Game Development

Blog 805: Polymorphic Serialisation

I wrote recently of how I intend to tackle scenario-level logic in Exon; not systems like equipment handling or projectile weapon firing, but random bits of hyper-specific “bloke talks to you when you enter his house” or “quest updates when you acquire item” type stuff. This system works but has a few quirks that I’m not entirely comfortable with, so I’ve taken my life in my hands and started to look at a Unity feature that is quite fresh but seems to alleviate those concerns…

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Game Development

Blog 803: Getting Stacked

I’ve had the first pass at Exon‘s inventory screen up and running for a while now, so it’s high time I refined it further. I was using a Slug Rifle the other day and realised that while I put this gun on sale, I didn’t actually put any ammunition for it on sale, and that led me to questions of how ammunition should be handled at all. Which in turn led me to item stacking.

Item stacking is a fun one because, on the face of it, it’s very easy: you just assign a number of “charges” to a particular item, count them up as you find copies of the same item, and count them down with each use.

Oh, my sweet summer child.

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Game Development

Blog 802: Buffs

For those that didn’t grow up modding Warcraft III: a “buff” is some lasting effect that is applied to a unit, such as it being stunned or on fire. Needless to say, Exon has lasting effects too. It’s not all impact-and-forget; mechs need to get stunned and corroded and all sorts of other things I haven’t thought of yet.

How hard can it be? You just stick the thing in a list and count down the timer until you turn it off… right?

Ahahahaha.

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Game Development

Blog 790: Triggers

So I have a level editor for Exon. It’s still a bit sketchy around the edges, but it does the job: I can place decorations and modify terrain and live happily ever after.

But in a singleplayer RPG, decorations and terrain are only half the battle. These things have no life but the life I build into them, and that means I need a level scripting system.

Can you see where this is going? Oh yes.

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Game Development

Blog 789: Exon World Editor

The wonderful world of Unity editor tools is one of the most complex and irritating worlds I’ve ever had the pleasure to explore. Alas, it is one that I have to explore because I want to make it very easy to build levels for Exon. I want it to be as easy as farting out Warcraft III maps was, back in the day. Once I’ve built the engine and all the relevant bits, I want to shut Visual Studio down and never write another line of code for the rest of my life.

To get even close to that ideal, I have to go through a whole WORLD of pain — and the realisation that maybe, just maybe, one bloke in his bedroom can’t hold a candle to one of the greatest engineering marvels of the videogame world. Whatever happens here, nobody will be building the next DotA inside Exon.

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Game Development

Blog 788: This Is The Rhythm Of the Knife

I’ve made no secret of the fact that Exon‘s core loop is based on Westwood’s classic and criminally-underrated action-RPG Nox. This manifests itself most clearly in the movement system: hold the right mouse button to cause your hero to walk towards the cursor, leading them around the world like a little mouse following the cheese.

Similarly, I took the melee attack system, where each click causes a single sword slash, damaging whatever has the poor fortune of standing in your blade’s path.

Except then I realised that, actually, I didn’t. Nox has a more complex and interesting “stamina” system controlling its attacks than my naive cooldown attempt, and it contributes immensely to all the feelings I had been struggling to recapture.

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Game Development

Blog 787: The RTS I’ll Never Make

I might spend most of my time gushing over story-driven role-playing games and shooters, but I’m still partial to a real-time strategy every so often. I like building up a base and training all the little people and sending them off to conquer in my name.

The thing I don’t like about RTSes is that they’re all designed to be played against other people in fair and balanced short-form matches, whereas I like sinking into stories and experiencing them at my own pace. I want an RTS without that multiplayer pressure, one that has the time and space to ride all the way into the sunset.

I’m too busy building Exon to even consider a different project, let alone one of such magnitude, but it’s fun to think about these things now and again. So let’s talk about the RTS that I’ll never make…

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