Author Topic: Empires of Eradia: The Cataclysm of Chaos - Alpha V21  (Read 10689 times)

Offline Hooman

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Re: Empires of Eradia: The Cataclysm of Chaos - Alpha V19
« Reply #150 on: October 06, 2018, 01:29:47 PM »
I like the name change  :)

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Empires of Eradia: The Cataclysm of Chaos - Alpha V20
« Reply #151 on: October 27, 2018, 01:02:48 PM »
Thanks, Hooman (sorry for the delayed reply). I like it too, and so does the internet, so that is what it shall be.

Released Alpha V20. Major change this week is a complete redesign and overhaul of the item generation system:
1) The original system was written by me, about 5 months ago, when my coding ability was still quite new.
2) That system was about 2000 lines of code long, and it took me about 10-20 minutes, in a long series of steps, to add a new item or enchantment.
3) The new system is less than 500 lines of code long, while retaining all functionality of the old system.
4) I can now add a new enchantment or item to the system, in less than 1 minute and it is now a single step process.
5) I have added several new items and much more enchantments to the game now.

So, despite it taking nearly three weeks to do, I'd still say that the effort was a major success. I've also been thinking about changes to my design and programming process, and have opted for having 5 major tasks to be completed in a month, rather than 10 tasks to be completed each week. I've found that I often underestimate how long it will take to address some tasks and overestimate how long it takes to do others. With an entire month to work on tasks, I can more easily prioritize things and not feel bad if I don't complete them in a week. I have a breakdown of each major task, in the second post of this thread.

I will now get back to doing weekly releases, and simply report what progress I got done on the 5 major tasks, each week. I'm planning on pushing myself, whether realistic or not, to have the first Beta of the game in January of 2019.
Currently working on Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade.
Link to OPU page = http://forum.outpost2.net/index.php/topic,6073.0.html

Offline Hooman

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Re: Empires of Eradia: The Cataclysm of Chaos - Alpha V20
« Reply #152 on: October 27, 2018, 09:09:40 PM »
That sounds like a huge benefit from a design and maintenance perspective.

Even better, the knowledge and principles of how you did it can be applied to other things for years to come.

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Empires of Eradia: The Cataclysm of Chaos - Alpha V20H
« Reply #153 on: October 28, 2018, 11:04:55 AM »
Hopefuly, yeah!

Also released a Hotfix addressing a few gamebreaking bugs identified by a player off Reddit.
Currently working on Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade.
Link to OPU page = http://forum.outpost2.net/index.php/topic,6073.0.html

Offline Hooman

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Re: Empires of Eradia: The Cataclysm of Chaos - Alpha V20H
« Reply #154 on: November 05, 2018, 11:03:22 AM »
I gave the new update a try. The interface seems much improved.

There was one persistent issue that proved to be quite annoying. The game seemed to randomly drop certain keys during game play. For instance, I'd press an arrow key and nothing would happen. I'd press it again, and then the character would move. I noticed this multiple times during game play. The frequency of this is probably < 10%. Might be unrelated, but I seem to notice it more around flashing objects. Perhaps it's a lag issue where keys can be swallowed and forgotten under certain conditions.

More hinting is needed about what certain flashing points do. Moving over them doesn't seem to do anything, and they continue flashing after moving away. And no, I don't want to read the manual to find out why. ;)

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Empires of Eradia: The Cataclysm of Chaos - Alpha V20H
« Reply #155 on: November 05, 2018, 12:07:35 PM »
Thanks!

I think it is a libtcod library issue actually. The black-boxed function that watches for inputs, sometimes ignores inputs and other times, duplicates the input and performs it twice. I'm not sure how to fix it at this time. I have noticed that the function is more prone to input errors when there is a lot of stuff going on, in terms of enemy pathfinding, but haven't noticed the issue where it ignores inputs around flashing objects.

Did you do the interactive tutorial? I ask, because the interactive tutorial does try to teach you what things do and how to get information on something by hovering the mouse over it.

EDIT: Also, if you press escape and get to the Pause Menu, there is a Map Legend option in the menu that gives a quick overview of all the objects that you can find on the game map and their colors.

