Today I wanted to talk a little about the new direction that I am looking into heading with regards to combat.
So far the combat in the prototype has not been met with much praise, in fact often people have been confused as to how it works as no other game features a combat mechanic like it and I’ve personally not been 100% happy with how it plays. I now feel like I know the correct direction to go in which will improve the game a lot and help cut down development time leading to a higher degree of polish and quality.
Out With The Old
Originally when I first developed the prototype the aim with the combat was to develop a system which would work well on mobile formats as well as desktops so I had the idea of using something along the lines of Pokémon style fight screens. It seemed like a sound concept and the player was taken to a different screen with the intention to help cut down art time and be a little more straight forward to develop in terms of AI logic.
The combat system was never truly locked down, it was still an early test of an idea but I needed to take that path in order to see if it was correct or not. I always had thoughts about changing it to a turn based system but wasn’t sure how it would work, if it would work and how much extra time would be involved with that process.
As usually happens with the development process eventually you have an epiphany and everything becomes clear on what direction you should take.
In With The New
The idea behind the new combat system is to scrap the idea of a separate combat screen and to tackle the combat in the world itself. This makes it work along the same lines as games such as Shadowrun Returns and X-Com.
The game will be real-time as before while moving around then should you alert a nearby enemy or choose to attack an enemy the game will go into a turn based combat scenario.
My thinking so far is that during each turn the player and the enemy (or enemies) choose an action to perform. There will be a time limit to remain in-keeping with the real-time nature of the game but it will be sufficient enough so that you can decide what to do and act upon that. Once decided the outcome will be played out and then it’s back to deciding what to do again. Rinse and repeat until either party is dead or the player manages to escape the combat area safely.
This image shows a brief glimpse at how a combat encounter may play out:
Scrapping a portion of the game and starting a fresh isn’t a decision that I’ve taken lightly. I’ve made sure that if this is to happen it’s certainly going to benefit the game-play but also that it will benefit the development process too. Thinking about it at great length I have come to the conclusion that it’s the best direction to go for many reasons.
Reduced Art Time – There is no loner a requirement to create art for two different screens meaning the world artwork benefits from better polish.
Reduced Memory Foot Print – The previous fight screens required quite a significant amount of texture memory due to their size and supporting high definition resolutions would increase that even more. Now there will be no need for such costly art assets.
Reduced Code Time – As this will all happen in the world area now I can re-use portions of AI code for moving enemies etc.
Chance To Fight More Than One Enemy – This was always something that I wanted to do but was unsure of how to achieve in the previous combat version. Having the chance for aliens to gang up on you leads to far more deadly combat scenarios.
Stealth – I wanted to include the ability to go stealthy before but was unsure again how to achieve this. With the new system this will be even easier to implement and will be far easier for the player to understand.
Possible Clothing Changes – Changing clothes has been on the wish list for a while especially if I am to factor climate into the survival aspects of the game. By focusing on the world environment and not having the expensive combat screen art to worry about it’s far easier to contemplate the feature of choosing clothes for Will later down the line.
Taking Other Survivors With You – This is another aspect that has been on the wish list for a while. With this new system it is easy to envision the ability to travel and fight alongside other NPC survivors.
Onwards And Upwards!
Hopefully that makes sense and sounds good to you all. I’m certainly quite excited to get started on the new system.
The Kickstarter campaign is now approaching the half way point, it’s crazy to think it’s been going for a couple of weeks already. Time has flown! Don’t forget to check out the reward tiers and think about pledging, it will all go towards making this a great experience.
Ammo is a bit different in Will to Survive, you’ll be able to find different types of each round and will even be able to craft your own once you have learnt how. You could be adding phosphorus to some shotgun shells to create incendiary ammo or applying unknown alien liquids to the tips of bullets to test the effects. Everything that you can collect in the game will have a purpose, that purpose could just be to harvest chemicals or other supplies… ever wondered how much gunpowder is in a firework?
Not many survivors live in the world now and the ones who are left tend to lead solitary lives hiding away as best as possible. They don’t want to get caught by the aliens who threaten their very existence.
When you do come across a new survivor you may need to gain their trust before they help you out. Once you are acquainted you may find that they have items to trade, tips or info to share and may even have quests for you complete. It’s important to try and look after your fellow humans, failing to aid them when they are in urgent need of help could mean they no longer exist. If the aliens have less humans to search for they stand a higher chance of finding you!
In today’s update I wanted to talk a little about the role weapon customisation will have in the game.
Here in the UK we don’t have access to a lot of weaponry. We don’t have AK47’s and M1911’s lying around the place so the ones you do find will be quite precious. Adapting them and improving them will be quite important. Adding scopes for example will increase your accuracy at various distances as well as the speed you can acquire a target. You’ll be able to attach flash lights and laser targeting either by standard means or just by using some tape you once scavenged. Some of the attachments will be able to be transferred too as long as it wasn’t a permanent fixture.
