Monday, 28 October 2013

Adding Depth (Lore and Arcana)

Since the last post, I have been gradually typing up the background to my campaign so that I may add it to the "Arcana and Lore" section of the Main Menu. It's something easy to work on while I am still adjusting to the events of the last month. Originally, I had intended to add much of this material through various other gameplay aspects such as "readable" books and scrolls. However, having recently experienced the way the "Codex" had been implemented in Dragon Age, I considered some of this "background" information for my campaign is better handled in the same way. Note: I already had a Rule Information tab, which acts in a similar way to one aspect of the DA Codex, but I have now included the additional "Lore & Arcana" tab within the Main Menu to cover more detailed lore and background information of the campaign. i.e. The kind of stuff that I have written up as a "Dungeon Master" in a pen and paper game, which would normally not be directly available to the player.


The latest rendition of the Main Menu showing the Lore & Arcana tab.
The various aspects of Lore and Arcana will gradually be uncovered by the player as they adventure throughout the campaign. At each new discovery, a node will be unlocked in the tab conversation menu allowing the player to read as much of the information as they wish. Discoveries can be made through conversation or interaction with objects, and some bring XP awards for the PCs. So, whereas this kind of information may have once been presented in a readable book format, it will now be presented in the Main Menu after, for example, interacting with a book found laying on a podium. In each case, the latest lore or arcana information will be brought to the attention of the player by a new informative GUI.

The PC has just picked up some campaign background lore by reading a book.
Now the player can use the Main Menu to navigate to the information they have just learned, which remains accessible throughout the campaign. This information is mainly background, but does also serve to help give the player clues and information that may help them understand more about their environment and of items that may be of interest to them. At the very least, it may help to explain the reasons behind the way the campaign is built.

Some religious lore indicating how death was not always present in Althéa.
The more astute reader may also notice the new scroll bar I have adopted for some of my menus, as seen in the last picture.

I have typed up quite a few pieces of information now, but still have some to go, which I will deal with as I get the time. However, I hope to turn my attention back towards coding one of the dungeons I was working on before I started this.

Tactical Pausing Combat System

One last point I wanted to mention is that I managed to allow PCs to swap weapons while the game is paused. I did this by allowing the game to very briefly un-pause the game (for 0.1 seconds) when the weapon was double-clicked on from either the PC's inventory or one of their hotbars. This small addition to the Tactical Combat System included with the campaign adds a further improvement for those who like to use the pause facility to slow down combat for more of a tactical approach.

While I am on the subject of the Tactical Combat System, is there anything else readers would like me to consider for this system? E.g. I am also considering looking at "instant potions". And for those that might mention "pause at the start of an encounter", well that is already in, as well as optional hit point bars for enemies.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Journeying Onward

Things remain somewhat unsettled at the house since "Bud" died only a short while ago. It's surprising how the loss of one little rabbit can make the whole place seem quieter ... and so much emptier. Yet, my own journey in this world has not yet come to an end and so I continue with what I can do and hold onto the fond memories I have of Bud from the years of having him in our lives.

Small Distractions

So, what have I been doing regarding the module? Sticking with those parts that need the least amount of thought to be honest. Those parts that simply distract me, and allow me to continue to contribute a few more steps towards completing the module. Things like trying to improve elements of code that needed such. Including making automatons appear not obvious until activated ... and being able to have code that played sounds while the character was moving. (That had been a bugbear for a while for me, but was something I had actually solved in another area of code once before, but had forgotten about.) I also fixed a "ClearAllActions" that was stopping actions every heartbeat, and tidied up the "placeable" bashing code to ensure the PC kept bashing until the object was destroyed. Basically, I worked at small pieces of code that needed addressing and were easy enough to cope with for now.

Conversation Poll Results

The poll asking about conversations in a MP game ended a while ago, and the general consensus was that, even during MP gaming, they remain essential. This confirmed what I already thought, but knowing how some people play RPGs, I recognise that some may have not realised that a story based module, like mine, will have quite a few that players should realise will occur during play.

The Next Steps

As time goes by, I will start to look at those few outstanding points I need to finish:-

1) Finish the couple of main story "dungeons". (Plot realised, just needs coding now.)
2) Add a couple of side quests. (I decided I wanted a couple more minor ones to flesh out.)
3) Add the Lore & Arcana section to the Main Menu. (Tab already added, just need to add data.)
4) Finish the final conversations.

The Notice Boards

For those following what I was doing with the Notice Board, I managed to finish that just before my last post. It works fine and I am pleased that I can also add "image" scrolls as well as plain text ones. Here a couple of screenshots of the opening GUI, but without having clicked on any of the notice scrolls.

Any Work On Offer?
Notice Board - Showing GUI Scale
The Missions of Mercy Board" At The Church