Well, fear not because I've been picking up the pace with Skirmish again and have gotten quite a few good ideas and a clearer image of what needs to be done.
My time with Skirmish lately has been spent mostly cleaning up and repairing existing code that hadn't been touched since Skirmish was still a CtF game(lol). In this process, Kozuma the Powerful had mentioned something about having a single overhead loop that ran the world's ai individually instead of each mob running it's own ai loop. I was skeptical at first, given how much each ai does at a time, but to my surprise it made a significant boost in the games performance. So far Beholders, Wisps and Bandits have all been ported to the new method. I've been playing with some aesthetic ai such as bugs, frogs, etc. as well.
I've also been doing a bit of mapping and in doing so, finally got buildings and their interiors implemented - the NPCs are very grateful to be out of the rain. Mapping also led me to put together some more placeholder art to beautify the environment a bit more(flowers!). I also added some new interactable environment pieces in the form of ledges. Ledges work exactly the way they do in the Pokemon games, in that you can't climb over them, but you can hop down from on top of it. I want to take more inspiration from Pokemon and include terrain objects that can only be cleared with certain skills, which should be interesting! Also, while not new, I've fixed and re-implemented spawn beacons - simply interact with one and it will be set as your new spawn point. Useful for a game where you die a lot, right?
Now, as for what I need to get done still, I want to try and have all the existing components of the game cleaned up, finished, and implemented by the end of the year. Skirmish has too many features that are added but not used. This includes parties, guilds, rest of the combat skills(grenades, molotovs, etc.), questing and dungeon diving. Something I'll probably work on tonight is making the AI's awareness a little more, uh, aware. Some of you might remember that ai that don't know you're there can't see you unless you're standing in front of them - you can sneak behind them unnoticed. However, as the following gif shows, it's a bit comical that you can bump into their back and fire weapons feet from their head without being discovered.
That's something I want to improve.
I also want to scrap all the existing spell skills and do them right. The existing ones look pretty but they're all pretty halfassed. They're more proof of concepts than anything. I want to add dynamic spells with traps, wards, projectiles, etc. Every Skirmite will be both a mage and a gunner - you're welcome. The only planned difference here is that instead of classes, players will choose one of four elements to align with; Fire, Water, Earth, and Ice. Your element determines your stat growth, and your weaknesses.
- Fire Elementals will be offensive with higher base attack. Fire skills will be mostly focused on dealing direct damage and overwhelming the target. Weak to water.
- Water Elementals will have higher base HP and have a boost with healing/recovery spells. Most water skills will be focused on support and buffs, but that's not to say that there won't be strong offensive water spells. Weak to Earth.
- Earth Elementals will be the tanks. Higher base defense with Earth skills that will be focused on crowd control and strong AoE spells. Weak to Ice.
- Ice Elementals will have strong offense and base hp. Ice skills specialize in traps and wards that sap health from their enemies. Weak to fire.
I'm still unsure if I want skill types to be able to be used interchangeably between elementals but I don't see the harm in it. Just probably would make using foreign skill types doing 50% their normal damage or something. I'll definitely want to focus on making sure there are dozens of unique spells in each elemental class that can be found as loot or rewards all across the game, so either way things should be interesting.
Once February gets here, I'll have been working on Skirmish for one whole year. It's crazy how far things have come and I still have so much more to do. Year two will be focused mostly on bringing guilds up to speed and getting territory claiming incorporated. For those who don't remember, Skirmish is intended to be primarily driven by player guild wars. The map is divided into four territories that can be claimed by guilds, or AI bandits. To claim a territory, you need to seize the territory's tower. To do so, your guild just needs to outnumber enemy forces on the top floor of their tower for one minute. Having control over a territory grants you and your guild a damage and experience boost when fighting on home turf.
There's still so much to do and I'm excited to see things pull together more. Thank you to everyone who's supported Skirmish this far. I won't start letting you down yet. (Y)
Until next time,