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Preliminary gameplay video.

Posted by , 14 January 2012 · 633 views

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After a long break from working on the game and a longer break from posting about it, I have some preliminary gameplay footage to show.

(Please excuse the graphical glitches, I'm sure everyone here understands!)

Some of the additions since the last post:
  • I've successfully integrated the code from the original ncurses prototype for combat, which includes an aggro system for monsters.
  • The party and monsters use A* to find each other for melee combat, and for the party following behind the selected character.
  • Support for attack animations, including weapons that are interchangable (not tied to the individual entity sprites).
  • Basic sound effects (thanks to http://www.bfxr.net/) and music (thanks to http://incompetech.c...c/royalty-free/).
  • The strictly turn-based original approach does not work as well in a graphical system. The game was very tedious, so I am adopting a more action-oriented approach, while trying to preserve the tactical nature of the engine for more interesting combat mechanics and to make the game better suited to mobile devices. Right now, the monsters do not move unless the player moves. In 'speed' mode, all the other PCs will have moves dictated by AI. In tactical mode, once a characters action frames have elapsed, the player must manually choose an action. This will need a lot more refinement as I add more combat features. One planned feature is the ability to set a PC to "hold". In action (speed) mode, the rest of the party will still move and fight, but that PC will stay in one place. This enables some interesting emergent behavior: namely, to split the party. Now, for example, a stealth character could sneak through an open but guarded front door, while the rest of the party waits at the unguarded but locked back door.
  • Newer marmalade version seriously improves performance. I think they must have had a bug before. In SDK version 4 I was getting around 10fps on the device, now I get about 50 (and have chosen to cap it and allow animation/gameplay frames to be tied to graphics frames, simplifying things a bit). In additon to running on iOS, I have it running on a kindle fire (android). It runs great there, too. I plan on having large-display support for tablet devices that permanently displays the character stats, inventory, etc., and separates the log area from the world view area.
I'm seriously considering hiring someone to do the sprite work. It's incredibly tedious and time consuming, and I'm terrible at it. I have put in who knows how many hours drawing that 1 sprite. I'll need at least 3 more for PCs, a few generic NPCs I can recolor for variations, and probably about 20 total of monsters and unique NPCs. I'm just concerned that even for someone who can make them not terrible, it will still be tedious and time consuming, meaning $$$.

Doing hand-drawn isometric sprites is certainly difficult. I opted out for my project and went with 3D rendered sprites. It takes a bit more knowledge/experience to make 3d models and animating them versus drawing/animating 2d sprites (3d packages can be quite intricate compared to 2d drawing software). The bonus is that you get all directions for free when one animation is done.

However... I would prefer hand-drawn sprites any day if I could find the time and motivation. I think they just look nicer and has more charm.
Yeah, I certainly see the appeal of 3d with respect to animation, though the learning curve is steep I can imagine it becomes easy to start cranking out assets. This pixel art can get .. tedious. And I'm being pretty lazy with only a few frames of animation.