Ventura – Combat Week – Day 2

Hope you all had a great weekend! Here’s post 2 of my Ventura Combat System progress, which was done a while back. As a side note, it’s so nice writing blog posts retroactively 😉

Some quick context as to what the combat system is trying to achieve…

  • 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 2

Last time I designed and transported my UI from Fireworks into Game Maker, without the actual Combat Grid (where all the action takes place).

The next step was to get that Grid in and put Units on it.

Combat Week - Day 2
Combat Week – Day 2

I’ve got a long and beleaguered history with turn-based combat grids. Previously I was relying on a solution by a developer friend of mine (Mark Parrish; @BestMarkEver), but I thought I’d give Game Maker’s grid system a spin and I’d played around with it a tiny bit for Eternal Struggle.

Easy peasy… I think. Now I reflect, retroactive blogs aren’t that easy. I can’t remember how hard it was or not!

The initial grid setup was definitely really smooth, and putting guys on the grid was also simple. Pathfinding, which is tomorrow’s post, is a major pain in the ass but apart from that Day 2 was quite simple. A nice morning’s work.

You can also see that I got my units on the grid. Initially I was going to just clone their big full-tile faces but there’s a little bit more information I need to convey on the tile itself (i.e. HP), so I went with smaller portraits with some room for maneuver. I’m hoping that I can restrict the amount of iconography in-game, as this is supposed to be an extremely simple (but deep) system.

Tomorrow I’ll be taking on the beast that is Pathfinding. Prepare for a horrendously stupid ‘bug’ and general thoughts about the first complex logic I have had to face as a designer/developer.

In other news, I’ve got a few thoughts I want to share about DevPact, which I announced last week.

One important point I’ve learned over the last year or so of independent development is the constant struggle with exposure. Not that kind of exposure, I’m sure that will come later, but the importance of getting your name (and game) out there.

Myself and Chris are thinking of all the wonderful tools out there to build up a userbase;

  • Let’s Plays – A chance for our glowing personalities to shine through the lense of other peoples’ games + free research!
  • Video Critiques – More planned and thoughtful video content akin to Super Bunny Hop or Errant Signal
  • Game Jams – Ludum Dare, Asylum Jam, Public Domain Jam, A Game By Its Cover… all useful design challenges that expand your network
  • Design Articles – One day I hope to write as well as Dan Cook. Click it and be entertained. That sort of thing.
  • Podcasts – A more adhoc, cheap, and flexible way to discuss current game affairs, other games and issues in the industry. I don’t like the sound of my voice though!

These are all things I think we want to experiment with for DevPact. The key is balance, as all of these tools take up serious development time.

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