Saturday, May 28, 2011

Weekly Update

I'm going to try and do a quick update at least once a week to help keep momentum going on the project.

Again I'm in some crunch time on my day job - which currently involves working on a distributed F15/F18 simulator. Still, I'm managing to sneak in a few hours a few nights a week.

Right now I'm trying to remove a couple of rare bugs... I recently restructured all the Spawners so I could set spawner parameters per map,  where previously you could just reference a spawner type by name and had to have it setup in a global definition file.  This has created some issues with invisible spawners blocking your path.

The load/save of levels is the biggest thorn in my side.  It's quite volatile to changes to any systems,  and with the game content getting longer,  I really don't want to have to start from scratch each time to test things. Generally its pretty stable at the moment, but I do have at least one rare bug to track down.  So I'm adding some new debug logs to track it what caused it next time it happens.

Content wise,  I've finished all the tutorial and starter missions and have my first quest set in the second city.  I've been stuck at this point for a few weeks now,  and found myself concentrating on polish and features which is always easier than adding quest content.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Updating again...

Its been a while since I've update the blog. Work on MageLore really slowed down at the start of the year but I've gotten back into it in the last couple of months and made some real progress.  So I thought it was about time to update the blog and start showing off some of the improvements.

Firstly, you can now be a male or a female. I thought this simple choice would open up the demographics a bit. The female character is the first composite human picture in the game, made from two attractive female celebrities, though I'd be impressed if anyone can guess who they are.

I've been reworking the upgrading system to try and make it more palatable to a broader audience, but without losing the ability to customise your characters.  Instead of upgrading 5 stat points per level, you now get to choose a single stat to upgrade from a drop-down screen that will appear.  To compensate for this simplicity, there are now 5 mage classes that you pick on creating a character. Each class has some specific benefits that are intended to influence the play style.  While it is no World Of Warcraft, it seems to be working pretty well in my playtests so far.

The virtual joypad has been replaced by a swipe interface. Based off the feel of Sword of Fargoal, you can now swipe in 8 directions to move around. A swipe direction is maintained by not removing your finger after the swipe. In the video I've enabled a debug mode that shows how the virtual joystick tracking works.

The HUD has moved to the top left of the screen and shows your level, gold and mana/hitpoints/xp. Pressing the player level square takes you to the inventory screen where you can view stats, learn spells, or inspect your inventory and missions.

There is now a quest helper which will track a single quest on screen showing where to go next to complete the current task. For kill tasks, this will take you to the area where the enemies spawn. Having this prevents you from ever wondering around aimlessly and lost, especially if you find yourself on the main map but forget what you should be doing next. It also removes some of the "find the objective" gameplay, so I've had to compensate in other areas, like having hidden rooms and treasure to discover.

The Time of Day counter is now a circular motion. This makes it much larger and seems to work marginally better though I'm not 100% happy with it yet.

I've removed the night/day/war/peace complexity from the enchantment slots. All slots are simple active slots now.  The old system was a little to abstract and detached from the gameplay to work. So again, its been simplified to reach a broader audience. To compensate for the loss of depth,  each slot can now be collecting magical essence from enemies and placing it on the slot. Upgrading a slot increases the strength of the enchantment for that slot,  so the player still has to choose which enchantments to put in the stronger slots.

There are some other changes but its late so I'll end up here and continue again in a week or two.
The video today goes from character creation to near the end of the tutorial mission.