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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
    Sky's the limit

    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
    Sky's the limit

    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
    Sky's the limit

    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
    Sky's the limit

    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
    Sky's the limit

    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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    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    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
    Sky's the limit

    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
    Sky's the limit

    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
    Sky's the limit

    After I get multi-floor houses working, I'm probably going to start in on the crafting / resources system. I've worked on this a lot, notes-wise, and have a pretty good idea of how everything ties together:

    Beginning steps

    You'll want to recharge your Extraction Contraption. It should take around 50 of whatever dimension 0's currency is. The point of this is to get you used to moving around and gathering resources.

    Then swap over to it from your Deflawer so you're collecting materials instead.

    Starting out, all you can really do is collect resources from plants and rocks on the surface. Each dimension has a limited amount of biomes and each biome has a limited amount of plants. Each plant has several different things you can collect from it (known as Material Classes), however plants don't have every material class available, and some of them might be inaccessible without the right tool as well. Here's a rough guide to material classes for plants, the tool you might need to collect them, and a description of what they do:

  • Branches -- Saw -- definitely the most useful material type in the early game. Useful for making basic weapons and tools.

  • Wood -- Axe -- Useful for larger wooden constructions like furniture, as well as more specific types of tools/weapons. You're probably going to need an axe in almost all cases here.

  • Bark -- Carving Knife -- useful for making basic less flexible but stronger rope. Can also have spice or medicinal properties (medicinal is more common than spice)

  • Leaves -- Scissors -- a component of very basic and/or mildly camouflaged armor. Can also have food, spice or medicinal benefits (with equal probability). In some cases can be used instead of feathers for arrows.

  • Fiber -- Scythe -- Highly unlikely to find this in a tree, more than likely you'll find it in a medium or small-sized plant. Fiber is less strong but more flexible for rope-type stuff and is also better for basic armor, though it takes a lot more usually.

  • Fruits / nuts / beans -- Not sure on the tool -- Useful for food, possibly trapping if I implement that. Mild medicinal benefits. You tend to harvest a lot more of these than seeds.

  • Flowers -- scissors -- rare. Always a spice or medicinal. A decent chance of getting some kind of wasp/bee alongside it. (They count as insects, and have a nice bonus as bait)

  • Seeds -- Not sure on the tool -- Food and trapping again, a pretty good chance to be some kind of spice, and the thing you plant if I get crops working. Plants will always have seeds.

  • Ground -- shovel -- can give either roots (food, spice, wood) or insects or worms. Insects and worms make good fishing bait, and insects tend to have more useful properties later in the game.

    You can only get one type of material class for each plant you harvest, depending on the action you have selected. You should be able to pair these so for example, you automatically get wood from Mandarin Trees or w/e.

    Rocks will give you... rocks. These are important components in most early weapons and tools (iirc, staffs and arrows don't necessarily require them). Each rock pile contains exactly one type of rock, and rock harvesting never requires tools. Here are the rock types:

  • Pebbles -- useful for arrows and other small-scale things (like basic fishing hooks). You might be able to throw them to mess with animals / fish too. Also a component for scissors.

  • Small sharp -- useful for knives, spears, etc.

  • Broad sharp -- useful for things like axes or battleaxes, shovels, and craftable into larger things like scythe blades / large hooks.

  • Big smooth -- useful for more detailed wood crafting, particularly in sharpening branches or splitting wood

  • Hard -- Useful for more detailed rock crafting like making scythes or better arrows.

    Your first step is probably going to be creating some kind of weapon. There are some that can be made with wood alone, but wood+stone will give you better ones. You can also make some really basic food or medicine. A fishing rod is also a good idea. Making tools to harvest other materials is a good idea as well. You can't really explore caves yet, so you're stuck in the stone age for now.

    Alternately, you could simply buy what you need from towns and bypass all of this. You can make a bit of money stealing stuff, but it makes more sense at this stage to seek out spices or valuable food items, or maybe to craft basic tools and weapons and sell them.

    Fish and monsters

    Once you have some basic combat gear and basic fishing gear, you can fish or fight for animal-based materials. You can't really go up against anything super-hard but if the terrain is right you could pick off some enemies individually. Fishing is also viable, though your overly simple rod will make you waste bait a lot and you won't be able to catch more valuable fish yet.

    In either case, fish will go into your inventory and animals will leave behind corpses, which you can interact with for more materials, which again might require tools:

  • Meat -- Butcher knife -- A valuable food source. Spoils easily but has high satiety and medicinally can increase attack power.

  • Bones -- hammer -- A great replacement for rocks (since they weigh you down). Also better properties all around. Fish bones can replace pebbles or small sharp rocks, while animal bones can replace small sharp or broad sharp rocks. Bones can also replace sticks for use in better weapons. They also make better fishing hooks. You can also make reasonably strong early game armor, but it takes a bunch of work.

