Game Development

Blog 820: Use the Tools Available

My bots in Exon have been annoying me for a while. They’ve been totally serviceable, they’ve just not been using the Energy Thrower — the ranged EMP stun gun that can be picked up in the Arena. They have been picking it up, just never using it. They’ve been charging with the Rocket Boosters. They’ve beem pinging away with the Shard Rifle and zapping with the Laser Rifle. But not the Energy Thrower. It’s a powerful piece of equipment! They should be using it!

Maybe one month before releasing the demo is a poor time to completely annihilate and rebuild your bots’ equipment/ability usage logic, but on the other hand, bots using their abilities against you is kinda the whole game. Also I put loads of effort into that electric stun effect, I want you to see it more often.

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Game Development

Blog 817: Growing Pains

I noticed recently that Exon now runs like shit on my big game-dev laptop.

This is a problem for two reasons: one, the game looks like it’s from the late 90s so I feel like it should be able to run on at least a 5-year-old laptop; and two, half the reason I even bought the laptop was so that I could use it to demo the game out in the wild. If it can’t demo the game, it’s basically useless. (Okay, that’s a bit harsh; it’s still useful as a dev machine so I can work in Levels for a bit each week. Please come visit me on Friday and Saturday afternoons!)

It is, thus, time to descend into the Profiler to find out what the hell is going on…

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Game Development

Blog 815: The Next Level

The Exon Academy is complete! The first level of the first campaign of Exon is fully playable, a self-contained lump of quests along with the tentpole minigame of The Arena. Bookended by the “Insert Disc 2” notice that appears if you actually try to leave the area, it could be shipped as a demo — give or take any traditional bugs that still linger.

But I’m not going to do that just yet, because with the first level complete, it’s now time to… make more levels.

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Game Development

Blog 813: Closing the Loop

I am currently finding myself in a weird position with Exon. The first level — the Exon Academy and surrounding environs — is almost done, and so I’m starting to really want to move on to different levels… but I also don’t want to start making more levels until I’ve really, truly finished something. Especially when that something is very conveniently packagable as, oh I don’t know, a first release maybe?

The eternal temptation.

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Game Development

Blog 809: Raiding the Datavault

I was starting to flesh out the third section of the tutorial when I realised I was missing a screen. (What do you mean, I keep getting distracted from the minimum shippable vertical slice level?) One of the primary ways you’ll be able to get into places you’re not supposed to be is by finding the codes to keypad locks, except… well, then you need somewhere to store those codes, so you don’t forget them. You need a Notepad.

Then I realised that there was another missing piece of the datavault: the area map. How can you find your way around without a map? (Quite easily, my levels are not going to be particularly large, but indulge me, please.)

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Game Development

Blog 808: The Trigger Editor (Part 2)

The saga of me wrangling Unity into my personal level editor continues. A few weeks ago I started using Polymorphic Serialisation for my trigger conditions and actions and — so far — this is actually holding up pretty well. There was one annoyance, however, in that adding an action using the list controls created an unsightly empty/null element that you… couldn’t actually do anything with.

Except now I’ve worked out how to do something with it, and it’s simplified a whole heap of other stuff!

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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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