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Gil
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Will you have levels where a treasure is hidden beneath the surface, and you need to bomb the area to get to it?

That would be awesome. Or a level like Helm's deep, where you need to blow up part of a giant wall, or you can't attack and the enemy keeps raining arrows on you...
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There will be at least one hidden piece of special equipment in every stage, but you can "find" it just by landing on the space. Usually there will be some sort of very subtle visual clue indicating its presence.

Right now bombing isn't a requirement. It might be a nice idea for an uber-item or such.
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xearthianx
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sonrisu wrote:
. . . super fast forward? This is something I think is lacking from all tactical combat games . . .

Advance wars has a "Fast Enemies" option, as well as being able to skip the battle resolution animations. Less dramatic that way, but a much faster, more technical tactical experience is the result.
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lazygamer
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Three questions that popped into my head.

1)Is there a fog of war?
2)Do we get a bonus to hit/damage if they attack an enemy solider from the side or back? If so, then I can positioning being really important.
3)You said there is no items to mess with. Does that mean no healing potions or fireball wands? :)
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1 - Only when initially placing your units on a map.

2 - Yes. Moderate accuracy and critical rate increase on sides, significant boost when behind.

3 - No items. There *is* a way to heal, but like everything else it's highly atypical.
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xearthianx
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 12:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sirocco wrote:
(Re: fog of war) 1 - Only when initially placing your units on a map.

Bloody brilliant. Some General in a map room would know the lay of the land, but he wouldn't know the exact location of enemy units when he deployed his troops. I don't know what the story line is, but the analogy holds.

I always hated Warcraft II style FoW. I would find myself saying, "Well sure, they wouldn't know where exactly the tree line ends if they haven't been there before, but they'd have some idea there was a forest!" And recently I had what I think was a pretty amazing idea: FoW that gives you a very generalized view of the terrain that you haven't been to yet. So, like, you'd see some trees on your World View, but when your guys get there, maybe there's a pond in the middle, or several different kinds of trees, or the borders don't exactly match up with your "conceived view". You could have 2 versions of a map, one general and inaccurate, and one the actual play area. Or you could generate the Fogged view with some kinda of blur algorithm that subtly scrambles the tiles at runtime. Combine that with randomized maps, and you never know exactly what to expect when exploring seemingly benign territory.

Things like maps (as in cartography documents, not the gameplay area), intelligence gathering, rumors, folk traditions, mis/dis-information, sending scouts and the like could all affect your conceived notion of what may lie beyond those mountains, but you'd always have some idea of what was there.

Sorry to hijack your thread like that. Fog of War talk kinda set me off. Anyone can feel free to use any of these ideas. Either I'll get to it myself or I wont, regardless, so have at you! :)
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Gil
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your idea would combine well with those treasure maps you see in pirate movies and books. Some roads and a mountain here or there, but in general you don't know what's in between. Just the landmarks are positioned on the map.
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

And recently I had what I think was a pretty amazing idea: FoW that gives you a very generalized view of the terrain that you haven't been to yet.


That's how the game handles it right now. All the 'blocks' are converted to a nearly monochrome texture, so you won't know what's rocky terrain, if there's a pond, or a river, or what. It's only effective the first time you play a map...
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No randomly generate maps, eh? Tsk. ;) seriously though, I wonder if that could be pulled off properly or not, with a game like this.
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xearthianx
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, random map generation seems like something you'd have to work into your game design from the start. I think it could be done in Cry Havoc, but at this point the results might be suboptimal since everything he's written so far doesn't take it into account. It would probably only be appropriate for a "quick skirmish" mode in any case, since the levels and progression are heavily tied into the story, from what I can tell.
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lazygamer
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, when I said fog of war, I meant: "can the player see an enemy without his units being able to see them?" Although fog of war could also refer to an unexplored map being blanked out as well.
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Bean
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the term your looking for is Line of Sight.
That's actually an interesting question. It'd change the game quite a bit if you weren't able to see enemies behind walls and such.

I think Xcom worked like that, no?

-Bean
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

Actually, when I said fog of war, I meant: "can the player see an enemy without his units being able to see them?"


There are no line of sight restrictions. Everyone is aware of everyone else on the battlefield. The only exceptions being units that are physically obscured from the player's view, but usually they will be easily spotted by changing the camera angle if they don't outright expose themselves by moving.

Line of sight has found its way into a ton of games, and although it can be more realistic most games botch the scenario by treating enemies as omniscient presences who can sense your units from 800 yards away :(
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I managed to sneak off to the office for a few hours yesterday. After fixing a few GUI bugs and squeezing the memory requirements down by about a meg I turned my attention to something that has been bothering me for a long time. A few years ago when I first coded the map editor I quickly hacked in a way to let the program know that water was streaming down the side of a block by using a special reserved texture. That worked great until I realized that as liquids in the game are semi-opaque, the texture beneath them shows through. One texture wasn't going to cut it!

