I haven't made any "noteworthy" additions to the game, which is why we haven't really updated much. I've been fixing bugs, working on a few little stability things, and adding debugging features. Since we won't have a trigger debugger in multiplayer, we needed to add some in-game debugging commands. For example, we can now get information on any battles going on, along with their type, location, involved players, etc...Each battle gets a unique ID, and if a battle gets stuck somehow (or bugs out), we can now force them to exit so you can keep testing without restarting the map. We just recently breached the 400th build of the game- we're at build #407 today. :)
Moz has been hard at work creating new zones. He's found a really great way to redesign the overall map layout, which means we'll have less wasted room. This means we can have a larger player cap (6-8 is the current estimate), along with a few new zones. None of the new zones are playable yet (there's nothing to do there, it's just terrain) but they look great. We've got all the major zones needed for the alpha ready to go from a terrain standpoint- The Town, Route 1 (Our grassy tutorial area), The Mysterious Forest (A little higher level forest area), Route 5 (a path that leads from the forest up to the caves/mountains in the north), The Power Facility (Highest level zone in the alpha, about lvl 20). On top of that, we have one more zone that's terrained but doesn't have any gameplay in it yet (we won't push back the alpha to add quests to it, we can do that later). We also have a beach, which isn't finished yet, but will be ready to go by the alpha. There's another 7 or so zones which have some basic foundations set up, but aren't nearly ready yet (so again, we'll get to those later). We plan on adding a map to the game so you can get your bearings more easily, but that's not something we feel is necessary for the alpha. Especially since there's only a few zones you need to worry about for now.
Then there's small little bugfixes. It's small, but important, things. For example, until recently we haven't had an auto-save system. It wasn't a big deal for us, since we just generate a new set of starmon to test with each game, but losing progress in the real game because of a disconnect or crash would be infuriating. Then there was swapping starmon around in your inventory- again, not game breaking, but frustrating. Another thing (for example) that I'll have to get working is 2v2 battles when you begin with just one starmon. Right now, you must start a 2v2 with at least 2 starmon, or it won't work (although one can die in the process and it'll become a 1v2 automatically). It hasn't been an issue for us, but what if somebody runs into a quest-related battle without a second living starmon?
Then there's creating all the battle arenas. Each arena needs to have doodads set up, then we have to hook up each point (so the system knows where to place all the different starmon/trainers/abilities/moves that might need to spawn at particular places) and set up each camera. I just finished another one today, so we've got support for 2 simultaneous battles now.
Oh, and I almost forgot the most important thing. Maity added automatic doors that open when people (or AI-controlled units) walk by. He sort of covered the town in them, and I may or may not have spent way too long yesterday running around through them.
So anyways, we're working on a lot of not-so-interesting-but-still-important things. Although I do need to confess that "real life stuff" has prevented me from working as much as I'd like over the past week or so. We're still chipping away at it, piece by piece :)
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I, personally, have done pretty much nothing :( Those doors were added about 2 weeks ago I think >.> I've just been lazy. Luckily, at the moment, I sort of "can" be lazy, as pretty much everything thats necessary for the alpha that I have to work on is done - There's some UI images I'd like to add/rework, but apart from that anything else I do might not even show up in the alpha (Like adding more starmon and trainer types), but still not really an excuse for not doing anything >.>
To touch on the doors, and indirectly other things I've done - There are so many things that will seem really insignificant to people playing this that I've spent a long time on and think is absolutely awesome, just because of the way its done, like the doors and grass. The doors open when a player comes close, and close when no player is around (Doesn't have to be a player - I just need to add a value in the data editor if I want a unit to be able to open doors). I'm fairly certain that most people that would be tasked with this would just make the door a unit and use a trigger to detect when something comes close. Others, who like me avoid the trigger editor so they don't clog its performance with stuff like this, would probably use behaviors and search effects. But the reason why I'm kinda proud of what I did was because the doors aren't even units to begin with, they're doodads. I didn't touch any tab other than actors even. The grass is done the same way - If you walk on it, it gets flattened, then rises back up when you leave. And they're doodads, so again everything is done purely in actors. (If you're interested in how - Region actors and queries, just like the hellion being able to burn plants)
I've done other actor trickery as well, like using dark warp prisms and marines to create the spiralling effects I'm sure I showed off in some of the videos and screenshots. I've also used marines and phoenix missiles for the Slash attacks (one or three diagonal stripes, in a lot of cases coming from both sides). Some simpler things I've done are having "Protect" put an actual shield around the unit, protecting it from knockback (Its only visual, knockback has no real effect in the battle) and playing the Hardened Shields model when an attack is prevented (Honestly, I could even try adding counter-knockback to it against contact moves like Tackle for added awesomeness) - All the tackle-light attacks (Quick Attack, Extreme Speed, Flare Blitz, Spark, etc.) usually knock back, but if hte target is protected it looks as if the enemy just stops in his tracks.
