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Shatterloop Notes
Posted: Posted April 28th
Edited August 5th by Xhin
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I've split off this thread to use it for notes about the game, rather than actual updates (which will go in the other thread):
https://gtx0.com/read/im-working-on-a-game-its-an-open-alpha-if-you-want-to-try-it-out-while-i-work-on-it
Upcoming stuff

Here's a list of stuff I'm working on to turn the game into more of a beta:

Animals

  • Each dimension will have a "palette" of different animals that'll spawn. All their properties are randomized -- how they move, their attacks, how much health they have, whether they can fly over solids, etc.

  • Different biomes in a dimension will take those animals and tweak them slightly in various ways.

  • Caves should have harder animals.

    Weapons-based Combat

  • Axes allow you to hit things next to you (or diagonally next to you) and can be thrown with a short range. You can also carry 3 of them so you're not completely crippled if you throw one.

  • Swords let you hit things around you in a circle or partial circle, maybe with a 1-tile range. More useful for close combat.

  • Spears you can hit things orthogonally with a higher range than swords. You can also throw them and deal more damage than with axes.

  • Staffs let you hit things in a spear-like or sword-like way and stun them or knock them back.

    There are also various enchantments tied to the weapon that can let you do things like recall a thrown axe, smash something into a wall for a bunch of damage, stun things next to a thrown spear, etc.

    Magic-based combat

  • This gives you ranged attacks, however the range and the directions it can go vary depending on the gem and its upgrades.

  • You can also have bomb-like attacks where you throw it somewhere and then there's an explosion that damages things in some other radius or set of directions.

  • Or repeating attacks that will arc out from hitting an enemy and hit other enemies

  • Maybe attacks that bounce off walls at different angles. Or go over walls.

    Resource gathering

    You can either gather a resource for fuel (currently this is what the currency system is doing), or if you've repaired/recfueled your Extractor, gather the base resource itself. Resources on the surface are typically plants, animal stuff, fungi, rocks, etc, while in caves they're typically metal ores or gems.

    Sometimes better resources are tiered -- you'll need to find something else in the dimension and craft it into a tool that can help you harvest it. That tool is more like a key -- it doesn't break or take up inventory space or anything. This tiered system is dimension-specific -- go somewhere else and you'll have a different set of tiers to work with.

    Crafting

    Instead of having fixed resources and fixed recipes, you'll instead have randomly generated resources with randomly generated properties and a very free alchemy-like system for putting them together.

    Metals for example, you can alloy any metal to any other metal (or combination) to get favorable properties from both. You can melt down your weapons and armor and reforge them from new alloys to get new properties/enchantments/etc.

    You can also build various types of machinery out of rocks/clay/metal in a base to extract things from different resources. I haven't quite worked out all the details of this, but there will be a decent balance between randomness and palettization so you have flexibility and differences between dimensions but aren't just randomly putting things together.

    Magic system

    Gems have some kind of spell in them -- what they do, how they do it, their range and movement, as well as a few paths for upgrading them. You can either cast a spell with your own personal mana or you can use the gem itself, depleting its charge somewhat. If it gets totally depleted you can't use it at all and have to recharge it somewhere (haven't figured that system out yet).

    When you get a new gem, you can either keep it and use it as whatever spell it came with, or absorb it into a gem you already own and upgrade your gem along one of its upgrade paths.

    More to come

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    I'm picking this project up again. I successfully got animals to move towards you or away from you as one of their moves. I've worked out my systems for animal movement in general:

    Animal movements

  • Basic movesets are "towards player", "away from player", "random n/s/e/w", "random ne/se/nw/sw", "random n/e/s/w/ne/se/nw/sw", "towards other animal", "away from other animal". Additionally, these can all be done some number of times -- like maybe randomly pick north, but move that direction twice.

  • If animals "fly" then they can move through solids. Otherwise if a move would take them into a solid, they'll move in whatever direction is clockwise or counterclockwise to it, until they either find a direction that works or they're completely trapped.

  • There are some variations even here, like maybe an animal can only move diagonally, so if it's moving towards something and that's orthogonal they'll have to pick a direction cw to cc to it. Some might have a preference for cw or cc. Sometimes instead of moving one direction cw to cc "known as +1 spin and -1 spin respectively), they might "spin" some other number -- so a blocked west will make them instead move east.

