemies deeper into a dungeon. The player needs to carefully manage both types of fatigue to be successful.



I'm really excited for this personally. Of course like all ideas, even if it sounds good in theory the implementation is what matters more than anything. I feel confident that we'll be able to balance it out nicely though. I implemented the feature last month and we are currently play testing with it. We have a release coming out sometime this month which will be the first time we show it off to the public.