Monthly Archives: March 2013

Undesktop Tuesdays. GDC!

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This week I’m at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco!  I’m learning lots of things and meeting all kinds of awesome people. 

Unfortunately that means no actual screenshots today, but I’ll see if I can give you guys a substitute update over the weekend.

Desktop Tuesdays, Refining Build Mode Graphics

Last week on our TIGForums thread, we got feedback that you shouldn’t be able to see a preview of your fully constructed buildings when you’re drawing out designs in build mode.  The thinking is that seeing your fully constructed building is a satisfying reward.  If you can always see what the building would look like by flipping to build mode, this reward is lost. It’s a good point.

So I spent yesterday and today playing around with different looks for uncompleted buildings in build mode.  Here’s what I came up with.  Not the most innovative display, but I think it works.  These are just Photoshop mockups. Tony will implement the final shaders once we’ve hammered out the final look

buildMode buildMode2

The first mockup shows the center house being planned out, between two already fully build houses.

In the second mockup, the player has exited build mode.  The dotted-line plot indicates that something will be built in that area.

Taking Another Stab at World Generation

Hi ho! Tony continues to pound away at the combat engine. The basics are pretty much in place and it’s looking promising so far! We’ll try to shoot a video next week so you can see what he’s been up to.

Since I finished the first batch of combat animations, I’m devoting some time to take a second look at generating the world. Each time you play Stonehearth, you’ll start ins a randomly-generated landscape. A common technique for generating realistic terrain is to use a Perlin noise heightmap.  This is how we built the gentle rolling hills and mountains in the prototype video.

But this kind of landscape has one giant gameplay issue: there isn’t much level ground to build on. You can see this in the prototype video too.  I kind of have to hunt around for a flat place to put my stockpiles and houses.  To keep the pace of the game fun and brisk, we’re going to need a world with fairly large regions of flat (or mostly flat) ground.  The trick is to have a world that’s both interesting and beautiful, as well as also fun to build on.

After playing around with a lot of options, here’s what I’ve come up with.  This first concept shows a town built on the foothills of a mountain range.  As you can see, the terrain is segmented into flat regions, with big “stair step” type cliffs for changes in elevation.  This gives us the building space we need, while at the same type hearkening back to the rpg and tactics games of the SNES era, our major inspiration stylistically.

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Here’s another concept that shows what we hope the end game will look like.  We’re shooting for a really epic scale here!

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Desktop Tuesday, Combat Animations!

Greetings. We are hard at work fleshing out the third leg the core game, combat! (For those just tuning in, the other two legs are resource gathering and building/crafting). For Tony that means implementing the basic rules of combat and combat AI. For me it means animations. Here’s an animated version of the idle pose that I showed you last week.

combat-animation-idle

There are three attack animations after the jump…

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Desktop Tuesday, Combat Units! Footman Progression

Greetings. Tony is waist deep in AI code, composing our very first scenario. A scenario is a scripted encounter that is triggered by some event in the world. This first scenario is a party of goblin raiders who will pay you a little “visit” once you start accumulate something worth having (resources, treasure, whatever). We plan to have hundreds of these scenarios, and it’s a fundamental goal of the game to make it easy for you guys to write and share your own scenarios.

footman-progression

The goblin assets are in pretty good shape, so I’ve moved on to defining your own combat units! Above is your first combat unit, the Footman. I’ll explain what’s going in that screenshot after the jump.

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