Military Districts

Until today three districts remained without generators: docks, military districts, and city centers. I knew how I wanted the centers to generate but hadn’t worked on them yet, whilst docks I’m leaving until I actually implement ships and naval travel, but military districts needed to be done this releae and were proving very challenging. I didn’t just want to have huge regions of endless barracks – I wanted something much more varied – but at the same time I wanted to try to only add things that would have gameplay valuable if/when you gained access to a military district. I’ve settled on a middle-ground between the two – some areas are just for decorative purposes and to make the world feel consistent, coherent and real (akin to farms, for example), whilst other parts have clear gameplay goals, will contain important NPCs, etc.

So, military districts (like upper-class housing districts) are split into four parts. Each of these has a number of features which slot together in a fairly complex manner, and in a range of different orientations. These can be: Barracks, Parade Grounds, Archery Ranges, Siege Weapons, Armouries, Officer Quarters, Hospitals, and Stables. These combine in a range of different permutations to produce military districts. Each military district is also guaranteed to include two special combat NPCs – these may be able to raise a stat, or train you to use some of the more complex moves for a weapon. More on this in a few versions time when we’re doing weapons and combat. Here’s a labelled example:

NewS

Archery Ranges and Siege Weapons are self-explanatory, and (currently) for decoration only (you can’t raise stats by using the ranges or anything like that). All the others, however, will have gameplay use. Barracks contain troops, their beds, possessions, etc, and therefore may contain important NPCs. Parade Grounds are self-explanatory, and once we have NPCs in two versions time, you may be able to see soldiers marching around there in times of peace, or actively drilling in times of war (not sure how much variation it’s worth thinking about here). Armouries are most certainly not decoration and will contain huge numbers of weapons if you can gain access to them, but will be well-guarded. Officer Quarters will contain high-ranking military officials, and possibly some expensive items too. Hospitals will contain a range of healing items and those able/willing to heal you for a price (or if you are a close ally of the civilization), and Stables, funnily enough, will contain lots of horses (though I am still working out how exactly riding is going to integrate with the rest of the game). There will also presumably be patrols moving around the outside ring road of the district in the future.

I tried hard to make each building recognizable by shape, which is something I’ve already been putting a lot of emphasis on with the different kinds of special building that spawn in housing districts (banks, theaters, arenas, etc). In this case stables are all right-angled shapes, barracks are a 9×7 grid, hospitals are more uneven, organic-looking lines and branches of building, officers quarters are a loop than encloses an area within it (or sometimes two areas), armouries are either octagonal or a number of octagons with a large gate at the front, while catapults and archery targets have distinct characters by which they can be recognized. The circular buildings – there is one in the top-left near the central fort, and one within a loop of road in the bottom-right – are the buildings that house training NPCs.

However, military districts have two restrictions on your entry – they are expensive to enter, and you must be very friendly with the civilization in order to gain access (or be playing as the player class which allows you to try sneaking into districts, though I am still figuring out the exact mechanics there). Starting in a civilization with a military district will therefore be a significant early-game boost, though I will try to balance this by giving significant value to non-militaristic civilizations too. I’m currently working on the lookup images for these new items. We already have archery targets:

Target

And I’ll get siege weapons done soon enough. Along with city centers and upper-class housing districts, I want entering military districts to be a significant investment that makes you think about whether it’s worth it for what you may find inside. However, these – along with markets – will be arguably the most valuable districts to explore, although market districts are deliberately free to enter. If you’re low on money you can always check out a market district (assuming you can get to it within the city), but you’ll have to think harder about entering those other districts. So, all that remains to be done here is siege weapon lookup images which I’ll probably draw this week, and then as everything else we need some appropriate door graphics, but otherwise they’re done for this release. Once I’ve got them finished off I’ll be working on city centers, at long last. I’m anticipating a 0.6 release somewhere around mid November, which is also when I hope to finally start my full-time development year. In the real world I’m currently house-hunting (at last!) and hoping to move at the start of November, and once I am settled in the new place, that’s when the full-time year starts. Updates as and when…

Medieval Skill Trees 2/3

The fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth medieval skill trees. As ever, click to enlarge:

Top left, archery; top right, armor; bottom left, survival; bottom right, stealth.

