Space Pirate

Bombini

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If you're already planning a sequel then one idea to consider would be the shareware model from the 90s: first installment is free, with the follow-up titles for sale.

I was thinking about it. The only worry i have that the time between this release and the next would be too long (the hype from the first game would not be present anymore). I am sure the second one will be much much faster (a rather streamlined version of this game with a new story) but yeah...i am not sure yet.
But its a very good idea i am considering.

Bombini

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Hi Space Pirates!

today i want to talk a bit about balancing.
There are two main currencies in the game.

One is some sort of credit which is used to buy better weapons and ship upgrades.



Two is XP which you get from killing difficult enemies, hacking or finding secrets.
XP feet into skill points. Let say you need 5XP to get one skill point for example. The XP are resetted after converting into skill points. Easy!



What i wanted:
I wanted a system which has an increased demand for XP. Meaning that the first skill point would cost 5XP, maybe the next one 7XP, the next one 9XP and so on. All this because levels get a bit bigger over time and because the tasks and enemies get more difficult (not much if you upgrade your gear actually) but mainly because the player should feel that rewards are increasing. All of a sudden i dont 1XP for a task but 2Xp, 5XP or maybe even 10XP. Wow! A nice feeling because i actually dont want the game to become very difficult.

How i did it:
I started experimenting with multiplying the cost for a skill point by 1.2 every time the player got one. I checked how much XP i could get in total from the game (your can outsmart the game and grind yourself to max (more XP then you need if you want at few spots but its not obvious) to get an overview:

Story01: 18 XP
Story02: 20 XP
Story03: 8 XP
Story04: 33 XP
Story05: 5 XP
...

I decided which tasks would give you which amount of XP to even it out a bit. I capped the cost for a skill point at 16XP. It can never be more which means that i have an increase XP cost for a skill point till 16Xp. It goes flat after this because otherwise the amount of actions which would give XP would become too much. I also didnt want to increase the amount of XP i give out according to an endless increase in cost.



I am also using a multiplier of 1.2 on the price of the main gun for upgrading.  Just doubling the cost would be unfair because the damage it does after the upgrade is also not doubling just adding 1. From 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 to 5.

So far i am happy with the system even though its very very basic.
One big learning though which i was actually aware before is that you need to think about your reward space in the concept phase of your game. i have credits, XP, various door cards, health, relics and this is just not enough. it is okay but i will use more scalable collections in the next game.
Cheers!

merrak

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  • Posts: 2512
So far i am happy with the system even though its very very basic.
One big learning though which i was actually aware before is that you need to think about your reward space in the concept phase of your game. i have credits, XP, various door cards, health, relics and this is just not enough. it is okay but i will use more scalable collections in the next game.
Cheers!

Interesting! One thing that really helped me was mapping out my whole game's EXP in a spreadsheet. I could adjust costs and rewards and immediately see the effect. After each stage in the game I've computed how much EXP the player is likely to have, what the total cost of available skills is, and the leftover EXP that will make it easier to get new skills early. It's held up pretty well in playtesting.


Bombini

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Interesting! One thing that really helped me was mapping out my whole game's EXP in a spreadsheet. I could adjust costs and rewards and immediately see the effect. After each stage in the game I've computed how much EXP the player is likely to have, what the total cost of available skills is, and the leftover EXP that will make it easier to get new skills early. It's held up pretty well in playtesting.

Yes that is a very good approach. It does not suit my game though because i also have levels in between (whort ones) which only support the narrative and dont have enemies for example (where you get very few XP if at all).

Bombini

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...oh boy....i am so excited. The game is fully playable including the two endings. I will share soon :) YES!

Bombini

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And here it is. The BETA ONE including all the hard work from the last months. And listen to me...this is the full game :) Fully playable. I cant believe it. You wont believe how relieved i am. Saving works properly and i added a new very powerful weapon. The grenade launcher :) The only thing which i am not happy with are both endings. They need some more work and art and i am on it right now.



-- Keyboard Controls: --
Move: W,A,S,D
Fire: Arrow keys
Select: Space
Esc/Save/Back: Esc

Keys can be customized or you can setup a gamepad (somehow tested)

So what are the next steps:
  • Play through multiple times and balance especially the credits drops.
  • Adding more details and random encounters to the starmap.
  • Adding missing and adjusting the side conversations of the main cast.
  • Advancing the two ending sequences with new images and longer sequences.
  • Proper testing of gamepad mode (i know that some commands in some parts are not supported yet).
  • Adding more secrets and hidden loot.
  • Adding more hidden/fogged areas to the levels.
  • Adding much more music. there are 4 tracks in this game and they are 5 years old ;)
  • Poilishing in general.
  • Poilishing the hidden relic feature.