  • Each animal type has a "movement speed", which is basically how many turns a player takes before they get a move. A movement speed of 1 will make an animal move every time the player does, 2 would make it move every 2 player turns, etc. This movement speed might change over time in a cyclical or random way.

    Movement patterns

  • The basic animal type I'm currently exploring has some group of moves (which I'll call a "movegroup") which are randomly generated. Maybe they have a 3/4 chance of moving towards the player, but a 1/4 chance of moving away. Or they have a 6/8 chance of moving towards the player, a 1/8 chance of moving two spaces away, a 1/8 chance of moving in a random direction, etc.

  • A different type is cyclical -- here they move in one of their ways a certain amount of time, and then they "switch" to a different moveset. This can be a different random moveset, or the set of movesets can also be cyclical and repeating.

  • A hybrid of the two is a cyclical movegroup that switches movesets a different random number each time -- maybe they move orthogonally for 5 turns, then diagonally for 3 turns, then towards the player for 2 turns, etc where the 5,3,2 are all randomly generated.

  • Lastly, movesets could be dictated by conditions -- maybe being next to a solid makes them flee away from it quickly, or they move towards another animal until they touch it and then they start moving towards the player, etc.

    Animals could theoretically "communicate" with one another to change their movesets as well. They could also "evolve", where movesets change slightly over time, either on a per-animal basis or on the animal clade as a whole. There's a lot of possibilities with the events-driven system I've installed here, it'll be interesting to explore it in depth.

    As pointed out earlier, all of the above is totally randomly generated, but also palletized -- you have a limited amount of animal types in a dimension, possibly biome-specific as well. There might be variations, but they're slight. This overall allows the player to learn how to best interact with these animals as they progress through the game.

    More combat notes

    Combat is highly tactical, and makes use of the grid, entities in the environment, and the environment itself:

  • A lot of weapon types will have a "slash" type of move -- this is an attack that sweeps around the player in a circle (well, a square) and effects everything inside that circle. This slash move might have a limited "spin" -- perhaps if you start a slash north, you can only move it to south and only affect everything clockwise between them. With the same weapon you could slash east and cut a swathe to west. Slash moves might also have a range -- affecting a square 2 spaces away rather than 1.

  • Weapons can do damage, knock enemies back, both, or do more custom things like smash them into walls for "crush" damage, crush them into other enemies, if it's a ranged weapon it might "hook" into them and actually drag them closer, etc. There are a lot of things to explore here.

  • Some weapons can be thrown. If this happens, you lose the weapon until you pick it back up, or it might be ammo-ized and you need to buy/make more, or maybe it's ammo-ized and you have a chance of keeping it or losing it. Weapons that have been thrown can have additional techniques surrounding them -- perhaps you can recall the weapon, or teleport to it, or cause it to move towards you, cutting everything in its path, or make it explode, affecting everything in a radius, or maybe you could throw two axes, run a special technique and they would come together, hitting everything in their path. Maybe a thrown weapon will temporarily "stun" enemies in some radius around it.

  • Thrust-type attacks might have a "ram" property where you can hit both an enemy and the enemy behind it, or more up to some range. This might affect them both the same amount, or the damage might dwindle down each time.

  • You yourself might have a technique that allows you to "leapfrog" over enemies or possibly do that while dealing them damage in the interim. This would probably be better suited for an armor item, but weapons do seem to make more sense. Similarly, you might be able to grapple a nearby enemy and throw it "over" you -- basically making it go to your other side. This might then hit enemies next to you with momentum and have additional events attached to it.

  • I like the idea of "hookshot" type weapons that bring you towards a wall in one move, possibly hurting enemies in your way. Or maybe they bring the wall to you (though that's really better suited for magic).

  • Some weapons should be able to "reverberate" damage to nearby enemies as well. This might be more of a magic attack though.

  • You could probably strike the ground and get the reverberations from that to affect nearby enemies. Useful for a hammer-type weapon -- instead of striking enemies directly, you hit the ground and stun a bunch of them at once.

