Sunday, December 29, 2019

RPG: Intro and Externalized Items

I'm going to have several quests on my starting island, but I noticed in the play tests that I didn't adequately lead players to the next task. Players should be able to go anywhere, but there should always be a hint of where to go next.

I've now rearranged the island such that after leaving your house, you can immediately see a fellow farmer and the slimes invading his crops. Also, the road leads past the farm for further encouragement to go in that direction and talk to him.

The other thing I wanted to do is demonstrate the "whole world" aspect of the game as soon as possible to the player. So now when you create a new game it starts at the whole world and does the smooth zoom in to the player's home and to the player himself. (Exact zoom rates will be adjusted later, but I like this intro to the game.)

Player movement / map manipulation is disabled until the intro zoom to the player has completed.

I added a couple UI improvements such as holding down the left mouse button to continuously walk (instead of having to click click click). And I no longer allow melee attacking on nothing. I noticed where you could click near (but not on a target), and the player would appear to be attacking it but really be hitting the ground next to it.

Finally the big engine update was externalizing items. I can now add items without changing any code - just create a png image and update a CSV file with the item name and its properties.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

RPG: Smooth Zoom

Quick game update. I had someone play-test the game so I now have a laundry list of feedback to work on. Many suggestions were already on the to-do (the game is still in very early stages), but I received some great usability and "first impressions" suggestions to implement.

Other than some small issues fixed, the biggest update since my last post are:

I finalized on a zoom level / resolution for the tiles (I hope). Going with 150 x 150 pixels for each terrain tile. For the zoom level I think most players will use - that will draw the terrain tiles at their native resolution. You can zoom in and out from that, but then the image may have weird smoothing / anti-aliasing effects and look blurry. By having the tiles at the native resolution players should use, that will ensure the most crisp picture.

But concerning zooming... I've also added a smooth zoom / pan routine when you click the re-center button. Still a little tweaking to do, but it's pretty slick:

Thursday, October 24, 2019

RPG: Shops

Latest update is the ability to buy and sell from shops. I decided to not go with a dedicated buy/sell window similar to Diablo 2 / pretty much any recent RPG. Mine leverages the existing event system that was created for interacting with NPCs.

First off, let's go kill some rats to get their hides. (By the way, these are R.O.U.S.'s, so their hides are pretty big.)

And then visit the tanner! So far this store only offers to buy rat hides and sell rat leather armor. That will be expanded, but this won't be a general store. The tanner will only buy and sell stuff appropriate for that type of shop. I'm also not a fan of huge numbers of items and giant inventories; I don't envision the backpack getting bigger.

Clicking Sell Rat Hide increases your gold and takes the rat hide out of your backpack.

And clicking Buy Rat Leather Armor decreases your gold and drops a piece of armor ready to be picked up.

Small but significant step for the game!

Friday, September 27, 2019

RPG: Events & Dialog

The event system for the RPG has been significantly improved. Not only have the number of triggers and actions been increased, the code itself has been restructured such that it is much easier to expand the numbers of triggers and actions. You can also have multiple triggers for a set of actions to execute.

But the most significant change from the user's perspective is I can now offer dialog trees to users!

I have a priest in a church on the starting island that offers to heal you for free or teach you the healing spell for a small price.

If you have the gold and you ask for the healing spell...

The new tactic becomes available!

When you're in a conversation, time isn't frozen and you aren't locked in place. If you walk too far from the conversation then it automatically ends.

The new event system can even handle the player's death!

Not a good idea to stand idly by while a slime is killing you...


And after you wait for aid, you'll awaken at the nearest healer but with reduced stats.

Just a few more triggers & actions and shops will be supported via the event system!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Spitfire Update: Doors, Windows, and Brakes

Decades of age have had quite a toll on the interior and trim pieces of my Triumph Spitfire conversion.

The original side window rubber and interior panel...

They're long overdue for a change.

Before and after to see how bad they were...

Old interior panel off...

And while I have the door open, replaced the non-functioning exterior door handle...

Looking good!

In addition to the cosmetics, I also had to address the brakes. After each winter, I had problems with brakes seizing on me and it had only been getting worse. I was recommended to put in stainless steel brake lines to help prevent the flexible lines from absorbing moisture from the air.

Old lines...

New lines...

The same hard line connection that gave me problems many years ago gave me problems again. Many years ago I couldn't get the flexible to have a good seal on the hard line. I ended up having to take it into a shop to finish the brakes. This time disconnected the hard line piece and found threading damage halfway down the nut. Based on the damage, I can't imagine it was anything I could have done - must have happened long before I owned the car. The shop many years ago just must have managed to push hard enough while tightening to overcome the bad threads.

Thankfully a business nearby could quickly and cheaply create a replacement.

And now the car is running great!

Hopefully it won't have to look like this again anytime soon...

Saturday, July 27, 2019

RPG: Multiple Updates, Variable Visibility

Let's get caught up on all the improvements to the game the past few months...

1. Major performance improvement to only update on the main game loop characters near to the player rather than every character in the world. Before this performance change the game crawled when I had a forest of trees. Now it's a nonissue.

2. The app is still single threaded, but did more work to locks to allow it to be multithreaded.

3. More events, improvements to tutorial.

4. Fixes to characters entering doorways.

5. Implemented variable visibility of terrain tiles. This one ended up looking really really good!

Each tile type reduces visibility by different amounts. So you can see quite far over grass/sand/open ocean, but much less through buildings or other obstructions.

And in caves your line of sight gets completely cut off!

6. Consolidated lots of data management into a handful of CSV files. Much quicker and easier to add content.

7. Added tooltips for everything on the menu!

Here's what it looks like with my mouse over the health potion...

8. More (dev / temp art) textures including unarmed attack and bow & arrow usage.

Slow but steady progress!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Board Game: Slay the Oly Dragon Released!

Slay the Oly Dragon board game has been officially released and is now available for purchase at The Game Crafter!

The game board and a few cards...

And How To Play video...

Unfortunately the game isn't cheap. I wanted the premium physical package - hard box, large game board, full sized cards, and nice player tokens. Add in the inefficiency of on-demand printing and shipping and it just costs a lot. Each purchase has a few bucks for me as profit, but it literally is just a few bucks. I'm not making any money on this; it is purely for fun.

More importantly though the game has been a hit with families that have played it.

Even if I sell very few to random people on the internet, I will be buying many copies as gifts for friends and family. This was definitely a passion project of the exact game I wanted to play with my family.

I think if the game was in the $20-30 range, then it could be a hit. That'd be closer to a typical kid's gift price point and it would be a great gift idea. However being in the $40s shipped its price unfortunately shifts itself more to board game enthusiasts (and they may be more inclined to more advanced gameplay). We shall see...

For things I'd change...
The Game Crafter printing was really nice, but a lot of the subtle details in the terrain did get washed out. Next time I'd exaggerate the texture so it comes out better. There could be more trees on the board and of more varieties. I could also have more card variations for shortcuts and obstructions. But these are all minor artwork items, the game play is solid and that's what matters. Maybe I spruce things up for the 2nd edition! (Don't wait for that one, who knows when that would get touched!)

I already have a running idea for my next board game that is far more commercially viable... a single player card only game that will be a fraction of the cost. But it is a ways off... I'm back on the computer RPG game with improvements moving along.