Variety is the spice of games

Surrounded by rats


One of the consumer selling points of randomly generated content is the infinite variety of potential situations it promises and that’s something I’m hoping to start to capture for the first alpha release of Free Company. Since last time I’ve been working on getting the existing content to be more data and randomly driven. The contract/mission generator now picks between available location layouts, picks a themed set of monster encounters to place there, then passes that information over to the renderer to load the correct tilesets and monsters needed for that mission. All of this is now almost completely data driven so I can dictate new tileset layouts and monster encounter setups with a couple of xml files and then they can just feed straight into the generator. Lovely.


It’s not all the way there yet though, while there is variety in the actors and the scenery so far the script for these martial plays is always following the same outline; namely ‘kill everyone’. I hope to gradually introduce the potential for new objectives by expanding what the mercenaries can do in the world and then have the generator setup more interesting situations than just indiscriminate murder.


At a lower level  of the game I’ve also been introducing variety by the barebones of a generic skill system to the game with a few starter skills to test it out. I’m hoping that I can eventually give each of the monster types a couple of interesting and unique skills (and the wits to use them correctly). I started with the rats pictured above; giving them the ability to greatly improve their ‘to hit’ percentages by attacking en masse (this is actually a generic rule across the game now but the rats skill makes them extra good at exploiting it). I haven’t given them any special AI routines, but combined with using the new encounter system to increase the average number of rats spawning in a room they now present a formidable challenge if you let them surround you.

Those were the main tasks but I’ve also added a bunch more items into the game that I built, mainly for the new monsters, so that the mercenaries can use them as well and hopefully fixed a few niggling bugs that were interrupting the flow of the game.


Off on holiday next week so it’ll probably be two weeks until I blog again. Try to keep going without me.

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