Monday, November 22, 2010

Another monster, and some green bars

I'll start today with another one of Tom's monsters. This one is one of the candidate sketches Tom did for the monster we're currently calling "that all-purpose monster". We're trying to decide whether to call him a goblin, a kobold, or something else entirely. Personally, I'm leaning towards kobold. Whatever we call him, this particular monster type gave us a little more trouble than the others. We were having a hard time finding the right balance between a bunch of constraints; we want the monsters to be monsters, they need to look capable of fulfilling the roles we were giving them, and they also need to look like they've got lots of character and are perhaps more misunderstood than evil. As the saying goes, everyone's the hero of their own story, and these guys are no exception -- as far as they're concerned, "heroes" are crazy humans who bash their way into your home, kill your family, and then take all your stuff. Who knows why humans do what they do, man? So the monsters have to look like they could possibly be nice creatures after all, if you sat down and had a nice meal with them and got to know them a little.

Basically, I have a hard time playing games where you act like a villain -- I generally give them up because it upsets me. So when I'm building a game where you are, in fact, the classic D&D villain, my first move is to turn the villain into the good guy so I can enjoy playing the game. And the monsters have to follow suit. One of the perks of building your own game is that you get to do stuff like that!

Anyway. The kobold above was just a little too evil, but the real problem was I found myself trying to imagine him doing work in the dungeon and he felt like a good fighting monster but didn't seem suited to being a worker. So he's been rejected. He's not too far off the design we've currently settled on though.

(Yeah, I know, I keep showing rejected monsters. Trust me, when Tom finishes off the polished art for the real monsters, I'll be posting those!)

Tom's not the only one who's been busy though... I've implemented a bunch of random little things in the last week, including moving the map around when you click on the minimap, starting in on the logic for turn-based action, and as you can see in this picture, I'm now rendering health bars for the monsters! The idea is that these bars will float over monsters' heads to give you a quick visual indication of how healthy they are. These guys are showing as being at about half health (the darker green shows how far a full bar would go, the lighter green shows what percentage of health remains).

Now I've got to go clean up the code that renders the health bars, and at some point before the end of the week I'm hoping to actually add an entrance to the dungeon and get my first hero unit to walk in the door. Unless I get distracted. One of the nice things about building this game is that I get to work on whatever I find interesting at any given moment.

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