It’s been hard to find spare time for Dom Dev of late, hence the dry spell of updates here, but good news…
With the collision detection now in (and not perfect, but well engineered and adequate to the task) gameplay is starting to take shape. Attacking an enemy vessel means wearing down it’s shields and then pummeling at it’s hull until finally it blows up.
So now I’ve turned to creating an escalating combat scenario to help me iron out kinks, and also drive any ‘feature gaps’ which need to be addressed such as improved NPC evasion, considered weapon selection, and so on. I have a good list already!
This scenario is a simple war of attrition which will eventually lead to the players death. Set in deep space, pirates come in to attack the player in ever increasing numbers until the player is overwhelmed. It introduces fighters, then cruisers and a mix of fighters, and adds destroyers just to spice things up a little 🙂
So far, I haven’t got past the fighters as they are just too fast, and too good! This is promising, as the best gameplay comes from having impossible to beat AI and then tuning it down to be more player friendly. IMHO it’s much harder to build a dumb system that’s too easy and then figure out how to make it more challenging. You end up having to introduce more and more previously unconsidered logic, variables and changes which ultimately leaves you with a convoluted and jumbled mess which is nigh on impossible to debug or predict.
For this system, all I have to do is slow down the NPC pilot reaction times, or impair their judgement, and so on.
My next bout of development now will involve the following ‘broad strokes’;
- Fixing the test fighter model/markup
- Tuning the NPC pilot personalities for flying fighters in combat
- Getting it to the point where I can defeat 4v1
- Tuning the NPC pilot personalities for flying cruisers in combat
- Getting it to the point where I can defeat 2v1
- Fixing the test destroyer model/markup
- Tuning the NPC pilot personalities for flying destroyers in combat
- Getting it to the point where I can defeat 1v1
Now, you may be asking yourself – ‘Really? One fighter can defeat a destroyer?’ I confess, I am 50/50 about this. Game difficulty modes will (of course) mean this is possible on an ‘Easy’ setting, even though I am sceptical about it in ‘real life’. But, this is a game, and it has to be fun. If the player discovers they die _every single time_ they take on a destroyer, well it ain’t fun, right? Besides, the wise player will target the destroyers shields around their sensor packages, then destroy the sensor packages to blind the destroyer, then repeat on the weapon pods, and so on… eventually, the player may win. If their fighter isn’t lanced out of the void by a 1GW Maser that is 🙂