KEY:

White @ – Start of the Tree
Red D – Increased damage (increased damage with Short Weapons in the Stealth Tree)
Green A – Increased accuracy (reduced accuracy loss from wearing armor in Armor Tree)
Pale Blue S – Stat Upgrade (Str/Dex/End/Int/Wil)
White ! – Unlock a Special Attack
Blue ‘+’ – Increased range
Brown B – Bow skill in Archery Tree, Blocking skill in Armor Tree
Orange R – Bow reload speed
Grey C – Crossbow skill
Light-grey C – Crossbow reload speed
Grey U – Increased damage to unaware opponents
Light-green S – Reduced stamina loss from wearing armor in Armor Tree, increased stamina in Survival Tree
Red # – Increased armor effectiveness
Pale orange R – Increased running ability
Blue ‘~’ – Increased swimming ability with armor in Armor Tree, increased swimming ability in Survival tree
Grey ^ – Climbing skill
Green club icon – Skill at climbing natural objects
Brown = – Skill at climbing man-made objects
Orange T – Tracking skill
White/Orange/Grey/Blue % = Skill at tracking in snow, desert, night, and in rain
Orange # – Reduced noise of armor
Blue G – Skill with grappling hooks
Cyan N – Unlocks non-lethal attacks
Light-green P – Skill with poisons
Dark-green V – Increased night vision

The last four skill trees – ‘Rule’, ‘Leadership’, ‘Trade’ and a fourth I haven’t yet settled on. Once the remaining trees have been done, I’ll then be moving onto programming each of the appropriate skills in (though naturally it will be mostly the combat skills that made it into 0.2.0), and adding a little key in-game that tells you both what each letter on a given tree means, and tells you what each specific unlock does. Additionally, I’ve changed the unlocked graphics a little:

I think this variant’s much better in that a) it’s even clearer what is/isn’t unlocked, and b) I think it’s rather more aesthetically pleasing. You will still be told what each skill is when you select it, and I don’t think the loss of the letter is going to make anyone forget about skills they’re already unlocked.

Also, as of today, blog entries are back to weekly! 

Medieval Skill Trees 1/3

Yes, I promised every medieval skill tree for this blog entry. Whilst early versions of all have been programmed, some of the non-combat ones I’m not quite happy with, and – given that I need to submit draft of half of my doctorate by the end of this week – I haven’t had QUITE enough spare time to finalize them just yet. However, here are the four close-combat skill trees for the medieval era, as they currently stand. Let me know what you think; the next blog entry will bring rather more description, and the next four medieval trees.

Click to enlarge:

Top left: slashing weapons (swords, katanas, scimitars, etc). Top right: long weapons (naginata, spears, etc). Bottom left: short weapons (knives, daggers, sais, etc). Bottom right: heavy weapons (axes, clubs, maces, etc).

KEY:

White @ – Start of the Tree
Red D – Increased damage
Green A – Increased accuracy
Yellow O – Ability to spot openings in combat
Magenta 1 – Increased One-Handed Skill
Blue 2 – Increased Two-Handed Skill
Pale Blue S – Stat Upgrade (Str/Dex/End/Int/Wil)
White ! – Unlock a Special Attack
Grey P – Increased chance of parrying
Pale Red S – Increased chance of severing limbs
Cyan S – Increased chance of doing a sweeping attack
Brown D – Increased chance of dismounting foes
Cyan D – Increased accuracy when dual-wielding
Grey U – Increased damage against unaware foes
Purple S – Increased chance to stun foes
Brown K – Increased chance to knock foes back

These four skill trees appear on one screen; each era has three screens’ worth of skill trees. I soon intend to implement different shades of grey to show which skill tree you are currently browsing, and some other system to show which skill trees are “active” and which are “dormant” (a game mechanic still in the works). In redoing the trees a little I’ve tried to balance four directions, make sure each is worth going down, and also try to make each of the trees unique in some way (even though these four obviously have the same basic structure). Any thoughts, please leave them in the comments…

Weapons. Lots of weapons.

