It's the little things


It's been a while over the holidays and with my day job since any significant changes have happened to the game.  Cleaning up code and adding comments doesn't make for compelling reading, but it is work that needs to get done.

But now, it's the little things I have to focus on.  I want to get something out by this summer that feels like a 'game'.  Which means combat, and means ignoring a bunch of things I plan to add in later just so I can feel some progress and let people get a little excited about having something in their hands.

On that end, I'm going to bypass the combat I plan for the final game and go with a simple "YOU'RE IN COMBAT!" moment as you explore the dungeon.  When it happens, you get the choice to attack or run.  But it's silly things like "how do you run?" that suddenly make you realize how many little decisions actually go into making a game, and how any one of them can ruin it.

In this example, running from combat when you want to escape.  Do you press (R) for run, (F) for flee or (E) for escape?  And if not (F) do you press (F) for fight or (A) for attack?

- OR -

Do you move in a direction to flee?  North, South, East, and West...?  Does moving in one direction over another change the chances of escape?  If moving is what you need to do to flee, what happens when you move into the creature attacking?  Is that an attack?  A push?  An attempt to flee past them?  Or does nothing happen?  If nothing happens does it take your turn?  Or does it just say 'invalid move' and let you try again?

All of these decisions have to be made just so I can put off doing the complicated combat and have it be you standing in a square with a random creature in front of me letting you attack or flee.

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I was going to tweet a reply, but it's too long for that medium so I opened an account to do it here instead. :)

On the subject of key commands, I'd be tempted to abstract the actual command from the action triggered and then use either a config file or an assignment block to map the keys to actions.  That makes it fairly irrelevant which keys you choose to use during development, because you're bound to change your mind, and it's too early to get hung up on relatively trivial choices.

As to directions, this depends somewhat on whether combat is initiated between (party) units on adjacent tiles or by units moving onto the same tile.  If it's the former, then obviously fleeing in the direction of an enemy would fail -  and it is possible you may find yourself surrounded- which won't end well.  Simply, you cannot flee onto an enemy tile or one adjacent to an enemy.  If it's the latter, then you'd probably need to make sure you can't flee "through" the enemy, so you might want to restrict the direction of flight to that from which you approached battle, and perhaps the directions adjacent to it if diagonal movement is allowed. So if you attacked from the west, you could flee SW, W or NW.  Conversely, if you were attacked (enemy moves onto your tile on the AI's turn), then your direction of flight would be opposite to that which they attacked from.

Since you are fleeing, I'd also be tempted to introduce some randomness in the actual direction you flee in (i.e. put the choice to the 'dice' rather than the player's control), while still applying the restrictions above.  That means you may flee straight into another enemy, which would trigger yet another battle.  You could even link that to the party stats, so that the party may stand a better chance of making a wise decision when fleeing as they get more experienced.

...but you could add that later. Initially, you don't even need to worry about which directions you can flee in, just have a routine for exiting a battle early (without victory) and add parameters and restrictions to it as you add more features to your combat and/or stats.

Hey there!

Twitter is hard to give a good in depth reply to just about anything. 

Current code is working in that concept.  That there is a key press they player can redefine if they want, but there's also something to be said for having a comfortable default key layout.  For example the age old ESDF vs WASD.  As a staunch ESDFer I want to make that default, I just know better.  :)

That said.  You're right on me over thinking it for now.  I tend to get lost on such things easily, and dwell on details that don't deliver for the amount of time I spend on them, often to the point of tanking the project just due to time.

For this the enemy will occupy a neighboring tile.... and indirectly in the middle of typing this I think you just gave me how I'm going to handle it.

So, here's what I'm thinking.  Combat commences and in open tiles around the player 1 to 4 enemies might appear.  1-8 if I decide to use diagonals.  Fleeing will require a direction because if you're surrounded you need to fight your way out.   Moving away will break all combat to start, but this also could give me that partial end state where you get XP for killing a monster, if not all of them, but gold for finishing the fight.

It also keeps me closer to the path I want which is to see the enemies before they appear.    I have ideas for spells like ESP and Clairvoiance that let you see things in dark spaces, or other parts of the map based on where enemies are.

Thanks!

Great.

I think the whole purpose of posting dev blogs like this is to get some feedback which stirs up ideas, so if it has led to a concept you feel happy with, it's done its job. :)

Nothing worse than getting bogged down while developing, for whatever reason.

Thanks,

Posting stuff like this is super hard for me.  I wrote a full on RPG a while ago.  Combination strategy & Resources management game and LARP (don't judge!).   I was in the final stages of it, after about 6 years of work.   I was just going through final polish when... one of my "friends" took a copy, reworded some of it, then copyrighted it as his own.  I had known the guy for over 10 years, and basically since he was a kid, and it's been a struggle to want to put anything creative out anywhere for anyone to even look at because of that.

Slowly getting over it, so hopefully this will help me get past one really bad experience.

(+1)

I can't negate what must have been an awful and scarring experience for you - and the truth is such things can happen so you need to cover yourself as much as you can, making sure that anything you share - even with friends - is adequately licensed and so on. Using something like GitLab to host a private repository while you develop also provides a time-line and code trail which would easily counter any claim anyone else made on your work.

But for every bad egg there are lots of good people out there willing to help and encourage simply because they themselves are in a similar position of have gone through it in the past, or just because they are enthusiastic about game development and want to see what you come up with.

One of the great rewards of game development is to see people playing and enjoying the fruits of your work.  I suspect that applies to any creative endeavour.

Thanks I need to be reminded of that sometimes.  I am working on getting it out there. I do know I do much better on deadlines when I publicly announce them.  The pressure is on then, and I want feed back on how this whole thing goes.  I'm excited for what's in store for it.  

I also need to do more with Git.   Ugh...   I've been putting that beast off for far too long.