Etage VisualizerLast you heard of any progress on Hintermark, I had spent a day or two to make a quick and dirty Etage Visualizer  in Gtk# to optimize the workflow when working with dungeon generation. That was a huge success and allowed a lot faster iteration. The Etage Visualizer was soon expanded with support for checking player placement, different dungeon generators, seed control and stair placement. The newest feature is the ability to load players in different states, e.g to see what maps look like depending on the player's quests and progress. It has over the month turned into a very useful tool, but looks hideous.
Conversation SimulatorInspired by the Etage Visualizer, I realized that tweaking conversations and conversation-like interactions was a bit cumbersome to go into Unity to test. So I added a small Gtk# app that allows me to run conversations and conversation-like interactions quickly, and allows me to choose players and conversation-"owners" quickly to check behaviour. This seems to work fine, and over time I think it'll be as beneficial as the Etage Visualizer.
Ambush QuestThe first (tutorial) quest (aka the Ambush Quest) is the current red thread in the development as I am developing general features to support it. This allows me to use those features for other quests, both handcrafted and generated quests. One of the more important features that will be in Hintermark is extended interaction with the environment. In the Ambush Quest this is central to the quest several times to ensure players know that environment interaction can get them far.
A bit later in the Ambush Quest the player will find a natural cave, and work has started on the generator. The general dungeon generator uses rectangular-like rooms, which makes it fairly easy to insert various tactical elements. We need fun tactical elements in natural caverns, as well. Natural caverns don't have a rigorous structure like a man-made dungeon, but are more fluid in nature. This is the main challenge for February; to allow a more general way to describe areas for insertion of tactical elements, so that we can use most of the code for the dungeon generator in the cavern generator, too.
Technical ProgressAmong other things, a smarter way to deal with coordinate flags has been implemented. This is separate from the field-of-view (FOV) code and takes into account special behaviour of certain floors and "decor" on each coordinate in a better way. This was a fairly big rewrite, but already allows more fine-grained behaviour for how to deal with coordinates for the FOV-code, the AI and for player choices.
I am using Tiled to edit some of the environments in the game, and especially for areas that the generators can insert. Tiled is a multi-layered tile editor where I can insert abstract and object information into these areas. Besides normal drawing of areas and placing items and environments, I use it for adding quest information, meta information and even coordinate triggers and events. Tiled exports .tmx files which I then convert to Hintermark's internal system.
What's NextIn February the plan is to delve into more of the dungeon generation and combining it with tactical elements, in particular for more fluid environments like a natural cavern (as opposed to the more rigidly structured dungeons). Extending and working more on environment interaction is also the plan.
To allow you all to see what happens, I expect to make a short video to demo some new features and revamp the website a little bit.
- Etage is the word I use for a generated floor or level. As both floor and level are kind of ambiguous words I chose the word etage.
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