development

Waldir’s life cycle and the oncoming months!

Since it’s important to get information across & hype/promotion can be a bit reality warping, a blog-post both about the demo I’m hoping to release by the end of this month and the future of development.

Image

The infamous phases of development (and where we’re at):

(you should take these with a grain of salt as they’re likely not an industry standard)

Pre-alpha (current phase)

Pre-alpha is the phase I’m at in development. It obviously precedes Alpha and means that most features are missing as well as missing levels & monsters. I’m constantly re-iterating mechanics/code and sprites. The demo coming soon(tm) will be in this phase, so there won’t be much to play around with, more on this later on the post.

-Alpha

This is the phase I want to get to after the demo. It’s where most of the major features are added in rapid phases. I’m considering an Alpha test phase, but whether it’s Open or Closed is still up in the air. In this phase the game gets more structured. I would also like to stream it if it’s possible with my PC rig. Est. Before Summer

-Beta

In beta, most if not all of the major features should be done and then be tweaked during the beta. There might be (depending on the player feedback) some major changes but hopefully to not longen the development time this is not the case. This is the major bug/glitch fix phase to get ready for release. There will most likely be a pre-order bonus or something to get in to Beta (or just ask nicely and I’ll probably just give you access). Estimating when it hits beta is futile, but hoping to get there by summer.

bloggif1

 

The demo, what to expect and what to give me feedback off of!

I’m branching out of the dev build soon and cutting off some incomplete features & obviously buggy mechanics. But as an estimate, the list of what it will include is:

-Combat, I’m currently re-iterating some of the major combat features to be finished before the demo comes.

-The first dungeon. In the form of sub-dungeons, I’m hoping to have Waldir’s Castle/Basement fully playable. It includes 1_1 – 1_2 – 1_3, every sub dungeon is anywhere from 7-18 rooms.

-Minibosses are probably available

-I’m still on the fence if I’m gonna include the first boss as it might be a spoiler (if I’m even worried about that) and a complete buggy/unplayable mess.

-Sub-items & weapons. Throwing axe, knives, shield & the mechanics included in those will be explained in the coming weeks. Also hopefully I’ll get done with one or two magic spells for feedback.

-Leveling is in-complete but I’ll still include it in the demo.

That said, there’s a couple of important things about the demo. I really don’t want people to hype and play play it. Meaning if you want to see the full release in all of it’s glory & are not interested in heavy play-testing to get it better, you should probably steer away from this messy demo. (The full run of the current build takes only anywhere between 3-13 minutes, so if you want you are allowed to make a youtube video of it, but please emphasize that it’s only a free buggy demo 🙂 )

bloggif2

It’s intended purely to give me important player feedback so I’m not developing the game blindfolded.

Some things that are completely incomplete/buggy include:

Enemy AI, sometimes does very stupid things and generally is not very intelligent at all. I will be improving and tweaking it up until the very release.

Leveling, there’s no benefit other than slightly increase your health-pool from leveling. I’ll try to squeeze an ability or two (mostly passives) before the end of the month to see how they fit in.

Currency/Shopping/Treasure, getting hearts is really really easy in the current version, and will likely remain so in the demo. Just because I want to test the stuff you can do with them as much as possible. Treasure is also something problematic because there’s no rhyme or reason to it, it’s completely random for better or worse. Might be tweaked before the demo.

Pacing, the pacing of the gameplay is pretty terrible, there is a better way to accomplish this than to just roll a random number and see if enemies spawn in the room at all, but I’ll be tweaking it a lot later.

Even though this post was returning some hype to the ground, probably even killing it for some people, I hope you will participate in the test & give me a lot of valuable feedback, I don’t want to go gamedev blind while doing it and selling a sloppy game to people. Help me make the best game in my power!

bloggif3

Back to work! (sorry two of the gifs weren’t high fps)

Advertisements

A week’s progress

So this week has been what I’d gladly call a busy week. Lots of different & somewhat exciting updates made to the game. It’s slowly starting to represent a game in some form.

 

Let’s get right on it.

At the beginning of the week, I began to smoothen the combat and sword usage. I made a little change to the way input is handled and so far I’ve liked the results, even if it’s still not quite at where I want it to be. 

Image

 

To explain it further, I added in a timer that counts down from the moment you last attacked. If it takes you too long to execute an attack, the combo is reset. Now that I have a few more attacks beside the 2 old ones, it felt really weird keeping the combo infinitely. This just makes sure you are hacking and slashing in a timed fashion and surely is not a groundbreaking innovation. But an important addition none-the-less. I also added a little flavor alternate Idle animations to actually tell the player when the combo is reseted.

 

Mid-week monster madness

Midway through the week, I started planning the first set of monsters to actually reasonably fight back. This required me to rework the old “chase and die” crappy AI that I had. I replaced it with a more sophisticated behavior system that makes actual decisions when&when not to engage the target and how they move around the map and perform actions. It proved to be a good start, but will need a lot of tweaks. (This was my first time programming a more complicated system that allows for different types of AI, so that the ranged, chargers and other melee monsters behave differently)

Image

 

Besides programming, I have been drawing a lot of monsters too. As of writing this thing I have prepared 2 monsters with the needed animations to make them fully functionable, you can question the quality of these animations right now, but I will be adding and reworking existing frames in the future. 

