Your dark domain still bustles, and it is time to break the silence as to our progress in bringing your dark conquest to fruition! The team has been hard at work as usual, though much focus had to be given to refactoring and creating AI systems and the like. This has been the main reason for our recent silence, but we are over this now and intend to restructure our approach to updates and notifications! After this large update, we will aim for smaller, weekly updates, with monthly newsletters as we initially intended, so make sure to subscribe to that if you want more detailed summaries of our progress every month!
With that out of the way, let’s see what the minions have been up to these last few months!
- New AI System – As opposed to just having separate scripts that individually run various unit behaviours, we now have a fully fledged and dedicated AI system. This system encompasses all units and can and will eventually be used for overarching AI for enemy Lords, heroes and so on.
- It’s able to prioritize and execute actions based on a list of the available ones, as well as calculations regarding priority governed by different statistics that can be added and changed freely. This creates a comprehensive system that should make AI for both creatures and Enemies make intelligent decisions based on situations as they happen. In addition this system is flexible and can be expanded to include more behaviours and types of data the AI can process to make decisions.
We had to recreate the old behaviours (which were handled by mere commands rather than an AI’s decision making process) in this new system, but everything is set up and ready for improvements and new additions.
- Perception System – Allows units to efficiently be able to perceive and distinguish other units, be they friend or foe, based on several different perception parameters. These currently include sight and proximity, but later may include more such as hearing which may also be based on distance. Again, we’re focusing on making these systems flexible in order to be able to expand and enrich things as necessary.
- Damage System – An overall control system that handles all damage that happens in the game based on damage zones that can be dynamically created, targetting, animations, damage types, resistances, calculations on how much damage is received based on location within the damage zones etc. While still lacking some features, this system is the damage detection model for everything in the game and is integral to the gameplay, as you can easily understand.
- Collision Avoidance System – This system allows, to its namesake, detect and avoid collisions with obstacles and other units. It also functions based on priority. Per example, when idly moving about, a friendly unit will always make way for another unit that has been commanded by you. In addition, Lords have the highest priority and all friendly units will move out of their way or avoid getting too close if possible. This can have further applications, but those will be added in time if they are relevant.
- Combat – Now, all of these prior systems (and eventually a select few more) lead into this particular feature, as you can probably guess. They are all necessary to make things function in a way that when working, results in combat if all the conditions are right! When units of different factions perceive an enemy, they will attempt to attack the enemy until either they or the enemy is dead. This is of course only the bare bones of this feature and will later factor in things like morale, which determine how a creature may decide to behave in combat depending on whether or not it sees the situation as favourable infofurmanner.de.
Our plans for the future of combat include:
- Morale – as mentioned above, creatures may be affected by the combat situation they find themselves in, as well as some other factors.
- Physics-based projectiles – Projectiles will be physical objects in the word and will behave accordingly. They will deal damage to whatever it is they hit, or in some special cases like the dreaded fireball, will do what it is they do on impact (such as exploding). We intend the combat system to have friendly fire, which in combination with this will make it so you have to think carefully about where and when you position your ranged units and how you use certain unit abilities. In short, the combat will be more tactics-oriented, rather than simply who has the bigger, stronger army.
- The Soulstone – While not yet properly implemented as a mechanic, we have decided to add the Soulstone to the game. This ancient arcane artefact has an intrinsic link to your Lord’s spirit. When the Lord dies in combat, this enchanted crystal will expend it’s energy to revive the Lord, damaging itself in the process. The Soulstone can also be damaged and destroyed by conventional means. If the Soulstone is destroyed (or you happen to lack one for the mission), the death of your Lord spells Game Over.
- Throne Room Restructuring – While playtesting internally, we came upon the realisation that the Throne Room in it’s current iteration, was far too large and clunky to be a nerve-centre to your domain. To remedy this, we reduced it’s size by one tile and moved the side entrances to the exact middle of the room. This layout has already proven to be much more pleasant and efficient when constructing your dungeon, allowing you to branch around much more easily.
- New Unit Overhead Displays – Moving on from the old graphics here, which we found to be rather basic and lacking, we have created these new ones, which we think suit the style of the game and tie in the environment a lot better, while providing information clearly.
- Creature Thought Bubbles – These will appear under certain circumstances over the heads of creatures, to indicate what they are thinking about/doing at the time.
- Feast Hall Tileset – We have completed work on the architectural elements of the Feast Hall! With this done, what remains to complete this tileset are the various clutter and décor items that will fill it out, as well as completing the new or improved Objects that you can build in the Room.
- Barracks Tileset – This one had to go through a few iterations, so the image presented above is not quite final, but we have done the same with this tileset and are in the process of finalising it’s architecture. Once again, the clutter and improved objects will eventually follow to complete everything here. We’re missing the floor tiles here too but that will eventually come!
- Yet again, New and improved Claimed Tiles! – No, for real this time, we promise! These are actually, after much deliberation, the floor tiles we find look perfect for what we want in the game. No more changes, we swear!
- A ton of remodelling and redesigning of certain models. Among these are a new and improved design for Mordred’s armor, which now actually makes sense, a similar, ongoing process for Belial, finalising certain…. other.. key figures, adding more “bling” to certain curmudgeonly spellcasters and so on. While most of this is top secret, it will all be revealed in time! The short of it comes down to a wave in our design that sees our units redesigned to be more visually interesting and appropriate, as well as being more functional for our purposes.
- Started work on the Library Tileset – As Research is a system that we will start working on fairly soon, this tileset needs to be done as well. We are done with the basic meshes it requires and when the time comes, we will process these to make the final assets, architecture, clutter, objects and all! We are very happy with it’s visuals even at this time however!
- Audio – Our talented audio team, WindUp Audio, have been hard at work making sounds for both Mordred and the Workers to start with! These are coming along nicely and the first iterations of them will soon be in the game!
There are a number of other
things we are also doing, such as working on certain clutter systems,
polishing existing mechanics, adjusting the economy and so on, but
this really covers the main points of what we’ve been working on
through the last several months. We will continue our work, but as
mentioned earlier, we aim to restructure how we bring you all
updates, as we are not happy with the current lack of structure. If
all goes well, you will hear from us again soon, with more
manageable, bite-sized chunks of updates!
Until then, Lord, enjoy the growing darkness of your underground domain!
– Your Loyal Overseer