Most things flash to help the user notice them. On some maps some objects are harder to see than others, and thus I made the objects flash to help the player notice them.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 12:09:36 PM by lordpalandus »
Currently working on Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade.
Link to OPU page = http://forum.outpost2.net/index.php/topic,6073.0.html

Offline Hooman

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Re: Empires of Eradia: The Cataclysm of Chaos - Alpha V20H
« Reply #156 on: November 06, 2018, 05:54:08 AM »
The flashing is kind of nice, particularly if there is a key objective you must reach, though I would caution about over doing it. Making every object in the game flash is probably going too far. Flashing should be reserved for very important objects, or things that absolutely need attention.

I didn't notice any mouse hover tips, though part of that is being a text game, I didn't think to use the mouse.

Not sure if I noticed the escape menu or not. A legend of symbols would definitely be helpful. I suppose that's one of the problems with text games. A simple character doesn't convey as much information as a fully graphical image could.

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Empires of Eradia: The Cataclysm of Chaos - Alpha V20HH
« Reply #157 on: November 06, 2018, 11:32:25 AM »
Most things in the game map that do flash, are very important for the player to take note of. Such as:

1) Enemies flash, so you don't forget about them when you go to move, so you don't die unnecessarily, which always feels unfair.
2) Runic Objects (Enchanter, Pool, Forge) flash so that if you are looking for one to do upgrading, elixir refilling, or crafting, then you don't miss them. Also, they flash on the map out of FOV, so you know where to go after you've passed one.
3) Portals flash, to make you aware of them, so that you don't stay too close to them. That's where the enemies come from.
4) Stairs flash, to help the player find the way out of the sea of ASCII characters.
5) The Runestone flashes, as it is a combination of the Enchanter, Pool and Forge, rolled into one and attuning to it acts as your respawn point.
6) Biome-Specific Lootables and Chaos Strongboxes have the potential of having really great loot inside, and thus the player will want to notice them.
7) Treasure Fiends drop a lot of loot, if you can kill them, making them something the player will want to focus on.

The most important objects flashes prismatically; all 7 colors of the rainbow. So these are biome-specific lootables, Chaos Strongboxes, Treasure Fiends, Primal Chaos Portals, Descending Runic Gates, and the Runestone. Otherwise flashing is there to help a player notice them on varying biomes with different floor colors; ie an Archer is normally Yellow, so that is going to be hard to see on a Light Yellow floor color of the Desolate Ruins biome... so by making it flash, you actually notice them.

Well, that is why I suggest doing the interactive tutorial. It has almost fully phased out the old textual tutorial (which is found in the escape menu if someone ever wants to read it) and helps to teach most players the basics of gameplay so that they can play the game successfully. After implementing the interactive tutorial, the number of complaints from brand new players about not knowing what is going on, has greatly been reduced. So, I suggest you do the interactive tutorial; if it is not active, go to Options at the Main Menu, and activate it (I made it an option to disable it for returning players that didn't want to redo the tutorial). Mouse information appears on a line above your health bar, by the way.

Well, if you ever went to save the game manually, you'd have to press escape (ESC) to do it. If you simply closed the application, forcefully, then it wouldn't save. Unless you had been playing for at least 5 minutes, in which it would have autosaved, or if you had switched floors, then it would also autosave.

Sometimes a simple character can convey a lot of information, but it generally requires the user to play that game a fair bit to be able to recognize quickly what the symbol means. I've tried to work on this system further by color-coded various objects as well, so even if you don't recognize the character, the color of the character is consistent. As an example, all melee horde are blue, all ranged horde are yellow, and all spellcaster horde are red. All melee primals are green, all ranged primals are orange, and all spellcaster primals are purple. Specific walls are always the same color so a person should be able to recognize an illusionary wall from a solid wall.

I understand that narration in games and graphical tiles can greatly improve the UI and the ability for a user to recognize key objects, but right now I'm working with what I have, and trying to do the best I can do with my limited set of tools and abilities.

