Ventura – Combat Week – Day 1

Damn, over a week since my last post and that was a nothing post! To cap off the week, here’s the first post about what I was doing during the Redlight week.

Combat!

All work on Ventura so far has been the core out-of-combat functionality. Accepting Tasks, hiring Mercenaries, buying Equipment etc. This stuff is all extremely important, and starting with it gave me some important insights, but the combat is the real meat ‘n potatoes of Ventura. Everything leads back to it. Your gold is invested in combat strength and variety, so it had better be compelling.

Combat Systems are like new games in themselves, but you have to hook them up to existing systems so I find them even harder at times. Thankfully, many of the UI troubles were already solved because of my Squad UI work. Freebie!

For the next week or so, I will take you through the day by day progress of Ventura‘s combat system.

I’ll go into a lot more detail about how the Combat System works and why I made the decisions I did, but in short;

  • 1v1 combat with teams of 5 Mercenaries
  • Simultaneous Turns, with a Planning phase (making moves) and a Resolution phase (witnessing the outcomes)
  • Two Maneuvers per Turn
  • In your Maneuver you can Move, Attack, or Idle
  • There are no targeted attacks, you select a direction and your character’s attack ‘template’ will affect tiles and enemies below it
  • There are plenty of more details, but not for version 1!

Combat Week – Day 1

My first step in designing anything is to mock it up first. Well, the initial thought seeds are in my head but this is the first real step towards production. Below is the initial mockup I made in Fireworks…

Day 1 UI Mockup
Day 1 UI Mockup

It’s currently 100% functional and ugly as sin, however I’m not averse to the general design of the layout.

  • In the top centre is the Phase Info, which will explain to players what the current phase is (Planning, Resolution etc.).
  • In the top right is the Current Maneuver Info. You order your units one by one through both of their Maneuvers. This area is context sensitive and communicates your controls and options based on your unit’s current state (neutral, currently moving, currently attacking)
  • In the Centre is the main event, the Combat Grid. This is where moves are made and units are located.
  • On the bottom is the Current Unit Info. You do not need to select units in Ventura‘s combat system, you give their orders sequentially. This area will let you know more details about who is selected; their HP, damage, and movement points as well as an Ability Browser that lets you cycle through any combat-related traits they may have

With the visual design set, I then start transferring it across to Game Maker. Another reason I absolutely love using an image editor to mockup UI first is because I can cross-reference the grid coordinates directly to use in Game Maker when generating the UI objects;

Combat Week - Day 1
Combat Week – Day 1

Remember that each of these ‘days’ is usually about 1-2 hours, so my first day’s progress was pretty good! The Combat System was mocked up visually and I transferred almost all of it into Game Maker.

On Monday we’ll be on Day 2 where The Grid is implemented. Oooohhhh exciting!

Have a great weekend!

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