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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsThis is the End (steampunk squad-based strategy, xcom-like, with rats!)
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Author Topic: This is the End (steampunk squad-based strategy, xcom-like, with rats!)  (Read 10104 times)
bryku
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« Reply #60 on: September 28, 2018, 12:36:29 AM »

I like the title. I think you should mention rats in the name of the topic though so people recognize it. I was wondering if I had followed multiple xcom-like projects.

Haha, I guess it won't hurt to mention about the rats... they are the killer feature in the game anyway, right!?
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seras
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« Reply #61 on: October 01, 2018, 04:12:03 AM »

Yup, agree with Nathy. It might be a good idea to include rats in the game name, but I suppose you're still focusing on mechanics Smiley

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bryku
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« Reply #62 on: October 04, 2018, 12:51:45 PM »

Yup, agree with Nathy. It might be a good idea to include rats in the game name, but I suppose you're still focusing on mechanics Smiley



well, I'm trying to focus on it, at least Smiley

I am currently doing some travelling so didn't have that much time, but:
- I've added a healing action, that requires (and uses) a medkit
- I've started to experiment with lightning.

Here's a gif showing these two things combined:


Dealing with the lightning was not that straightforward. Standard Unity shaders were not working properly when a sprite was being flipped along its X axis (which is often the case). I tried using Light2D library, but it turned out that it cannot handle overlapping light sources correctly (they were becoming too bright).

Luckily, I found a shader that fixed the problem with overlap.

Currently the only light sources are the characters (including enemies). I have all the code ready to handle other sources as well. Maybe some flickering lights from lamps? We'll see - right now I have to go back to the mechanics. Next major thing will be about increasing the pace of the game, by including frequent enemy reinforcements. We'll see how it goes.

Take care!
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nathy after dark
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« Reply #63 on: October 04, 2018, 05:00:34 PM »

Something I find extremely frustrating in the original XCOM is that healing requires an item and you have to have the units right next to another in unit to heal them. Maybe I just don't know how to use it properly but I've never been able to effectively use healing because of that. Is it better in newer games?

Something like Vulneraries in Fire Emblem is a much better system (consumable and usable by units to heal themselves) than having to keep units in the vicinity of a unit with the kit and the skill, in my opinion. But I'm bad at strategy games.
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bryku
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« Reply #64 on: October 07, 2018, 01:27:49 AM »

Something I find extremely frustrating in the original XCOM is that healing requires an item and you have to have the units right next to another in unit to heal them. Maybe I just don't know how to use it properly but I've never been able to effectively use healing because of that. Is it better in newer games?

Something like Vulneraries in Fire Emblem is a much better system (consumable and usable by units to heal themselves) than having to keep units in the vicinity of a unit with the kit and the skill, in my opinion. But I'm bad at strategy games.

If you are referring to new XCom games it's basically the same - at least at the beginning of the game, as later on you actually have the possibility to use a ranged healing ability.

In my opinion this approach is a good trade-off between realism and demanding gameplay.
Additionally in XCom you can actually level up your characters and give them the ability to use the healing item more than once, effectively increasing their effectiveness in battle.

I have implemented something similar in my game. I do have medkits, and one can only use it on themselves or on an injured ally standing on the adjacent tile. Thing is that I guess I will experiment with some more realistic approach that includes the possibility to throw medkits around. Now, I know that actually removed the throwing feature for the ammo items - but it was because I was trying to tackle a different problem (which was running completely out of ammo).

The bottom line is that the game needs to be fun. I will be playtesting the thing with and without the "throw medkit" feature, and wel'll see how it goes.


And here's a random screenshot:


Take care!
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bryku
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« Reply #65 on: October 14, 2018, 12:28:04 PM »

Before I go on with game design rumbling: I've made myself a Twitter account - go follow me at @bryquthedev.

Now, for a minor update report:

I am busy adding yet another gameplay mechanic that will improve the pacing of the game.

First XCOM game (the remastered one, that is) had an issue with pacing. It encouraged very slow squad movement, which was killing the fun of the game. They succesfully managed to improve this part in the 2nd game by adding mission timers - that encouraged the players to push the squad forward through the battlefield, making the gameplay experience more challenging (well, some of the players were actually complaining about that part - but I personally liked it).

Anyway, I am trying out slightly different approach. Instead of having explicit mission timers, I will make sure that the player gets surrounded by more and more enemies as the turns pass.