  • Wool/fur/down -- Shears -- Better armor, a better source of fiber as well. Fur can also be quite valuable sometimes.

  • Organs -- tool unsure -- You can only harvest these from animals. They'll allow you to make better medicines and food since they function a bit like waterskins. Organs can sometimes be absurdly valuable in specialized culinary shops.

  • Eggs -- tool unsure -- another food source, these are like meat but lack the medicinal benefits but take a lot longer to spoil. Like organs, can sometimes be absurdly valuable. Unfortunately these are associated a lot with birds, who can fly over barriers that you can't at high speeds.

  • Feathers -- tool unsure, probably scissors -- The best early game material for arrows, they'll increase their range and/or accuracy a lot. Again, though, associated with birds which can be tricky to deal with.

  • Small scales -- unsure -- sometimes found on fish. Good for making armor that lets you traverse water less painfully, also generally useful for fishing lures.

  • Large scales -- unsure -- sometimes found on animals, probably ones outside your skill to kill. Scales have magical properties sometimes, which will be useful later, and can also make some nice armor. You're probably not going to be able to kill anything with scales yet though, and they're quite rare to find on the surface.

    Both types of scales are also very useful for upgrading machines, but you're probably not there yet.

  • Fat -- unsure -- this is definitely the one you want to aim for. In cooking terms, it boosts pretty much all types of food, but more importantly, it's an essential ingredient in early torches and bombs, which will allow you to explore caves.

    Caves

    At this point, if you're not doing other stuff, you might want to start exploring caves. While they're dangerous for many reasons, the best harvestable materials are down in them, which leads to the next stage of gameplay. You'll require a few things for caves:

  • Rope for sure. Rope will let you climb down "down holes" and back up them.

  • You should make some basic grappling hooks out of rope and Large Hooks. Bones definitely make better Large Hooks.

  • You'll definitely want to make torches -- these require fiber/wool/fur/down, a stick, and animal fat or fish oil.

  • You should make some basic bombs as well out of rendered oil/fat, an organ, and a "fuse" made from fiber/wool/etc. Optional though.

  • You might want to go to a town that has a Belfry or Zoo and pick out some Bats to help you explore.

  • Having decent armor or weapons will help, though ideally you're fleeing from stuff down here rather than fighting.

    Caves really require torches to explore, which have various properties and burn out after some amount of turns. You'll need ropes to go down down holes and grappling hooks to pull yourself up up holes or over lava pits via stalactites. Bombs will help you clear away solids, and Bats will help you find holes, resources, or see what's down holes without wasting ropes.

    The animals down here are pretty terrifying and get worse the deeper you go. Best to avoid them if you can, and avoid tempting wide open spaces lest you get surrounded. Worst-case, you can airways use your Leaping Latch to exit the cave.

    The resources on the first five levels are pretty basic:

  • Metal ores -- These will probably appear in veins. Unlike the actual metals, the ores are quite heavy so hopefully you've built a base and repaired your M.U.L.E. Device. No tool is required to harvest metals, however you might need to upgrade your Extraction Contraption (haven't decided yet).

  • Petroleum -- this can be turned into better versions of bombs.

  • Quartz -- your basic crystal type. Even quartz is quite rare in the first few levels. Quartz has some kind of basic spell attached to it (not sure what yet, probably restoration) and is also a useful material for base machines and machine upgrades.

    In deeper levels, the terrain generation changes a bit, the monsters become absolutely awful, but you'll find Crystals, which have magical properties and are basically how you acquire and upgrade spells. Crystals can also be crushed into powder and fed into some type of stick to make wands, and are a useful catalyst for bringing magical properties out of alloys too.

    Once you have some metal ore, you'll need to process it. At this stage of the game you're going to need a Base to start crafting better materials. Inside a base, you can make a basic forge from rocks and power it with charcoal, rendered fat or petroleum. You can then start processing your ore, and with a basic Smithy (also built from rocks for the time being), start making metal stuff.

    Metal replaces all instances of rocks or bones, and also wood in many cases. This is how you get much better weapons, fishing rods, and armor. Metal is also required for the next stage of machinery, which explicitly requires an Industry room in a base.

    Industry

    At this stage in the game, you'll have a base with at least one Industry room. You'll still be processing metals too, but a lot of what you'll be doing is mixing things together to make better items:

  • Medicinally-speaking, you can refine medicinal plants to make better and better potions.

  • you should be able to process food to increase its shelf life (though eating fresh food at a table and chair will always be more beneficial)

  • You'll be able to alloy metals together to increase their favorable properties, using catalysts as needed.

  • You can refine fat / oil / petroleum and mix them to create vastly better torches.

  • You can extract silk from worms to make better ropes and fiber-type stuff.

  • You can overall process things into highly-valuable derivations, which is a good step to acquiring Wealth.

    At some point you might want to start exploring Deep Castles, which are basically dungeons with hard monsters but valuable loot.

