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Wed, Aug 27th 2008, 14:49
Small Successes  

The combat design is taking longer than expected. This is mostly because I'm trying to graft on a bunch of features from a previous combat model and there are more rough edges than I'd like to admit. It is, however, coming along and I really like where it's going.

Now, for more tangible results, let's look to the Gruedorf Aggregator. Notice anything different? Okay, I admit, it's pretty minor, but I did do some tweaking to it. First, it now defaults to the scoreboard view instead of the headlines. As near as I can tell, no one really uses the headline view anyway. Second, if you're anything like me and ever wanted a handy way to see just how badly you're doing, now you can! The scoreboard can be sorted by a number of different columns. No, it's nothing spectacular, but now you can easily see that you're in Xth place (4th at present, in my case).

Next week I hope to have the design ironed out enough to start providing details and maybe even a mock-up or two. Until then.


Wed, Aug 20th 2008, 12:12
Suddenly, Details  

I am not dead. Moreover, neither is my game. As may or may not be clear from previous posts, I have been chewing over just what to do with it. This has been a wholly frustrating task as nothing ever seems to be what I want it to, which brings me to today's announcement: I am going back to the original (albeit slightly adjusted) combat model.

The basic rundown is this: You are a corporation seeking your fortunes across the reaches of space. You have a hangar of custom built ships at your disposal. Using these ships (in shmup-type combat), you take over planets belonging to other corporations. After you've taken over a planet, you set up autonomous defenses to protect it from other invading corporations. Controlling a planet nets you wealth and enables you to make higher quality ships which you can then, naturally, use to take over more planets.

And now, the state of things:

* The server is done.
* The client's non-combat components are done.
* The combat design is about 80% complete.
* The combat implementation is non-existent.

In effect, everything is waiting on the implementation of the combat system. Once this is done, which should be sooner than later (I fully expect to be the first 'dorfer to finish a game; yeah, I said it), we can look forward to a glorious open beta. You're all invited!


Sun, Aug 3rd 2008, 16:23
Accidental Sabbatical  

It's two weeks overdue, but here, at last, is an update. I spent the first week (before I lapsed) working on the new combat design. I hate to admit that the only reason I didn't get an update up that Sunday was because I kept (deliberately) putting off. This was followed by a number of distractions, including going out of town, getting caught up in a design for another pet project, and my internet connection is breaking. Again. It remains broken at present. I am sad.

Now, regarding the actual project. The new combat is neat, but it (like everything else, it seems) just doesn't feel right. So, I've been toying with a lot of different ideas, hoping to find something that really clicks.

A brief history of the combat system:

The original intent of this game was to have a light strategy game woven into some white-knuckle action sequences. While the original combat would have accomplished this, it was doomed to being either too hardcore to pick up, or too easy to have been worth including at all. Neither of these was acceptable and a middle-ground would've just made the whole experience feel watered-down.

A whole smorgasbord of new combat system plans followed, the more recent of which are the falling-blocks puzzle and the as-of-yet unmentioned large-scale tactical warfare. While each of these has their merits, they were all too complex, requiring a mountain of menus for the player to navigate just to get to the action.

So, I've stripped it down with simplicity and accessibility as my primary goals. As it stands right now, in combat you get one vessel. You use that vessel to destroy a single other enemy vessel. You'll have the ability to trick out your ship with a number of parts and gadgets to keep things interesting, but the essentials are all very simple and straightforward.

Provided I haven't changed my mind yet again, next week I will offer more details about the system and what progress has been made with it.