Basically there will be enemy generators set up on a map. If the player is close to a generator, it will get active - and will spawn a pod of enemies after a given number of turns.

I've altered the AI so that it is more reluctant to chase down the Survivors, especially if they are outside of their attack range. So after a group of enemies is spawned, they will start chasing the player characters down.

As a result, the player won't be able to spend too much time on a mission due to too many enemies swarming them - and they will have to evacuate.

However, there was a problem with displaying too many enemies at once. It wasn't about the performance, but about the time that the player had to spend staring at enemy movement animations. That was because of my half-baked way of implementing the fog of war feature. Initially I assumed that after a map tile becomes explored by Survivor, it always is visible, and all the enemies standing/going through it will be visible as well.

I had to change this approach to avoid displaying the movement of enemies that have been generated, but haven't been seen by the Survivors.

Long story short: now an enemy can finally pop out from the shadows at your squad. How cool is that, eh?
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ARF Initiative
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« Reply #66 on: October 15, 2018, 06:42:11 AM »

game looks really nice. Pixel graphics very well done. And so game mechanics seem interesting. I love cyberpunk video games, but also steampunk. Hope the game progress go farther.
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jg.camarasa
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« Reply #67 on: October 16, 2018, 01:25:24 AM »

Following this, looks awesome!
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bryku
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« Reply #68 on: October 16, 2018, 12:41:13 PM »

game looks really nice. Pixel graphics very well done. And so game mechanics seem interesting. I love cyberpunk video games, but also steampunk. Hope the game progress go farther.

Following this, looks awesome!

Thanks for the kind words!

And grab this melee attack gif:
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Devilkay
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« Reply #69 on: October 16, 2018, 10:58:38 PM »

interesting idea. exactly as you said. an xcom in pixel art  Smiley
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bryku
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« Reply #70 on: October 19, 2018, 12:46:39 PM »

Progress update: I've extended weapon range mechanism. Previously it was impossible to shoot the target if it was out of range.

This is still the case - however additionally the hit chance gets adjusted based on the distance to the target.

There are two ways in which this works. For pistols/shotguns, it is all about positive feedback - so the closer you get to the target, the easier it is to hit it.

It works in an opposite way for long-range rifles. After you get too close to the target, it gets harder to aim correctly.


See the gif below: as the rogue is getting closer and closer to the target, % to hit raises.

Still lot of placeholder graphics in the UI. But - you can see that grenades are back! Will write more about it later.
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« Reply #71 on: October 20, 2018, 12:32:54 AM »

It works in an opposite way for long-range rifles. After you get too close to the target, it gets harder to aim correctly.

Makes sense to me. And I think players appreciate these gameplay details. Toast Right
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bryku
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« Reply #72 on: November 03, 2018, 02:31:00 PM »

Uh-oh. Forgot to put some more frequent updates here. Focused too much on the development part. It is now time to evaluate all the new stuff and set next goals.


It works in an opposite way for long-range rifles. After you get too close to the target, it gets harder to aim correctly.

Makes sense to me. And I think players appreciate these gameplay details. Toast Right
Yeah - and it is not only about detail, but about gameplay mechanics. For instance, snipers would've been overpowered if they would be effective at any range.

Now, here's a brief update on my progress:
1. I've added new character classes along with some new skills
2. I've introduced skill cooldown mechanism
3. The mission has an evac point
4. The grenades are back

I will be posting extended versions of the stuff above in the upcoming days. Here's a preview of grenade throw action:



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bryku
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« Reply #73 on: November 06, 2018, 12:52:42 PM »

OK, so I've made some alterations and new stuff in character classes to the game.

(sad spoiller alert: I am still on a single character model, so all classes are using the same visual representation. I will start adding new character models when I complete the list of required character animations, which kinda keeps on growing)

The first available class was the Rogue. Kinda melee-oriented character. Then I introduced the Ranger - so a sniper class. His weapon has longer range, deals more damage, but is only really effective in long range.

I needed a tank-like character class to make the gameplay more diverse. So I've added the Mechanic. That character has an out-of-the-box armor point available, which reduces the damage taken. Also, I moved the "ground slam" attack from the Rouge to Mechanic - after all, Mechanic will be wielding a hammer-like heavy gun - so it will be possible to use it both in melee and ranged.