    In any case, all of this should feel very progressive as you work your way through different stages. If you want to though you can bypass it and instead make money as a thief or trader instead, and work your way towards acquiring Wealth that way. You might also be doing the main quest.

  • Posted June 24th by Xhin
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    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    Now, onto a bit about the Crafting system (what I've figured out anyway)

    Crafting System

    In the early game, you don't need a specialized machine or crafting station to make things. You're basically doing it by hand / by fire. All you're really crafting with at this stage are plant materials, stones and animal materials, and you can do this at any time.

    Each thing you're crafting has a recipe attached to it based on material classes, for example:

  • Fishing Rod -- Stick + String + Small Hook
  • Scythe -- Stick + Large Hook
  • Bow -- Stick + Rope
  • Arrows -- Small stick + Pebble + Feathers (or whatever materials replace those things)
  • Scissors -- Knife + Knife + Peg

    Some materials have to be crafted from other materials, for example:

  • Small Stick <-- Stick
  • String <--- Fiber + Fiber + Fiber
  • Rope <--- String + String + String

    Some materials require one of those earlier rock types for use as a kind of "proto-crafting-table":

  • Peg -- Pebble / Bone Chunk (via Hard Rock Cafe)
  • Wooden Spear -- Stick (via Big Smooth Rock)

    You don't use the rock up, but you do have to have it with you, and it does have a durability so you might have to replace it after a while.

    Some recipes require a lot of a specific item:

  • Leaf Armor -- 5-20 leaves, depending on the leaf size

    The above recipes might require more than one of the item as well, I'll look into that when I start balancing the game.

    Tools

    Tools work a bit differently than other items:

  • They act more like "keys" to accessing better materials.

  • They're dimension-specific and actually leave your inventory (or "ghost out") when you leave the dimension. (and come back when you return).

  • They don't break, ever. You only ever need to make one saw, or one hammer, or one axe. Per dimension anyway.

  • They're crafted from *specific* materials (or sometimes a few things might work) in the dimension, rather than materials classes.

  • Each dimension might feature upgrades to tools that lets them take up less inventory space or lets them harvest more resources. It's a dimension-specific thing though -- dimension 5 might have a level 3 axe but dimension -4 you're only getting the level 1 axe.

    Materials System

    Each fully crafted item has a web of properties attached to it. Bows can shoot further, pierce through animals, maybe shoot diagonally, do more damage, etc. Arrows can stun, cause poison effects, do more damage, sometimes be recoverable after shot, etc.

    Almost all items also have a kind of "Durability" that makes them decrease in effectiveness or sometimes outright break as well. I haven't fully worked out the details there.

    These properties are influenced by the materials that are used to construct them. So for a really basic example, let's take a wooden spear. You might have in your inventory:

  • Redwood stick
  • Elfsbane stick
  • Rotwick stick

    A wooden spear might have properties of durability, damage, pierce 1 chance, and throw range. The sticks might line up like this:

    Durability Damage Pierce 1 Chance Throw Range
    Redwood Stick 10 5 90 2
    Elfsbane Stick 5 5 50 2
    Rotwick Stick 2 10 0 5


    So whichever stick you craft the spear out of, it'll take on those properties. A Redwood Spear will have a good chance of piercing and a high durability, while a rotwick stick will be better for throwing and damage but you won't get many uses out of it.

    These properties are procedurally generated, and every material has every property. So an Elfsbane stick might be kinda worthless as a spear, but it might have more useful properties as a fishing rod or torch.

    Work Scaling

    Materials that take more work to harvest are more likely to have better properties (though this isn't a sure thing). Some materials can take quite a bit of work, for example:

  • 1. Heartswood Branches require an axe
  • 2. The axe for this dimension requires any kind of Broad Sharp rock, Elm Sticks, but requires Zebragrass Fiber.
  • 3. Unfortunately, Zebragrass Fiber requires a Scythe.
  • 4. A scythe can be made from Diorite Large Hooks and any type of stick.

    As a result though, Heartswood Branches should have a lot of good properties, so it's worth it to do the work required to get them.

    Composite Items

    Outside of tools (which don't really have properties per se), items which are built using multiple materials will inherit properties from all of them in several different ways.

    Let's look at a very basic example -- the "averaging" method. Let's assume you're making a Bow:

    Durability Damage Range
    Redwood Stick 10 5 2
    Zebragrass Rope 2 7 12


    When you combine the two together, you get a Bow that has 6 Durability, 6 Damage, and 7 Range. Not bad!

    However, materials can have other functions than "averaging", for example:

  • The dominant method makes a composite item take on whichever value is highest. So if Durability is dominant, the bow would now have 10 Durability.

  • The recessive method makes a composite item take on whichever value is lowest. So if Range is recessive, the bow would have 2 Range.