  • Ranged weapons like bows. This is probably redundant with magic attacks. Being required to shoot things diagonally or orthogonally might help limit things though (that's also planned for magic attacks).

    The overall goal here is to have a combat system with a lot of variations that feels pretty interesting. This would then tie back into crafting / alloying / resource gathering -- maybe you like grappling so you start seeking out metals that enhance that property or start asking around in towns.


  • Posted May 29th by Xhin
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    Xhin
    Ground's what's around

    Do the animals ever help the players?
    Do the animals ever fight the players?
    Do the animals ever help each other?
    Do the animals ever fight each other?


    Posted June 2nd by chiarizio
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    Do the animals ever help the players?


    No.

    Do the animals ever fight the players?


    Yeah, all the time.

    Do the animals ever help each other?


    Definitely.

    Do the animals ever fight each other?


    No, unless they're confused.

    Edited June 2nd by Xhin
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    Xhin
    Ground's what's around

    Alchemy system

    Kind of a brief summary of how this works (haven't worked out all the details yet).

    You have a variety of crafting recipes for various things -- rope, explosives, torches for exploring caves, various weapon types, harvesting tools like scythes, knives, axes, and other things like personal machines, base fixtures, potions, fishing rods. These recipes might be pre-known or you might have to go to a Library in a town to learn them (haven't decided on the exact mechanics there yet).

    These recipes call for some combination of general ingredients, like "clay", "fat/oil", "conductive metal", etc. Some general ingredients you can find easily in the world, others you have to Extract with various base machines. However the exact ingredients vary a lot -- you could use, say Codfish Oil or Red Petrol or Rendered Boar Fat.

    Each ingredient has a web of properties attached to it that you can discover through your Analyzer machine (or just through trial and error). These properties then get transferred to whatever you're crafting -- for example, maybe torches made with Rendered Boar Fat burn brighter, but those made with Red Petrol last longer. This applies to anything you craft -- weapon damage and range and other properties are dictated by the properties inside the material.

    With the alchemy system you can also freely mix ingredients into new ingredients to reinforce, multiply or reduce properties at whatever the appropriate alchemy station is. If you have, say Titanium that makes weapons reverberate and Adamantium that makes weapons deal more damage, you could mix them together to try to get an alloy that takes on both properties. By themselves, they'll combine together in a fairly random way, but by using Catalysts that you find in the world around you, you can get the specific combinations you want.

    With more organic materials, you can also Refine them down to very specific properties -- like in the example above, Rendered Boar Fat burns brighter, but there are also compounds in there that are holding back its brightness potential -- through further refinement you can get it into a very base form that's just really bright and nothing else, then mix it with other stuff to really increase their brightness potential. Each refinement step will degrade some amount of your supply -- you might start with 64x rendered boar fat and by the time you reach crystallized brightness, you only have 5 left. However, refinement machines also follow the Alchemy system, so you could craft better refinement machines to waste less.

    Posted June 2nd by Xhin
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    Xhin
    Ground's what's around

    Inventory Management / Item Storage

    These systems in most survival/crafting games are fucking annoying . Having a limited item capacity makes sense, but the point of this game is to explore wide and far, so there will be a couple things to help out there:

  • Once you have a Base built, you'll probably want to repair your M.U.L.E. Device. This will allow you to send stuff in your inventory on a one-way trip to one of your bases. This allows you to continue exploring, only going home when you want to go home.

  • When you *do* want to go home, you can use your Portal Device to create a portal home -- there are some different mechanics here -- it might be single-use, or it might be a two-way permanent connection or if you're really advanced you can hook into a Portal Network. I'll cover this in another section or just build and document it.

    Base Item Storage

    Items stored in a base are accessible anywhere inside that base. Instead of having chests in a fixed location with some amount of storage, you instead build Storage Modules somewhere inside a base to increase its storage, though you get a decent amount of storage just for building a base. This allows you to freely switch items around or work with base machines without constantly running back and forth from chests, which gets old quick.

    Items stored in a base are usefully indexed in a variety of ways, allowing you to find whatever you're looking for easily. You can also custom-categorize things yourself with its tagging system. All of this is provided freely without required upgrades.

