Tactical Game Engine Improvements!

August 2, 2012 at 3:38 pm (Computer Science, Games, Graphics, Processing, Programming) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

So in my spare time (I have a real-person job at a software company now), I’ve been working on that game I mentioned in a previous post. It’s a tactical/strategy game where you give orders to a team of units and do battle with AI-controlled enemies. The proof of concept demo was in working shape, but it was super ugly and only supported 2D stuff. So while I could test out levels and combat features, I wouldn’t be able to show it to people and expect good feedback.

So I set out to make a visually-appealing version of the software so that A) I’d have a platform to plug in new gameplay ideas and features and B) I could show it to people and have them think it was an actual game. My ultimate goal in the end is having a full game (including story, music, and art) that I can release to the general public and have them play. So after a bit of work on evenings and weekends, I now have it in the following status (also, I should note that this was all written in Java and Processing (p5):

-3D rendering. Similar to how some of my previous projects work; I’m doing 2D sprites rendered in 3D. This allows the user to rotate the camera around the map and have it work in the way they’d expect. I have to finish up the render pipeline details, but most of this is copy and paste from a previous project anyway.

-Working gameplay. Most of these components were copy and pasted from the previous iteration. However, I’ve made substantial upgrades to how the system works. Also, now the game events are handled in a way that allows the game to flow similar to a real game of the same type. For example, when the AI makes a move, it no longer moves everything at once and then starts the player’s next turn. Instead it shows the player each action it took (while allowing the player to skip ahead).

-Level Editor. I’ve added a built-in level editor and it not only has a whole whack of features, but also is designed in a way that allows new tools to be added easily.


Future features:

-Particle system. Allows explosions and powers to look nice.

-Camera cutscene paths. I have some code written for Catmull-Rom curves that would allow the camera to slide along a path created in the level editor.

-Player profile system. Allows a player to select a profile on their system so that multiple players can play the same game without overwriting saves.

-Character customization screens. I want to have an extensive menu system to allow character stat tweaking, etc. between battles. This is mostly game design/art stuff, but the GUI code might need more features.

-Game story! I have a fair bit written up for the story and characters, but I need to iron out plenty more of it. I also have to figure out if I’m going to go with episodes that are easier to write for and make (also in case nobody likes the game, I can save resources).


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