Merrak's Isometric Adventures -- Alpha Build 3!

merrak

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  • Posts: 2379
Moving Forward... to Alpha Build 4. I feel like the final game is beginning to take shape. I still need to add a few engine features... and, of course, fix bugs. But most of the framework I need is there.

One thing I've noticed, and is already starting to annoy me, is backtracking through the hub area. The game looks like this

Code: [Select]
A3-A2-A1     B1-B2-B3
        \   /
         HUB
        /   \
C3-C2-C1     D1-D2-D3

I recently inserted a system of bridges:

Code: [Select]
A3-A2-A1 ... B1-B2-B3
      . \   / .
      .  HUB  .
      . /   \ .
C3-C2-C1 ... D1-D2-D3

Currently, in each of the level 1 towers maps (A1,B1,C1,D1) there is a key which grants the player access to any of the level 2 maps, along with the bridges that allow the player to skip the hub.

Now I'm thinking that I don't want to give that key out so soon. For one, there is a sharp increase in difficulty moving from the level 1 maps to the level 2 maps. I don't like games which hold the player's hand--so if that was the only reason, I wouldn't bother worrying about it. But as I'm developing the storyline and integrating it into the environment, there are more reasons to steer the player toward finishing more of the level 1 maps.

My new plan (in progress) is to assign a level with each milestone the player completes. This level will change what NPCs and objects are loaded into the maps. I can use this mechanism to keep maps that the player might have to travel through fresh. It also might mean the game changes depending on the order the player wants to tackle the towers in.

New roadmap:
Lv 1. Player completes "hub area". Objective--find the Onyx key in the media room.
Lv 2. Player selects and completes one of the Level 1 maps in towers A, B, C, or D
Lv 3. Player returns to the "hub area". A new set of enemies is present, but with better rewards
Lv 4. Player completes a second Level 1 map
Lv 5. A friendly NPC warns the player high level guards have overtaken the hub area, and a second hub opens up. I'll replace the bridges with accesses to this second hub
Lv 6. Player completes third Level 1 map.
Lv 7. Player completes final Level 1 map. At this point I'll open up all of the Level 2 maps.

The second hub exits already exist and are near the stairs to the Level 2 maps, so the second hub is far more convenient for moving between towers. The Level 2 maps can be less linear since backtracking won't be as much of an issue. Eventually the player will have to make their way through the original hub area again--which is now a "boss zone"

Code: [Select]
A3-A2-A1>   <B1-B2-B3
        \   / 
        HUB 1 
        /   \ 
C3-C2-C1>   <D1-D2-D3

<> A1, B1, C1, D1 are all also connected to HUB 2

The next hurdle will be to work out a way to inform the player what their objective is. Friendly NPCs would be a good way to do this, but I need to work out why they would be in the towers and willing to help Marika out. She doesn't have any friends here.

Bombini

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  • Posts: 1263
The next hurdle will be to work out a way to inform the player what their objective is. Friendly NPCs would be a good way to do this, but I need to work out why they would be in the towers and willing to help Marika out. She doesn't have any friends here.

Imprisoned friendly NPCs maybe?

merrak

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  • Posts: 2379
The next hurdle will be to work out a way to inform the player what their objective is. Friendly NPCs would be a good way to do this, but I need to work out why they would be in the towers and willing to help Marika out. She doesn't have any friends here.

Imprisoned friendly NPCs maybe?

That was my first thought and is probably the easiest approach. I need to be careful not to expand the scope of the game too far. It's time to get this one wrapped up and move on to the next adventure.

Bombini

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  • Posts: 1263
Very true! I am also happy to wrap things up

merrak

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  • Posts: 2379

A Friend in the Towers-- I gave Marika a friendly NPC to talk to. He will give the player some hints on where to go and fill in some backstory. More importantly, I can now easily break the game into stages. Each stage has an objective, but I had to find a way for Marika to know what they are. She enters the towers with the final objective, but the friendly NPCs can help her break it down into smaller objectives that lead to the goal.



The dialog system is very basic. There's no conversation options. I'll add a proper dialog engine for a sequel. But for now, this serves the purpose I need it to, so I won't try to solve problems I don't have.


I also finished populating all four of the level 1 maps with signage, furniture, and decorations. The old, barren rooms now look a lot better.


Bombini

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  • Posts: 1263
Oh wow!
I think this is exactly what i was missing.
I totally agree not to make a more complicated dialogue system.
This all looks very cool!

merrak

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  • Posts: 2379
Oh wow!
I think this is exactly what i was missing.
I totally agree not to make a more complicated dialogue system.
This all looks very cool!

It's also made level design a lot more fun... just like it's more fun playing with Lego when you have more kinds of pieces :D