    Base Machines are timer-based -- when something is processed, it'll automatically be transferred into the Base Storage with a tag indicating the machine that processed it. This lets you see the progress of any specific base machine anywhere inside the base. You do have to physically go to it to use it though.

    Similarly, machines can be set to automatically pull resources from Base Storage, possibly with some conditions attached (like "process only 64" or "only pull the resources I've tagged as X"). You can thus automate quite a bit, which frees you up to do more interesting things like experiment with the alchemy system.

    Once you've acquired some Wealth, you can automatically buy things from Shop Vendors -- this gets a bit complicated and is kinda an endgame thing though. To gain Wealth you have to find some kind of automated positive feedback loop -- maybe buying resources, refining them and then reselling, or the trading system I already have in place, or another one I'm working on. You also have to have a bit of money up front in one of the game's 5 currencies., possibly a different currency depending on the type of feedback loop.

    All in all, the point here is to streamline inventory and item management to free yourself up to do more interesting things.

  • Posted June 2nd by Xhin
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    Xhin
    Ground's what's around

    I've done a lot of concept work on the ranged magic system and it's really neat -- it expands combat a lot.

    Magic uses your mana, or in a pinch you can use the crystal itself (though that depletes it and you have to recharge it later). Your maximum mana is determined like all other stats -- by the armor you wear. Crystals can have some kind of "Virtue" (probably more than one) associated with them -- where by doing some set of actions or some kind of weapon combo you can get a free use of the magic effect. This works very well for players that prefer melee combat -- it gives you some extra perks without you having to build armor or potions to cater to mana usage.

    Rather than learned spells or w/e, magic is concentrated in a Crystal item that you can find around the world, buy, process from crystalline materials or most likely mine in caves. Each crystal contains the spell itself, the "school" or "affinity" (haven't picked the word yet for it) that it belongs to (based on what it does), and the ways you can actually use it and any conditions attached to that. Magic is quite temperamental and starts out with limits and/or personal costs attached to it -- things like being required to bounce it off walls or it consuming health or not being able to use it continuously, for example.

    Crystals can be upgraded along a variety of paths -- less costs, less mana use, more damage, secondary effects, more virtues, etc. These various upgrade paths are also concentrated into the various schools. In order to upgrade a crystal you have to "feed" it crystals of the school of upgrade you want. This will probably be expanded to world materials in general -- I could definitely see crystals requiring literal blood or unicorn horns or w/e.

    How magic attacks work

    Unlike melee attacks, magic attacks always have some kind of range, and you can use your mouse or keyboard to "put" the attack wherever you want it in that range. Starting out, your attacks are going to only work orthogonally or diagonally, or maybe anywhere in something known as a "cloud". Possibly only around solids or water, etc.

    With some upgrades you can expand where your magic attack can be placed, up to anywhere on the current screen. If you're really advanced you can place Enchantments which place the effect somewhere *permanently* through the duration of the battle. I have other things I'd like to explore as well.

    What magic attacks actually do

  • Damage, obviously.

  • Any secondary effects covered in melee sections -- stunning, slowing, changing enemy move patterns, disrupting enemy communication, elemental damage, status effects, etc. I'm going to add kind of a lot to this game.

  • Magic attacks can have hammer-like or bomb-like effects (known as Reverb probably)-- hitting everything near it within some range with whatever it's doing. These can be instant, on a fuse or controllable.

  • Magic attacks can have a "Radiance" where the effects will arc out to adjacent or enemies within a certain range some number of times -- a more useful form of Reverb. This might maintain the same damage or it might reduce or it might reduce each time it radiates.

  • Magic attacks can do things like knockback and pull within their range of effect -- there are things like gravity spells that suck enemies towards the magic attack -- useful for concentrating them together for secondary reverb spells or piercing weapons or w/e.

  • Magic attacks can move the environment around in various ways -- like a "cage" spell that pulls in neighboring solids to trap the enemy provided there's something orthogonally close. Maybe if they're close to a rock you can entomb them, etc. Lots to explore here.

  • You might be able to summon arbitrary enemies -- this will depend on how well I can get enemy-vs-enemy stuff working. In that case the crystal itself is what traps them and upgrades can affect the thing you've trapped along with the crystal itself. Trap something else and those stat boosts transfer over.

