We’re Off The Grid (mostly)

Pixel based movement is in.

When monsters form a full horde of 10 or more in one location, they sometimes overlap a bit, so that’ll need to be ironed out. Pathfinding needs to be updated to use 8-way movement, not just 4-way movement. Line of sight works really well. It definitely feels more like Gauntlet this way–once the systems are all working properly, I can test it out in the context of the whole game. Overall I’m excited about where it’s going.

Numbers are node weights. Shortest path to summoner is as easy as picking the lowest number in the squares adjacent to you.
Numbers are node weights. Shortest path to summoner is as easy as picking the lowest number in the squares adjacent to you.

The Grid, Continued

I couldn’t shake the idea. This morning, my first order of business was trying out pixel-based movement for the Summoner.

It actually seems to work really well. Even placing summons felt natural–I’m having them align to a grid, double the resolution of the tiles, to keep it tidy. It’s actually a lot like how Escape Goat handled a combination of tile grid and pixel accurate movement. Now Aeox can block a two-tile wide corridor… we’ll see how that changes things at the micro level.

Enabling pixel based movement for the monsters opened up a can of worms. Since they swarm so close to one another, I had to bring some of what I learned about collision resolution from Escape Goat, to keep them from merging and overlapping. It brought me back to the good old days of 2011, when, for months on end, every SVN checkin was noted as “collision hell”. I can probably keep this visit much shorter (though I said that to myself every day back then). Collisions are nowhere near as complex as Escape Goat, so basic AABB testing should do the trick.

I’m looking forward to seeing how this will look with dozens of monsters packed tightly together–should be reminiscent of Gauntlet.

The Grid

Man, just when I thought I had a handle on scope.

A friend of mine brought up something interesting this evening. We looked at some footage of Soulcaster, and he remarked that he thinks things would be improved if we took the characters off the grid. (The grid here means the tile-based movement, a la Final Fantasy VI, which all monsters and the player adhere to.)

In the last couple hours I’ve been mulling the idea over, and have a few pros and cons I’m weighing.

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Destructibles to Control the Flow of Battle

One of the flaws in Soulcaster I & II was the lack of information the player got in terms of what the next phase of the battle would be. Enemies would simply spawn out of the woodwork, without warning, and you’d have to deal with them immediately. If you’ve got the skills, this isn’t the end of the world, but on your first run through the game, it’s likely you’ll get overwhelmed, have to burn a scroll and a potion, and run around kiting the enemies while trying to set up a formation. It makes it less about tractical positioning and more about fleeing for survival.

In an effort to move the needle a bit from “action” to “strategy”, I developed a system to hint at the evolution of the battle. It involves multi-stage breakable walls and floors, which change the layout of the room as the battle progresses.

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