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April 1, 2013

Telepath Tactics March 2013 Update

Time for another monthly update! First thing’s first: this Kickstarter campaign is turning to be a huge success. We hit our base funding goal just 3 days in, and are now 184% funded with 14 days left on the clock. We’ve hit our first stretch goal, are nearly at our second stretch goal, and are just generally kicking butt and taking names.

Barring some unforeseen disaster, the game is now guaranteed to have all the art and music it needs, and then some! Needless to say, this is a huge relief for me, and I’m just generally delighted with the outpouring of support I’ve seen from people over this game.

Pax East Sinister Design Booth
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In other news, I went to PAX East and somehow lived to tell about it! In 3 days, I gave away something like 700 business cards, handed out 150 Telepath Tactics buttons, got 380ish people signed up on the Sinister Design mailing list for information on Telepath Tactics, met Penny Arcade’s Jerry Holkins, had approximately 6 or 7 spontaneous media interviews with reporters from sites like RPGamer and Destructoid, and consumed four throat lozenges to keep from losing my voice.

I am now officially “broke as a joke,” as the saying goes, but the experience of being in the Indie Megabooth was pretty epic. I regret nothing!

Now–with all that miscellaneous “news” stuff out of the way, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and talk about substantive changes in the game since our last update!

  • enemy AI has seen some improvements. (Notably, the enemy will now break down your barricades if you try walling in!) There is still work left to do; among other things, I haven’t gotten around to putting in defensive routines yet, and I still need to optimize the whole thing at some point.
  • there are new character attack animations in the game! This is my favorite of the bunch so far:

Swordsman_Ability
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  • There are new battle conditions for single player campaign maps. You can now add additional armies, change army colors, set alliances for the various armies (which the AI will behave appropriately with), and (this is arguably the coolest one) you can independently set each army to be either CPU-controlled or player-controlled. Which is to say: if you’ve been hoping for support for local co-op campaigns, it’s now here!
  • I’ve added more functionality to the game’s dialog scripting system. There are now scripts that let you change a character’s class, give a character experience points, play a character animation, remove all items from a character’s inventory, and add a spray of particle effects somewhere on the battlefield.
  • Stats in Dialog
    image-2173
    You can now directly modify, check and display 29 individual character stats in dialog (everything from character level to dodge percentage to whether a character has used a turn-ending attack this turn).
  • You can also now trigger dialog via character stats. (For instance: you can have a dialog sequence that plays whenever a certain character is found to have reached level 2, and a separate one that plays if a character reaches 10 Strength.) Combined with the ability to modify character stats in dialog, this means you can script custom dialog to let the player choose stats to improve when certain characters level up; and combined with the ability to change character class, this means the engine now supports class promotions as well!
  • The Telepath Tactics Public Alpha Demo has been updated. It’s now a short stand-alone campaign with cut scenes, and is just generally a lot better than the old one.
  • I fixed a huge number of bugs.

Now, that list might not seem quite as long as it was in previous months, but that’s mainly because I spent a ton of time fixing bugs and whipping the demo into shape in advance of the Kickstarter campaign and PAX East. “Fixed bugs” may be the smallest entry in that list, but it’s by far the largest in terms of time spent! So it goes.

I still have a ton of work left to do on Telepath Tactics, but the success of this Kickstarter means that I’m going to actually have the resources to do it all–and that’s an exciting prospect to me. Stay tuned, folks–there’s more to come!

 

P. S. I know I’m posting this on April 1st, and I know that I usually post something fake and satirical on April 1st, but this post is legit. I just didn’t want to miss the window for posting my March update!

  • Smartypants

    April Fools!

  • CraigStern

    Not this time! ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/lucas.m.araujo.31 Lucas M. Araujo

    Hey Craig, im having a problem with the demo. It starts normally, then i go for the Campaign, and for the Start Campaign button, but it mostly doesn’t work, and when it works, it does a couple of seconds latter, going to a black screen and stop working… Any hint on the problem?

  • CraigStern

    Shoot me an email with the details and we’ll figure it out!

  • Pwncakes

    I heart telepath RPGs and have followed since Telepath I (<3) and how you are getting people interested is phenomenal; I am glad of your successes after all the stress/time you have put into these games. Once I get my degree and start my real job (actually have some money) I definitely will be be purchasing this new game.

  • Ryan Stout

    I’d be curious to hear more about how you are implementing the enemy AI if you wouldn’t mind sharing. I got the sense from the first paragraph that you are sort of “hand-coding” enemy AI routines. Did you look into machine learning techniques to train the computer enemies to select their actions and decide that wasn’t a good way approach, or was it something you hadn’t considered? In particular, I’d be curious if you considered using reinforcement learning techniques, and if so, why you decided not to use them.

  • Ryan Stout

    Hah, I just realized this was from 2013, rather than 2014. Sigh…