To save space, a while back I decided to store an extra two bytes of data for each block on a map, the individual bits indicating specific attributes such as barriers, hold point locations, and magic streams. It worked well and kept the map files from being too bloated. I had some spare bits so I used them to indicate whether a block has water cascading down the side. I won't lie; it was a particularly nasty experience since I had to revisit some code I wrote years ago in what could only be described as a heavily medicated stupor.

The upshot is I now have a reasonable amount of flexibility in controlling where liquids are flowing and what textures are involved in the process. Now I'm in a position to do some really nifty stuff O.O

The other nice addition is an automatic resource update system. When the game runs it checks the directories for updated source material and automatically merges it into the existing files, doing any necessary packing/conversion as long as the time stamp is more recent. I really wish I had access to something like this way back when I was working on Fenix Blade... eep!

I plan on doing some more work tonight, but I'm not sure what I'll tackle just yet.



Edit:

Another important GUI addition: mouse wheel support for scrolling lists. I can't believe I hadn't added that earlier.


Edited by Sirocco on Tue Mar 25, 2008 9:46 am; edited 1 time
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What do you mean about resource updating? It sounds really cool, but I don't follow past merging into existing files? I guess you probably have textures all in one big file, and this merger inserts new stuff correctly into the existing files? I'd like more details on this: data automation is so incredibly useful and awesome.
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xearthianx
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds to me like his game has some Grabber-like code built in that scans some specified working director(y/ies) and just compares timestamps.
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Resources come in different forms and purposes: sprites and textures, maps, scripts, music, sounds, etc. For example, if I have an existing sprite file and I want to update it with a new file, I dump the new file into the appropriate directory, and make sure the name is the same (excluding file extension). At run time the program sees this, opens the file and inspects its header, then converts it to my preferred custom format, compresses, encrypts, and is either stored in a larger datafile or left by itself. Accepted formats for graphics are BMP, PCX, GIF, JPG, LBM. Same thing goes for the other resources. I use a variety of editing tools and some prefer different formats, so this precludes wasting time converting formats, then using a separate tool to get the data where the game wants it.
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mikedoty
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

He he, I usually seem to do the mouse wheel first and then when I really have to, I add in scrollbars. :P
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, so it's more of like an automatic datafile packer tool. That's incredibly useful. In my latest project I actually just left files flat. It makes life so much easier, sometimes. :)
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

Ah, so it's more of like an automatic datafile packer tool. That's incredibly useful.


Well, yeah, sorta. It also supports patching if you drop in an extra file telling it what bytes go where, but I really only did that because I was bored one day and always wanted to write a decent patch system. To finish things up, I'll agree it's quite useful. Getting your data into a game shouldn't be a pain if you can help it.
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xearthianx
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

that's pretty neat. Will is patch compiled code? Or just your packed assets?
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

Will is patch compiled code? Or just your packed assets?


It can patch a file as long as it's not already open, so I'd say it's just for resource management. What I need to finish up is a little routine to compare a directory with another and generate a patch file that'll make the two match. I get tired of downloading huge-ass file replacements off the intertubes just because people are too lazy to implement a patch system. For commercial titles it can get kinda nuts!

I have nothing exciting to report for the moment. I've just been swatting bugs and fixing things in the editor I broke a few months ago.
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xearthianx
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sirocco wrote:
I've just been swatting bugs and fixing things in the editor I broke a few months ago.

Ah, fixing code you break... The bane of my existence. After adding advanced stack handling abilities to my VM, I have to go back and fix all my [now broken] logic control structures that I spent so much time debugging for the past week.

EDIT: I am apparently an idiot. Refixed mah schitz. Hope things are going as well for you.
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

Ah, fixing code you break... The bane of my existence.


I generally don't have any trouble with that; for the most part I have a very well established and predictable coding style and I have several projects worth of bad experiences to learn from, so it's very rare that I just outright break a bunch of stuff on accident. My Achilles' heel on this project is simple growing pains: I designed a feature set and carefully coded to fit it, then 75% of the way through tossed common sense out the window and massively expanded the feature list. *BOOM* insta-assrape as you rewrite components that are essential to the well-being of many other components, and the whole thing snowballs straight to hell.

I was supposed to be done with this project years ago, but I took a good look at what I had and said: You know, this would suck so much less with features x, y, and z. And while we're at it, don't forget features q, r, u, f, s, j, l, 6, and lest we forget... #.
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xearthianx
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I usually am not too bad about it myself. This particular project, though, shares the quality of yours that adding features REALLY makes it suck so much less. And in my case, actually expands the nature of what it is. On top of that, a lot of what I'm doing right now is the VM equivalent of assembly programming, defining how high level logic control is compiled. It was always very easy for me to get lost in the conditional jumps and stack juggling and register manipulation in real x86 Asm, and this is no exception to that trend.

From the looks of things, though, it looks like all your extra effort is paying off, at least. Your graphics are a sumptuous pastry for the eyes, your engine and tools are a raging inferno of awesomeness, and from the looks of things, the game is gonna be possibly 2 - 3 times as sicky gnar-gnar as Red Steel
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