Thursday, July 24, 2008

National Buy-Nothing Day


Gasp, combat strategy seekrets

A tender moment

The complete capitalist cycle: from spending money on items...

To having items, feeling the burn of wealth and power...

To using those items to murder poor innocent creatures so we can buy more items.

Why are all these screen shots so monotonous? Partially because maped3 doesn't work on this new computer, it turns out, creating problems when it comes to tile editing/map making. Shucks!

Until some kind of resolution can be found for this problem, I'm just working on coding. The big changes:

- Battles basically work. Found one bug with the ally-targeting system for items, have yet to solve it. But you can get your ass kicked, kick asses, and use items to help you kick asses for longer without any major issues. There's a cheesy "hit" animation now too, and the battles play vangelis.mod from Sully which I hope will change soon. I haven't tweaked any stats yet or really put most of the planned enemies into the game (the super-distorted enemy art in the screen shots is, um, obviously not final), so the battles at present are punishingly hard. It's really, really easy to die within two fights.

- Items basically work, and I've coded effects for two of the three non-weapon items at present. (Most critically you can heal.) Big things that need to be done: the ability to use items on other party members besides the members who hold the items, the ability to transfer items to other party members, and the ability to drop items. I'm not at all confident in the item system's ability to handle weird cases (getting items when you already have too many, etc.), but until I find bugs I'm probably not going to stress about it.

- Equipping items works much much better. There's a huge difference now between some of the different equipment options available and it's actually fun to mess around with combinations, get into fights, etc.

- I recoded the menus. There's now a generic "box" system that displays messages and allows you to select from among different menu options. Makes my life much, much easier and takes a lot of the tedious slog work out of coding complicated menu systems, which leads to:

- Rudimentary shops. You can now buy items for Chocolate. No one else gets to buy anything until I make the shops less rudimentary. It only took maybe an hour or two to make the shops work, though, thanks to the new generic menu system, so it shouldn't be too long before the shops all work.

- I also fucked up the map spells system by trying to use trig functions to make the mouse pointer stay within a circular field of influence. It still works, but the cursor jogs around a little when you reach certain uncomfortable points ("angle" calculations at multiples of 90, I suspect.) Needs lots of polishing since the map spells are going to be a huge issue in the puzzle-centric part of the game I need to make next.

Basically: it's really, really getting there. Even with only one dummy battle hard-coded, I can still actually have fun with the game: fighting enemies, healing, running back to the store to buy better equipment, equipping it, fighting more enemies. It's starting to feel like an actual *game* with like rules and objectives and such, rather than just a couple of town maps and story sequences.

Unfortunately I'm sort of stuck at this point until I can get a working version of maped. I guess I'll focus on squashing a few leftover bugs--notably one with the equipment system that makes it impossible to equip items at certain positions in the inventory array--and finishing up some loose ends with the items/battle systems. (Notably the ability to, um, do those cool combat strategies mentioned in that first screen shot.) If I can get a working version of maped by next week I'll be able to start building the next map, plus finishing some loose ends with this one coding-wise by putting together the final story sequence--the text is already in the appropriate files and edited, but I need to be able to fiddle with entities and stuff to actually put the scene together.

I should really be making some sprites also.

In other news, I finished the first-and-change draft of my novel. It's now time to enter the hellish process of typing, editing, and polishing that preparatory to finding an agent and selling the bastard.

Murry Wilson: let's fight for success, okay?

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