    There's a priority order here if the methods differ. If either of them use "average" then "average" will be used. If you get dominant-recessive or recessive-recessive then "recessive" will be used. Only if you get dominant-dominant will the dominant method be used.

    The actual method that's used for any specific property is dimension-specific and material-class-specific -- maybe sticks found in dimension -5 are dominant with regards to damage, but rocks are recessive. So your weapons suck, but then you find that rope in dimension -6 is also dominant so you're playing the two dimensions to get a superior kind of bow.

    With your basic materials, the "average" method is the most common, and dominant/recessive patterns are rare -- however metals tend more towards the dominant/recessive pattern and even the "harmonic" pattern which I haven't mentioned yet.

    Figuring out what materials have which properties

    For basic materials, you can repair your Analyzer machine, which will usefully show you the properties of each material when you're looking to craft it, and what the result would be.

    For metals and more advanced materials, you have to have a Lab room set up in your base with modules for different materials classes.

    Catalysts

    Once your base is set up right, you can use catalysts to make properties dominant or recessive or average (though not harmonic) in *every* case, allowing you to choose what you want in a composite item. Each property belongs to a "property class" which are grouped together by something sane like "combat"/"speed"/etc and each item also belongs to a property class. By throwing the appropriate items into your forge along with the stuff you're crafting, you can get the final product that you want. If catalysts are organic, they're used up, while metal and crystal catalysts only have a chance of being used.

    Alloys

    Once you get into metalworking, you can turn metals into composite metals any number of times (I guess there is *some* limit because the text strings have to get stored, but it'll be pretty big). It's probably a good idea to name your alloys though, because the system will just smash the names together -- "Cobalt" + "Jorium" might turn into "Cobium" or "Joralt" automatically.

  • Posted June 24th by Xhin
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    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    And, since I'm eating, a guide to food:

    Food

    You have three hunger states:

  • Not hungry -- your basic state. You're probably going to be here most of the time.

  • Sated -- this will give you some set of buffs for however long your Satiety lasts.

  • Hungry -- this will give you some set of debuffs depending on what the last thing you ate was. On the whole, individual foods with higher buffs have higher debuffs as well (candy comes to mind here), while more complicated foods aren't as bad in the hungry state.

    You don't starve to death, and you don't get hungry quickly -- it's not that kind of game. Nonetheless, it's a good idea to carry some nonperishable food with you to prevent hunger and maybe add some buffs in a pinch.

    If you have a base, it's a very good idea to make a Living Space room and stick a table and chair in there. Eating at a table and chair will give you a nice satiety bonus and will remove some of the effects of the ensuing hunger as well.

    All food has four rough properties:

  • Satiety -- dictates how long your buffs will last before you become not hungry.

  • Buffs -- dictates how much of an actual buff you get, and in what (this varies a lot)

  • Hunger Factor -- dictates how long you can go until you become hungry. A higher hunger factor will have you going hungry pretty quick.

  • Debuffs -- dictates how bad it is when you do become hungry.

    Food types

    Here's a rough outline of what each food type does:

  • Leaves -- These will increase satiety by a bit, but also have a really high hunger factor. Don't try to eat only salad! Some minor buffs as well. Debuffs suck, though not as bad as fruit.

  • Fruits -- More buffs than leaves, but basically 0 satiety and a similar high hunger factor. Some pretty bad debuffs as well.

  • Nuts -- High satiety, but also high hunger factor. If you try to live on nuts you'll be boosted a lot, but then you'll be hungry almost immediately. Some mild buffs and no debuffs.

  • Beans -- Medium satiety, medium hunger factor, but has some buffs associated with it.

  • Roots -- Low satiety, high hunger factor, but more buffs than beans. Similar to fruits without as bad of debuffs.

  • Seeds -- Lots of buffs, 0 satiety, medium hunger factor. Pretty well-rounded overall, though the debuffs are bad as fruits.

  • Insects/Worms -- That's a waste of good bait! Similar to meat or fish but lacks buffs. Pretty plentiful in the early game though.

  • Fish / Meat / Eggs -- basically the same thing. Fairly high satiety and low hunger factor, not many buffs, though animal meat will always increase your strength and fish will increase swim speed somewhat.

  • Fat -- Zero buffs, but the highest satiety. Hunger factor and debuffs suck.

  • Spices -- The highest amount of buffs, zero satiety and basically 100% hunger factor. If you try to live on spices you'll never get buffed from it and will stay perpetually hungry.

    Here's a helpful chart:

    Satiety Hunger Factor Buffs Debuffs
    Leaves Low High Medium Medium
    Fruits None High High High
    Nuts High High Low None
    Beans Medium Medium Low Low
    Roots Low High Medium Medium
    Seeds None Medium High High
    Insects/Worms High Low None None
    Fish/Meat/Eggs High Low Low None
    Fat Very High Medium None None
    Spices None Very High Very High High


    All of this subject to change for balance reasons of course.

