Game Development

Blog 827: Variables

RPGs need to have memories. Characters need to remember that they’ve been spoken to. Quests need to remember that their objectives have been ticked off. Incidental asides need to remember that they’ve already occurred. Enemies need to remember that they’ve been killed.

A lot of these cases are handled automatically by the appropriate subsystem. For example, Exon has a whole, discrete quest system that handles objectives, their completion states and how they show up in the Datavault.

But sometimes that’s not quite right. Sometimes, you just need a dangling Boolean flag that can be checked now and again.

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Game Development

Blog 822: Exon: Fragment OUT NOW

For how many years have I been saying “this year I’ll release something”? Too many to count, I’ll wager. But this year — for real this time — this year I’m actually doing it. Have I wasted all those years trying to build something in which nobody has the slightest interest, or have I hit upon a formula that will spark joy in its players?

Only one way to find out: download Exon: Fragment from itch.io now.

Do I want your feedback? … Uh… honestly? Only if it’s nice. I’ve put… rather a lot into this. (But if you’re already following me, you probably know that by now.)

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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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