Then I've got Baton Pass which spawns for "bubbles" around the starmon which are spinning around, changing colors and slowly growing, and as soon as the next starmon is sent out they explode into little cubes (Not sure whether the cubes keep the colors of the bubbles - I think I gave them different colors individually so it looks more rainbowy)
Don't know exactly why I mentioned this, but I felt like it :)
I'll try and be less lazy sometime soon and get something done.
A doodad is just an actor- it has none of the complicated bits and pieces that make up a unit. So they usually get used as props- trees, walls, fences, bushes, wires, cables, monitors, etc...In our case, Maity found a way to make those actors interact with the world in some ways. We were having some major lag problems early on in development, because our grass squares were actually units. Every unit needs to have a whole bunch of information stored, and then needs to have a whole bunch of information checked & recalculated each game loop (all it's stats, a bunch of actors, collision/pathing information, movers, etc...). So units are way more costly in system resources to have on the map than doodads, which are just actors and nothing else. Now that maity has made the grass into doodads, we can add them all over the place without fear of tanking performance (we'd need to add thousands and thousands more than necessary before we ran into any lag). The same thing applies with the doors- we don't need to run any triggers or checks to see when they should open or close. It doesn't seem like much, but it would waste resources if we had to check the position of each player against that of each door several times a second.
So basically doodads are just visuals, whereas units are visuals + a ton of other stuff that runs the visuals.
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Well, I'm glad to get some new news! Even "boring" things like technical details of how you made your grass and doors awesome, or how you love the clicking a menu button feels is nice. Bug fixes are an important thing, and I really respect you for wanting to make a top-notch first impression.
If the windmill and trees could spin and wiggle "randomly" with actors, that would be nice. Or, if running into small trees made them shake, that would feel neat. Adding any tasty push/pull would be awesome. Is there any way actors can reshape terrain for the session in tiny increments? Leaving footprints would be neat, I could wear a path into the map! Or, have Big Bad punch the ground and make a crater? Splashes when we run through water? I dunno how hard it would be, but that's the sort of delicious polish that makes Blizzard games so neat. I don't expect that much polish in a 3 person hobby, but it's an idea.
Moz, Terrain looks nice. Make that beach beautiful!
Push/Pull/Shake/whatever - In theory, easy. Issue is that pretty much all of the doodads don't have animations for that, and I don't think I can really improvise them with actor messages (For the grass flattening I just changed the scale of the model)
Water splashes - I don't think that's possible. Blizzards water engine is pretty damn limited :( I had hoped they had implemented the water they have in WoW, but it doesn't seem like it - in WoW you actually have ripples when something touches the water surface (Even the rain!). I could probably ask someone to make a small "splash" particles effect and make it play on units that are walking through water, but once again the water engine gets in the way - As far as I know, there's no way to detect water in actors, there maybe is in triggers but I doubt that.
Footprints - There is a system for this in the editor, I think they fade away after a while. I can try messing around with it at some point.
Terrain changes - Possible, but not sure how detailed. I think its just squares or so, dont think craters could work. Plus, you wouldn't really have the option to make them out of battle :p Also, stomping the ground requires animations which we don't have.
The trees and windmills already have some stand animations, trees move very slightly I think, and the windmill have a few different spinning animations, including some still ones, so they aren't spinning all the time (not sure if that's good or bad...)
@TheAlmaity: Go There are ways to detect a unit's height compared to water level now. Using that with regions would allow you to create the splash effect. I even saw a water splash effect in HotS dependencies. With the new ragdoll deaths units can fall in the water and create a splash.
I'm really just saying what comes to mind. If the footprints auto-fade, that's fine. I assumed that it would be easier to implement a change to the terrain, instead of an actor that expires. Or however it is they work... *shrug* still, keep the magic happening!