    Overall the point is to expand combat a lot. There aren't classes or other artificial limits -- you can be a battlemage or a spellsword or whatever you want really and it your effectiveness in anything just depends on the materials and upgrades you have to work with.

  • Posted June 5th by Xhin
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    Xhin
    Ground's what's around

    A bit about Towns

    I've done quite a bit of conceptualizing about Towns. Given how much morrowwind I've played over the past few months, that's heavily influenced a couple things, but most of the ideas here are much much older -- I've been trying to make a game like this for a long long time.

    Towns randomly generate across the map. I'm not sure what the exact range is yet -- there should be a good bit of wild land to explore in between them though. There will always be a town reasonably close to the origin in the same exact place every time and new gamers will get told where it is.

    Towns always generate in a cluster -- there will be a "Capitol" in the middle and smaller towns surrounding it. These clusters might generate close together or far apart. I'm not sure how many towns generate in a cluster -- 5-6 maybe? I'll have to tinker with it.

    Towns are composed of a big wall with at least one entrance (probably entrances on all four sides honestly) and some buildings in the middle. Towns use the same solid/floor palette as the world, except with some slight variations. I haven't quite worked out what color they look like yet.

    Starting out, buildings will just be basic squares/rectangles. I'd like to add some other shapes but that will probably get very complicated very quickly. I'd also like to expand the shape of towns as well, which might work well if I get the town generation function generalized well enough. Early alpha, just assume that towns are rectangles and buildings are squares/rectangles.

    You can't see inside a building from the outside. You have to actually enter it from the entrance for the first floor to be rendered, otherwise you just see all solid tiles. Buildings can also have multiple floors, accessible via staircases.

    Inside buildings you'll find NPC's and furniture/items to steal. The furniture/items/stealing mechanic is heavily heavily influenced by morrowwind, so much so that it's basically a 2d clone of it -- NPC's will wander around their house slowly, follow you, etc, and if you're in their line of sight or range you can't steal whatever you're trying to steal. The items generated here will be basic cheap junk, resources found in the world, or occasionally more useful things. I'll tweak this a lot over time.

    NPC's

    NPC's can be one of two types:

  • Shopkeepers -- these will let you buy and sell items. Unlike in the current alpha of the game, they don't disappear after using them. They're also much more specialized -- you have people that trade in armor, furs, etc. I'll cover this a bit in the next section.

  • Townsfolk -- these will give you directions to stuff and/or give you knowledge directly. I'll cover these in another section.

    Shops will have some kind of clear indication what that shop is on the outside, and they'll all be clustered together for the most part (with some exceptions like Collectors). I'm not sure what the indication will actually be -- ASCII maybe, or some sprite, color-coding, etc. There might be some player learning involved here and there might not be.

    Other houses are more random. They might have symbols or slightly different generation of their own, for the sake of landmarks.

    With those few exceptions, shopkeepers only appear in shops and townsfolk in houses, however townsfolk can sometimes appear in shops as well alongside the shopkeepers.

    Shops / Shopkeepers

    There are a variety of these kinds of buildings. Every town is going to have some kind of Inn and a "Trading outpost" at the very least that buys cheap and sells crappy versions of everything, however you might also get more specialized shops for different things, for example:

  • Trappers specialize in animal furs, and animal parts in general.

  • Smiths specialize in metal/alloys and things made with them. This is more of a general role.

  • Bladesmiths, meanwhile, would specialize in weapons exclusively.

    On the whole, you get more specialization in bigger towns / capitols and more generalization in smaller towns, though there are exceptions. The more specialized a shop is, the smaller its range of things it buys and sells, but the more it'll buy your stuff for and it'll have better-quality goods for sale as well. Trading Outposts, then, will buy your stuff for well under its value and will sell totally random crap.

    Service Shops

    Outside of buying and selling materials/items, there are some other shops that sell services, or very specialized types of "items":

  • Aviaries / Kennels / Stables / etc -- these sell animals, which are limited-use items that do various things. Horses will let you move faster, birds will let you search for stuff, bloodhounds will track down nearby animal groups, etc. There's also a general-purpose Zoo that sells a range of different types of animals.

