gamedev

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.

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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.

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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 🙂 )

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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!

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

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