EDIT: Forgot to upload the second Hotfix here. Updated main post!
« Last Edit: November 06, 2018, 11:35:26 AM by lordpalandus »
Currently working on Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade.
Link to OPU page = http://forum.outpost2.net/index.php/topic,6073.0.html

Offline Hooman

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Re: Empires of Eradia: The Cataclysm of Chaos - Alpha V20HH
« Reply #158 on: November 07, 2018, 10:10:42 AM »
You just listed 7 flashing items. That sounds like way too many. Be careful your game doesn't end up looking like a porn advert.

Quote
Well, that is why I suggest doing the interactive tutorial. It has almost fully phased out the old textual tutorial (which is found in the escape menu if someone ever wants to read it) and helps to teach most players the basics of gameplay so that they can play the game successfully. After implementing the interactive tutorial, the number of complaints from brand new players about not knowing what is going on, has greatly been reduced. So, I suggest you do the interactive tutorial; if it is not active, go to Options at the Main Menu, and activate it (I made it an option to disable it for returning players that didn't want to redo the tutorial). Mouse information appears on a line above your health bar, by the way.

This leaves me feeling like I need to read a tutorial just to figure out how to load up the interactive tutorial.  :(

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Empires of Eradia: The Cataclysm of Chaos - Alpha V20HH
« Reply #159 on: November 07, 2018, 11:15:21 AM »
All things listed are important for their own specific reason. I could perhaps look into reducing the list down to a more reasonable number of flashing objects... perhaps:

1. I could give specific enemies a unique color on tilesets that they are hard to see on. So, if Yellow is hard to see on a Light Yellow background, maybe have archers a dark yellow color to make them stand out better. I made these critters flash originally because players kept reporting getting attacked when they couldn't see any foe within FOV.

2. I could reduce the frequency of flashing for less important objects. Runic objects are important, but aren't critical for most moment to moment decisions (unlike enemies), so maybe reduce the frequency of their flashes by 50%. Have them flash on occasion... to make more of a sparkle effect, to remind you they are there.

3. The other objects listed need to flash, to indicate their importance. People have complained about missing staircases (descending runic gates) so I need to keep them flashing. Portals will be of great importance next month when I work on creating side-levels with them (sore of like how oblivion gates worked in Oblivion) and currently are where enemies spawn. Runestone is by far the most important object in the level. The last three are important for player choices; risk v reward mechanism.

=====

The interactive tutorial is on by default. Unless you are not using the default profile that comes with each release, the tutorial should be active when you boot up the game. The option to disable it is there for players who've done the tutorial at least once, and don't care to do it again.
Currently working on Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade.
Link to OPU page = http://forum.outpost2.net/index.php/topic,6073.0.html

Offline Hooman

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Re: Empires of Eradia: The Cataclysm of Chaos - Alpha V20HH
« Reply #160 on: November 08, 2018, 12:38:25 AM »
In regards to the flashing, you might apply the phrase:
"If everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority"

Adjusting colors to maintain contrast for different color themed areas sounds like a good solution.

I don't think enemies need to flash, but when they attack, perhaps there should be some kind of flash or animation then. Attach the visual cue to the important event, rather than the object itself.

Rather than flash, you might also consider having a static color that shows through the current visual field, while other objects turn simple black/white when out of the field of view. That way important discovered objects stay prominently visible on the map. I think that would work well for stairs.



As for the interactive tutorial, I think that should simply be the beginning levels of the game, rather than something separate.

If game concepts are incrementally introduced, that gives time to learn them. As for my first experience, there were so many different enemy types introduced all at once, there was no real time or way to learn much about them. They were all just a hoard of monsters, with no clear distinguishing characteristic. Maybe introduce one new monster type every level or two, rather than all at once.

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Empires of Eradia: The Cataclysm of Chaos - Alpha V21
« Reply #161 on: November 10, 2018, 06:05:33 PM »
Updated to Alpha V21

Implemented the two major tasks, and some quality of life stuff for this release.
Currently working on Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade.
Link to OPU page = http://forum.outpost2.net/index.php/topic,6073.0.html