    On the whole, it makes sense to combine ingredients together. The more ingredients you use, the closer you'll get to hitting green in all categories and the more buffs you'll gain overall. However a lot of the food categories above will perish on long journeys. It's better to make some big complicated meal in your base, sit at a table and chair to eat it, and then bring some seeds/beans/fat for the road. Or just hunt and eat what you hunt, if you're strong enough. Or forage.

  • Posted June 24th by Xhin
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    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    I've been thinking a lot about how the user interface will actually work:

    Panes

    The game has three panes, an "info pane", the "map" where you actually see the world and stuff in it, and an "interact pane" where you interact with various stuff.

    Headlining all of these is a "Location pane" which shows the dimension you're in, the town/house/floor or biome and your coordinates. The background color of the Location pane is the solid color of the dimension so you know where walls are. It should also show the dimension's currency somewhere.

    Info Pane

    You should have some way of opening additional info sections or interact sections at the top. I'm not sure everything that'll be in this pane yet.

    Info pane: Inventory

    Your inventory is categorized by item type and whatever category you're in will automatically update (it does this already). You should be able to tag things as well and sort by tag rather than category.

    By default, an inventory page will just show the items in it, sorted alphabetically, along with whatever amount of that item you have. However, you'll also have various "functions" that will get more data:

  • A "price" function that shows the value of each item. If it's a trading good and you've tried to sell it in the appropriate dimension, it'll show its value in various currencies.

  • A "properties" function that lists various properties, depending on what you're comparing exactly. This might make more sense to exclusively have it in the Crafting menu, but I could see it being useful here too.

  • A "location" function that shows where the item came from -- either a dimension and biome or a dimension and town, with other stuff like the name of the shop or whether it was stolen. If it's something you crafted, it'll indicate that instead. Towns will indicate their coordinates as well.

    Info pane: Discoveries

    This shows energy or resource discoveries you've made in the dimension. Energy discoveries just show the amount and the currency.

    Resource discoveries will show the region-specific resources, if they need a tool, and if you have the tool you need. The tool will be hyperlinked to the crafting recipes info section so you can see how to make it. I've decided to make resources only carry one thing rather than, say, having a "Heartsbane Tree" tile that can have multiple materials. This keeps things sane for the player. However I'll probably still generate a limited amount of trees with different resource types.

    You'll also be able to look at discoveries in other regions -- other biomes, caves, fish, animal products, and stuff in other dimensions as well. However once you move it'll revert to the discoveries in the current region.

    Info Pane: Quest

    This will give you status messages on your selected "quest", and let you pick another one if you have several open, or manage them in the interact pane. The quest system handles various things:

  • Whatever tasks the main quest has you doing

  • Actual quests, if I implement those (they're not a priority but they'd be cool -- I'd probably use Daggerfall and Skyrim radiant quests for inspiration here, given the similiarites). If so, you'd be able to find new ones in the Bar or Bar&Grill house type -- if nothing else, they'd direct you to the person that wants the quest done.

  • Crafting recipes -- you can set these as quests yourself, but your AI buddy Endive will also suggest things to you throughout the course of the game. Starting out, the biggest one will be creating a wooden staff or wooden spear, or a more complicated weapon if you want. In these cases the quest section will tell you when you have enough of each item and give you a button to craft the product when you're ready.

  • Information-gathering is absolutely quest-like in nature... you have to take a bunch of steps to find the information you need. So you'd get to see it here so you don't have to remember every little thing.

    Info Pane: Combat

    If you're in Combat, most of the info pane will be replaced by combat stuff until you leave combat. What's probably going to happen is that combat locks you down -- you can't collect resources or go into caves or jump dimensions or anything until the combat is resolved or you successfully flee. You also won't be able to zoom around the screen (it would be suicide for one thing).

    You should have a different kind of inventory available that lets you drink potions or switch weapons/spells easily. Or I might just use the existing one, depending on the changes there. You'll definitely see enemy health/status effects as well as your own though. If there's an "Alpha" or "Leader", or some kind of "Support" role, you'll see which enemy that is so you know wtf is going on. You should also be able to click enemies to see more information about them (like attack/support ranges).

    Interact Pane

    Up at the top you'll be able to pull down interaction sections depending on what you're trying to do:

  • Crafting will let you craft things, or move crafting recipes into your Quest area.

  • Equipment will let you re-equip things.

  • Machines will let you use/repair/etc Machines

  • Consumables will let you use consumable items.

  • "Make Camp" will let you rest or cook things. Not sure on the mechanics here yet. Might be a requirement for crafting as well. Can't do this during combat.

  • Your Journal will store various things.

    There are also additional sections depending on what you're doing in the world. You'll only ever have one interaction section open at once, though you can maybe layer these so you go back to something you were doing before something interrupted you (probably something I'll fix in the polishing/UX step).

