All Cutscenes, New Level, Boss Fights, Dialogue and Back to Battling

Well it’s been a while since I last updated (maybe a month?) but that’s mostly because I’ve been spending a lot of my time working on this (in addition to my sister’s graduation a little while ago). When I last left I had just added in all the NPC’s to the board and made it so I could interact with them (but hadn’t yet written in dialogue or anything – simply installed the ability to interact). I had also programmed one cutscene with the town councilor, Wilson, on the first level. Since then, I’ve written in almost every single cutscene (~20 or so, I still have two more to program, although I’ve written the dialogue and programming the scene is simplicity itself after programming so many), as well as implemented the ability to interact with every character, including dialogue (~50). I also somewhat settled on where I was going with the end of the story (as I needed to to actually write up the final dialogue) and had to create a new level, the Temple. It’s pretty small, probably the second smallest outside of the introduction level, but pretty integral to the story. Once I had most of that finished off, I stepped back to look where I was and realized I only had a couple things left to do outside of play-testing a stupid amount. I need to implement the bosses (which I’ve since done, mostly. I just need to design the bosses, as I have the programming set up to add them to the game right now), I need to implement the shops (which I haven’t done a lot, but it’ll be a pretty similar system to the menu system I designed a while back and shouldn’t be *too* difficult), and implement the experience/leveling system. So, all in all, I’ve actually damn near finished outside of play-testing, which I’m guessing might take a few weeks (I mean it’s literally just playing my game and analyzing it, right? That’s all I ever do with games anyway, and what I’ve been doing as I’ve implemented the different systems over the last few weeks). Once I get that all finished up, it’s solely a matter of getting an artist to do all the graphic work (of which there is a lot, so I don’t know what’s gonna happen with that), and I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to implement music (we’ll see how that goes). I think that about covers all the stuff I’ve done/plan to do over the next few weeks/month.

I also wanted to take a moment to discuss a couple things, with the first being my ability to program as I’ve worked on this project. One of the best things I’ve noticed was my ability to adapt as I worked through everything. For instance, the very first cutscenes I programmed were kind of garbage – they worked, but they were not programmed soundly and could have absolutely fallen apart in seconds with the slightest alteration of the code (I figure that’s pretty bad). However, as I worked through all of this I discovered a more efficient way to implement the cutscenes – simply adding in values and completely controlling how the concept worked without ever needing to make sweeping changes. It made my code a lot more sound and allowed me to completely rework different aspects of my code without major issue (as far as cutscenes go).

The second thing I wanted to talk about was my battle system. I set it up way back in October, and essentially had it so the player would use the mouse to select commands and all that junk. I was happy with it at the time and thought it was fine and applied it to the menu on which I was working. Eventually I came back to the menu and realized it was absurd; I couldn’t justify making the player use the mouse when they literally used it for this one simple thing. I realized it simply made the game more complex, unnecessarily. I had just played Fire Emblem for the first time and the major thing I noticed between it and my game (although they aren’t the same thing, the keyboard functions were similar) was that Fire Emblem used an extremely basic combination of about 8 buttons to control the game. They didn’t need me using a mouse, they didn’t need me using 100 different buttons to all do different things. They kept it simple. With that in mind, I realized that’s exactly what I needed to do for my game. It shouldn’t be a confusing mess for the player – they should be able to intuitively understand what does what, and the less complex the better the game would be. Anyway, since then I’ve completely adjusted the control of the menu and battle system to the direction keys players use to navigate the map, as well as selections (and going back) to the same action button and back buttons they’ll have been using the whole game. All in all I’ve knocked it down to 7 buttons (although I want to add in two more – one to mute the game to stop music from playing and one to pull up a help screen so the player can know what’s going on a little). In total I’d like to keep it to 10 buttons or less, and I’m think I’m going to be hitting that goal. I think that was a pretty major breakthrough for me, especially since I used the former concept on my other games without necessarily realizing the inherent flaws in what I was doing. Hooray for learning.

This ended up being pretty long I guess, but it had been a while since I updated. I’ve been telling myself for at least 2-3 weeks I need to get an update up here, but I just never got around to it because I wanted to spend my time on my game instead lol. Hope you enjoyed, and I hope you got a little insight into my work. Later!