Ananias 2.3 released, challenges and steam achievements


A lot of work went into adding support for Steam achievements using the excellent Greenworks library. This version includes 37 achievements and there are 10 additional ones I couldn’t add due to the API for progressive achievements not being available on Greenworks; the addition doesn’t look overly complex, however I would need to set up a complete dev env for it (right now I’m using their precompiled binaries).

The challenges are not steam exclusive, but they are only tracked right now on Steam (that means you’ll still see when you complete them on any other version, but they won’t be added to your profile).

I also bumped the version of nw.js to 0.20.3 (I think I had to do it in order for greenworks to work). This increased the size of the downloadable packages for desktop quite a bit.

I think I’ve ran out of Steam to work on Ananias for the moment… it’s been such a long time, and I’ve got a couple of projects to work in (for $$$) and also the rebirth of Expedition keeps haunting me day and night. Although the backlog is filled with feedback from players, I don’t think I’ll be able to tackle their suggestion for some months, so it’s now on maintenance mode where I’ll only be fixing critical issues.

This version also includes some small but important gameplay changes, see below for complete info.

Check out version 2.3.0!

Achievements

  • Add support for Steam achievements via Greenworks
  • Add 19 challenges (all linked to Steam achievements but also tracked on the other versions)
    • Assault, Flintstone, Brave Chamo, “That comes handy…”, Caretaker, Shepherd, Die Hard, Dungeon Explorer, Breaking stereotypes, Burning stereotypes, “I gotta be the very best”, Dungeon diver, Sword collector, Super Shepherd, Die Hard II, Massacre, Legendary Shepherd, Genocide, “Was this supposed to be hard?”
  • Add 16 “marks” as Steam achievements
    • Discover the ruins of Ananias, Discover the Caverns of Chaos, Discover the Underground Lagoon, Discover the Crystal Caverns, Hero of Alchemy, Hero of Wizardry, Hero of Chivalry, Hero of Archery, Hero of Hack’n Slash, Hero of Soul, Hero of the Elements, Hero of the Mind, Hero of Humility, Discover the Lair of the Ancients, Discover the Darkness Abyss, Back to the roots
  • Add 2 steam unachievements
    • “Are you there?”, “Oh well…”

Gameplay

  • Allow shooting over friendlies
  • Show health description for enemies on inspector
  • Prevent levels with far too many “big rooms”
  • Increase max carry capacity to 30
  • Drastically reduce chances for boosted Combat and Strength when fully exploring levels.

User Experience

  • Add intro track to intro

Still pending…

  • Complete support for Steam overlay
  • Keyboard support for:
    • Using multiple selection dialogs
    • Checking player and pet stats
    • Navigating thru menus
  • Additional Steam Achievements for Marks
  • Detailed GFX for weapons and armor.
  • Adding more plot and may be even random stories.

SPID11 – Prince of Transylvania

I will be posting SPIDs (Slashie’s Project Idea Drafts) in the blog, they will be short ideas for games or other projects I may or may not develop into full projects. May be someone will be inspired by them and save me the trouble of developing them.

A crossover between Castlevania and Prince of Persia leaning heavily towards puzzle solving and with minimal combat. We have Nosferatu for SNES, while it may look similar it plays very differently!

The castle would feel dark and creepy, centuries long abandoned and full of traps and hidden places. Enemy encounters would be scarce, with each one of them being relevant to the puzzles or in some way unique.

The plot may remain simple, defeat Dracula as you would in any Castlevania game. Save the twists on “Dracula’s identity” for more dramatic games, in this one the environment would be the protagonist.

If you know about a game that would be similar to this, please put it on the comments 🙂

Publicize Connect April’17 at Espacio

Last Saturday I checked out Publicize Connect, an event organised by Publicize (PR Service For Startups) at Espacio (A startup incubator). They invited local startups to do a quick pitch of their products in front of a panel of journalists.

Mr. Eddie Arrieta, cofounder of Espacio
Eddie Arrieta, one of the cofounders of Espacio

Following are some notes of what they are doing, check out their website to find more info!

cuidamos

cuidamos.co offers specialized affordable HR management consulting for small companies and startups, taking care of all the legal aspects of having people work for them and saving them the hassle of dealing with everchanging regulations.

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B11 is a product which allows people to place orders on restaurant and bars without having to install an app, just browse to a  website, scan a QR code and place your order to your table.

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Yuxi Global is no longer a startup, it was one the first companies to graduate from RutaN landing program and is now a thriving software development company. They continue innovating creating new products and launching them to the market.

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Fractal-VR allows companies to have their customers “experience” their end products using Virtual Reality. They are working with the real estate and the automotive industries, so you can feel like you are inside your new apartment or checking out a new cool bike from their sales rooms.

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Workplace Anywhere brings remote workers from North America to Latin America any time from one to six months, to experience the culture of different countries and participate in social programs while having the chance to work in high quality co-working spaces.

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viajala, another successful not-much-of-a-startup-anymore aggregates data from non-traditional, smaller airlines and travel agencies from Latin America, to provide their users with a wider array of choices for local flights and hotels.

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ideaslab partners with start ups to transform their great innovative ideas into software products ready to hit the market. They have already launched several products and continue growing.

Ananias introspection: Content Creation and Balance

This new series of blog posts will be based on /r/roguelikedev FAQ Fridays, a long standing series of discussions where roguelike developers share their techniques and experiences around a single topic.