  • Priests -- these will cure you of afflictions and curses and other things (depending on what those specific systems are).

  • Inns -- these will let you rest and recover, as well as eat while sitting down to get buffs. Quite useful if you're nowhere near your Base and/or don't want to build an extension and/or just haven't gotten the living spaces set up right yet.

  • Mapmakers -- these sell Maps, which are probably text-based (but maybe not) and aggregate various things. You can find their kind of information yourself, but it takes a lot of traveling and asking around. Maps just have the information available easily. If you have a lot of money, buying maps makes more sense.

  • Collectors -- these are a specialized type of shop that usually just appears in a normal town house and will buy a very specific item or item sets for quite a lot. As such, a Map of Collectors is going to be pretty damn expensive to buy.

  • Wholesalers -- these sell mystery packages of random crap. There might be good stuff in there and there might not be, though you'll at least get a good idea of what you're looking at.

  • Libraries -- these aggregate knowledge for free. Some of it is redundant with mapmakers so it's usually a good idea to hit up Libraries first -- though both are randomly generated as to what they actually contain. Libraries can also contain town and/or dimension data, and sometimes material / other meta-data as well. There will always be a Library in a Capitol, but it might just do nothing other than point you to other libraries.

    There's probably stuff I'm forgetting. I need to look up some of my older notes.

    Townsfolk

    These guys have a procedurally-generated collection of things they know. You can ask about all kinds of stuff -- like for example, "materials" with a high "grappling hook" property:

  • 0. If you're really really lucky, they'll know this themselves.

    More than likely though, they'll instead give you one of four leads:

  • 1. If there's someone in the town who knows it, they'll tell you who this is and where to find them.

  • 2. If their townperson knowledge is weak, they'll refer you to whoever has the best in-town information and where to find them.

  • 3. If there's no one in the town, they'll tell you of a town that knows this information.

  • 4. If their town knowledge is weak (pretty likely), they'll refer you to someone in the town who has stronger town knowledge.

    There might be additional tiers or stipulations here (like cross-dimensional searching). I'll have to work on this system a bit. It isn't random though, you're definitely getting closer to what you're looking for with each new lead.

    None of this knowledge stuff is stored anywhere -- town NPCs are just procedurally generated and searched/scanned when you ask about stuff.

    Finding towns

    Just because you know that there's an expert in so-and-so town doesn't mean you know where the town is. If you've been around the block or have a good Map, you might know this already, but some leads especially for obscure things can be waaay far out. So there's a different lead system for finding towns:

  • Each cluster has a library somewhere in it that has a list of all towns in the cluster, as well as the nearest Nexus. Most of the time, this will be in the Capitol. If you're less lucky, there will be a library in the Capitol that will redirect you to a town in the cluster that has the library.

  • Each Nexus (basically just a Capitol with some slight differences) knows which capitol any particular town is in, and how to reach that capitol. Unfortunately nexuses also work like regular capitols, so the library with that information might be in one of the surrounding towns.

    Overall, the goal is to turn any search for knowledge into a long (but progressive and satisfying) quest. You can stumble around towns blindly, or you can seek out what you're looking for more directly, which also usually requires stumbling around new towns blindly.

    Getting around towns

    Larger towns will have some kind of in-town fast travel system. I'm not sure what this looks like exactly -- one idea is to have a means of getting to a "travel pad" easily, and then being able to jump between travel pads in adjacent districts. You shouldn't have to walk around unless you're going somewhere specific or unless the town is just really small.

    There are also several larger-scale transport systems:

  • 1. Towns provide instant transport to other towns, for a fee. Each town will always connect to its Capitol, and each Capitol will always connect to all its towns. Beyond that they'll connect to whatever is closest.

  • 2. Capitols can connect to the nearest Nexus, though that's a lot more expensive. It probably makes more sense to just use town transport if you know which direction you're headed in. Nexuses (nexi?) connect back to nearby capitols on the same system.

  • 3. Nexuses can also connect to nexuses in different dimensions, with a relatively small range (-3 to +3 I believe). There's a preference here for even-numbered dimensions to look north and east, while odd-numbered dimensions look south and west so things get paired correctly.