Well, I got off my lazy ass and finally did something =D
Most of it was just fixing and/or redoing work I did previously >.>
But the game world itself should now be fully playable (What we have of it, at least) - I set up all the wild starmon, level ranges, trainer types and trainer and item counts for all zones! The beach looks great, and there's low and high tide (low during the day, high during the night).
Looks like Mozared hasn't posted a screenshot of the other zone he made. I'd just like to say that it looks amazing. A beautiful mixture of red, green and brown with some white/light yellow. It sounds like a really strange combination, and it is, but that's why it looks so amazing :) And the tall grass for the zone has been recolored to orange/brown as well. For now it's named Cinderwood, although it's not particularly foresty (There's lots of forests, but there's also lots of gigantic rocks and even some crystals). I'll let Mozared make a nice screenshot of it - He probably has a better idea of what to show off from there than me. (Also, I don't have the editor open atm and opening it would take ages.)
I added 5 starmon, 2 of them are octopi (water, adds psychic type upon evolving) and three Murlocs (Water+Dark, high attack stat), which allowed me to have a decent variety of starmon for the beach.
If I can continue not being lazy, I'll try and work on all areas of the map to get it playable, because we've been promising it for so long now and I finally want to deliver. We're so damn close, but Zelda is busy and I'm just being lazy :( (Moz has actually done a good amount of work recently =D )
Guys, I worry when there's nothing from y'all for a week.
Yeah, yeah, I know :P
We're working on it, it's just not very steady progress at the moment. The terrain is pretty much finished up. Maity has added a whole bunch of pretty cool starmon to the game. We've also been hooking up the different cameras for the different arenas and fixing bugs related to various systems. We're now at 3 arenas, which means 3 people can be play simultaneously. It's a slow process because there's like....Well, a ton of doodads, cameras, points, regions, and other things that have to be hooked up to the trigger system in order for the battles to function properly. We'll have more ready later- at least 4 (but possibly more for alpha), definitely more for release.
I do have to confess that I haven't been able to work on the map much at all over the past few weeks- I've got a whole bunch of stuff going on in real life that's occupying pretty much all of my time. It really sucks, but there's not much I can do about it. I'll start to have some free time in about two weeks, and then I should be back to my normal speed a month or two afterwords.
That said, I'm working on the map whenever I do manage to get some free time (like right now), and I want to get the alpha to you guys as soon as possible. You've all been supporting us and waiting to try it out for so long that I want to get something playable into your hands :P
To hold you over, here's some screenshots. There's a disclaimer, though- Moz is not done with the terrain yet, so all of this is still subject to change. Don't judge it yet, unless you like it- in that case, feel free to judge as much as you want :) You can click on any of the pictures for the full-size version.
Here's the newest zone, tentatively called Cinderwood. It's got an interesting climate, since the ocean is to the west and the dry areas (volcano/desert) are to the east. So it's got some green, forest-ish type stuff as well as more rocky, volcanic rocky stuff. There's no quest content here yet, but we've got some trainers and wild starmon set up, so we may allow you to enter. We're not totally sure yet.
Here you can see more of cinderwood- at the top of the picture you can see a little bit of the town. There's a little security checkpoint at each of the town gates to keep nasty things out :)
This is the border between the tropical area and the ocean which lies to the west.
This one's a shot taken from the ocean looking on to the beach at high tide (the tide actually goes in and out :) It's one of those little touches that make the terrain really come alive). The beach is definitely not done, but it's a nice little shot. You can't quite see it, but there's a little coral reef below this rock where the ocean sort of drops off.
And here's a shot from one of the inner rooms of the powerplant.
Sorted Multiplayer Leader Board
Card Shuffle Dialog Demo
Air Wars Mass
Blizzard Fan since Starcraft. The Single Player story is AMAZING IMO, I can't wait for the Expansions. In Warcraft 3 I only enjoy the Custom Maps scene (& Blizzards...
Hey DaFunk, we've been running out of steam slightly lately; I'm not sure what Zelda's been up to, but I think Maity's been doing some school stuff and I've been busy developing another game on a team I work for - I headed out to the London Eurogamer Expo to market it. We haven't forgotten though: terrain-wise we're nearly good to go for alpha, so once I fix that up one of these days you'll just be waiting for Zelda and Maity.