A long time with no blog updates, but things have still been happening on Free Company.
Since the last time I’ve implemented a new combat – framework? I guess is the right word, that evaluates combat attack success based on how much ‘energy’ the defender has left, as well as things like attributes, skills and equipment. At the same time unsuccessful attacks have been changed so that they do damage to this new ‘energy’ concept proportional to how powerful the attack was. The idea behind this self reinforcing system is both to speed up combats by quickly driving home an advantage to the likely eventual winner and also to make all attacks actually change something within the game. At the same time the concept of health has become a lot more granular and a lot more scarce, most horde type enemies will only have a single ‘wound’ now and mercenaries will have to train to get extra wounds if they want to survive prolonged combats (I’ve yet to decide how many to start them with but I’m leaning towards two).
This has been quite a big mechanical change so it’s detail will no doubt continue to be refined and its unintended consequences explored as the development goes on but for now I’m happy that it is better than what was there before with long grind fest combats, chipping away at health bars and having completely wasted rounds due to a couple of crappy dice rolls.
I’ve also been spending some time improving most of the UI widgets based on some feedback from my tiny play test team (thanks bro). This has involved exposing more previously hidden information, adding more tool tips and fixing problems with open UI panels not being updated when the world state changes around them. Half of the battle with designing a game is explaining to the players what is going on in a clear enough way that they can make good decisions. I’m sure this battle with explaining the design through the UI will continue until I stop working on the project.
As well as improving the information content of the UI I’ve also embarked on a mini art splurge to try and improve the looks of a few bits of it by drawing some generic mercenary ‘portraits’ for use on the character sheets, in merc lists and possibly in a future group selection UI.
Other than that, I’ve been dual-classing again this month; doubling up as an exam invigilator when I’m not working at home on the game. Hopefully these vital pennies will help continue to fund my itinerant lifestyle of reckless game development and finally get this game finished.
Christmas happened too. I miss it already. Sort of.