A new game

So I’ve invented a new game for myself, to fill time while waiting for my AI developers to finish placing monsters every time I want to test the latest developments with the new combat system.

I call this game “The ground is hot lava.  If I touch it, I die.”  Most usually, I play this game in one of the procedurally generated graveyards, and challenge myself to jump from burial mound to burial mound to cross from one corner of the graveyard to the other without touching the ground.  Mental note:  make myself a testbed where the monsters are already placed, instead of building one manually every time I start up.  Another mental note:  someday it should be possible to set up terrain types to actually do this;  subtract health or etc when a character touches it.

Stuff I’m noticing with further testing of the combat system:

  • Need to set a maximum range for combat abilities.  Currently, the “must get into range before you can fight” restriction is in the AI code, not in the combat abilities themselves.  Which means that I can be standing kilometres away from a monster, and snipe him in complete safety.  Which is cool, but not particularly riveting gameplay (especially for a game that doesn’t require any FPS reflexes)
  • Need to make the player stop targeting a monster once it dies.  Currently, you keep the selection even after the monster dies and is waiting to respawn.  This means that you can kill the monster again, before it even respawns and decides to resume attacking.
  • Probably need to switch combat abilities to using floats for costs/damages, instead of using integers.  Seems dry and sterile to have things do integer amounts of damage.  Try changing the health bars to smoothly animate going up/down, instead of instantly popping to the new value — see if that makes it feel better.  (Maybe check a few real MMOs, to see what they do, RE: health and damage values.  I feel like integers ought to be enough;  maybe ’10’ is just too few health points, or maybe I just need a better display)

Anyhow, all that’s in addition to the obvious “to do” list of:

  • Need to write AI to make PCs and Monsters fight each other again, using the new system.
  • Need to wire up XP-granting again, now that the new combat system has redefined what it takes to kill something.  (Need to figure out where this goes;  should people gain XP for killing absolutely anything, including other PCs and NPCs?  Or should only monsters give out XP?  Might do monsters-only for the initial implementation, and make it configurable sometime later on.)
  • Need to update the action bar to show, in addition to the current “active” and “ready” states, also “disabled” and “charging” states.  (Most games show “disabled” by dimming the button, and “charging” by a slow transition from the dimmed state to the usual “ready” state.  I’ll probably need to do something like that, too).

Have fixed a number of little bugs, the nastiest of which was the discovery that my procedurally generated attack abilities were actually behaving as monster-healing abilities.  You don’t want to know how long it took me to figure out why my attacks weren’t damaging the monsters.  :)

Oh, and verified that I could use my attacks to kill PCs.  They weren’t happy about that at all;  they registered complaints about how difficult I was to kill.  :)