Here’s a little glimpse of the work file (just a small portion of it)

Image

 

There’s a few of the monsters that aren’t yet complete but I will be drawing the remaining frames later this weekend.

Image

 

The Knight Brothers, the axe thrower on the right is in-game and functioning. Hoping to have the throwing axe & the shield from the red cloaked knight as sub-items for Waldir’s use in the future.

 

Image

A very early try on the first (and probably only) NPC. The shopkeeper, no animation frames have yet been drawn for this guy as I’m not sure of the direction I want to go with.

 

Now for the end of the week, mainly yesterday and today. I’ve been tweaking little things in the AI, making it function properly. I also coded some new systems to allow the throwing of projectiles. As a little gameplay test I added in the function to deflect the projectiles back with your sword. It proved to be really fun, still have to tweak it a little bit though. It seems to make the ranged enemy rather easy to deal with.

Image

 

It’s probably hard to see from the gif, but I added a new ability for Waldir today. If you successfully combo you perform a small charge with your sword. I really like it but as of right now, it reminds too much like the dash visually. It’s really hard to tell the two apart from each other.

 

Now that it’s friday, I’ll take a short break and continue development on Sunday. What I will work on come sunday? Probably doing the rest of the particle engine, I would really like to have a lot more blood on the screen, for some reason. I will also slowly work on new monsters and the remaining ones too. 

What I would like to achieve next week though, is to add in the Item system. Picking up active sub-items from monsters, getting the currency (hearts) from monsters/chests/barrels and of course getting passive buff items from chests and shops.

This was just this week’s progress, so I really am seeing a lot of bright light in the future of the project! Thing’s have been going so smoothly I have legitimately been surprised. I hope to have the first level of Inferno fully playable for player feedback by the end of the month, so let’s keep our fingers crossed!

 

I have received enormous amounts of lovely feedback from all over the community, and for that I thank each and every one of you! Much love, Jani 

 

 

Be the Idea-Guy! Combat

I really need to work on the combat of the game a lot.. Including actually adventuring a dungeon, combat is the single most important aspect of Waldir. I need to make it so it actually feels good to hit stuff and more importantly, to sometimes get hit. Getting hit and dying should be in a sense, satisfying. Well you shouldn’t be happy about it, but it shouldn’t drive you away from the game either. A good sign of bad design (thihi) is if losing a battle doesn’t make you want to beat it more. If you have no idea why you died or what you could’ve done better, is a sign of bad design.

So, what would I like to get done ? Well, let’s start off with what is in the game at the moment.

Right now, Waldir has two moves he can perform. Attacking and “dash/dodge”. Both currently feel great even without sound effects. They also look pretty compelling, right?

Well. Aside from sound effects, I really need to add a few more attack animations in to the ordinary attack. Doing a 2-attack combo constantly will get tiring.

As far as Combos go, I’d really like to end up with a two type system. Where 1 button performs this current ‘light’ attack and the secondary button performs a heavier attack that requires energy. Energy could be refilled by attacking with the lighter attack once in a while. Comboing these off of each other could create more interesting gameplay, still a lot of programming/drawing to do but we’ll see.

There’s also a problem I haven’t addressed yet, attacking requires the current attack to be over. It’s hard to explain, but if you’re mashing the attack button really really fast, he sometimes stops because you pressed the key on the last frame of the last attack, so you need to press it again. This wastes everyones time and is annoying.

To fix this, I need to program in an Action buffer, basically if I smash the action button while an attack is finishing up, it will queue another action and perform it when you are free to do so. It should smoothen out the attacking by a ton if tinkered to the right time intervals.

Old gif but it’ll do (love the old enemy-sprite’s death animation)

As you can see the enemy AI is a bit short on the intelligence. It starts attacking immediately when it’s in range and is also completely stunned when you attack him back. So basically they are chasing target dummies. That’s not fun at all. It does feel great for the first few times you kill enemies but get’s old really quickly because there’s no strategy involved. I shouldalso add in a little screenshake to shake things up a bit.

So, the AI needs a lot of work. I also would like to program in a system where the light attacks from both parties can ‘parry’ eachother. So you have to vary up your attacks a bit. And make some heavier attacks impossible to parry, so you have to dodge too.

Praise the sun!

There’s also a problem with my new monster, it’s that his death animation has no great feedback. It whimpers off and dies slowly. It needs to be instant from the last sword slash. Blood spurting everywhere and lightning strikes coming through the ceiling. Yeah, that would be great.

He also has that shitty looking hammer on him and I would like to turn it in to a sub-weapon for Waldir. So when you kill off one of these dudes, they drop the hammer down and you can pick it up. I’m not entirely sure on the details of sub-weapons and how you’ll end up utilizing them in the meta-game, but it’s something I’m constantly trying to come up ideas with. Maybe it has a super slow attack but hits the ground so hard it stuns enemies for a short while? Dunno.

This is all fun and games, it’s easy being the idea guy, but when you’re the one who has to program all this stuff too it can be a bit daunting. Well, I’ll be back to tell the tale (hopefully)! See you next time