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 81 
 on: January 18, 2020, 10:42:50 AM 
Started by CraigStern - Last post by CraigStern
Updated the Telepath Tactics alpha demo with the past couple of days worth of fixes and improvements, including those below:

-- increased the maximum zoom-out value for the battle camera.

-- sound effects can now make use of visual effect OnDeath timings for when they spawn.

-- replaced the deprecated MoveChar and MoveCharBy actions with their new MoveUnit equivalents in The Vengeance of Emma Strider.

-- fixed: after the first instance of item use by the AI in a battle, it would just stop having its characters using items.

-- fixed: the various elemental blast skills had not had their sound effect timings updated. They now sync up to the animations.

-- fixed: the dialogue menu would visibly start to update as it disappeared when characters started walking from a MoveUnit script action, which was somewhat jarring. The menu update is now deferred until post-movement when the game detects a script action of this sort in a given dialogue branch.

 82 
 on: January 17, 2020, 04:03:28 PM 
Started by bugfartboy - Last post by CraigStern
Not Telepath Tactics, no--but the other game I'm making in the engine might be a good candidate for that. One thing at a time, though! ;)

 83 
 on: January 17, 2020, 04:01:36 PM 
Started by CraigStern - Last post by CraigStern
-- new script action: ChangeExpression. This action finds an existing portrait and rebuilds it with a different facial expression, precluding the need to remove and re-add the existing portrait across two separate actions (and also avoiding the need to remember its current location, if it had been moved). Two parameters: reference name and facial expression name.

-- added to the first big plot event dialogue tree in the Telepath Tourney campaign.

-- updated the death monologue scripting in The Vengeance of Emma Strider to use the new names of script actions in lieu of deprecated actions like KillChar and CheckForMoreDialog.

-- fixed: the CryoBlast_1 visual effect was missing a "directional" flag in Attacks.xml, which was causing none of the visual effects associated with Cryo Blast to spawn.

-- fixed: visual effects with OnDeath spawning dependent on a prior directional VFX would not spawn because they didn't recognize the visual effect name with a direction appended.

-- fixed: in certain circumstances, the game would conclude attacks before checking for counterattacks, leading to character moves inappropriately overlapping during AI turns.

 84 
 on: January 17, 2020, 03:51:00 PM 
Started by bugfartboy - Last post by bugfartboy
Be the change software testing you want to see in the world! Glad to be of help. I'll be excited to see future demo releases in the future.

They get a bad rep sometimes, but have you considered submitting the new game under Steam's Early Access or GOG's Games in Development programs, once you're closer to release?

 85 
 on: January 17, 2020, 03:04:40 PM 
Started by bugfartboy - Last post by CraigStern
Thank you! This is very helpful feedback.

The CheckForMoreDialog script action is not supported in the new engine, since that functionality is now inherent in anything that ends a dialogue tree. It makes sense that the game would refuse to progress from the death monologue under those circumstances. (Clearly, I forgot to actually test out the scripting on those old dialogue trees, or I'd have noticed this.) I'll have that fixed soon! :)

 86 
 on: January 17, 2020, 02:55:12 PM 
Started by Mania - Last post by CraigStern
Ahhhhh, thank you so much! Reading this really gave me a huge morale boost. :D

I hear you on the status effects thing. It's tough to come up with effects that are clear, consequential, and easy to understand without making them so significant that they basically need to have a chance at failure to avoid unbalancing the game. (I suspect you may have read it, but if you haven't yet, you might find this interesting--it discusses the design philosophy underlying what is and isn't deterministic in Telepath Tactics: https://sinisterdesign.net/unpredictability-and-control-in-turn-based-combat-an-examination/)

Perhapsthe counters need to be stronger; Lead Ointment and Thermal Paste giving only +10% resistance upon use isn't that impressive, and they're not super accessible in the main campaign. In fact, yes--I am going to go do that right now!

 87 
 on: January 17, 2020, 02:21:50 PM 
Started by bugfartboy - Last post by bugfartboy
I downloaded the demo this afternoon to try out. Here is my feedback. All of these were written down and grouped by what map I was in. Apologies if it they're jumbled. Disclaimer: The game locked up on me during the caravan battle. That is as far as I reached.


Concerns

Major

LoggingHaving the "Log" button is nice, but it appeared to only work the first time I pressed it. At first I thought it simply didn't work when a dialog box was on the screen, but it later appeared to not work at all. This is unfortunate because I was unable to generate a log file when the game locked up on me.
CameraUsing the scroll wheel to zoom out was very inconsistent. At times I would need to scroll in just to get it to scroll out further. The maximum zoom-out felt inadequate, especially for a tactical game where seeing what's going on is important.
Dialog ActionsThere were several instances where the dialog box would begin to render, vanish while a character moved as part of the script, then pop back up. It was kind of disconcerting, and I felt like I accidentally skipped ahead in the conversation when I really didn't.
Lakshmi BanaDespite Emma sprinting every round to reach her, Lakshmi Bana was cut down in front of her. When she fell, the "Player should not see this" message referring to the CheckForMoreDialog action came up. Lakshmi had no words in death.
VisualsI like how the terrain and objects look. The sprite-based graphics (characters, menu/dialog boxes, etc), look bad when used alongside them. I understand that this is very much so a work in progress, so I'm hoping there's a plan to get sprites updated so the graphics feel cohesive. Overall, I kind of miss how terrain and objects look in the original. Everything fit together nicely and, while the visuals weren't necessarily stunning, it complemented itself extremely well.
Game Locked UpThe turn after Lakshmi died, Emma tried to use Sprint. The game zoomed in on her, then stopped doing anything. The music continued to play, but nothing responded. As mentioned above, I couldn't get a log file for it since the key stopped working.

