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      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
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I've decided that I need to implement an aggro system. The turn-based scheduler works by giving each unit in turn a chance to move, and the camera follows the active unit, zooming around the map. While other units are moving, the player is idle. This means that if the map is heavily populated with units, it can be a long time before the player gets to move again. Seriously. Consider that the pacing is currently set at 1/2 second (tweakable). Given 10 movement points per round, that means a unit will spend 5 seconds moving. Granted, spellcasts and other actions can consume more movement points, but the animation staging for a spellcast consumes 3 turns worth of time, so if a spellcast is <3 movement points cost, then you're actually spending more real time for a given movement point. Only for actions that take more than 3 movement points to perform do you start to win back real time. Since many spells are small scale and small cost, I estimate an average of, say, 7 seconds per unit. Multiply by 40 units (where I currently have my test spawn set at) and you're look at 280 seconds for all of those enemy units to finish. That's almost 5 minutes of waiting for a single 10-point combat round. Ugh.

So my answer is an AggravationState component. Enemy units default to a sleep state, and sleeping units are not given a turn for the current round. When a round is staged, units are queried to see if they are willing and ready to act. For AI mobs, this query now involves asking the AggravationState component if anything has happened to make it want to act. Currently, this component does a radius sweep of the map to see if any enemy units are within sufficient proximity to trigger wakefulness. Additionally, as units move they broadcast an event on each hex they move, which all units listen for and which will trigger proximity wakefulness on any unit in range. (This second part is to account for movements that might bring the unit in range of an enemy for only a portion of the path; by rights, even that small amount of exposure should trigger proximity.) Currently, no line of sight is performed, although that is on my plate for this evening, time permitting. If a currently awake unit in an "awake" state (as opposed to "alert", "angry" or "enraged") finds nothing in its proximity sweep then it is safely put back to sleep. (Eventually, I'd like to provide an override for this, for units that shouldn't sleep.)

The aggro component is still in its infancy. It doesn't provide any LoS, no audio-based alarms, it currently doesn't implement damage tracking acts that might trigger an angry or enraged state, etc... and it's extremely easy to game, at least until I implement a proper turn initiative system for the units. But even still, it has greatly decreased the waiting time spent on heavily populated levels, and has brought back some of the intimate, tightly-connected feel that GC once had when it was still a single-pov action RPG.

Because screenshots are fun:


That is a first whack at an apprentice cauldron for brewing potions. Potions will mostly be used for stat boosts (permanent or temporary) although some crafting resources will come from a cauldron as well.

I'm in the process of sketching out a full, if small-scale, scenario as a true gameplay test. It should be fun.

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