A Look At What's Coming
What is Tristan working on?
A New Creature, The "Goblin"
For this creature, I wanted to create something that would act as fodder, yet still have a somewhat substantial shape and presence, hence its chunkier and more solid body and limbs.
In terms of inspiration, the tentacles on its back were designed to be more “alien” than “sea-creature,” and its face was made to resemble that of both real-world sea beasts and its tentative namesake: the fictional goblin.
Throughout the game, players will be gathering items for crafting and collecting new weapons and upgrades. While we want to encourage exploration, we don't want players endlessly farming the same areas for crafting materials. We want progression to be fast and rewarding, and for crafting items to be significant even in small quantities.
To implement these ideas, we've decided to implement an inventory system similar to those used by games like Diablo and Resident Evil 4. Because the number of items you'll be able to carry at any one time is limited, it will reduce the need to (and hopefully compulsion to) hoard everything, and encourage deliberate decision making about which items to collect in each playthrough.
What is Jarrett working on?
Lately we've been asking ourselves the question "what makes our combat interesting?" Discussing the subject we arrived at some core tenets of our vision:
Combat is relatively slow. Dodging slow moving projectiles is totally viable.
Combat is methodical. Creatures have strengths and weaknesses that can be exploited. "Attacks" interact in more complex ways than damage / health. (Checkout the Gameplay Glimpse #1 Video for an example)
Combat is combinatorially interesting. Varied groups of enemies produce unique strategies.
In trying to fulfill these, we've been experimenting with a stamina/battery system to constrain actions. Things like shooting, boosting, and shield would all consume battery. The Battery is always recharging at an upgradeable rate.
Right now it's a pretty quick turnaround - you can deplete the starter battery in about 4 seconds of continues cannon shots, and it will recharge completely within 15 seconds. We might make this tighter, we might make it looser.
NeMO's Critical Path
Last week we introduced and briefly discussed NeMO (Neptune Master Operator). NeMO is basically the system that generates all of our procedural content.
I will freely admit, as I did last time, that NeMO is pretty dang dumb right now. Thankfully, we have been working on a significant improvement: Critical Pathfinding.
Once the raw cavern space has been generated, NeMO charts a path between the players entry point and the levels exit. This is the critical path. We know that for the player to complete the level they'll ultimately have to cross this route.
Therefore, if an essential gameplay element (like a tutorial message) needs to exist somewhere in the level, it should be on this path. If we want to make sure the players going to fight that big boss monster, then we smack it down right along the critical path.
Further, if we want to place an item off of the critical path, we can chart its distance from path to determine its "departure distance". If we want to hide a special item, but not make it totally impossible to find, we can specify a minimum and maximum departure distance for the placement position. The result is higher quality (but still random) placement of loot and creatures in the space. Neat!