    Conclusion

    I'll be testing out the Townsfolk / Town / Transport systems out elsewhere (in something text-based), which I'll post here and then hook back in when the time is right. Actual town generation stuff isn't going to happen until after Combat gets fleshed out at the very least, and possibly not until Resources get more fleshed out either.

  • Posted June 11th by Xhin
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    Ground's what's around

    End Goals and stuff

    I also worked on the story and end goal a bit.

    While the overall point of the game is to have a big open world that you can mess around in forever, there is an actual end goal/story to it as well.

    The overall end goal is to assemble something known as the "Soul's Pivot", a device that lets you mod the hell out of the game engine on subsequent playthroughs. To do that, you'll have to do various things, including visiting all of the "Pivots" that glue the universe together. Pivots are basically regions in the world that are semi-handcrafted and look the exact same in all dimensions.

    Storyline

    The basic storyline is that there was a big exodus to this universe from humanity's home universe, where there was a universe-wide disaster. This universe was originally a self-contained planet that looped back on itself in a closed curve. These kinds of universes, although weird, are at least immune from the cataclysm that messed up the other one. The spatial geometry was held together by giant constructions known as Pivots.

    However, a little ways in, something went terribly terribly wrong and the universe expanded, ripping apart the landscape. If that's not bad enough, everything but the Pivots became Uncertain -- turning one dimension into 2^54 different coexisting possibilities. People were able to pick up the pieces but the damage had been done. None of the 2^54 clones of people remember who they actually were or where they were actually from, and they have no idea if the people they're interacting with in an adjacent dimension are different people or other versions of themselves. Domesticated animals turned feral or into hideous variations, crops turned into new things and scattered, the very physics of materials changed drastically. With the exception of some machines that were safe, people basically had to start over technologically from the beginning. Despite that, within a few hundred years, people were able to rebuild and reconnect, using lingering pockets of Uncertainty to create portals between physically or dimensionally distant places.

    Meanwhile, right before the game starts, something weird happened to you. It's as though you were one of the people who originally split into 2^54 copies -- you can't remember who you were or where you came from or anything. You have a bunch of advanced technology on your person though, as well as a Journal that has some cryptic clues in it, including one that tells you to go northwest to the town there. You also have the ability to switch into one of your 2^54 bodies at any time, although they don't do anything if you're not there. Trying it, you find that the universes they're in are also different but you always wake up near a town with those few items on your person. You have no idea what's going on, but your journal at least documents this much, and a few other things:

  • Instructions on how to use your Personal Jump Device to switch between dimensions with no cost at any time for any reason.

  • Instructions on how to use your Extraction Device to pull energy from materials so you can recharge other things and/or store it to trade with other people (you do at least remember that people use dimension-specific energy as currency).

  • Instructions on how to repair, refuel, and upgrade your other Devices. For some reason, you have a bunch of them, despite you remembering that Machines are rare artifacts.

  • Instructions on really random things like how to use machines, how to interact with animals, how to use other items you might come across.

  • Instructions to go northwest to the town there when you get more acclimated. If you want to. No pressure.

  • Cryptic notes about Pivots, a long number with several 9s, something called "The Overflow", a detailed but undecipherable diagram of the human mind, symbols with no remembered meaning, various pre-clone domesticated animals referred to as "my lady" or "your highness", literal actual scribbles and occasionally the words SOUL'S PIVOT. Scattered through this mess you also see advice that would be useful in the instructional pages, like "You should make torches. I I mean. We? Them. The other Mes I mean, you/we know who I'm talking about. " or "Stealing is fun. It's for a good cause though so maybe it's duty. You're right. You're welcome. "

  • Posted June 13th by Xhin
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    Xhin
    Ground's what's around

    I also worked on my concept notes for caves a bit more:

  • Caves have "Cave Holes", which go up or down some number of cave levels.

  • In order to ascend or descend, you have to attach a rope. Ropes have a Length property that dictates how many floors down they can go and a Swing Length for dictating how many levels up they can go (or I might just combine the two). They also have a Strength -- you can only use placed ropes a certain number of times before they break. You might be able to move ropes around with some additional mechanics.