Firstly: thanks to everyone who posted and contacted me with initial alpha feedback. It is hugely appreciated – once the initial alpha is up, I will either open a forum or create a specific post/page for feedback. In the mean time:

This is a pretty game-mechanic-heavy blog entry, and is also pretty screenshot-light. You have been warned.

Weapons divide down into four categories: stabbing weapons, cutting weapons, hitting weapons, and impaling weapons. Each has an advantage and a disadvantage. Each also has a “to-damage” chance, and a “to-penetrate” chance, which is how effective it is at cutting through flesh, rather than just damaging it, and hitting the bone beneath. For creatures that have only one ‘layer’ – like skeletons which have only bone, or Shoggoths with only ‘flesh’, the to-damage chance is used. For creatures with chitin instead of interior bone, the chances are simply reversed – the to-hit chance will damage their chitin, while the to-penetrate chance determines whether you manage to hit the weak flesh beneath.

Note: you and any other creature can, technically, wield anything you’re strong enough to pick up (which is to say, you can wield an Orc arm from the start of the name, but never will you be able to swing a Titan’s corpse). However, non-weapon ‘weapons’ are generally so ineffective it will likely only be a last resort you would ever do this. I’m also working on a variety of unarmed/barehanded combat options, too.

Also, in terms of advantages/disadvantages, I will not here list things like price, availability, etc. Simply how they perform as weapons.

Stabbing:

Stabbing weapons consist of kunais, daggers, knives, and sais.
ADVANTAGES: Light; therefore easiest to wield very accurately.
DISADVANTAGES: Shortest reach; can be harder to target body parts on larger, more complex creatures.

Cutting:

Cutting weapons consist of scimitars, shortswords, sabres, katanas and longswords.
ADVANTAGES: Can occasionally be used to parry incoming attacks (as well as a shield); very small chance of pinning foe to objects.
DISADVANTAGES: Requires more skill than other weapons, thus requiring higher dexterity.

Hitting:

Hitting weapons consist of clubs, flails, maces and axes.
ADVANTAGES: Can knock back targets; stun targets; and break bones without needing to get through flesh first.
DISADVANTAGES: By far the heaviest class of weapons; therefore hardest to wield accurately.

Impaling:

Impaling weapons consist of spears, pikes, halberds and ranseurs.
ADVANTAGES: Longest range, so can hit up to taller creatures; can pin creatures to objects.
DISADVANTAGES: Unwieldy, so greater dexterity required to use accurately (mitigated if you haven’t moved the previous turn).

Accuracy of weapon use is dependent on two things – strength vs the weight of the weapon, and dexterity vs how ‘wieldy’ the weapon is. If you wield a weapon too heavy for a character of your strength to use effectively, your accuracy will decrease. Similarly, if you wield two weapons whose total weight is too high, your accuracy will decrease for the same reason. The more unwieldy a weapon you wield, the harder it is to use it accurately, so you’re far more likely to land a knife accurately than a halberd, given the same dexterity.

This then ties into another factor, which is the height of creatures. The shorter the attacker is and the taller the target is, the fewer parts of its body it can hit. Without a long weapon, you cannot hit the head of any creature a Cyclops or taller, for example. By contrast, large creatures hitting small creatures are much more likely to hit! Effectively, the quality of your weapon; the type of weapon you wield; the height of your target; and your strength and dexterity determine your effectiveness in combat.

So, the key question – do these four types seem balanced?

Coming Monday 24th: Options for a new player, and embarking on your adventure.

Coming Monday 31st: The URR map, and the existence of ‘battlefields’.