    Below I'll try to list all the interaction sections:

    Interact: Crafting

    Crafting recipes should be categorized with several layers of depth. I'm not sure what the exact mechanics are here yet, but it'll definitely be easy to use -- crafting menus in other games bug me a lot. Being able to automatically craft prerequisites would be nice too.

    Since this is a properties-centric game, for each crafting step you can add a different material and optionally see how they compare. You also get to see the final properties of what you're crafting before you craft it. Sometimes this information will be hidden until you Analyze the material.

    Interact: Equipment

    I'm not sure how the equipment system works yet. I do know that it influences pretty much everything -- instead of stats that you level up you're instead just equipping better and better things. Here are some equipment types I know for sure:

  • Cuirass, Helmet, Gauntlets etc -- these affect your health, resistance to stuff, defense, health regeneration, your ability to move in water, etc.

  • Amulets, Necklaces, Bracelets, Rings, other Jewelry -- These affect your mana / mana regeneration and also can have magical properties of their own. You can be pretty blinged up by the end of the game -- I'm not sure what the actual limits are here. Jewelry requires both a precious or semi-precious metal (such as Gold, Silver, Aetherium, Elfsteel) and some type of crystal at the very least, though some can use other types of magical materials. Adding more Jewelry is probably how you upgrade your mana pool, though adding better jewelry is better.

  • Torch -- This affects the torch type you're holding in a cave. Torches will slowly run out of fuel, and when that happens you'll just replace it with one of the same type until they're all gone.

  • Left Hand, Right Hand -- you can dual-wield, even if it physically doesn't make sense (like having a bow in one hand and a claymore in the other). Switching equipment mid-battle wastes turns, but switching hands is free. A shield also counts as a type of weapon -- in addition to doing standard shield stuff, it can bash enemies into walls or push them back.

  • Arrows -- if you have a bow equipped, this will let you change the type of arrow. Some deal damage, some stun, some have other effects.

  • Spell -- Spells are based on crystals in your posession, so you can switch the equip here with no turn cost. If you run out of mana, you can also use the crystal itself, but it'll deplete it and you'll need to get a Gemsmith to recharge it.

  • Wand -- Wands are like spells but in item form and with a limited amount of uses. They don't require mana, however once they're used up they can't be recharged. They're probably more useful in the early game due to your lack of mana.

  • Fishing Rod -- lets you fish.

    You should be able to cycle easily between left hand/right hand/spell/wand with the keyboard, not sure what the exact mechanics are yet.

    Interact: Machines

    This menu will let you repair/upgrade/use the various machines on your person. You can also access their help or see more information about them. I'm not sure how this works just yet. Some machines that will definitely have a menu of their own:

  • Mason ex Machina -- For building bases and base modules.

  • Endive -- Another means of accessing in-game help. There'll probably be a lot of context-dependent help and a big help button somewhere too.

  • Soul's Pivot -- A bunch of stuff here.

  • Portal Machine -- For placing and connecting portals.

    Interact: Consumables

    This menu will let you interact with consumable items:

  • Drink potions, for medicinal benefits.

  • Eat food, for buffs / to stave off hunger.

  • Birds, Bats, Horses, Dolphins, Drakes -- various animal companions that do various things for some amount of time.

  • Ropes will let you climb down or up cave holes.

  • Grappling hooks will let you cross lava pits and jump over boulders in caves. This might work better as an equipable item.

  • Bombs will let you blow up solids / create cave holes. They might also do damage.

    Interact: Make Camp

    If you're not in combat or too close to a town, you can make camp. Similar to couches back home, you can recover health and mana while reviewing lore or strategy or whatever. This won't count as taking turns, so you won't get hungry. You can also sleep, which *will* take turns, but will recover you to full.

    Making Camp might be a requirement for early crafting of larger things like weapons, because you'd be crafting those things at a campfire.

    You should be able to cook food as well -- cooking food boosts its properties, so you'll gain more benefits, though it won't be as much as if you were sitting at a table and chair in your base.

    There might be some extra mechanics here, like requiring you to make camp somewhere that isn't in water and is bordered by solids on some number of sides. Or I might scrap this entire section completely.

    Journal

    Your journal keeps a collection of everything you've learned, including quests and especially lore. I'm not sure how it's set up yet, though I do know you'll be able to add notes to any section or entries yourself. This is probably where Maps go as well.

    If you've made camp or are on a couch or sitting at a desk, you can review things in here and regain health/mana at the same time without food/turn penalties.

    I plan to create quite a bit of lore, which you can learn various ways (without actually seeing it when you learn it) and then read it at your leisure. Lore will have hyperlinks in it to other pieces of lore, and if you don't know the thing that's hyperlinked to, you can ask around in towns for it.

