March 25, 2014 - Scripting in battles!
Okay, had a few non-productive days but I'm back on it now. Programmed some basic RLE compression for map files and saved games, bringing both down to about 20% their original size on average. So even browsers with small HTML5 local storage space allotments should have no issues with the game.
Also, I was planning on implementing it later after the demo, but I figured out a pretty simple way to allow scripting to happen within battles.
This is going to open a ton of possibilities for combat. One of the funnier random ideas that popped into my head was that I could have an enemy stop to sell you items in the middle of battle. Or combined with the interactive dialogue function, an enemy could ask you multiple-choice trivia questions and hit you if you get them wrong :)
Of course, in the actual game I'll find more appropriate ways to use in-battle scripting.
March 13, 2014 - New plan
Okay, new plan. The engine is complete, but I really want there to be a decent amount of content for a demo release that adequately demonstrates the engine's capabilities.
The new demo release date is "when I feel like I have something impressive to show off".
March 10, 2014 - sorry sorry sorry
Don't mean to be such a tease, but real life situations involving socializing with other human beings have been taking up my free time as of late. I should be able to get this demo finished up this week though *fingers crossed*
March 04, 2014 - Light at the end of the tunnel
Player magic is now implemented in combat, and the leveling up is complete. Still need to handle the "game over" state, set up the sound effects and music changes for combat, and add enemy magic. I think in the future I will also be adding scripting that can be triggered within combat, but I won't need that for the demo release so I'll add that afterwards.
The engine will be functionally complete tonight! (though of course I'll be constantly adding features and tweaking the interface through the development of the game content)
March 01, 2014 - Ain't happening tonight
All right, the engine is like 95% complete, and I could rush it to completion tonight and throw a demo together, but I really want there to be some decent, polished content to go with the engine so I'm pushing back the demo release to March 9th.
The list of things left to complete in the engine is dwindling ever smaller. I've already implemented fighting, using items, and running in combat, but still need to implement magic (four types of spells - cure all, cure one, attack all, attack one) both for players and enemies.
I also need to implement the GP/XP rewards after a battle is over, and leveling up.
February 24, 2014 - Rawr
February 21, 2014 - Assuming Control
Okay, went a teeny bit nuts today with the control system. Now you can optionally navigate menus with mouse, go forward with a left click, and back out with a right click. Also figured out Firefox's gamepad API (I had previously only gotten it working in Chrome).
I set up the experience curves for leveling up, and made a few more changes to the main menu to make it easier to use.
Maybe this is all just stalling. I should really get to the battle engine, because I'm a little behind schedule on that.
February 19, 2014 - Shop talk
Interactive dialogue options and item shops are now complete! (well, still need to polish off a couple things but the functionality is there) I've even gotten the ability to sell items in there. Part of this involved expanding the menu systems so I can have multiple groups of menu items. Change which column of menu items you're in with the left and right keys, and select items within your current column with up and down. Should be pretty intuitive though I'll see what kind of feedback I get from the demo in March.
All right, time to take a deep breath and dive into the battle engine...
February 14, 2014 - Menus done
*phew* designing a proper menu interface is actually a much larger task than it seems. It's easy to just throw together a menu system that works on a minimally functional level, but this is an RPG. Players are going to spend a lot of time navigating through menus and comparing stats and other figures, so it all needs to be intuitive and informative.
Anyway, I've got the whole main menu system done, though I may tweak some things later on. You can use/arrange/drop items, change your party order, view stats, equip/unequip weapons and armor, load and save games (using HTML5 localStorage), import/export save game info, use/learn magic spells, and set a few game options.
Next thing I need to do is program item stores and inns, and interactive dialogue options.
February 10, 2014 - Gamepad support
Apparently, Chrome and Firefox have native gamepad support built in. There's an interesting article about it online here:
In related news, I've got gamepad support working in the engine.
February 07, 2014 - Almost off the menu
Just about done programming the whole main menu system. Just need to add the thing the little thing that quickly compares the item you're about to equip with what's currently equipped. Also, the magic system.
Once that's done, I'll move on to programming item stores and inns, as well as interactive dialogue options.
That's about all I need for the main engine. After that, I'll be diving headfirst into programming the combat engine, which is likely to be the most difficult part. Wish me luck!
February 05, 2014 - Interface Work
Yesterday I was working on the main menu system. Looking at the original QBasic version of The ARC Legacy basically gives me all the guidance I need in how NOT to build a proper interface. I guess I was just focusing on the game content and putting as little effort as possible into the interface. I don't recall exactly what I was thinking way back in 1999.
So here's a list of a bunch of the UI stuff I got wrong with the original game, to use as a kind of reverse checklist:
- When using healing items and spells, you can't see HP of the character you're using it on, and it doesn't even show the result afterwards
- To view any character stats, including basic HP and MP information, you have to look at the characters all separately, and the delay in loading character portraits is quite annoying
- There is no way to re-arrange the items in your inventory. Especially annoying late in the game because the top of your inventory will consist mostly of undroppable key items
- Items of the same type don't stack, they just become extra items, so you'll likely have to scroll past a ton of health potions
- Equipping weapons and armor and learning magic spells is done by using the item, which is okay, but there should have also been equip/unequip options from the character pages
- When purchasing items, if you don't have enough gold, the game gives no indication that you didn't buy it.
- No way to compare stats of items before purchase, and in the case of weapons there isn't even any way to compare stats at all (other than trying them out on enemies)
- Arbitrary switching between arrow keys and number keys (this happens in battle as well)
- No confirmation if you accidentally choose to drop an item
- Loading a game requires quitting and restarting
- Saving a game requires typing a valid DOS file name, with unpredictable results if one were to type something invalid
Ah, the nostalgic memories of the old QBasic programming scene. I'd like to think that I've learned a lot about proper programming practice and interface design since then. But we'll see.
February 04, 2014 - Site Outage
Some problem happened with the server, which apparently also broke the abstract-productions.net emails. So if anyone sent me any email through my email address under this domain yesterday, you'll need to send it again.
On another note, here's some sprite artwork I just finished up last night - portraits of the four main characters:
January 29, 2014 - Spriting away
Oh yeah... sprite artwork is really hard to do. I forgot about that :)
January 19, 2014 - Back in Action
I've been updating some of the code and improving my editing tools. For the game content itself I'm starting over from scratch and trying for a more retro 8-bit style.
I will have a demo of the complete engine (including combat) out by March 1st. I hope to have the entire game complete by early 2015.
January 16, 2014 - Getting there...
I've at least taken the look of the site out of the 1990s, so it's a start. A bit monochromatic but it's hard to find colors outside of black, green, and white that don't clash with it. So, let me know, what do you think?
Haha, that's funny, I'm talking like people actually are actually visiting this page :)
January 13, 2014 - Redesign continues
Still redesigning the website.
By the way, I'm in a video game cover band called Zero-Gen and we'll be playing the Vancouver Retro Gaming Expo on April 5th, 2014.
We'll have an almost entirely new set list for this show compared to last year.
December 27, 2013 - Redesign!
At long last, I'm redesigning the site. Still keeping a minimal kind of look to it, but I'm throwing in some responsive CSS and some HTML5 tricks.
May 04, 2012 - Wanted Red Dead or Alive
Entered the most recent Dwelling of Duels competition with a cover of "Far Away" from Red Dead Redemption.
The sound of this cover is kind of inspired by Wanted Dead or Alive.
November 02, 2010 - Plasma!
I figured out how to do fractal plasma... it's a fairly simple algorithm once you wrap your head around it. Anyway, check it out (doesn't work in IE)