Merrak's Isometric Adventures -- Dimetric Dilemna

merrak

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Little Improvements. I've been very busy this past month and so I haven't had time to add much. I did get a bit of free time to make a few of the improvements I wanted to make.

Navigation arrows are now working!


I was surprised just how much easier these made travelling the maps, without taking away from exploration. I need to make a few adjustments, but otherwise they work very well. Arrows flash if they point to an unexplored room, and are solid color if they point to a room the player has already been in before. There is also a different blinking pattern if the arrows point to an exit to another map.

I added code to remove arrows from secret rooms, but now I have to go back and flag all of the secret rooms as such. I also need to not show exits that are completely in the dark. The game is a mostly third person limited point-of-view: the player shouldn't see anything that Marika couldn't see. There are some exceptions, of course. Marika must have a really good memory to be able to perfectly recall which rooms she has been in. I didn't want to go so far to integrate the navigation arrows with the intelligence character stat, so we'll just assume she has a photogenic memory.

The bigger thing I've been working on is saving. This has proven to be a significant endeavor. I have writing to file working. I just need to finish loading. Once I get that all working, I can remove Marika's immortality. This will make it a lot easier to gauge how difficult the game is.


I made the save points ankh statues--a little nod to the original "Temple of Idosra" which used ankh statues for healing. The original game used diskette statues for saving, but that's a little too out of character.

The first ankh statue is near the starting point of the game, but is behind a locked door so that it taunts the player :o I wanted to pique their curiosity early--what is that shimmering thing? You need the bronze key to open the door, which is buried deep in the map. I might change it to a new key that is easier to get, though. I don't want the player to have to wait too long to use a save, since otherwise they'll have to start over if they die.



merrak

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Super cool!

The arrows do a good job taunting the player with hidden exits  :D There's no obvious way up to that ledge.

Saving is mostly working. I can save and load a game without the whole program crashing. The thing that is complicating saving is writing and reading the world state to file. This is the reason I'm not using the default save/load blocks that Stencyl provides. I use hardly any game attributes. One thing you don't have to worry about when using game attributes is making sure to save every one. A lot of my bugs come down to accidentally omitting a variable that needs to be saved. The upside to not using game attributes, though, is that I can easily support multiple files.* Save game files are .xml files. This makes it incredibly easy to cheat. I could find a way to make it harder to do that, but I don't want to tell the player how to enjoy the game.

I've also been adding more things to stick in the maps. Below I've turned one of the halls into a library.


Since bookshelves are objects, I can work up a mechanic where they can be pushed. This will let me hide a secret door, switch, or whatever behind a bookshelf. Of course, I could also put books in them.

* not that this can't be done with game attributes

Bombini

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Save game files are .xml files. This makes it incredibly easy to cheat. I could find a way to make it harder to do that, but I don't want to tell the player how to enjoy the game.

I agree. Your a proposing the intended version of the game. If players want to edit, let them do it. They should not complain about balancing thought afterwards ;)

merrak

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Game Over! Marika is no longer immortal  :o


Fun Fact: The abacus counts the number of deaths in binary. I don't know what to do if the death count goes over 1,023.

I agree. Your a proposing the intended version of the game. If players want to edit, let them do it. They should not complain about balancing thought afterwards ;)

A fun thing to do is go into the save file and change Marika's strength to an absurdly high number. The distance that a character is thrown back when it is hit is a function of the attacker's strength. If you set it high enough the enemies will fly backward through multiple rooms, over pits, up stairs. My favorite is stairs, since they will ramp the enemy into the air.

« Last Edit: March 10, 2019, 09:48:15 pm by merrak »

merrak

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Decorations! I've been working on a lot of updates toward Alpha Build 3. Most of these aren't visible, but I did take the time to make some new objects. Some are functional, but most are decoration. Even so, they add a lot of life to the maps... tables, barrels, statues, etc. So far I've only decorated parts of the hub area. Here's a little preview--

Updated entry hall. I still don't have a front door installed yet, but visitors to the tower are greeted by some banners and potted trees.


Here's a boiler room, complete with barrels. I haven't revealed much of the backstory yet (since I'm still working on it). Towers of Vallas takes place in the far future--around the year 7700. Our civilization is long gone and in terms of technology, the new one has caught up to where we were in the late nineteenth century. Boilers provide the main source of power, and I'm working on a mechanic where you can mess with them to enable or disable certain features of the maps (such as powered gates, lights, traps)


A simple dining room. I haven't put food in yet, but I don't think I'll go with the usual "food heals you" trope. It makes more sense to have food provide energy, which is vital once you find more powerful weapons and armor.


A bed quarters. For sleepy time.



merrak

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...image of cat requesting art...

There are paintings :)


I don't yet have code that lets the player look at them, but I'd like to have the images come up in a dialog.

Bombini

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I don't yet have code that lets the player look at them, ...

That could be actually a nice way to share some lore about the game world or even add it was a collection mechanic maybe even embedded in the goals of the game...man i love that idea!

« Last Edit: March 28, 2019, 02:01:23 am by Bombini »

merrak

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That could be actually a nice way to share some lore about the game world or even add it was a collection mechanic maybe even embedded in the goals of the game...man i love that idea!

I think my story-telling options are limited because of the game resolution (not much room for text) and lack of friendly NPCs for Marika to encounter in the towers. Pictures can go a long way, though  :)


« Last Edit: March 28, 2019, 09:50:51 pm by merrak »

Bombini

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Pictures can go a long way, though  :)
Totally agree!

merrak

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I got my dialog system up and running. You can now get a closer look at artwork, letters, and other things scattered around the towers.  Time to start making posters! 8)



While not implemented yet, in the books I have these "lore items" grant experience points when they're first discovered. I really just need some way to flag them so they don't grant experience more than once. I already have consumable books that grant experience, but I don't want the posters, etc. to disappear when they're viewed.

merrak

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Alpha Build 3! The next update is out. I even started putting together a nice little webpage for it.


What's New:
  • Save Game! Load Game!
  • Navigation skills! You can gain two new navigation skills that will help you find your way through the tower. Navigation will help you remember which rooms you've visited, and Perception will help you know how deep into the tower you are.
  • You can now die. Yay?
  • Dialog system and Lore system. Find books, posters, and other items that tell the story through the environment
  • More things in the tower. No more empty rooms!

How Much is Done? The central hub (level0) is mostly complete. Your goal, for now, is to find your way into the media center office located in the center of the map. There are also three armor items that will help toughen you up.

Known Issues:
  • A few "quality of life" issues remain to be fixed. Near the top of the list: tutorial, custom key controls, visual indicator of what containers have been explored
  • Flipping through inventory items too quickly can trigger a crash
  • If you get to some of the deeper maps, they might trigger an error code (RHDP is known)

mdotedot

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Cool web-page. I even searched on Google : A.C. Emris 'the lost city' but I guess I have to wait for 7775 or 7776 to search for it :D
Hanging out in the Chat:  http://www.stencyl.com/chat/

Proud member of the League of Idiotic Stencylers! Doing things in Stencyl that probably shouldn't be done.

merrak

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  • Posts: 2525
Cool web-page. I even searched on Google : A.C. Emris 'the lost city' but I guess I have to wait for 7775 or 7776 to search for it :D

"The Lost City" is the Raleigh NC skyline :)