October 1, 2013

Telepath Tactics September 2013 Update

Hear that? That’s the sound of September slipping into October–and with that, the sound of another update on my progress in creating Telepath Tactics! Here’s the latest:

  • With the delivery of finished orb icons from Julie Buge, the game’s item icons are now complete:
  • Every single one of the game’s default 22 character classes now has a character portrait (with both a male and female variety for most). With that done, we’ve moved on to NPC portraits, with portraits for unique characters to follow. Here are the most recent completed portraits:
  • I’ve hired a second animator, Lan Giniewski, to help speed up the pace of character animations. So far, Lan has completed attack animations for the Photokineticist and Pyrokineticist. Meanwhile, Tyvon Thomas has at long last finished up the Stone Golem’s punching animation. We now have 16 of the 22 basic character classes fully animated!
  • Attack Button MockupsWith the item icons complete, Julia Buge has begun work on the game’s  many dozens of individualized attack buttons. At last count, we need 105 of the things, so this one may take a while. (Yes, there are really that many different attacks planned for inclusion in the game.) On the right, you can see a mock-up she created.
  • Arguably, the biggest thing I did this month was get basic random dungeon generation in-game and working. Dungeons are constructed out of a random selection of prefab rooms, each arranged randomly and connected by hallways. Dungeons can be of any size, and can contain a number of enemies chosen from within a numerical range and from a designated pool of possible enemy types. Each dungeon room is contained within its own map file. All of them are located in a subfolder called Generator Chunks. Using the map editor, you can very easily mod in additional rooms to increase dungeon variety within any given campaign. I fully expected this feature to take two to three months all on its own, so the fact that it’s working after one month of work is pretty darn good.
  • It is now possible to randomize the contents of item sacks, treasure chests, or any other object or character that has an inventory. Item commonality affects the likelihood of an item being chosen. You can have the game pick from the full gamut of item types in your campaign, or you can restrict it to a certain commonality range. I added this feature with randomized dungeons in mind, but there’s no reason it couldn’t be used in regular maps as well.
  • Items can now run scripts upon use! This makes items way way way more flexible, and means that you can have quest items with truly unique effects. (This replaces the function to directly change custom variable values by using an item; you can, of course, still accomplish this by using a SetVal action in the script you call when the item is used.)
  • Two new script actions: SpawnFloatingText and SpawnFloatingTextAt, both of which create your own little floating text pop-ups on the screen.
  • Throwing an object or a character into a second character now damages that character. (Similarly, you can throw characters into walls, doors, or other objects, and this will damage the objects they’re thrown into). The amount of the damage dealt is proportional to the maximum health of the character or object thrown. People have been requesting this feature for roughly forever, so I’m really glad to have been able to stick it in:

  • Characters now have animated experience bars that visually fill up whenever they gain experience points, then  flash a brilliant yellow upon reaching level-up. It’s a neat little effect, and this is another one that has been requested a lot, so it’s satisfying to be able to check it off the list.

  • I continued to fix a lot of bugs that snuck in with the proliferation of new features over the past few months. The game is now much more stable than it was a couple of months ago.

With the advent of October, I now have a little more than a month left in my sabbatical from work (I head back to my law firm job on November 11). I intend to take advantage of this final month to tweak some remaining issues with random level generation, then use the remaining time to crank out as much of the single player campaign as I can.