FAQ Fridays Revisited # 6 Content Creation and Balance (original)

How do you decide what mobs/items/abilities/terrain/etc to add to your game? In any good roguelike content creation is inseparable from the concept of balance, so your methods of balancing content are certainly within the scope of this discussion.

Ananias has a fairly static collections of monster races. They were first added based on the original rogue monsters and with a single criteria on mind: each race should have an unique feature or ability.

Sometimes implementing an ability is costly and there’s the temptation of parameterizing it so it can be reused with slight variations, but I think it gives more character to the monsters having their distinctive skills. This means Ananias doesn’t have Ice, Fire, Water, Earth and Thunder dragons whose only distinction is the “type” of their attacks, I’d rather have a single Dragon monster distinguished by a strong ranged attack.

The uniqueness of an enemy race is not defined only by their active skills, their stats are also put in consideration. In this case they are assigned relative values first (i.e. orcs have high attack and medium hp, Lizardmen have extreme high attack and low hp). This is balanced so that races without cool active skills get some advantage stats-wise.

The dungeon is then split into 5 areas with increasing difficulty. Mob races are grouped thematically on these areas and then assigned final values for their stats by scaling their relative values to the difficulty level of the group they are in. In order to do this, I do a projection of the average stats for the player on each one of these areas and then I apply some simple general rules (for example, a strong monster may kill the player in 5 hits, a monster with low HP should be killed by the player in a single attack). These define ranges within which the stats of the final monster will be placed.

Items follow a similar model. For weapons and armor I started with a list of preexisting graphics (the artist made them on advance for a different game using his own creative criteria) then based on they appearance I assigned them relative values (high/mid/low) for damage and integrity (how likely they are to break), and then I grouped them on power tiers to define their final stats. They also get assigned a generation weight representing how likely they are to be added to the levels, this value is used in level generation along with the power tier to select the items to be added.

Player abilities are guided by the same principles of uniqueness. Ananias is strongly classed, and each class has unique passive skills that guide players into adapting different playstyles for each one. The process for player classes is similar as with the monster races, they are balanced based on their skills and relative values for their stats. (Except for the shepherd ;)).

On a final note, I’d like to say that while seeking to balance the different stats is worthwhile (to prevent your game from being utterly broken), it’s also to some point a futile exercise, since the variability of the game and the player’s choices create a lot of unpredictability, specially as journeys progress in games which provide long and open experiences. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and a little bit of unbalance is not always harmless since it allows the players to find strategies and challenges within the game.

 

Monster Trainer RL 1.3 released!

New version with small but important changes. Name changed to avoid people from mistakenly thinking the game is an official Pokemon game.

Changes:

  • Allow diagonal movement
  • Split XP between surviving monsters
  • Add a chance for monsters to select a random skill if not commanded to use one by their trainer.
  • Remove references to Pokemon and rename monsters.
  • Remove debug messages

 

Animated intro for HoBLotH IV

Last week I was contacted by Rustic Dragon, proprietor of The Hearth of Britannia and main host for the HoBLotH events; Castleton, Richard Garriott’s property in Austin where two of the previous iterations of the event have taken place, is up for sale now so it’s very likely that this is the last of this series of events to take place there. As a result, he’s planning to be even more fantastic than usual.

He had an idea for an animated intro similar to the Ultima IV opening so I went ahead and worked on it! I ended up putting a lot more on it than I thought I would, but it was just too fun to work in (except fiddling with scaling issues on Internet Explorer and strange WebGL issues on Safari…).

In order to be able to embed the intro onto the page portal, and also since it had to be a quick development, I picked phaser for the job. I used basic spriteworks plus the time and a bit of the tweens module (and the sound one, of course).

After the opening titles, a short demo is shown comprised of the following:

  1. Getting ready for the journey and stepping into the moongate.
  2. Exploring the countryside of Castleton.
  3. Feasting and rabbling at Castleton Town.
  4. Engaging in deadly combat at Capture the Keg (a staple event for HoBLotH)
  5. Dancing inviting the players to come to the event.

In addition to the work in phaser (including minor custom pixel art), I implemented the “retro tv” effects based on the ones I used for Cat Cafe (using glfx.js and some simple practical effects for the scanlines).

This was done specially to accommodate to Rustic’s idea to use an Apple II frame for the intro (by the way, the one he ended up using is a real pic of an ancient piece of Origin equipment ;)).

Some of the issues I had with cat cafe remain (specifically, the bulge filter doesn’t work too well in conjunction with scaling), but given the small window size and the scanlines, it didn’t look bad at all and ended up being used in the final version.

I also created a musical version using the Hearth of Britannia theme made by the Space Bards, you can check it out online here or below, via youtube.

Animations for this version are timed to play along with the theme, which I think looks pretty neat.

In any case, people have liked it so far so that makes me happy! also if you have the chance to be around Austin in November 2017, DON’T MISS THE CHANCE to be in the event, I was there last year and it was super fun! registrations open by April 30

Ananias on IndieGala’s Hump Day Bundle

Ananias has been included on IndieGala’s hump day bundle #36 which runs until April 12! If you still don’t have Ananias it’s your chance to get it along with a mix of other nive interesting Indie games you can play on Steam. Click here for more info.

Even if you already have the game, I recommend you check the bundle and get it if you want, some nice games there 🙂

indiegala