Much happened since the last dev log entry. Level backgrounds got finished, boss AI was extended and the level generator grew up a little.
Rural Level Segments
I’ve created several seamless background segments showing rural areas. You may guess which game inspired me for this level type. 🙂
Most effort went into figuring out how to create the details, e.g. how to draw paths, tricks for making the segments seamless or how to create proper water. After figuring out the procedures for drawing the details it became easy to crank out new level segments.
I’m quite happy with the quality of the new background segments. Finally I’ve reached the point where I can make backgrounds of sellable quality.
The first boss got an AI update. Now it has two attack phases with different behaviours.
The most time-consuming task was the debugging. The turnaround times for tweak-compile-play-analyse can be quite long when you’re using C++ and (way too) complex AI code. I’ve considered using a script language for faster turnaround times but decided against it. Integration and porting of the AI would have taken longer than struggling with the C++ AI code. Maybe the next boss will get script support. Maybe.
Level Generation by Blueprint
The level generator got a new feature: level blueprints.
The old generator version took a set of enemy formations, background segments and assembled them according to a specified difficulty. The result was a random sequence of enemies battling in various climate zones within the same level. This testified the narrow “intelligence” of the generator algorithm. So I gave the generator a set of blueprints which instruct it how to assemble sequences of enemies and which background segments make a good level together.
A big flaw of Nordenfelt was the restart at death. Just one hit was enough and you had to start the level from scratch.
There were different solutions to fix this issue:
- health bar,
- no death at all
Finally Nordenfelt is a non-linear game and you can play the levels in any order you want. Therefore continues would have been senseless. No death at all would have killed the basic challenge: beat the level. The finalists were lives and a health bar. When you lose a life and can go on right from where you died then there is no difference to a health bar. This is why I decided for good old lives.
P.S.: Get real-time updates via Twitter feed @nordenfeltgame.