The gun is not that accurate though - however, it is shredding armor of enemies.


Mechanic (using Rogue's model, with a darker color) taking damage, which is being reduced thanks to armor.

Right now I am spending more and more time playtesting through the stuff I already have, tweaking the character stats to make the gameplay fun. Having that third character type did help in that, as it introduced more depth to tactical desicions.

All in all, the progress is good. Still a lot needs to be done to finish something that I could wrap up and release as a tech demo, but I am getting there. Thing is that I haven't been that far in any of my previous game projects, so that is already a big personal achievement! Smiley
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bryku
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« Reply #74 on: November 09, 2018, 01:17:47 PM »

Obviously some of the skills should not be usable continuously. This is where the cooldown mechanic comes into play, right?

As for now, two skills have cooldowns - the "ground stomp" action of the Mechanic, and "Rush it" action of the Rogue.

The first one is the area of effect attack that I moved from Rogue; the second one allows the Rogue to take an action after a double move. This is nice for breaking the game rules for a while, thus allowing the player to alte rthe situation on the battlefield drastically.

Long story short, the cooldown mechanic is there, and is working.
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bryku
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« Reply #75 on: November 11, 2018, 01:58:54 PM »

Right, so I should be writing here about grenades' mechanic, or about exit points - but instead I decided to experiment in-game with display of radio messages.
Here's an example:


Hopefully these messages will make the experience even more immersive. We'll see after some playtesting.
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« Reply #76 on: November 12, 2018, 02:39:58 AM »

I hate rats, they are creepy! But gameplay looks really interesting.
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bryku
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« Reply #77 on: November 16, 2018, 07:12:23 AM »

I hate rats, they are creepy! But gameplay looks really interesting.

Thanks for the kind words!

It's time for an update - let's talk about...

grenades.

Everyone like area of effect attacks - they help you in crowd control, and allow the player to feel awesome after clearing out a bunch of enemies with one hit (explosion?).

So the idea was that grenades will be available as inventory items. Players will be able to equip their Survivors with grenades during raid preparation phase. What is more, Survivors will be able to find grenades on the battlefield.

And here's where gameplay mechanic problems started to appear.

Firstly, as each survivor has a fixed number of inventory slots present (it is six slots as for now) players could simply fill in all of the slots with grenades before the mission. That would cause the game to become a grenade throwing festival, as each Survivor would have five grenades - which gives fifteen (!) grenades for a three people squad.

And, as the grenades would be used, the inventory slots would be freed and the player would be able to collect loot normally.

As I didn't want the player to be only using grenades, I had to change this stuff somehow:

Option 1: make sure that grenades are hard to find/create

Making grenades very rare (and making sure that they cost a lot of resources to craf) would kinda solve the problem - however, players could then start saving up grenades for future missions, and - in later game - again start spamming the map with squad hoding 15+ grenades. That would make grenades's usage very unbalanced.

Option 2: get rid of this nasty thing

Removing grenades completely was a great idea. Not only I wouldn't have to worry about the abovementioned issues, but I'd save up money on grenade throwing and explosion animations! Sadly, not having grenades at all seemed even less fun, so I dropped this idea.

Option 3: follow the xcom way

Sigh, it simply feels that xcom did nail it in the first place. In xcom, each character can carry a single grenade (some of the classes allow for more) - meaning that there's simply a limit of number of grenades that one can carry. However, characters in xcom do not have any inventory slots (well, not the same as in my game, where characters can actually pick stuff up in the battlefield).

Anyways, this is how I solved it in the end:
- Grenades are not a part of inventory. Inventory is purely for collectibles from the battlefield.
- Characters can carry a different number of grenades, based on their class (Mechanic can carry three, other classes: one)
- (major difference from original xcom approach) each instance of grenade needs to be manufactured. If you run out of grenades, you will be unable to take them on a mission (in xcom, grenades were auto-replenishing after each mission, no matter whether you used them or not)

It seems that it works very well! Grenades spamming ceased to exist, but the players will still have to pay attention to global grenades' count.

And here's a gif with the new grenade action display - note the number of grenades is displayed on the bottom, in the action buttons list.


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« Reply #78 on: November 18, 2018, 04:27:50 AM »

Cool to see some more progress on the game!
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« Reply #79 on: November 20, 2018, 02:13:47 AM »

I didn't peak in here for a long time... and you did some really nice progress Smiley
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