Skills, XP & Skyrim

Ok, I hold my hands up. Along with much of the rest of the internet I’ve been playing a lot of Bethesda’s excellent Skyrim recently. I apologise unreservedly to anyone who was holding their breath impatiently for my next missive from the wreckage strewn front-lines of indie game development. There were dragons and they just needed a really good killing. Repeatedly.

I think I’m over the worst of it now. Well near the very crest at least.

So, in the scant moments when I haven’t been inexorably sucked into the mountainous peaks of Tamriel, what have I been doing? Free Company wise I have mostly been setting up the UI flow, game logic and necessary data to allow your mercenaries to grow in experience and learn new skills. Which they can now just about do. The available skill pool is still sitting at a paltry four right now but I’m expanding it in my other code-a-tron window as I type this. So in not too long you’ll have a wide range of ways be able to specialise your mercenaries in meaningful ways and thus gain new and interesting methods of dispatching your opponents.

Other than that I have an upcoming feature list that I’m still pondering over. I plan to get it all in eventually but what should I add now and what should be moved to later on? Here’s a few of them:

  • Campaign mode – building structures in your base camp to unlock nebulous other ‘things’
  • Campaign mode – UI clean up + additional UI screens to fiddle with.
  • Dual wielding – look a sword in each hand!
  • More weapons – daggers, working spears, staves, bows
  • Sneaking focus – stealth related skill or skills, special animations and more stealthy looking outfits.
  • Buffed up encounters – featuring bosses that wear special hats and better initial positioning.
  • Undead focus – zombie shuffling animations, undead skills, rising from the dead ambushes, crypt tileset.
  • Demonic focus – demonic skills, occult decorations
  • Spidery focus – webs, spiders shooting webs, spider ceiling ambushes, more scary spiders.
  • Sewer focus – sewer tileset, more rat stuff.
  • Magic – particle system, magic effects, spells, mage clothing, magic staffs.
  • AI focus – improve AI beyond basic attack routines, navigating doors correctly, variety between monster types.
  • Current tileset layout focus – improve the way levels get laid out, place small objects on shelves, lay out rooms with more symmetry and less randomness
  • Tileset furniture focus – create objects that hang on walls,   more rugs, more ornaments, more debris objects
  • Combat rules focus – add more basic combat rules concerning positioning and the interface to support them (back stabs, flanking attacks, disengaging from hostiles penalties, zones of control). Consider unified, regenerating ‘energy bar’ governing attacking and attack parrying to try and avoid the problem of boring ‘whiff’ attacks as well as feeling of hacking away at a large health bar chunk by chunk.
  • Speeding up getting into combat focus – realtime movement when not in combat, group movement & group selection when not in combat.
  • Existing animation focus – improve the already existing animations and add alternates to create more variety.

And so on 🙂

Free Company has also had a bit of a musical boost recently with the help of indie game music supremo Stian Stark   (Whose work can also be heard in fantastic games like Solium Infernum). Stian has kindly agreed to supply an original piece of music in return for a bottle of indie game developer dreams and unicorns*. In fact, he already has supplied it and it’s a fantastic piece, doom laden and hopeful all at the same time which is perfect for the grime and black humour of a mercenary company. You should all go visit his website or buy one of the many other games he has contributed to so he gets some money immediately.

Outside of the soft embrace of games; the Robotic Shed recently had to take its newest inhabitant; a soft, happy kitten, off to the vets for a rather sensitive operation. The experience was quite traumatic, but I’m now fairly well recovered. The kitten took it all in his stride, at least once he was safely back at home and now has moved on completely to his latest nemesis; the grey cat from somewhere up the street. The Shed currently isn’t sure whether the kitten wants to play with, smell, fight or flee from the grey cat but will be sure to keep you all updated.


*May not contain unicorns

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