Minor

LightingTying into Visuals above, the checkbox pattern visible on the ground around the campfire when Zash and Red attacked looked funky.
"10 Years Later"Minor nitpick: The dialog box during the "10 Years Later" screen looked to be a lighter shade of black than the background, so it stood out maybe more than intended.
Edge PanningI'm hoping edge panning finds its way into the new system.
Action ZoomZooming in when characters use an ability felt a bit unnecessary. I'm not saying it's bad, but it would be nice to be able to disable it in the settings.
Counterattack DeathDuring the campfire fight, Red died to a counterattack. Is this an intentional change in the AI's behavior, or was Red just feeling lucky?
Skill A/V EffectsMind Shield was really emphasizing the target's mind: the base of the bubble started at the target's neck. Arced Shot should be called "Missile Launch" judging from the light blast sound effects.
DoorsSince I couldn't open any doors when defending the village from bandits, I can only assume the good people of Adelbrae finally learned to lock their doors.


Praise

Indestructible Corpses!Seriously, why aren't people building castles of the stuff? Corpses are immune to all damage, and have a ludicrous amount of hit points! What's not to like?
Game IntroI liked that the music started, the Unity splash faded in, then out, then Sinister Design logos did its thing, and THEN the main menu came up. It felt so professional. It also didn't take an actual eternity to sit through like some of the ELDER games I've SCROLLed through.
FACIAL EXPRESSIONS! :D'Nuff said.
Eyeless MooksDo you need reassurance that the bandit you're about to cut down in the heat of battle isn't actually a person? Look no further than their face! You see, you, your friends, and even your enemies that actually have names have eyes! That generic bandit, though? They don't. They're not sentient. Kill them. Kill them now.
InventoryIt took me a few minutes to realize that the Inventory screen was now integrated into the character details screen. I like being able to see exactly what each item is doing to my character! A border around the inventory region would help it stand out even more, I think.
Text decorationAdding it was a bold decision.
Talk BubblesI like the little dialog bubble that pops up when a character is talking. It's a nice, unobtrusive way to indicate who's doing what.

Suggestions

CounterattacksWhen a character triggers a counterattack, maybe extend the delay between them slightly? The current character's action would be replaced with the counterattack's name before it could be read sometimes.
Counter FlairThis is frivolous, but adding something like "Counterattack: {SkillName}!" when displaying the skill used to counterattack might make it seem more exciting, or draw more attention to it.
TAB to CycleIf there aren't plans for it already (I may have overlooked it), could a button be assigned to select the next character in the turn order? The Tab key would feel natural as the default.
Deployment InventoryAn "OK" or "Exit" button on this window would do wonders.
Self-Only skillsIt would be neat to be able to activate self-only skills directly from the action bar. Clicking "Sprint" and then clicking the character who's using it feels unintuitive. I understand why it's happening from a mechanical perspective, but it feels unnecessary from a playflow perspective.
Deploying CharactersI miss drag-and-drop deployment. As is, the deployment screen could use something more to make the currently selected character stand out. Swap characters' positions if they're both already deployed would help make deployment smoother.



I think that's all of my notes for now.

 88 
 on: January 17, 2020, 12:57:23 PM 
Started by Mania - Last post by Mania
I just finished my extensive review/retrospective on Telepath Tactics, so I'll share it here!

It's rather long, I had quite a lot to say so it wound up being over 5000 words long, so I'll link to my article about it rather than copy it over, since it also contains screenshots and whatnot.

https://maniafig.blogspot.com/2020/01/telepath-tactics-deterministic-effort.html

I'm hoping this doesn't count as advertising, I'm guessing not?

 89 
 on: January 16, 2020, 04:14:45 PM 
Started by CraigStern - Last post by CraigStern
Uploaded an alpha demo of Telepath Tactics Special Edition in the new engine for Kickstarter backers, and created a Sinister Design homepage on Steam. With that done, I'm back to focusing on Together in Battle for a while!

-- when you refuse a character a raise, they now become resentful for a few days to a week.

-- added a message within the victory box explicitly letting you know that loose item sacks have been auto-looted at the end of a battle when the Post-Battle Looting condition is set to true.

-- tweaked values on some 2D particles to improve appearance and performance.

-- fixed: VFX would continue to update even after failing to load an animation.

 90 
 on: January 16, 2020, 05:09:32 AM 
Started by CraigStern - Last post by CraigStern
-- fixed: I had accidentally caused the blinking status effect displayer that appears over characters' shoulders to stop working by switching the order of two lines of code.

-- updated the scripting in the Training battle within The Vengeance of Emma Strider to use IfInAreaRun instead of the now-deprecated IfOnCoordsRun, thereby allowing the game to once again handle it if the player is blocking Silithis from exiting the training area at the conclusion of the tutorial fight.

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