    Interact: Other sections

    These sections depend on the context of what you're doing in the world:

  • Fishing -- Lets you fish. You'll get quite a bit of information here -- fish in the current pool, fish dimension-wide, how fish are weighted in the pool, what baits and lures are doing, fish prices, etc.

  • Shops -- These let you buy and sell items, or sometimes buy services instead. I've covered these elsewhere.

  • Talking -- These will let you talk to NPC's, to gain information or go on one of those information-gathering quests. You can ask about many different things, ranging from where a particular type of shop might be, to where to find a rare resource to someone who might know about some lore.

  • Containers -- This'll pop up when you're looking in containers in houses, and might be used for your base storage as well. Lets you take items out of them. You might have to lockpick or something.

  • Text -- Miscellaneous text for various things. This might show elsewhere, given its importance.

  • Posted June 26th by Xhin
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    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    Game Design

    This is something I've been working on a lot through this whole process, because the goal is to have my game be as fun as possible. I'm doing this a few different ways:

    Gameplay Loops

    These are pretty important. There are a few either in place or planned:

  • Fishing -- buy bait, fish, sell fish, buy more bait. This currently works. Fish and bait value is similar and randomized so you can turn a bit of a profit by taking advantage of the difference. You should be able to buy better fishing rods as well. Of course you can bypass a lot of this by finding your own bait or making your own rods.

  • Thievery -- steal stuff from houses, sell to traders, buy better lockpicks. You can get a decent amount of stuff without picking locks, but the more valuable stuff is going to be locked up. The actual lockpicking mechanism is a modified version of the Handgame I posted a while back -- the difference between the lock level and the lockpick level determines how hard the puzzle is -- how many different tumblers you have to deal with. Clicking any tumbler affects some other random amount of tumblers, and each click degrades your lockpick durability.

  • Crafting -- gather resources, craft useful items, sell those items, buy things to help you explore or collect resources better (animals are a big one)

  • Hunting -- Hunt animals, sell valuable materials you collect from them (like fur), buy better weapons and armor to hunt better animals.

    Gameplay elements that focus on fun

    These are elements of the game that tie into gameplay loops, player-motivated quests, or the main quest. I'm trying to design them to be as fun as possible.

  • Combat -- combat is tactical but once you're good at it it should really flow rather than requiring a lot of thinking. You can kind of create your own combos -- pull enemies closer and then skewer more than one, or knock enemies near walls with your staff and then crush them with your shield. There's also quite a bit of magic you can do. While surface enemies will be hard at first, as you get better gear you should be able to fly through them without really thinking about it. Cave and Deep Castle enemies, not so much.

  • Theft -- there will be a certain amount of risk here. I'm not sure how you can get caught exactly or what the consequences are, but the challenge won't be too high, just enough to make things interesting.

  • Fishing -- With fishing, you have to figure out which baits work best with which fish, and also which fish to aim for with lures. There are some differences in fishing rods as well -- a "fast" setting that lets you catch fish without waiting, and an "auto" setting on some high-tier rods that really speeds up the grinding if you hate fishing. A lot of bait wastage with those options though.

  • Talking -- the talking system I've described elsewhere, but basically any search for information becomes a long quest that involves tracking down people and obscure towns.

  • Route planning -- similarly, there's a bit of challenge involved in figuring out the best way to get to whatever town you're trying to get to. Fast travel between towns costs money as well.

  • Energy gathering -- energy and money are the same thing, and you can collect resources as energy rather than materials. This has been around since the early alpha demo, and it's actually pretty zen in itself (because of how varied the terrain is). As far as the game goes though, if you need money you can just go out into the world and collect it if you want. Maybe try to find the resources that turn into more energy. Or just collect everything.

  • Trading -- while materials and items are valued the same everywhere, there are trading items you can get that are worth different things in different currencies. The way this is set up you have to play three different dimensions off each other in order to turn a profit, but it can be quite lucrative over time.

  • Wholesale Trading -- another trading mechanic allows you to ship bags of random junk to your base. These grab-bags are pricy but there can be some really valuable items in them sometimes, or at the very least enough random crap to get your money back. Though there might be risk tiers as well -- greater risk, greater reward.

  • Deep Castles -- these are basically procedurally-generated zelda 1 dungeons, complete with some kind of keys system. So similar gameplay there -- localized battles, mild puzzles (probably some ice-block or sokoban-type puzzles, switch stuff, etc), and figuring out which key to use where. You can get some good loot this well, as well as all the animal products you can carry.

  • Lore -- idk if it's "fun" exactly but there will be a loooot of interesting lore about the world to collect and read at your leisure.

    Variety

    These elements aren't gameplay-related really, they're just there to ensure that the game doesn't become boring too quickly.

  • Color Palettes -- Each dimension has a palette of 3 colors and a water color (some blue or cyan or purple). At the moment I have it set up so that the solid color contrasts to all the other colors, which has led to some pretty aesthetically-pleasing dimensions. There are also caves which are varieties of grayscale and Entropic Dimensions which are grayscale with a touch of color.