  • Using ropes is the only way to move up or down in caves. If you get stuck, you can still press shift or spacebar to switch dimensions and escape that way.

  • Since you can't place solids/floors in caves, nor climb onto solids, nor jump on top of them, getting past solids in your way requires the use of bombs.

  • Stronger bombs can also be used to create down cave holes, and a third type might be able to create up cave holes.

  • If you see stalactites, you can use a rope as a kind of grappling hook with one -- it'll displace you the same distance as you are from the stalactite. You can use this to leap over solids or lava pits or possibly just to escape battles. This action does use a lot of rope strength -- you might have a limited range based on the rope material.

  • Metals generate very scarcely in upper cave levels. Go down deeper and you actually get whole veins of them. You should be able to have the option to collect all of them at once (or at least a 225-tile chunk of them). This isn't minecraft.

  • Crystals generate scarcely in general, but are more prevalent at lower levels. You won't ever get veins of them though.

  • Animals are harder the deeper you go, and more numerous as well.

  • Scanning caves requires Bats rather than Birds. However you can do useful things like send them down cave holes in advance of wasting ropes.

  • Posted June 17th by Xhin
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    Xhin
    Ground's what's around

    I've worked out quite a bit more of the story / main quest. I don't want to spoil too much here, but going to all six Pivots is something you'll have to do. One of them is reasonably close to the origin and you can kinda blindly stumble into it (though you'll get directions), three are pretty scattered and you're not going to find them by accident, and the other two are "lost" and you have to do something pretty specific to find them (there's also a lot of lore surrounding them).

    I'm also building up quite a bit of lore for the game (which isn't surprising, given my wordlbuilding skills). There's some deeper lore you get from the main story but the vast majority of it is stuff you have to hunt for via the townsfolk system and other exploration. Basically, the game keeps track of various pieces of lore that you've learned, and if you want to learn more about a specific topic, you use the townsfolk mechanic to find someone with that information. Much like resources and fishing, you also get a kind of completionist list so you know when you've collected all the lore in a specific topic. Like everything else, you have to work for it. Quite a bit of it can probably be found in the specific relevant area as well -- like Deep Castles can contain Deep Castle lore and you can't get that lore otherwise.

    Each of your machines is named something interesting and has quite a bit of backstory behind it as well. I haven't named all of them yet, and some names are subject to change, but here's the ones I have:

  • The Deflawer -- turns resources into pure forms of energy. This type of device is heavily used by Nexuses and is responsible for why energy is also currency. There's an interesting link here between these and the Cult of Xeron Pine.

  • Extraction Contraption -- lets you harvest materials from resources, where tools aren't required.

  • Mason ex Machina -- Lets you build bases using energy alone. Very interesting history here -- similar devices built absolutely monstrous pre-shatter cities.

  • Endive -- your helpful AI buddy who walks you through much of the gameplay. He's named after one of the Botmind Greats -- legendary AI classes basically. Yes there is a reason he's named after a type of plant.

  • M.U.L.E. Device -- lets you move items in your inventory back to your base. No lore here yet.

  • Newflesh Node -- sets spawn points basically. The device itself is pretty new and was adapted from something else, which is why its help files are weird and poorly rewritten. Additionally there's a lot of lore concerning why you're semi-immortal in the first place.

  • Leaping Latch -- the device that lets you jump dimensions at any time for no cost. It's honestly the most boring lore-wise, it just takes advantage of pre-existing Uncertainty fields the same way portals do. It's free because it doesn't actually create portals.

  • Soul's Pivot -- Grants omnipotence basically. Crafting this thing is what the main story is leading towards, so naturally there's a loooooooot of lore surrounding it. Oddly, knowing your ultimate end goal spoils absolutely nothing about the story.

  • Portal Machine -- This one's actually not a pre-shatter artifact, it's craftable and easily upgradeable. These are very common as a result. However there is some deeper lore associated with it. Like the Leaping Latch, it takes advantage of Uncertainty fields but it does a lot more with them.

    As I pointed out elsewhere, machines are quite rare. Owning a machine is very rare, and owning this many is basically impossible, so there are very good story/lore reasons for why you have so many and why.

  • Posted June 23rd by Xhin
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    Xhin
    Ground's what's around
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