Will’s Gun Notes
Possibly the most important feature will be the ability to adapt some of the alien tech. You may find the ability to do this yourself or failing that find a helpful survivor willing to trade you something in return for his expertise in the matter. As enemies get bigger, you’ll need something more powerful than that .22 rifle of yours!
At the end of the day Will needs as much help as possible, as time goes on the threat grows stronger and ammunition will be harder to find. Gather what you can and adapt to the ever changing world around you.
The kickstarter still has 25 days to go, if you can pledge that would be great but sharing is also important. let’s get the word out there! Also if we can get this green lit then anybody receiving the game as part of a reward tier will automatically receive a free steam key.
The Kickstarter is going well so far. We’ve now reached the £1K mark! There’s still a way to go but the response has been great so far. Thanks to all those who have pledged and shared the project.
I’ve managed to sneak in a bit of alien concept art time in amongst the busy schedule of running a Kickstarter. This is one that I’ve been wanting to design for a while now. It’s a rather big brute who has a rather devastating secondary attack capable of destroying both sets of cover during a fight. Scary!
Will’s Gargantuan Notes
As the threat level of the world increases, the scale, amount and sheer power of the aliens will increase with it. As that happens Will needs bigger weapons or a way to reduce the threat… maybe he needs to sabotage their way of calling backup?
In The Press
The project has had some more press recently which is fantastic. I’ve been mailing as many sites as possible trying to get coverage. Here are the articles that went up recently.
Please help share the campaign to friends, loved ones and co-workers. The more word that we can spread the greater the chance that the project gets fully funded. Thanks in advance to those who pledge, you have my humble gratitude and you are totally awesome!
Wow this weekend has been a scorcher! I’ve still managed to make good progress at least.
There were a few plans I had this weekend, to start writing the Kickstarter pitch and to get some of the other platform builds up and running. The OUYA was a bit of a failure, though everything is building it seems like a monumental hassle to get it put on the device itself so I may leave that platform until after the campaign has begun.
The Android build is looking good however, I borrowed a Samsung Nexus and fixed the resolution issues to get that running at the full resolution of the device… which is insanely high! I think for the final game there will need to be some up-scaling being done. Tiny Will!
The game running at the insane resolution of the Android Nexus Tab.
I also booted into my Hackintosh to try and build the Mac OSX and iOS versions of the Game. The Mac OSX version worked quite well as can be seen bellow however there is an issue with the render targets that I need to look into. The iOS versions worked too but the developer portal was down meaning no device deployment for now. The iOS versions had some issues with resolution which I need to look into but this is all to be expected for a first time build.
The OSX build running on a Hackintosh.
And finally the Linux build, this did not go well at all because the Linux OS failed to boot up properly. All being well some time this week I’m going to look into formatting my laptop and trying Linux on there, I think it dislikes the graphics card installed on my main rig.
Quick update time. Everything is going well so far, I’m getting a lot done in preparation for the Kickstarter. Mainly in terms of artwork, which I am about to show, but also lots of other little behind the scenes details.
First up is the main Kickstarter project image. This is slightly higher detail than the one used for the actual Kickstarter artwork because I felt it was worth showing off. I tried to give as much of a representation of the games subject matter and theme from just one image. Did it work?
Art for the Kickstarter main project image.
The second is a spot of concept art which I’m going to use in the video to try and show that there will be various types of aliens to battle, they will come in all different shapes and sizes to keep you on your toes.
Concept art for some of the invader types.
Tomorrow I’ll be attempting to build the iOS, OUYA and Mac OSX builds which is also rather exciting.
Phew! What a week it’s been, but it’s finally here… the long awaited prototype game-play video. It also features a commentary seeing as the game at present has no sound.
The video is available on both Vimeo and YouTube and can be seen below.
Hopefully all that made sense, it’s worth noting that although the video is of the PC build the mobile version is almost identical. I’ve tried to strike a balance between a game that will operate well on PC with actual peripheral controls and a game which will operate just as well on touch screen controls for mobile and tablet devices.
Exciting times, I now have the last home stretch before the Kickstarter begins to do some concept art, pitch writing and pitch video recording.
Today has been a very busy day of finding gaming news sites and writing press kits ready to send in the hope someone will shed some light on my creation. Writing tends to hurt my head a little so I wanted to do something I was excited about.
So I finally registered for the Xamarin free trial and attempted what I thought would be a quick job of getting the Android build working…. hours later, I can go to bed with a smile on my face.
It’s not perfect but it builds and if you build it they will come!
There are some issues like the resolution being incorrect, it has insane load times, frame drops when walking on the big map, press hold gestures don’t seem to work and lots of slight drawing issues… but I can live with that for now, it is a prototype after all!