Game Development

Blog 703: Festive Progress Report

I said 34 features. I said 3 weeks. I said 1 game.

With one week now gone, am I on target for making something real? Let’s have a look…

Festive Progress Report

It was always going to be a lumpy ride. I knew full-well going in that some of the features on my list were stonkers and others were very quick wins. Eight days in, though, I appear to have completed 10 features. Awww yeah!

A. Level Generation

  1. Entrance tile: Scenario entry is now provided by a shiny lift! (I had to rewrite most of my old moving object code and it’s still awful, but it’s a start.)
  2. Exit room: The exit room is picked by recursively traversing the level, and it’s always the furthest room from from the start. This won’t work when I add levels generated by different algorithms, but for the current situation it’s perfect.
  3. Exit tile: Scenario exit is now provided by a shiny lift, which has an activation switch so you can choose to leave when you’re good and ready.
  4. Colour schemes: I made the exit room calculator return not just the terminal room but also the path to it, and am now applying a colour scheme to all rooms and corridors on that golden path.

The other four group A features remain untouched, so there’s still a way to go here. However, I anticipate decorations and alternative tilesets being quite difficult and not completely essential so I’m leaving these for the moment.

B. Level Navigation

  1. Occlusion: I’ve made some major progress on occlusion but it’s not a done deal yet. I got some pointers on vector arithmetic at the edindies meet-up last weekend which have pushed me closer to a solution that looks how I want, but it’s not over yet. One major point at least is that I should be able to pre-calculate half the angles in here when the tiles are placed rather than repeating them every frame, so I can do some efficiency improvements while I work out how to make the data do what I need.

I’ve not looked at doing a mini-map yet, but I’ve actually got some plans floating around my head that sound almost feasible. We’ll see.

C. Item Systems

  1. Shield damage reduction: this one was too easy. Subtract a percentage of incoming damage based on the shields attached to a unit, reducing to an absolute minimum of 1 damage.
  2. Equipment degradation: this one was also too easy. It needs some fine-tuning — swords seem to degrade a little bit too fast, as they absorb damage proportional to how much they dish out rather than degrading based solely on the number of blows dealt. Also the spin attack HUD icon breaks if a sword disintegrates in your hand, I still haven’t worked out why that’s happening.
  3. Equipment randomisation: done but not entirely full of data — it’s in the bag for a set of low-level swords but I haven’t touched shields yet. However, the underlying mechanisms are all in place so I’m going to call it quits.
  4. Critical hit/miss: this one was too easy. When an impact occurs, a random number is summoned to choose whether to give you a damage bonus or penalty or leave your weapon alone.

So group C is complete! Huzzah!

D. Ability Systems

I haven’t touched the fifth ability or debuffs yet. There’s a lot of pain lurking here so saving it for later.

E. Power-Ups

1. Item spawning: items are only dropped randomly into rooms, but they are definitely being spawned. There are currently four power-ups: repair kit, battery pack, ablative armour pack and…
3. Gold: … gold rings! Yay!

The remaining feature in group E is putting items inside destructible crates and shelves, which should be quite straightforward but hasn’t captured my heart just yet.

F. Neutral Passive

Not yet. I have a load of designs for a repair mech and the recharge station but haven’t touched them.

G. Enemies


H. Traps

Can we count that mis-printed tile that left a hole in the floor as a trap? No? Sigh.

I. User Interface

There should be some quick wins in here but I haven’t been there yet.


So, seven days down and 10 features busted, leaving 24 to go.

To be fair, some of those have necessarily expanded a bit beyond their initial scope. I mean, the armour and battery pack pick-ups didn’t exist until I made them to go into the item spawner. I didn’t write down the need for the exit tile to actually transition you to a new level either, but that’s almost complete. Nor did I cover some expansion of my mega-shader to include cut-out transparency and spheremap overlays for the metallic item variations for the item generator. Nor have I mentioned the hideous wrangling I’m currently embroiled in to make that item icon screenshotter not mess up for different aspect ratios. Ah well, it’s all good progress.

I also neglected to add combo-kill announcements as a feature, but since I’ve tuned the enemy spawner to put more than one enemy in some larger rooms it’s becoming conspicuous in its absence…

And you tell me...

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