Summon Equipment Menu – First Prototype

Today I worked on the equipment menu for the summons. Behold.

This will look nicer someday
This will look nicer someday
  • Each summon has a weapon, alt weapon, and charm slot
  • Weapons/alt weapons are specific to the summon (bow/arrow for Shaedu, bomb/fuel for Bloodfire, spear/shield for Aeox)
  • Charms are generic and slottable to any summon
  • Charms will be the basis for the “blessings” system, where you use an item to do something special to one of the summons. One example: a charm that turns the summon to stone, to reroute foes or create a blockade (Could it be called the Tiny Hammer?)
  • All equippable gear has the opportunity to alter the summon’s base stats and weapon stats, as well as hook into many combat events such as taking damage, damaging another creature, before attacking, or even just an immediate effect (such as a shield).

Planned features for equipment:

  • Usable charms and active items will have a charge count and recharge rate
  • Recharging will probably be based on kills during battle, but could be based on other stuff
  • Gear can be leveled up to boost general stats and unlock new effects at high levels. Leveled up charms would have more charges.
  • Multiple charm slots available (probably an upgrade)
  • Ability to infuse a charm permanently to a summon–upgade effects become permanent, frees up the charm slot–probably expensive or rare opportunity

My goal with the equipment menu is to allow for some strategy in between battles. You can’t change equipment once the fight starts, so you have to plan ahead a bit, and pick the best stuff considering the area you’re in.

Now to make some more items.

Ask Twitter: Placeholder art, scoring my own games, XNA, the leap to procedural

With today’s work on Soulcaster mostly being behind-the-scenes stuff involving the new slotting equipment/inventory system, I figured I didn’t have much to say on that topic today. I decided to poll my Twitter list for topic ideas, and got several I could answer lightning-round style. Here goes.

blog topic idea - vgm

On my own games, I get to pick whatever style I want, and have final approval. This does not necessarily make things any easier. Lack of constraints can be paralyzing for me, so I usually set up some artificial constraints before starting the score. On all four of my games so far, I’ve gone for something of a 90′s era redbook audio vibe. Soulcaster used Lagoon (SNES) as its main inspiration, Soulcaster II used Labyrinth (the movie), Escape Goat used Castlevania: Curse of Darkness, and Escape Goat 2 drew a bit from Bayonetta. All of the instrument sets were restricted to software versions of hardware that was available in the 80′s and 90′s.

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When Creatures Attack

Part of the code upgrade from Soulcaster 2 to Soulcaster 3 is the way creatures attack one another. Since we’re going to have lots of complex equipment, magic, and creatures in the game, there needs to be a flexible system that can handle a wide variety of special abilities:  Life steal, stuns, poison, regen, invulnerability, mind control… All of these things need special code, and need to be informed of the events of an attack so they can play their special role.

Exposing events for customization like this is called adding hooks.

There are two phases to any attack: targeting (finding a suitable foe) and collision (the actual hit where damage is done). Let’s look at both of these in depth to see how it handles everything behind the scenes.

In this case, our immortal archer, Shaedu, is wielding a bow with a poisoned arrow. A rat is nearby.

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First Prototype – Playtesting Results

Last night, I had the opportunity to show the latest build to some friends, who are developers themselves. Now usually I take pity on any poor soul who has the misfortune of asking a developer to playtest his or her game–but I have to say how impressed I was with their restraint; all three simply offered feedback from a player’s perspective, and didn’t rework the design of the game from the ground up, like I have a tendency to do.

My friends shall remain anonymous here, since I didn’t ask permission to use their real names in this post, and these days, one can never be too cautious about this sort of thing.

The one who played the longest actually took the time to clear the entire floor of monsters (which took about 15 minutes). He said he was compelled to do this because

  1. He likes to completely clear games out of principle
  2. The rats were so repulsive he felt the need to exterminate them to extinction

It made me realize one of the things the prototype is sorely lacking: state changes on the in-game map, to show which rooms have been discovered and cleared. It also made me think a bit about rewards for clearing an entire region–maybe this is how you get the boss to appear, or maybe a special NPC (like a merchant) appears only once the realm is free of monsters. Or I could go full Captain Eo style, and have the boss turn into a friendly NPC after you break the corruption within him. (Bonk’s Adventure did this too, now that I think about it.)

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