This is probably the last bigger alpha release, hopefully the next ones will be out much faster. I had to throw away the previous combat code and think up a better system. Normally I don’t like doing heavy refactoring this far in a project, but it was mandatory (for my sanity) in this case.
Alpha 4 and Alpha 5 will still be heavily concentrated on combat, we are still missing stuff like: animations, particles, sound effects, ranged attacks, henchmen and consequences. Once those are implemented, then we can say “We are looking so damn good”.
List of completed stuff:
combat v2: complete refactoring
combat v2: new script API
combat v2: larger combat levels
combat v2: free look
combat v2: flee spots
combat v2: simple enemy AI
combat v2: action turn bar v1
combat v2: smooth scroll camera
fix bug where item locations are not removed when the item is taken
add setPlayerSpawn() to LevelAPI
add game debug command: show trigger areas
fix bug where player activation line is not aligned properly after a cutscene
add trigger actions to trigger areas: STOP_PLAYER -> causes player to stop
pass target level as a program argument, not as a property
implement zooming in and out
implement transitions between all levels
only set the background tile when increasing level dimensions
fix bug where tile debug data is not shown when increasing level dimensions
pass target level as a program argument, not as a property
only show level files that can be loaded
implement zooming in and out
implement free spawn placement
add level editor debug command: show trigger areas
fix all warning generated by -Xlint:all
fix compile time warnings
fix world object selection in level editor (can still be improved)
It’s looking like the combat system needs to be split into two alpha releases. Currently I’m working on completely refactoring the combat model, adding stuff like side information, custom AI scripts etc. Pekka finished the design of the new combat in September, I just need implement it so that we can start tinkering with the details.
I naively thought that I could build on the existing system but it was just a pile of garbage built fast so that we could demo the combat in general.
Alpha 3 will have the basic system and rules working, and Alpha 4 will have the animations, sounds and other bells and whistles implemented.
We’ve been working on Alpha 2 for a while now and hopefully it will be out in July.
Alpha 2 will have few engine related things I’ve been working on, mainly a refactoring of our asset pipeline so that, for example, Pekka can add new textures easily.
As for features, consequences after combat is a big one we’ve been wanting to get right. Now fights in Prisonscape don’t matter as there are no real consequences, they guy you killed or injured just disappears without any blowback to you or your status inside the prison.
We don’t want combat to be just another grind for experience and items. Even though we’re not aiming for realism, it would be kind of funny to just slaughter groups of inmates like you’d do in Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy. We’d like the fights to be harder (and maybe longer) and have both positive and negative effects during the game.
Here’s a confession which to most of you shouldn’t come as a surprise: We have been way too lazy with the game development lately. It would be easy to blame this on realities of life, but it’s not just that – sometimes your work becomes this enormous hurdle
which seems impossible to overcome. When you haven’t worked on the code/script for months, you tend to forget where you were, what you were supposed to do or even what has been done. Because of this, it is challenging to get to that flow-like state where
you bang on your keyboard and something magical happens. Basically, I haven’t done any development for Prisonscape in months.
It seems that I have been trapped in a world of instant gratification for a while now, and this needs to change. I am actually the only one of the team who had no other than made up reasons explaining the lack of development. It’s not a writer’s block, per se, I just got overwhelmed by the complexity of the game at its current state (you REALLY should make your first game simple!). I got even more discouraged after our first alpha wasn’t very successful due to several bugs and plain bad writing and designing.
So, here we are. A lot of people have already forgotten Prisonscape, and those who are still checking it from time to time probably think that it’s yet another game that’ll never be finished. But I’m not gonna let that happen. We’re not gonna let that happen. I think the game still has crazy potential to become an interesting roleplaying game in a very interesting setting. I think we already we have plenty of great material for the game. I think that at times the writing is good, and the characters are interesting.
I think we can do this, we’ll just have to get back to work. Actually, I already started.
I’ve been wanting to write my thought on GamerGate for a while now. I suppose there’s always the chance of getting no coverage for our game, but based on our previous “success” with several gaming sites, I don’t know if that’s such a big loss. The thing I’m most afraid is the reaction from my game dev friends, I hope we can still be friends even if we have different opinions on the issue. I would also like to emphasize, that everything I say here is just my opinion – the rest of the Prisonscape team probably
doesn’t share my opinion on Gamergate.
Like some of you already know, I am pro-Gamergate. I have been following the debate since day one, and slowly it has grown into the huge movement that is covered by the biggest news outlets out there, including NY Times, BBC and CBC. As biased and one-sided these stories were, it is a sign that this debate won’t be going away anytime soon. Mainstream and “normal folk” will be interested for a short while, but as soon as we have another scandal exposed, their attention is elsewhere. But gamers will still be there, and they will remember all this for a long time. Like TB wrote on Twitter,
“When the dust settles, remember who it was that fed their own readership to the wolves.”
There are few reasons why I am supporting this movement:
1) Censorship – When this whole thing started, there was a huge wave censorship on Reddit. For example, r/gaming had a thread with over 25000 deleted
comments, Mundane Matt’s video was hit with DMCA and even 4chan started censoring everything GG related. Naturally, any commenting or conversation is
censored in several sites that are critized by GG movement, including Kotaku, The Verge and Polygon.
This Mundane Matt video was struck with DMCA
2) Lack of dialogue – So far it seems that there has been only few parties that are trying to resolve the issue through dialogue. The Escapist has written
about Gamergate covering both point of views and Huffington Post Live had two live segments and that’s about it. What are the reasons for this? I’m pretty
sure there are levelheaded people on both sides ready to discuss.
