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Haste, slow, and refactoring

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JTippetts

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As part of the AI and control refactor, I refactored the basic components that provide the turn-basedness for the unit controllers.

Previously, the turn system was controlled by 2 components: the Turn Scheduler, which runs scene-wide and provides a 'heartbeat' on a specified timer; and the command queue component per combatant, that listens for the heartbeat and synchronizes a unit's actions to that beat. This allows me to control the pace of the gameplay; by changing the interval of the heartbeat, the battle can be sped up or slowed down.

However, having the combat heartbeat controlled globally like this has some disadvantages. First is that unit actions only take place on heartbeats, so if the player selects a movement command, then the unit will not start to move until the start of the next heartbeat. This results in a noticeable hesitation, that gets worse as the battle speed is slowed down. Another disadvantage is that it might be useful to be able to speed up or slow down the update interval depending on certain factors, such as the presence of a haste or slow effect on the unit.

So, I refactored. The Turn Scheduler no longer provides the heartbeat. Rather, the heartbeat is encoded into the command queue executor component, which knows about any haste or slow effects on the unit. In addition to this refactor, I actually implemented haste and slow effects to test it all out.

Haste/Slow comes in 3 different flavors: modify movement speed, modify casting speed, and modify attack speed. Thus, you could have bonus to cast speed and penalties to attack speed, and the system correctly accounts for portioning out action points accordingly. Additionally, the movement/cast/attack speed modifiers are used to speed up or slow down the rate of animation for a particular action, as well as the duration of time it takes to complete the action. This change has the benefit that if a unit has a haste spell on to speed its movement, when it moves it will move across the map more quickly. While the animation speed and timings are visual-only, the haste/slow modifiers also affect the number of action points the unit is given.

For example, say you have a movement speed modifier of +25% and a cast speed modifier of +10%. If the action points are set to grant 10 points per unit in a given turn, then the unit will actually receive 12 movement points, 11 casting points, and 10 attack points. Using movement points will reduce the casting and attacking points proportionally. So in a given turn, the unit could take 12 steps, or cast 11 spells that take 1 turn to cast, or make 10 attacks that take 1 turn to cast, or some combination of miscellaneous attacks. (Actually, the unit receives 12.5 movement points, but the points are truncated.)

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The three numbers next to the character portrait indicate how many points the unit can use for movement(green), casting(blue) or attacking(red).

I have made (and am still in the process of refining) some other changes to how player units control. Initially, a movement command was executed by selecting the Move button or pressing the hotkey 'm', which would display the movement preview grid. Left-clicking on the grid would initiate a move to the clicked location and hide the preview grid. Similarly, executing actions such as using a workbench or looting a tree required that the action button be selected or the hotkey be pressed, then the target clicked. It's kind of clunky. Even the simplest of actions, such as clear-cutting a grove for wood resources, requires just way too many clicks and keypresses to execute. So I have begun to refine things a bit. Instead of having to manually select move, you just click to move. If your unit is in a waiting state, then the move will be calculated and executed. Similarly with using/looting/melee attacking. Just click on the thing to loot or use. Also, I have added functionality to bind a skill to the right mouse button, so that skill may be used without the 'select skill, select target, left click' loop. Instead, right-clicking will execute the bound skill automatically at the mouse cursor location. I am still in the process of refining everything, and a lot of the UI hasn't really been updated to reflect these changes, but already the gameplay is much tighter and less clunky, by far.


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Hey Josh,

 

You still using Banshee? If so is there a site with tutorials on how to use it?

 

Thanks!

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