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Tue, Oct 28th 2008, 17:57
Minor Breakthrough  

Okay, so it's a little behind schedule and quite short, but here it is at last. Accomplishments since last time:

* Added recaptcha to wundermint's comments out of dire necessity
* Purged the copious spam (and hopefully nothing else) plaguing my beloved website
* Decided what enemies to use after serendipitous inspiration from a photosensitive seizure warning

With all that out of the way, it's time to start linking all of this stuff together and refining it into a proper game. Expect gritty details next week.


Sun, Oct 19th 2008, 17:50
Brief Brief  

This is a short, no-nonsense update. The collision system has been improved to fully support heterogeneous collisions between points, circles, and polygons. Some early optimizations have removed a couple bottlenecks and bumped performance by about 50% in "worst case" scenarios. Four of six enemies are more or less complete. The other two are still being debated. It's surprisingly hard to have six different simple enemy types that each offer something unique to the experience. The goal for next week? Have alll six types hammered down and start hooking this all together.


Sat, Oct 11th 2008, 16:27
Worthwhile Delays  

Not one person bothered to render an opinion about last week's post. I am truly saddened. No, seriously. Honest.

True to my word, the core combat is done. Everything works. However, I've decided that the enemies are a little to plain and uninteresting, so I'm taking the next week to: a) swap in some slightly more creative baddies, b) optimize, optimize, optimize.

Here's a screen showcasing some of the newer enemies:

Sadly, when the screen gets very busy, the framerate drops to about 25-30 fps. VERGE really struggles with pushing all the pixels at 640x480, even if there isn't anything going on. So, if I can get it up to 30 fps at maximum busy-ness after the full art is dropped in (I'm just using primitive drawing at present), then I'll be happy enough.

That'll wrap up this week's (brief) coverage. By next week, the whole of combat should work and I'll proceed to link the battle up to the main game.


Sat, Oct 4th 2008, 10:31
Polling Place  

Visually, there's virtually no difference, so no screens this week. Most of the changes are on the AI behavior and improving the class hierarchy.

I'd like to request some community feedback. Assume a classic space shmup setup where the player is a lone ship avoiding / destroying hordes of incoming stuff. Now, to defend your planets from this cruel and merciless attacker, you can upgrade your defenses.

This is currently set up such that there are six different unit types, each with three adjustable "primary attributes". As a primary attribute is adjusted, it affects several derived "secondary attributes".

So, my questions to you, dear viewers are:
* Will six different enemy types provide enough variety?
* Do three different primary attributes offer enough flexibility?
* This makes for a total of 18 adjustments that must be made for each planet. Is this too many to comfortably manage?

My thoughts regarding variety and flexibility:
Consider each attribute as being a strictly on or off proposition. This means there would be seven different states for each enemy type, yielding 42 distinct enemy varieties. (Note: the attributes will not be a simple on/off; I'm just using this simplification to help frame it.)

My thoughts regarding the complexity issue:
I originally had each and every independent attribute adjustable. This offered a lot of opportunity for experimentation and creative combinations. That that meant setting several dozen independent attributes every time you won a 2-5 minute battle, or when wanted to tinker with your existing defenses. So it has since been distilled down to three. I've considered the consequences of taking it further. It would be hard to break it down into two logical attributes, so I think if it were to go any lower, it would have to be taken to a single attribute per enemy and just call it "level". This seems incredibly unexciting, though.

I think that's a fair summation of how things stand. Provided there are no last minute sweeping changes, the core combat should be done next week. Comments of any variety will be very much appreciated.