State of the Game – 31/03/2019

Another month, another update, my Lords!

This last one has been a crazy one, but the work to bring the dark realm to reality does not cease! Welcome back, Lord, and let me, you Loyal Overseer, tell you of our efforts!

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To begin with, I will make a quick overview of the features we currently have completed, to paint a better picture of where we stand now.

  • Creature Movement and Command – Having created a comprehensive pathfinding for the AI, creatures can move through the spaces available. They can also be selected and given direct command. Both of these systems need to be expanded and refined, but are currently working.
  • Excavation – Players can tag tiles for excavation and workers will make their way to them if possible and dig them out.
  • Claiming and Fortification – Dirt Tiles and Earth tiles adjacent to player-owned terrain will be developed by your workers into claimed floor tiles and fortified walls respectively.
  • Room and Object Construction – Once terrain is claimed, players may place room tiles on it. These room tiles have objects that can be placed within them respectively.
  • Creature Summoning – When owning a portal, you can spend gold to call chosen creatures through the gateway and build your army.
  • Gold and Economy – Gold is present as a resource in the game. It can be mined out of tiles and carried to your Throne by workers. It is currently used for summoning creatures through the portal and building most things. As development progresses, there will appear more uses for gold.
  • Creature Stats – We have created a large array of stats that each unit has, from health and morale, to resistances, needs etc. This paves the way for more advanced systems to be built to use these statistics.
  • Creature Awareness – Units have several different awareness zones, to account for sight and proximity. This makes them capable of reacting to things, such as enemies.
  • Unit Data Collection – A number of systems have been set up that account for what’s happening within the game world. This data includes things such as proximity of other actors (units), the faction they belong to, their numbers, strength etc. These are only a few examples, but this data will be fed to units to help them decide which is the best course of action in their current situation. It is a framework for an intelligent AI, both for creatures and AI players/handlers.
  • Creature Behavior – Creatures have needs and preferred tasks, which they will attempt to do if the right things are built in your dungeon. When left idle, creatures will wander about within your territory. This will later be expanded with more tasks and possible idle behaviors to help give even more life to the little blighters that will populate your dungeon. Or unlife in some cases. Current behaviors and systems built for them include sleeping at the creature’s own lair when injured or tired to replenish Health and Rest, Eating by going to the Kitchen, getting food and sitting at a table to consume it and Training when otherwise idle.
  • Lair System – Players can place down empty Lair Plots, which will be claimed by creatures who are in need of a Lair. Upon being claimed, the Lair Plot model will change to that of the creature’s lair type. When the creature is destroyed, the lair will revert to an empty plot, allowing it to be claimed by a new owner.
  • Combat – Based on previously mentioned systems, creatures can recognize an enemy and will engage in combat. Based on their damage and resistances, they will fight until one side is defeated. Currently only melee is implemented, but physics based projectiles are being worked on right now for ranged units. We also naturally have plans for many different abilities to appear in creatures’ arsenals as they grow in power by leveling up.
  • Leveling System – When training (or in the future, engaged in combat) creatures will gain experience, which will eventually increase their level and make them more powerful. As mentioned, eventually they will learn new abilities at different levels, to become even more devastating or versatile on the field.

There are various other minutia, but these are some of the largest and most important systems in the game and we are happy we now have so many of them functional. While much of it needs expanding and refinement, this is never-the-less, an extremely good milestone for LoN’s development. From here we can begin adding more creatures, expanding their behaviors, polishing nad expanding existing systems and much more. A few major systems like manufacture and trap creation, spells and research (as well as the elusive Overworld) still remain, but they are now on the horizon. Now that we’ve talked about this, let’s examine what we are currently busy with!

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While updating the Throne Room recently, we encountered some issues which put our existing plans of updating our map editor in the forefront. Now that much of the basic functionality of the game is in, combat and all, we need to focus on level design and creation, which will require a better editor. The old one was quite outdated and lacking in functionality, so what we intend to do is have the new one integrated into the game, rather than being it’s own separate application. We will, having rebuilt it, begin expanding it’s functionality to include things like enemy spawners, scripts etc, to allow us to make the first iterations of what will be genuine gameplay! Can you believe it? No, we can’t either. Moving swiftly on…

On the artistic side, while some are secretly engaged in designing new creatures and other more… secret entities (shhhhhhh!), others are working on assets for our clutter system! Clutter will spread throughout your dungeon, making it look more full and lived-in, not to mention dark and sinister! From pots and cobwebs, to bones, skulls and various other appropriate knick-knacks, usually depending on the room they are found in. Here, per example, you can see the animal skull clutter collection, made by our dear Blutonium! The dungeon will surely be interesting with some of these bad boys spread around!

In addition, work has begun on animating the Archer hero! Beware your mobile pin-cushion of an army, Lords, for their days may yet be numbered… Then again, goblins are expendable… Don’t tell them i said that.

Also brushing the animation department, we have rethought certain parameters concerning our combat animations and will re-record some things to create more distance between combatants, allowing more dynamic movement and realism, rather than two units standing still and whacking each other to death. We plan for units to often lunge forward with their attacks, sidestep, and even dodge attacks. We will work to make this a realistic and entertaining sight to behold. Up until an errant fireball slams into them and erases both friend and foe from the face of Antioch. Warlocks…

And finally, our fantastic friends at WindUp Audio have been working on some sample themes to pin down the direction they want to head in with our music! We are extremely happy with it and excited to hear how it goes forward and we think you will be too!

Sample Test Construction Theme – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1YUlJwLHd6jrCJifyd5FyNn66PmUG0jwk/view

With that, we conclude this month’s update into the various goings on in the development of LoN and return to the depths to work further on your dark machinations!

Until next time, Lords, stand defiant to the Light, as always!
– Your Loyal Overseer

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