You dont have to play the game in order if you dont want to (or tested before and what to see the rest of the game).

CHEAT Mode:
Press W,A,D,SPACE to active or deactivate the cheat mode.
This will give a you:
  • A lot of credits
  • 50 skillpoints to spend
  • Maximum Laser Weapon (5)
  • Maximum Health (20)
It also allows you to jump levels. Press 1 to go to mission 1, 2 to go to mission 2 and so on. Press F1 to got to mission 11, F2 to mission 12 and so on. There are 24 max. You will not understand the story if you do that but its a nice way to check the different levels.
There is also a DEBUG mode is you press S,A,D,SPACE but this might be cryptic to you ;)

Have fun. I go through my todo list above before i share it with more people.
Cheers!


The grenade launcher is quite powerful as you see.
It auto-reloads after three shots (for 2.4 seconds) to balance it out against the other weapons.


domagojbulat

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Congrats! I am so happy to hear your game is coming together nicely. And it does look amazing!

JeffreyDriver

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Well done, it's looking awesome.
Current Projects:
The Grand Grimoire Chronicles Episode 1 now on Kongregate!.
I always appreciate useful feedback. Thank you.
www.jeffreydriver.co.uk

Bombini

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Thanks!
Currently advancing the ending sequences...


« Last Edit: September 04, 2019, 01:50:24 am by Bombini »

Bombini

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Hi Space Pirates!

i am testing and testing and testing and the list gets shorter and shorter ;)
One thing i am realising is that i need to do some things physically even though i am working digital.
Printing out a status paper and crossing out a bug or adding a green checkmark with a real pen can make a huge difference as visual progression for example.

Have a great weekend!


« Last Edit: September 12, 2019, 09:49:24 am by Bombini »

merrak

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i am testing and testing and testing and the list gets shorter and shorter ;)

That's a good feeling :D

Bombini

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  • Posts: 1310
Well hello!

i finished polishing and testing the most annoying feature in the whole game. The so called side conversations which NPC have. This has cost me a couple of weeks if not months. I still think they add a lot to the game but they were too expensive.

Let me explain first how the game in general works:

Gameflow:
The story boxes in the chart above are the main story levels which drive the game forward. There is always a briefing before (on your own ship) and a debriefing after the mission (also on your own ship). There are dialogues with your crew or other NPS during a story mission. You are able to navigate the mother ship (ownship) yourself after the 5th story mission. 

Side conversations:
Now, the crew can consist of up to 4 NPCs and each of them have up tp 7 "side conversations". Those are about the NPC, the background and lore of the game. They give more context but are not necessary and alsdo not mandatory to progress in the game. These side conversations unlock with the follwoing rules:
  • per NPC
  • per game progressionl (for example NPC1: first conversation after mission01, second after misson03 and so on
  • can be consumed when unlocked or also later in a row up to the point which is unlocked in that level

This sounds actually doable but if you have tons of actors and stuff (speechbubbles, portraits, game logic) interacting which each other its a different story. Again, this was very painful but now its done and i am happy its in. It will be fatser next time anyways.

How does it look like?

Story briefing/debriefing available and mandatory:


Player has started the dialogue:


Not mandatory side conversations are shown after the mandatory dialogue:


Player hast started one of the availbale conversations and can have as as many as are avialable to that point:


Why did i want this feature?
I wantes a game world which does not feel empty. I wanted the player to care, create emotions and make the player wonder. I think this can be key to many games and i really believe in it.

Well, till next time!

« Last Edit: September 19, 2019, 01:53:18 am by Bombini »

Bombini

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...and both endings are now peroperly mebedded with dialoges, extra art and so on :)
I will release a new version (Beta2) next week and get input on it.
I cant believe this is getting to an end :)





Bombini

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Hi space adventurers!

one tiny thing i want to share. I created this "dashboard" on the left side which be triggered on and off pressing a combination of keys.
This really helps when testing:
  • It helps to understand bugs when displaying situation sensitive attributes
  • It helps for finetuningbalancing because i record time and ressoucres spent/acquired
  • It shows what happens behind the fassade of the UI
Cheers!