Wednesday, February 23, 2011

More delays

The last few weeks have seen a decided lack of progress in the game, due to a bunch of conflicting priorities. Chief among those was getting some more work done in the basement; we're nearing completion of the drywall, which puts us only a few weeks away from being ready to move stuff in there and actually enjoy that space for the first time in the six years we've lived in this house. That'll be a nice change.

Another problem I've been dealing with is a severe lack of direction with the game. I've got a thousand things I could be doing, but none of them were clear winners in the "this needs to be done next" camp and all of them were big and awkward and require a fair bit of time and motivation to tackle. So the net result is that I felt like doing nothing.

I finally realised what was going on a couple days ago and have taken steps to correct it. The real problem that I've been facing is that there's no game in this game, and that's where I need to start. So I'm going to work on the basis of "what do I need to do next to make this more like a game?" And the first thing that came to mind was that, y'know, there needs to be an entrance to this dungeon... And voila, I have made a dungeon entrance!

I know it doesn't look like much, but that's because it's kind of living in isolation right now. It'll look a lot better once it's actually in place in a dungeon. I've got some work left to do on the floor (I stretched it out like crazy for the screenshot because I wanted it to be obvious what it was) and I've got some other tweaking to do, but overall I think everything's in pretty good shape. Sometime this weekend I'm hoping to finish it up enough to get it in place in the game, then start spawning creatures from it.

After that... well, there are a bunch of things I could tackle after that. I'll probably need to start by switching out my hacked-up UI library for something a little more robust, which I think I can accomplish with a single day's work, and then I can start experimenting with playing the game to see what elements I need to work on to make things actually fun.

My goal is still to get an early demo out there before the baby's born, which gives me another month (hopefully). I don't know if I can make it, but I'm sure going to try!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Starting to look like a game!

I've spent the last couple days moving stuff around, trying to get my basement cleared out enough for an electrician to do the rough wiring. Not surprisingly, that hasn't left a whole ton of time for me to work on the game. Luckily, that particular bit is out of the road and tonight I cleared out some more time to get a bunch of work done, which mostly involved trying to get the kobold model into the game. It worked, but...

Well, here's the thing. I made the kobold model smallish, because kobolds are small, right?

But they were so small you couldn't even see that they had claws on their toes. That seemed a little excessively small to me. So I grew them almost 50%. Their eyes were still so small they were eating up maybe a pixel on my screen. That was just ridiculous. So I doubled the size of the eyes, and took this screenshot.

Things still ain't right.

So now I'm looking into zooming the camera in and out... It'd be a shame to spend all that time modeling these guys only to have them be so puny on screen that you couldn't even see what a horrible modeling job I did!

On the topic of the model, you may not be able to tell from this screenshot, but the model's head has changed pretty significantly. The nostrils have widened out a bit, the head was squashed in towards the middle, and the eyes and ears were both rotated quite a bit towards the back. Overall it's starting to look a whole lot more like Tom's artwork, although I'm still not doing it justice.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Getting better

My kobold may not be perfect, but as you can see in this picture, it's getting steadily better. I'm noticing now that the head shape really doesn't match up with what Tom drew yet, and of course the kobold's body and parts are all just flat colours, without any of the fur or other interesting textural details that'll make them really pop. And the feet are still just blocks, and the pot belly still just ain't right. But aside from all that, I think I'm doing pretty darn well so far. I'll probably just make the feet look like real feet and then stop with the model for now and go back to real gameplay stuff.

Thinking of gameplay, I remembered that in my last post about mechanics, I left out an important resource: prestige! (Or notoriety, I haven't quite made up my mind about which name is better.) The idea of prestige is that it represents how well known you are and, more importantly, how respected you are. Greater respect = more powerful monsters coming to work for you, and also more powerful heroes invading your dungeon...

There are a few ways to gain prestige. The simplest, though least effective, is to make your dungeon bigger. Having a dungeon with multiple floors grants you an additional bonus, because the deeper the dungeon, the more powerful the monsters you must have (or at least that's what everyone thinks). Killing heroes grants you prestige, but having heroes escape with lots of loot can increase your prestige even faster. On the other hand, having your monsters killed (albeit temporarily) earns you a bit of a reputation for being a poor leader, decreasing your prestige.

I'm also now trying to decide if I should gear the game towards infinite play (think SimCity) or limit it in some way where there are definite victory conditions (Civ). If I go with victory conditions of some sort, achieving a sufficiently astronomical prestige rating would be a pretty obvious victory condition, representing your influence becoming so great that even your enemies are forced to concede that you're unstoppable. I'd also need some other victory conditions... I think I'd prefer to stay away from the "highest score after X turns" that's the default of Civ, because that's kinda boring to me, but I'm not sure right now what else to use. Anyone have any ideas?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Holy crap this is ugly!

I've started modeling the kobolds, because it's something I can fiddle with in my spare time and it amuses me. At some point this weekend I'll get back to coding, but for now I'm having fun with this guy.

Of course, just because I'm having fun with it doesn't mean I'm actually any, y'know, good or anything. Still, they're getting steadily better and it's still (obviously) very early in the modeling process. You can probably get an idea of where they're going, and as the process goes on there'll be a bunch of changes that'll make them look better in a hurry, so don't worry too much about how ugly this guy looks right now.

It'd be nice to get the first incarnation of this guy done so I can start having real monsters in the game instead of just green blob man... :-)