Sunday, March 06, 2016

Posting on Sunday!!!

Sometimes miracles do happen!

Of course, considering RAGS decided to "eat" several characters randomly, forcing me into a couple of hours of tedious copy/paste work to salvage things by using a previous backup, I'd say fate owed me a break.

So, other than RAGS shitting on me (I am going to blame some weird bug in the debug option, which I almost never use, and I am never going to touch again), I worked some more on the random quests, lots of picture hunting, for the most part. I think I have most of what I need, but it was really hard, and I had to settle down for something less than what I wanted. I really wish I had enough pictures with a similar style/theme, and blame the fact that all the rooms are similar to the fact that the ships are all build by the same company (I am probably going to use the same excuse, but there isn't much of a theme going on among the various images), but it wasn't meant to be. I refined the random generator a little, although I am wondering if I shouldn't go with something less "random" and perhaps have the map be made up of different "pre-assembled modules" of 3-4 rooms each combined randomly from a list, so that the geometry of the maps is a bit better. The random map generator I am using is adapted from something I cobbled together a while ago for a fellow developer (The game is Hunter In The Black, by saionji11), but that was for caverns, which actually look better the more chaotic they are. I did use some tricks to make it more elegant, but when you go for pure randomness, you are bound to have a few terrible maps, and I am not sure I like that.

Other than that, I settled down on just using one slave path for the moment, and wait for after the beta-testing to decide if I should add a different path if you are almost enslaved already when you get to the end of the final quest (can't remember if I mentioned this before). I think it will speed up the process a bit, so I will be able to get feedback earlier, without having to wait for another slave path to be completed. I hate being so conflicted about this, but I really, REALLY want to hurry up and finish my game, I owe it to the fans. ^_^

On a slightly different topic, I have been toying around with some ideas for Chapter 2. Even if it's not going to be made right after I finish Chapter 1, I believe I should consider some improvements now, so that it's going to be easier down the line. I prototyped an improved combat engine, that will allow me to have multiple enemies at once. To keep it quick, I made it so that you don't need the custom choice menu to choose your target (as that pauses the game), but rather the game determines how many targets there are in the room, and adds actions (which change their name according to the target) to the player (they are grouped together like the quest log does with the single quests, so they don't take extra space). It uses one loop before the battle and that's it, so it shouldn't be resource intensive even when the character numbers increase. It's quite nice for a RAGS game, if I say so myself. The idea is to have grenades affect all targets in the room at once, introduce some active abilities, and the possibility to engage "secondary firing modes" for the weapon, in exchange for them overheating and becoming unusable for a few turns. I don't want it to become too complex, but I want something interesting for the players to consider, and at the same time have something to even the odds when they are outnumbered. I will also use custom properties to store the data of the various enemies, which should make it easier to compare the stats and balace the fights when needed.

I did some minor works here and there, but the loss of the characters and the forced retreat to save the work I had done that far kind of fucked up my progress, as even now I am unsure if I managed to retrieve 100% of the data.

Anyway, this was my week, I am really pissed off about the temporary data loss, which makes me think I really need to hurry up and finish TOTDC, before RAGS implodes forever deleting my game. I'll be here next week with new updates, as usual. Have fun! ^_^


  1. That sucks that Rags ate your homework. It seems to happen a lot more than it really needs to with many developers.

    "The idea is to have grenades affect all targets in the room at once, introduce some active abilities, and the possibility to engage "secondary firing modes" for the weapon, in exchange for them overheating and becoming unusable for a few turns."
    Mind blown.

    1. Ah, yes, the secondary fire key!
      Single-action versus double-action with a revolver A REVOLVER NOT A DILDO! or maybe double-action versus "fanning" the gun to empty it towards a point of the compass fast rather than trying to hit a particular target.
      Semi-auto versus full-auto with an assault rifle, for efficiency and accuracy or sheer damage output (and intimidation).
      From the shoulder versus from the hip for a shotgun, sacrificing accuracy to eliminate the second or two when you can't see the room for the recoil.
      Firing the SMG versus firing the under-barrel grenade launcher.
      500W versus 3kW on the microwave beam weapon, for "some damage each time" or "lots of damage then it gets so hot you have to drop it."
      Somehow, in Half Life, the secondary fire button on the pump-action shotgun fired both barrels at once. Nobody ever did really explain how. O.o

    2. This one bug caught me by surprise, never seen it before, and I have years of experience with RAGS now, which is why I can only think it's the debugger that caused it (a feature I never use).

