It’s been another hiatus since the last update but there’s been a fair amount of progress made recently.
I’ve finally gotten around to improving the UI in some areas. The task screen has been completely remade to remove the majority of the text and use icons instead. Tapping on an icon will show a text popup with the description.
Another important addition has been changing how text is stored, it’s now done in a way to allow automatic language switching within the game based on the device.
The map has also been completely remade due to software issues (more on this below). During the recreation, I’ve decided to add in a few different biomes to help split up the map. This still needs a lot of work but the variety of environments will help to make the world a bit more interesting. It’s still a work in progress so the edges between the biomes still needs work.
Alongside the actual game development, the tools used to help create the game have also changed. Originally I was using Tilesetter to create the map but unfortunately due to bugs in the software, it caused additional work with parts of the map having to be recreated multiple times. I’ve since moved over to using Tiled which does essentially the same task as Tilesetter but appears to be still in active development. On top of that, Tiled also has a lot of features already implemented which are still on the Tilesetter roadmap which I’ve been waiting for to help with production.
Recently there has also been a lot more planning on the whole project including features to add and what needs fixing/changing. One essential point is the pricing. Originally it was planned to make the game completely paid but now it will be a freemium type game with ads that can be removed with a one-off payment.
There’s not a huge amount to see in this update as most changes are behind the scenes or still needing some tidying up before being showcased.
The way the inventory and tasks worked together was somewhat flawed when adding a task which had requirements. The issue was that it was checking the current item quantities instead of what the runner would be carrying at the time. The solution was to create a ‘potential inventory’ system which would calculate what a runner would be carrying at the time of the task if all previous tasks had been completed.
A simplistic dialogue system has been added, only for the tutorial at the moment but now it’s in place it can be used elsewhere it’s needed. The tutorial itself still needs to be updated to be more informative, currently it just tells the player the items they need to complete it but I plan to change it so it explains the UI as well.
The majority of the map updates are still a work in progress but in the mean time I’ve added a new building type, the tavern. The tavern allows you to hire more runners and therefore allows you to perform multiple tasks at once. A few more random houses have also been thrown onto the map which at this point purely act as locations to receive quests.
Over the last week I’ve been starting to convert Exitus over to libGDX & Kotlin. During the process a couple of additions have also been added.
Not just squares
The first noticeable change is that the city generation now allows non square buildings to be created. This was on the list of changes for quite a while but it’s been added in during the rebuild. You’ll have to excuse the textures, it’s still using the whole spritesheet as the centre textures for the building sections.
The other change is the appearance of buildings. The building models now have two different height walls for the internal and external views. Outside a building has full height walls but moving the camera inside the building cuts away to show the current floor. The left image shows the internal view and the right image shows the external walls (in the top left).
After finishing the basic structure of the building, the next step is to add neighbouring city block generation for an infinite map.
The main update for this version is adding an info panel for the runners and locations. It provides the player with additional actions including centring the map on the selected element, creating a task for a runner from a location and opening the runner’s inventory.
The above show what will appear when a runner is selected, the icons are an image of the selected runner, the tasks button and the inventory button. The sizing and position still needs a bit of tweaking as you may have guessed. You’ll also probably notice that the runner has a different appearance too. The core method for allowing different skins is now in place so you can easily identify which runner is which (when you can finally have more than one)
I mentioned the inventory earlier which has also been put back into place but it’s currently being scaled so the text is a little blurry
Another important addition for this version is getting the saving working again which required a complete remake for the GDX infrastructure. Like before the gdx update the camera position and the runner data is saved.
The most visible change made this week is another one which hadn’t been implemented in the original version and that’s background animation on the map. This is really another reason why it was decided to move over to gdx, although possible with the original version it would have been time consuming and gdx has made it a breeze to get working.
Another change which is being worked on is adding landscape orientation support. The original version was purely portrait and adding landscape was always an afterthought but being that the UI is being rebuilt anyway, it’s the perfect time to get it plumbed in.
The rest of the development has been migrating elements from the original version into the new. A slow gradual process.
You’re probably wondering why after the previous posts about the runners game we’ve landed at version 0.0.1, well there wasn’t any sort of versioning before and it’s being remade to a degree. The way the original version was put together made it very difficult to implement zooming on the map. Because of this, zooming was one of the first things to be put together in the new version.
It was also made with my own implementation of OpenGL which was still pretty buggy so I’ve decided to switch it over to use libGdx. Now the new map is working the way I want it to I can start merging code over from the previous version.
The main noticeable change this week is the introduction of animation for both the creatures and the background. Previously the creatures would instantly move to the selected location but now they follow the path changing direction and displaying an animated walk cycle. A test area of water has been added to the centre of the battlefield as a testing ground for both an animated background and to act as a blocked area for pathfinding.
Another visual change is the selected creature details box has been styled (slightly) and also works as a quick link to centre the camera on the selected creature.
Behind the scenes a major change has been made to the creature movement and action point system. Previously creatures had one movement point per round and the action point accumulated, now it’s completely custom for each creature and non creature cards now have mana and/or stamina requirements. Creature movement is his based off stamina but based off movement stamina, meaning big slow creatures with high movement stamina won’t be able to move far but can do some devastating high damage stamina based attacks.
Learning libGdx is something I’ve been meaning to do for some time now and I’ve finally gotten round to doing it. I decided to convert an existing project instead of creating something from scratch and spent the last week or two working on it. The previous game was purely for Android but using Gdx allows the project to also be built for desktop and iOS.
The initial idea for the game was to create something which was essentially a TCG with an additional layer of strategy by having a playfield to move characters around. Each character would have their own deck and characters of different types would have decks containing different cards.
The first version was created as just portrait for mobile but being the main structure was being remade I made the decision to cater for both portrait and landscape, especially with the option for building for desktop. Originally the battlefield was going to just be a five by eight grid with just the card icons as movable tokens but while working on the Gdx implementation I thought it would be better to use separate battlefield sprites and create an actual level with obstacles to maneuver around. In its current state the creatures gain one action point per turn and can move one space each turn but they cast as many spells they have action points for. After thinking about how this plays out I think it’s going to change in a future update
Another visible change is that I’ve decided to give a ‘demake’ effect to the card images by changing the graphics to a 16bit type appearance. They all still need to be tweaked and I need create a proper palette for them.
Currently there’s only a few different cards which were used for testing. This mainly consisted of spawning creatures and affecting them with effects. Once everything is working correctly with Gdx and I make a few changes to some of the game mechanics, I can continue to add new cards.
There’s just a couple of new things to showcase after all this time which are the inventory UI and scrolling support. A fair amount of work was put into the tutorial but has been put on hold for the time being.
A bit more map work has also been done to start planning the position of additional locations.
The bulk of the progress made this week is with the UI. I’ve completely remade it all to use a base display to keep it consistent for each view. I’m not too happy with the buttons and there’s a little bit of a stretching issue but the new changes will make updating this in the future much easier.
Other updates include creating a dialogue handling system for displaying multiple strips of text which will be used for the tutorial and quest information. Hopefully this will be finished next week