Animation layout, effects, and time flies!

I really meant to post an update a few weeks ago. I don’t know where the time went these past 5 weeks. I had less time than usual to work on game dev. Our 9 month old son was teething and has also started waking up a lot during the night. That means late nights and being really sleepy. It’s still great, but man it has been rough! :)

The main accomplishments since my last update involve animations and effects. I had to make a bunch of changes to the animation layout for the new troops. I also need to maintain support for the old layout until I have all new assets. That required some new code and it took a bit longer than I had hoped. But now I have the Shadow Knight and Shadow Stalker both in game. They look cool.

The Stalker has a bow for her attacks. That also made me realize I will need to add an arrow particle effect as well as control over where it is fired. That way I can line it up with the center of the bow for each direction. I can use that for all of the other troop attacks too so that should look more accurate when I’m done with it.

I started making some changes to leader effects too. I decided to make the particle systems more flexible so I now have 10 emitters for the leaders. The troops only have 3 emitters, which cover projectile, AoE at target, and a death effect. For the leader abilities, I display a projectile and then cover the area with randomly emitted particles for each of the 9 tiles. Then I display the ability icon over each troop that was affected by it. That way players get useful feedback on what was hit by their abilities. Eventually I will create more intricate effects for each ability, but this works for now.

I also had to send the targets from server to client. So I added some code to track those targets, send the ones in line-of-sight for the player to the client, validate them, and display after all update data received. The code seems to be working properly after some quick testing. I pushed back the Internet multiplayer test to December. That’s when I will start to get a better idea of the state of multiplayer, but I’m not expecting any serious issues.

I will also show new screenshots after I get some structures in game. I’m tempted to show the new leader animations, but I would really like to show them next to a new fortress. I have some new terrain too, but need some more tweaks. Once I get all that stuff together, I will show screenshots again. At some point, I will regularly update with new ones as I get new assets. I’m not quite there yet. Same thing for a new gameplay video. But, I am definitely anxious to show new stuff :)

A while back I think I mentioned some ideas for guardians. I wanted to share some more possibilities for them. To refresh your memory, fortresses can be upgraded with a guardian once they reach tier 3. It costs power and takes time to summon the guardian. Once it inhabits the fortress, new options become available, such as attacks for the zealots when the banner is destroyed or sacrificed. I have some other ideas that I think could be fun.

I was thinking that the fortress could actually morph into the guardian. So the fortifications could change to creature limbs and the portal keep could become the body/head. Then it starts to resemble a boss fight where limbs might each have a different combat ability… sort of like the Quarm fight for anyone that raided in EverQuest. Maybe even players can control some aspects of the fight when defending against attackers?

I can think of lots of potentially fun mechanics for that kind of approach. It will really depend on budget (for artwork) and time (for gamplay coding). I will definitely be looking for player input on gameplay ideas like the guardians. Hopefully I can build a community with my future Kickstarter and Greenlight campaigns. I pushed those off to the end of February 2015 to give me some more time to flesh out a few ideas and add more artwork.

I will try to update more often. Thanks for stopping by! :)

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