March 2013 blog archive

This page contains all the blog posts from march 2013. To read the most recent blog posts, click here.

31/03 - Finishing TS2 mechanics

All the building blocks for levels in Technospire II have been completed and have been put through functionality tests. Technospire II itself is right now nothing more than a single level with all the mechanics required to play through that one level, but technically any level i can make with the level editor should work. This doesn't mean that TS2 is close to completion : plenty of levels have to be made, and i should look into some form of random level generation. The game also needs additional screens : menu, level choice, stats, game over, etc and i'm also looking into additional gameplay modes.

Before i continue work on TS2, i'll prepare RH for release, which should be made available somewhere in the next two weeks. The plan is then to work on content for TS2, until it's ready for release, but i've really been wanting to make a follow-up to Ultranought and i have an idea for a new card game i can't wait to get started on, so nothing is set in stone when it comes to what game gets finished first. It should be clear i don't bother much with 'planning'.

24/03 - More TS2 entities

I'm currently working on a more complex set of entities for the rooms of the Technospire. The original idea was to create a simple form of programming language that could be used in the editor to create these entities, but for this to work well, i'd also need at least a spell checker and an interpreter that can turn the code into actual actions or responses to player actions. This idea might still be implemented in case i end up using the level editor for a larger RPG, but for Technospire, it's overkill. Instead, i've looked at what kind of entities are most likely to be used in TS2 and created presets for all of them - this simplifies adding them to a map being created in the editor and it drastically lowers the chance of creating bugs.

This current set of entities are all triggers, they respond to specific player actions and then they do something. These triggers can currently respond to the player entering a slot (if the trigger-entity in that slot doesn't block movement), or to the player touching the entity (i.e. the player attempts to move into this slot, but is blocked by the trigger-entity), and there's one that responds if the player enters a nearby slot.
The things they can do, once triggered, can vary. Firstly, all the effects from floortraps are possibilities (deal damage to player, drain energy, teleport, etc), but they can also spawn an npc or item, or even a piece of wall, or they could remove another entity (such as a barrier blocking an entrance to a room).
Once such an entity has been triggered and it has finished doing its thing, the trigger can be removed, which is handy if you want to create something that's only supposed to be triggered once.

When these triggers are completed, the next (and, for now, final) type of entity are those with continuous or repeating effects, such as an entity that spawns an NPC every couple turns.

17/03 - Turrets & more traps

Next to the floortraps from last week, the various rooms of the Technospire can now also contain turrets and walltraps.

Turrets are simply mounted on walls and have a certain range and a rate of fire. If the player moves through this range and is visible to the turret, it will fire at the player's ship. Turrets can deal regular damage, but can also drain energy or disable the player's ship for a turn.

Walltraps are also mounted on walls, but instead of having a range, they have a certain direction in which they'll fire a beam. This beam continues until it hits another wall, so technically a walltrap can have a very long range. Should the player move through the beam of the trap, the trap's effect will trigger. Similar to the turret, this can be regular damage, energy drain or disable.

Next up, i'll be looking at more complex interactions with various entities, including walltraps and turrets. A simple interaction is allowing the player to attack these to get rid of them. Other entities can react differently - for instance, they could trigger a certain effect when the player tries to move into the slot where these entities are. These effects can range from spawning items or NPCs to teleporting the player or opening doors.

10/03 - Abilities & traps

Both the player's character and the NPCs have received a set of abilities, which means all the planned player-NPC interaction elements have been completed.
The player has access to 3 ability trees, each with two passive and two active abilities. Throughout the game, statpoints can be collected which can be invested in each of the abilities to make them stronger. Each tree also affects the basic stats of the player's ship. Since the game won't have any equipment, these basic stats will determine the overall strength of this ship. The only 'items' the game will have are single-use boosts that can be found in the various rooms or can be dropped by destroyed NPCs, these range from repair kits to ability cooldown resets.

Next to NPCs, there are also a number of other entities in the game that will try to keep the player from completing levels. One of these entities are floortraps, which have now also been added to the game. Floortraps generally have a timer and a trigger which determines how often they are active. If the player were to move into a location that contains a floortrap that's active, the player will be subject to the trap's effects. These effects range from damage and energy drain to disabling and even teleporting.

Here are two early screenshots. The first one shows the player (the red-grey ship) facing a Technomancer ship. A repair kit lies nearby. The second screenshot shows the 7 floortrap types currently in the game, on this image they're all in their active state at the same time. The player can only observe the active state of a trap if that trap is in the player's field of view. In the first screenshot, the trap locations are therefore visible, but it's unknown if they're active or not at that point. The player will have to observe these traps to see when they'll be active and avoid moving over them when they are.

Screenshot 1 :
Screenshot 2 :

03/03 - Turnbased TS 2

Technospire II is a turnbased game. Similar to many roguelikes, every movement or action from the player's character will cause all enemies on the screen to move closer to the player, attack the player or perform another action or use an ability.
Technospire takes place indoors, inside the 'Technospire', a towering space structure with countless floors. Each of those floors is a single level, and most of them will have multiple rooms. The walls of the rooms determine what is visible to the player and only NPCs in this visible area will respond to player actions.
So if the player character moves into a previously unexplored room, part of this room (or all of it, depending on its shape) will become visible to the player. At the same time, any NPCs in this visible area can now see the player character and will either move closer to it or attack it right away.
This visible area can be used as a tactical element - in the example above, the player could opt to move back out of the room, so its contents is no longer visible and as such, the NPCs in it can no longer see the player. But NPCs will have a memory and will remember when and where they last saw the player character. The higher the difficulty setting the player selected, the longer these NPCs will remember this information and act on it. So, even if they can't see the player anymore, NPCs will still attempt to move to the last location where they saw the player, and it's quite possible that while they're doing so they end up in a spot from where the can see the player, which refreshes their memory in case they should lose sight of the player again.

Player-NPC interaction is still very basic at the moment, limited to the player being able to attack the NPCs with the default attack and the NPCs response to that attack. From here onwards, i'll add in the NPC's memory and then i'll start on abilities for both the player character and the various NPCs that will inhabit the Technospire.