Gauntlets of Recursion (+3)

Times, trials, and turbulence.

Content Continues.

The art of balancing study time for final exams and coding time for Skirmish is a delicate one, but always rewarding for those who can manage it. πŸ˜‰

One of my goals for this Milestone was to implement a working rocket launcher. Rocket launchers seem to be the cornerstone to any shooter game, which previous iterations of Skirmish never had. I quickly decided they must be added this time around. Nice and early.

Starting from the beginning, this first meant that a model for damage was needed. I decided upon six types of damage to exist in the game world, which both players (via Armour items) and props (via natural resistances) can defend against, to varying degrees. The damage types are Projectile, Pressure, Heat, Puncture, Cold, and Toxic. Most weapons will be a combination of the types, like explosions falling into the category of Pressure+Heat, plasma being Projectile+Heat, and slug rounds being Projectile+Puncture. Different armour types will enable different defences depending on the player’s style of play. This will soon factor into the health/armour system, which will be a little more interesting than the standard fare “one regular boring health-bar” or “regular health-bar and armour-bar” approaches, but still remain intuitive enough as to not confuse the novice player.

Like mentioned above, props can also be recipients of damage. Props are (optionally) destructible. This is a big step up from the last version of Skirmish, whereas everything in the game world except the players was entirely static. Props can take damage, be destroyed, be created, and react to physics within the game world. This allows for lots of interesting gameplay possibilities. Currently implemented are wooden crates which can be destroyed; spawning a cloud of smoke and flinging out a handful of broken wooden plank props from the destruction. One can then proceed to fire a rocket launcher at the nearest wall and watch those planks of broken wood go flying as well. I admittedly spent perhaps a little too much time toying with that particular case. Hopefully I won’t be the only one. πŸ™‚

pskirm_16.PNG

(“Watch out, Doctor Crate!”)

Additionally, weapons are implemented independently as individual classes. This means that special/unique behavior is easy to implement into certain weapons. It also avoids the mess that some games into with having a large number of weapons that differ only in a handful of stats/variables. With this, small things — but effective in adding that extra subtle feel of detail and atmosphere — like the rocket launcher having a ~1 second charge time (whereas the player must remain motionless), complete with a little progress bar suspended over his head. There’s also the fairly large recoil of firing the rocket which tosses the player back a fair amount. I won’t hesitate to admit that I spent over an hour perfecting the appearance of the explosion’s particle effects. πŸ˜‰

It’s just about time for start on the map editor, but I’m already counting down the days until I get to implement the plasma cannon. πŸ™‚

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15 responses to “Content Continues.

  1. Manaxter December 14, 2007 at 1:09 am

    Can’t wait for those Beta tests! Or alpha tests for that matter!

  2. Jussi LepistΓΆ December 14, 2007 at 1:47 am

    Hehe, looks fun. πŸ™‚ And the tuning is exactly like something I would do too, it’s all in the details. πŸ˜‰

  3. TheSeer December 14, 2007 at 3:23 am

    Hohohoho. Testing will awesome. πŸ˜‰

  4. brian (ripoff) December 14, 2007 at 7:52 am

    As always, looks lovely. Nice!

  5. zyklon December 14, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    I can’t wait to test!! Also, can you release the map editor before the game is finished(aka, like now), so we can get a start on our bitchin maps.

    Also, i got voxel’s working now. I didnt have msvc.

  6. Stephen December 14, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    Thanks for all the positive words of encouragement. πŸ™‚

    @Zyklon: The map editor will be available to the entire testing team once it is written. (What constitutes “the testing team” will be determined after the game enters alpha testing.)

  7. zyklon December 14, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    and do you have a date in your head? or goal?

  8. Jonathan Chung December 14, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    Is this an in-game style map editor or an external one written in Swing/VB/other tookit?

    Nice visuals. πŸ™‚

  9. Stephen December 14, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    @Zyklon: Hopefully by the end of the Christmas holidays, but that’s not in stone.

    @Jon: I have ascertained that it will be written in Java, so that it will be as cross-platform as the game itself. I also plan for it to use the “Skirmish Engine” under the hood, but I haven’t decided whether I want it to be affixed to the game itself (ie. an in-game editor) or a separate stand-alone program. I’m curious what most people would prefer. πŸ™‚

  10. zyklon December 14, 2007 at 8:27 pm

    stand-alone. less of a memory hog. Also ability to have it open while playing and change map quickly.

  11. The Visible Man December 14, 2007 at 9:19 pm

    Sounds awesome! Do you plan to have server options that let you choose weapon sets? It’d be fun to have rocket-launcher only skirmishes πŸ˜›

    I also vote Stand-alone for the map editor. Especially if the main game will be full-screen. I like to multi-task with several windows visible at once πŸ˜›

  12. zyklon December 14, 2007 at 9:42 pm

    make it your poll….

  13. Stephen December 14, 2007 at 10:15 pm

    @TVM: I really want to make the game servers really flexible in the sense of how much the host can customize a game that he’s hosting. So yes, I’m certainly aiming to eventually allow hosts to set up things like “rockets-only” games without the need of hard-coded game modes.

    @Zyklon: I’m a little iffy on the poll, since most people don’t bother using it. Maybe just asking for replies in the comments of my next post will do the job.

  14. Jonathan Chung December 15, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    I prefer standalone editors myself, but just to throw an extra idea in the mix, check this out – Swing INSIDE a game. Press F1 to turn it on and off.

    http://slick.cokeandcode.com/demos/swingle.jnlp

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