      Thankfully, as stupid as RAGS is, it allows you to run 2 instances at the same time, so I opened up an older version and started copy/pasting what I had added since then. It's a pity, but honestly for someone with no coding experience/knowledge like me, relying on such engines is a must.

      I hope to make the combat better, it's frequent enough to warrant some thought being put into it to improve the experience, but it's hard to make it interesting, I wish I had a truly good idea to make it more interactive and fast-paced, but I am not sure I can do a lot beyond what I already tested. :/

    3. Well, I was thinking more about simple stuff (for example, burst for the shotgun, or maybe some add on you can buy for it to add new modes). For the abilities I might borrow from games like Mass Effect and other RPGs, disabling one enemy's weapon for a time, maybe push them back and give them a chance to fail while they are distant, overcharge the shield for a short while to get 0 damage for one turn, etc.

      I was even considering adding new weapons, but that would mean re-working the pistol/shotgun health/shield balance I have in place right now, and it might be a lot of work.

    4. Maybe Celeste could use cover, where cover is available. No, not another "shoot from cover" third-person thing, but make moving into cover an option like "attack." An enemy could then try to move to get a clear line of fire if feeling confident or try to find cover if feeling less sure of himself, and Celeste could move to better cover, go after him, stand and face him or throw a grenade to flush him out.

    5. I was thinking about that, as well as other possible stuff, like introducing short-medium-long range and have certain weapons work better at precise distances, or even have a mini-map where you can move around and then the enemy moves in turns (I have an idea on how to do it, although I'd probably avoid full cover to sidestep having to write an AI that handles line of sight well), but all these ideas might make the combat too long, so I am unsure. The idea is still to have a quick battle system, rather than drawn out fights, and positional tactics of any kinds tend to make turns considerabl longer. I will still consider this, though, it's worth trying to find a compromise that still works with the "agile combat system" theme.

  2. I really have to hand it to you, you are one of very few if not "THE" only Author still working on their game. so many excellent starts that were prematurely abandoned for whatever the reason. and TOTDC is probably one of the most well known RAGS games there is and one of the most sought after. It's one of those titles that you always come back to. I have yet to finish it, I have a bad habit of putting Celeste to her limits and failing rather badly, taking that one step too far and getting a game over LOL. anyway much Kudos to you and your determination :)

    1. Ah-ah, I am just stubborn and I like making text-adventure games, that's all. I regret being unable to make this my job, but such is life, and I also was on the other side of the fence, leaving a game unfinished would make me feel too bad. XD

      Take your time, after all the game isn't finished yet. :)

  3. Have you consider having a male rival for Celeste in chapter 2? Like they can not only go after side missions and finish them before her, but they can cuck Celeste if she's dating someone and starts to neglect them.

    1. I am not so sure about giving players a "time limit" of sorts after chapter 1 (ALICE is kind of that, in a sense). There might be some kind of rival, but if I decide to add one, I am not sure how I'll do it yet. The relationships decaying over time feels too easy to avoid, and I don't want to add busywork. Maybe I can have stuff happen if you act like a jerk, though, we'll see.

    2. If you do, some of the ways that you can implement is that Celeste's partner can get jealous if the player is choosing alot of the overt sexy options, flirting with other, or if Celeste is caught either by recordings or in person having sex with someone else. The rival then can come in and comfort them, which happens in stages like going from comforting them to taking them out to make them feel better, than slowly seducing them from simple kissing to finally sex.

      And thanks for continuing making this game.

    3. To be honest, I originally had plans for a "hidden" jealousy/cheating meter for the love interests in Chapter 1. The problem is that the game by its nature encourages sex (of course), and pushing the players toward being faithful could have them not get into relationships to begin with. Finding a balnce is hard when you consider how the game as a whole is essentially me tempting the players. In chapter 2 things will probably be a little different, but it's still going to take some thought put into it, if I want to try it. I'll still consider it, though.

      Thanks for following the development of the game, even if it's taking me forever. :)