3) Blaming it all on misogyny – This seems to be a very common narrative (god I hate this word) amongst anti-GG’ers. They claim that all Gamergate supporters
are women-haters. I’m sorry, but WHAT THE FUCK? I don’t know ANYONE who hates women. That’s like, half of the population in the world. Disliking some women
is not misogyny, and neither is critizicing them based on their actions. The threat against Sarkeesian and USU was unfortunate, but I’m pretty sure that it
had nothing to do with Gamergate – there a lot of crazies out there who want all the attention they can get. GG’ers even helped to identify one of the people
who sent threats to Sarkeesian. She should be irrelevant to the whole debate, since she has very little to do with journalistic integrity issue at hand.
Easy – just support GamerGate
4) Namecalling – Please don’t call us basement-dwellers, don’t make snarky comments about our personal hygiene and don’t critize our sense of fashion. Here’s
a short quote from the infamous Leigh article:
“‘Game culture’ as we know it is kind of embarrassing — it’s not even culture. It’s buying things, spackling over memes and in-jokes repeatedly, and it’s getting mad on the internet.
It’s young men queuing with plush mushroom hats and backpacks and jutting promo poster rolls. Queuing passionately for hours, at events around the world, to see the things that marketers want them to see. To find out whether they should buy things or not. They don’t know how to dress or behave.”
Hey guys, it’s like high school again!
How on earth is this even relevant to the issue (yes, I read the whole article)?
5) Blacklisting – This is just speculation, but I’ll change my mind on this as soon as Kingdom Come: Deliverance is covered by any of the involved parties.
The good old times
I’m not very smart man, and I don’t have a way with words. That’s why I don’t have solution or even suggestions on how to solve this. That’s why I really suggest you read some of these articles that talk about Gamergate from a neutral point of view:
Heyoooo! We’re back in business, with a little shorter work time this week. The theme for this week is nature. Start drawing those beautiful (or ugly, or alien, or whatever) landscapes and blow our minds with your art.
Here are some additional rules for the coming week:
Limit size for this submission is 128 x 128 pixels
This submission is limited to 32 colors
Upload the image Imgur if possible. If not, use Twitter image uploader
You can of course submit multiple drawings if you want
When Wednesday comes (any timezone), tweet your creation with the hashtag #pixelshit (or if you need SFW hashtag, use #pixelWeek)
I will resize the images to a large size when I put them up. If you want to use the original size, please let me know
All indie game developers without any artistic ability, unite! We have created an amazing, weekly pixel challenge for you and the only requirement for joining our little group is to be BAD at art. Our goal is to become better at this by putting up our pixel-y creations for the public so that we can get creative feedback on them. Hopefully we can get some proper artists to give some constructive feedback on them, too!
I spent over 10 hours on this.
As this is the first week and it’s already Saturday, we’ll start with something fairly simple – draw a 2D character of either size of 16×16 or 32×32 pixels. Colors are limited to 8. This submission will be used to determine if you are bad enough for our group (just kidding, everyone’s welcome). Upload your image to Imgur and when Wednesday comes, link the said image to Twitter under hashtag #pixelshit. If you have questions, send me a Tweet to @Prisonscape.
While Pekka has been designing NPCs and the layout of the County Jail, I have been working on the core features of the game. I’ve completed first versions of the combat system, item handling and quest (job) system. I’m sure we’re going to rework these features several times, but it’s nice to have even rough versions up and running. Prisonscape is starting to come alive! As a side note, people from Reddit seemed to like the fact that you can taunt your opponent during combat. 🙂
We’re currently working on getting the tile layers work with each other, so that transparencies and object rendering orders are correct. It’s actually quite a bit of work to get them working properly, but once the system is done we don’t have to touch it for the rest of the project.
Layering in action – player character is standing behind the table
The reason we switched from working on core features to engine functionality is that we’re trying to get our first gameplay video out. It will feature a simple quest, combat action, and in general show the ‘world’ of Prisonscape a bit. So, having working tile layers will be nice so that the player will actually disappear behind walls and items instead of climbing all over them.
Checking if the Dance with The Dragons has finally arrived…
As for deadlines, we’ll try to get the demo ready for September or October. I’m guesstimating that we will be working mostly on gameplay features this year with polishing and the rest of the engine work going to next year. There isn’t much engine work left anyways, implementing OpenGL rendering and building an audio system basically. Making sure the game works as intended on our target platforms will also require time.
It’s important to note that we’re basically building Prisonscape from scratch, using a custom engine. I know we could have accelerated the development of Prisonscape by using Unity or some other existing engine, but I made the decision to use a custom engine based on few key reasons. Mainly, I like to have control over everything in the code. Having total control over code means that I can tweak every aspect of the game without waiting for a 3rd party. It also allows me to implement Pekka’s ideas without ever going ‘Nope, sorry, the engine can’t do that’. We also won’t be bound to any license fees or royalties.
“Sir, I’d like to checkout from the premises.”
Even though custom development is slow in the beginning, we’ll begin to see the advantages in the mid to late stages of the project. Also, we’ll have a “production tested” code base which can be used in our next game. Anyways, Tommy Refenes (programmer of Super Meat Boy) had a nice blog post about this same issue at Gamasutra. He also seems to like the idea of custom engine development.
Well, this rambled on longer than I expected. Until next time!