The unit AI and animation integration is coming along nicely. I’ve been running automated tests over night and have been pleased to see that the game continues to run nicely and the unit’s are staying smart :). The new game modes are working well too.
You may remember from my ninja demo a few weeks ago I showed new units jumping around the map. That was just a demo, but I successfully created a "ninja" test unit that acts pretty smart. It will jump towards an enemy until it is in range and then walk until it’s close enough to attack. When his health is below half, he will jump back in retreat until he has regained more than half of his health back. I also made it so that the ninja can only jump when he has enough energy (separate from health) so he can’t just jump all the time. This is just a test unit at the moment, but with my new Animation and AI architectures combined with my improved physics engine, I’m able to implement pretty cool AI behaviors fairly quickly.
Happy Birthday Pat. Below is a dire wolf graphic and animation I created. Check out his majesty. I call him Fang, after my WoW pet (who is almost 3 years old… they grow up so fast). This week I spent a lot of time working on animations such as this (I don’t want to spoil the surprise), but I also spent a lot of time with some very important code I’ve been neglecting… I’m planning on having the next Bowmaster game support multiple game modes (not just Capture the Flag like in Prelude) so in order to do this I had to re-code a lot of the "hard" coded features in the old Prelude code. Codie co decode code. Say that 10 times fast. Basically I was able to create a very nice foundation for supporting multiple game types and unit AI’s. For example, in Defend your Castle mode, you need to keep your castle alive and kill all the enemies. The enemy AI will advance towards your base at all costs and they will have no castle on their side. Your AI will defend your castle at all costs, attacking any nearby units, but perhaps staying closer to your castle (exact AI behavior is still being worked out).
I’ve improved the archer animation so that they now aim towards their target. See how the archers adjust their bow angle to try and hit the baby red dragon. I’m using simplified AI for this demo and the arrow physics may differ (gravity and velocity) from the final game.
I spent most of this week working on unexciting documentation and file prep. I am trying to create a "lite" development version of BM2 that doesn’t take 7 years to compile. I’ll do this by temporarily removing items from the library that aren’t being used (such as backgrounds, cutscenes, music etc.)
Stampede! I’m having a lot of fun pretending to be an animator. As you can see I’ve improved the horse animation significantly from the original. Animation is a long a tedious process but the end result is cool to look at. It’s going to be worth the effort though. I’ve been working on other animations as well, but that’s top secret information. If I tell you I’d have to … try and convince you not to tell other people.
Check out the new character animations of the stealthy Jonin. Featured here are the Fist, Sai, and Katana Jonin. Notice their amazing mobility; landing arrows in these targets may prove quite challenging. Also watch how they pass off the fire orb artifact as an example of their ability to quickly escape with valuable items. The Jonin have a combination of basic attack moves and a special melee and jump attack. The basic moves cause blunt damage (from fists and feet) and the special attack damage is different for each weapon type. For example, the Katana Jonin’s special moves inflicts slice damage whereas the Sai Jonin’s inflicts pierce. Your allied troops and structures may be weak or strong against certain types of attacks.
This week I spent working on revising my requirements documents. Specifically I worked on formally defining the magical elements and weapon types. I also started work on my new damage calculator which should take into effect physical and magical attacks. I’m planning on having basic single arrow types available for all of the magical elements. These arrows you’ll be able to fire at a faster rate than the fire and ice arrows in Prelude (almost as fast as normal arrows) but they’ll have reduced pierce damage; however, different types of enemies may have certain elemental weaknesses that you can learn to exploit. There will also be a series of upgraded magical arrows as well as class specific magical arrows (and super arrow spells).