April 2012 blog archive

This page contains all the blog posts from april 2012. To read the most recent blog posts, click here.

29/04 - New cards for HD:X

The Quick Fight setup screen, which allows the player to setup a single duel against an AI opponent, is complete. This screen allows to choose between 6 game types (single, marathon, survival, etc), 20 deck mods (these are settings that influence a single player or that player's deck) and 10 environments (these are settings that influence both players equally).
This is just the interface, though - actual testing of all these possible settings still needs to be done. Before testing can start, the game needs a functional AI. This AI is worthless without decks for the computer opponent, so the random deck generator for the AI needs to be present as well. The random deck generator in turn requires me to add a large number of the planned cards to the game first, so these can be tested and balanced as well.

So, new cards first. 172 of these are currently planned, but more are yet to come as this first set doesn't include campaign-specific cards. Many of these cards have new abilities and quite some of these abilities are very different from anything in HD thus far.
These cards are being added without images for now and will be tested in the upcoming alpha. The list of cards is being updated whenever new cards are finished and tested. Follow the progress on the forums : http://nulll-void.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=706

22/04 - HD:X Game Settings

With the Deck Editor as good as complete, it is time to 'connect' it to the areas in the game where it is to be used, starting with the setup screen for single player games.
This setup screen is currently being created. It allows players to change various aspects of a single fight versus a computer opponent : the type of game to be played, the decks for both sides, up to 3 Deck Modifications per side and up to 3 Environments that affect both players.

HD:Spectrum had challenges, which were various gamemodes that either affected the AI or both players at once. These have now been split into 3 categories :

  • Gametypes. Next to the default single duel versus the AI, there are other gametypes, each of these basically add new ways to win or play a game. The closest thing in HD:Spectrum to a gametype was the Event, which let decks grew in strength the more a player wins against said decks. Something similar will return in HD:X.
  • Deck Modifications. These are boosts that are applied to the deck itself (or to the base of the player). Pretty much all the HD:Spectrum challenges that only affected the AI are available in HD:X as a Deck Mod, in addition to plenty new mods. A big difference with HD:Spectrum is that these can now also be applied to the deck of the player.
  • Environments. These are the HD:Spectrum challenges that affected both players. Think of this as the location where the fight is taking place and that location's influence on the battle.

The overall difficulty of a game starts with the deck of the AI. A new random deck generator will be at the core of all AI deck options and instead of choosing between 4 difficulty levels, now there are 7 strength levels. The strength level is tied to the deck, but also influences the base of that player (more base HP, more energy generation, etc). On top of that, most Environments and Deck Mods have their own strength settings.
The chance to win cards (and the quality of any won cards) will rely heavily on the difficulty of a game. Primarily the strength setting will determine the chance to win cards, but each Deck Mod adds it's own chance to win either random cards or specific cardtypes or cardraces. Thus adding more Deck Mods to the AI's deck when setting up a game will result in a higher chance to win cards.
Since you can also add Deck Mods to your own deck, these will of course lower the chances to win cards, as you are basically giving yourself an advantage over your opponent. But adding a few low-strength Deck Mods against a very strong AI setup can mean the difference between victory and defeat, and by extention it also means the difference between having a chance of winning cards and having no chance at all.

15/04 - HD:X Deck Editor

At the core the new deck editor doesn't function too different from the one in previous versions of HD. But i always tried to make sure an entire deck (max 60 cards) could fit on a single screen and this comes at the cost of visibility.
The vast majority of decks don't have 60 different cards and don't even have 60 cards in total, so in most cases a large part of the editor screen was empty. The new editor is optimized for average decks (15 to 18 different cards in normal mode or 27 to 30 different cards in compact mode). Scrollbars are present for larger decks and players can switch between normal and compact mode at any time.

The deck editor screen is divided in two panels, the top one containing the deck being edited and the bottom panel, the 'card stock panel', containing the cards the player has available for deck building. This bottom panel is already completely functional and the screenshot below shows the two versions of this panel. The top half of the screenshot shows the panel in normal mode, while the bottom half shows the compact mode. Additional options will be available to the player to customize the look of these views even further.


The Deck edit panel is nearing completion and will look similar to the card stock panel. Instead of filter options there will be a list of all the decks the player has.

08/04 - Xyth Memory release

Xyth Memory is now available on the NULLL games site, and from next weekend onwards it'll become available on various other flash gaming sites. Play it here.

Meanwhile, the basic testing of all the current card abilities in HD:X has been completed. One of the next things to be tackled is the deck editor. Not only with HD:X have plenty of additional cards on top of those in HD:Spectrum, but in single player (and possibly in unranked pvp), cards can exist in several upgrade levels. This means that the number of different cards to choose from for a deck, is several times bigger than before. Which makes creating an easy-to-use deck editor a bit of a challenge.

01/04 - XM = Xyth Memory

So i took a break from HD:X to work on a smaller and relatively simple game. XM is a memory card-flipping game. Something quick and fun to make. As the name suggest, card images are various Xyth spaceships.
Next to the default timed and untimed solo modes, i added two different duel modes vs the computer. Multiplayer is also available. The most interesting thing, from a coding pov, is the AI. I never had to create an AI before that has to 'forget' things over time, as that is the single element what makes someone good at this game (and a bit of luck). If the AI remembers every card that has been flipped, it will always be better than a human player (unless said player is extremely lucky). So, depending on the difficulty setting, the AI will remember what cards have been flipped for longer or shorter periods of time.

XM is planned to be released towards the end of the coming week. The game is as good as ready, so i'll be working on HD:X again once all the preparations for XM's release are finished.