Expedition – August 20, 2019 update

It’s been 44 days since the last update so let’s go!

CREA Digital winners

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We were selected as winners for “Crea Digital”, a program from the Ministries of Culture and Information Technologies of Colombia, with “Expedición: Los Hijos de Bachué”. This will be a scenario based on the Muisca legend of Pacanchique, and the last years of the Muisca Confederation in the central Andes highlands.  We expect to make good use of these funds to enhance production, art and UX aspects of the game while producing quality content to be distributed across the country, inspiring children to become game developers in the future and teaching people about their history.

Changes in Exploration

After a lot of experimentation with the forests, including tests with 3d meshes, I decided to tackle the forest issue with a change of perspective. Of course, this isn’t a magical solution but I believe it’s closer to the sense of scale I want to portray.

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For the “New Expedition” mode, the player now starts on land in the southeastern-most part of the map, using an adequate sea vessel based on the selected culture.

Regarding field of view, our first approach was to use zoom levels for this so that if for some reason your field of view was restricted, the game would zoom in so that what you could see would fit all screen. I found out this to be a bit confusing and troublesome from the art part, so we are now using a “vignette” effect instead.

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We are also now detecting if the expedition is transversing a forest, in which case it moves slower and the field of view is also limited.

Procedural terrain

Worked further in procedural generation, adding controls to ensure a percentage of the map is above the sea, and smoothing out the mountain peaks to make them look more natural.

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Hometown and Transfer Items

For the “New Expedition” mode, the player adventure will start at his “hometown”, where he must stock his Expedition to the unknown. He may come back to town to trade and restock.

The UI is still very early but finally settled on a design for this multipurpose interaction, which will also be used to trade with native towns, and to transfer things between the expedition and locations such as ships and outposts.

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Voyage mode

The current approach for the long voyages in the open sea. It will be a separate mode in which events will be simulated and things will be handled at a higher level. Will probably add some navigation and weather aspects, as well as events with the crew.

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Combat – Pathfinding

We implemented pathfinding in combat using the A* Pathfinding Project, it’s looking much better now.

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UI Tweaks

Added a permanent minimap on the lower-right corner of the HUD, and compressed lots of UI info into the status panel in the lower-left corner. Also increased the size of the Town and Conversation dialogs and relocated them.

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Also, after lots of research and experimentation, we were able to add “markers” for the command destinations, painting them over the terrain using “projectors”.

Rivers

After evaluating different alternatives we settled on handling rivers as meshes generated from polylines (sequences of points), in order to provide more flexibility for their procedural generation. We also added animation to their flow. Their appearance is still work in progress.

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Sound effects tests

We introduced speech effects for “commands” as well as random “expressions” from the expedition members during exploring, as well as new sounds playing when the units are injured or die. This is all still in test.

 

OpenArthurian – Milestone 3 completed!

Mirrored

I’m developing full speed. Milestone 3 is completed now as of version 0.5. Check the demo online here. Onwards to Milestone 4

  • Support for multiple height levels per map
  • Support multiple layers of tiles per level per map
  • Smooth transition between levels using stairs
  • Using levers to open and close doors
  • Finding hidden objects
  • Solo mode, so you can move around with an individual party member.
  • Examine items on inventory
  • Update pathfinding data when opening and closing doors.

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OpenArthurianX6 Milestone 2 completed!

Mirrored

I’m developing full speed. Milestone 2 is completed now as of version 0.4. Check the demo online here. Onwards to Milestone 3

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  • Restore door state correctly
  • Fix Drop item flow
  • Use inventory item with the keyboard
  • Integrate using a key with the mouse with the main logic
  • Add armor
  • Display equipped weapon and armor on inventory
  • Click on party member to show inventory
  • Fix issues with the door opening and unlocking, and click interaction
  • Draggable inventory panel
  • Fix floating item state transitions
  • Change appearance of Asteroth
  • Ensure combat turns triggers are done before the mob action. Separate endCombat action.
  • Destroy old level when loading a new one, fix an issue with combat end before loading level causing issues with party member positioning.
  • Fix issue when trying to talk to non-NPC mobs
  • Make half of the door objects “fixed”, so you cannot walk thru them even if they change their appearance to open
  • Fix conflicts with look box being active during WORLD state
  • Add area to Iolo’s hut
  • Allow canceling floating item selection

OpenArthurianX6, Line of Sight

Crossposted from OpenArthurian devlog.

Was considering what would be the best way to do this. LOS in Ultima 6 is weird since it seems to be location-based (once you open a door you can see the room inside), but you can see through walls (some times?).

I thought just replicating it for the sake of it didn’t make sense and would bring more complexity for map handling and editing. So instead I went for a full system with opaque tiles, so you just have to define the tile as opaque and the engine takes care of the rest.

The current implementation is a pretty simple raycasting, and a mask drawn over the map. It works almost great except the tweening of the mask moving is not in sync with the camera tweening, which causes some small artifacts in the mask border.

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Expedition: July 7, 2019 Update

It’s been about three weeks since the last update so let’s go!

Don’t forget to check out the forums and discuss there, as well as follow the blog!

Cartography – Automap

We had made progress on this some months ago, but with all the changes in the design and now that we have procedural terrain, we practically had to remake it from scratch.

Discovering

We are now generating the base map from the generated (or loaded) terrain, taking into account the heightmap to draw the shoreline as well as icons for the mountains and forests, and then displaying it as the player explores, including the position of the player and adding the discoveries he has made (see below).

Automap

I must say that it looks pretty cool.

Discoveries and Findings

This facet of the game is meant to provide the players with a motivation to explore the map. As you walk around you will find things such as animal or plant species, ruins or new cultures. When you find a new one you will have a chance to name it and will earn “stars” based on its rarity. You can always check your discoveries in your journal.

Discovery Journal

This facet is still very early in progress, it will be heavily based on procedural generation for the description and (2D) appearance of the findings you are making.

Procedural Generation

We invested a serious amount of dev on terrain generation, we are now generating islands using midpoint displacement fractal with preseeded key points and a lot of tweaking to make them look nice, be more controllable, and play well with the base procedural generation we had in place which was 100% Perlin noise.

Islands

We are also affecting the base heightmap so that plains look plainer and mountains look more dramatic, by scaling specific portions of the heightmap.

Dramatic Mountains

Combat

Combat now takes place on a separate “scene”, so when for any reason the player engages in combat (right now there are just random ambushes) he transitions to a separate area with a higher level of detail

Combat

Exploration

Small tweaks on how things are portrayed in the overworld, to give a better sense of scale now that the combat has been moved to a separate scene.

Also, further additions to mouse movement so you can now move in the ocean and enter towns.

Title Screen

Working in the flows for both the Campaign mode and the New Expedition mode, you can now select the campaign (but there’s a single one, the Pacanchique one), or select the “civ” you are going to use for the procedural mode.