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 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 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 780: Shop Until You Drop

The natural counterpart to the inventory screen is the shop. It’s one thing to be able to pick up, equip and drop loot, but that is only half of the ecosystem. The other half is offloading that loot so you can hoard your wealth and never spend it because the best items are actually always in the world buy better things.

This week, I have been building shops… and quests, so you’ll have some money to spend in them (without me having to litter the train station with gold ingots).

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Game Development

Blog 779: Updated My Journal

Much as I decry the trend in games of giving the player objective markers and leading them around by the nose, they can’t be expected to remember everything — especially in a complex RPG with many moving parts. Since I am intending to build a complex RPG with many moving parts, I need a place to store information about your current objectives.

Enter the Journal.

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