  • Terrain -- The terrain generation is crazy. Even I don't fully understand it. You get some pretty interesting terrain a lot of the time, especially now that there's water in there.

  • Materials names -- Names of base materials are randomly generated in a way where they look like real things. This is because I've exhaustively combed over lists and found common elements in names or things that make sense there. You get trees named things like "Gooseleaf" or "Barrelthorn", fibrous plants like "Dwarfcorn" or "Hillstail", fish named things like "Daggertooth" or "Cusk-eel", and this is really just the first draft. Would like to name lakes/rivers better as well.

  • Town / NPC names -- I still have some work to do here, but these will look like foreign names. I have a file I'm setting up that kind of randomly generates "naming languages", and each universe will have several of them (or maybe 3 every 10 dimensions or something). At the moment you're getting things like "Gupetid" and "Nemomeg", which isn't bad. I'd like to have last names palletized somewhat, so you'll find a bunch of people whose last name is "Tsetac" or whatever.

  • Properties -- Obviously, different weapons and things have different properties, and so do the materials that compose them. While there can be some strategy here, if you're not trying to minmax things you get quite a lot of variety in your weapons, your torches, your industrial machines, etc.

  • Animals/Enemies -- Animals and enemies are very very different from each other. I'm building a pretty elaborate system here of things they can do -- ways they move, attack, communicate with each other, and so on.

  • Towns -- Towns aren't going to be a 3x3 grid of houses forever. There's a lot of framework set up for different house sizes and shapes, different in-town road layouts, districts, etc. Each town or city should feel pretty distinct, as should the interior of the houses.

  • House Types -- There's a pretty ludicrous amount of variety in the types of houses you can enter. It isn't just "oh you can buy this category of items in this type, and this category there", there are things like Bars, Churches, Belfries, some shopkeepers offer services instead of products, and so on. They're all named something pretty distinct as well.

  • "Palletization" -- On the opposite side of the spectrum, I don't want to throw *too much* at the player, so each dimension is fairly limited in what resources/animals/etc it has to offer. This gives you the ability to actually learn how to deal with enemies and resources instead of feeling like you're just making random decisions. And if you get bored with it, you can just swap dimensions for a brand new experience.

    Strategic Elements

    These are more challenging elements of the game intended to make you think about how best to optimize things.

  • Advanced Crafting -- basically, trying to find the right materials to maximize the properties of whatever you're making. Finding the right catalysts to pull favorable properties, alloying metals and melting/alloying weapons together, etc. More of a mid-game to late-game thing.

  • Exploring -- you'll have to do a lot of actual exploring and gathering to do this. There are some things to assist you here -- animals that let you bypass barriers, birds that will find resources or towns for you, bats that will let you explore caves better, etc.

  • Caves -- caves are dangerous, labyrinthine, and tricky to navigate. They're well worth the effort though.

  • Wealth -- one of your end-game goals is to acquire Wealth -- this requires having a bunch of money up front and finding some kind of infinite loop between shops and/or crafting. Once you have Wealth, you can gain income passively, and increase the amount by finding more of these networks. You do need a certain amount of it to compete the game.

    Immersion

    These gameplay elements are designed to make the game feel more immersive, like you're actually there in some capacity.

  • Hunger/food -- I've simplified this system a lot, but basically eating is a good idea and you can make a bunch of different types of food with the very free crafting system

  • Making camp -- this mechanic lets you craft more complex things (like weapons), sleep, fish, cook food, or passively recover health while reading lore or decorating your items. The decorating system basically lets you grind up items into powders or dyes and try to maximize the properties of your items -- unlike every other "free" system, this one has a ton of options and you'll probably just be trying random things. That's intentional here since the goal is to pass time. Making camp also has some terrain requirements (particularly if you want to fish). I've tested it and it's not too hard but not too easy either.

  • Base building -- nothing quite captures immersion like making a base. There are a lot of mechanics here because bases tie in to the mid-game a lot. A big one though is that using the environment around you is significantly cheaper than making a big rectangle out in the open.

  • Furniture -- similarly, you can have furniture that actually does stuff. Beds are obvious, but couches do much the same thing as making camp, desks let you organize things better, patio chairs let you fish from within your base, tables/chairs give you a huge food bonus.

    Conclusion

    Overall, my lofty goal here is to create a kind of "infinite game". I mean, in practice, you're going to get bored of the game eventually (or just ascend to godhood and not care anymore), but the overarching goal is to prevent that for as long as possible by making the game fun and varied. I feel like a lot of procedural generation-type games really miss the boat on that -- they're too focused on making the engine technically impressive to think about things like the delicate balance between player learning and variety. Or how players might want to actually play.

  • Posted June 28th by Xhin
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    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    At this point, while there's still a lot of work left, what I'll mostly be doing is building things in the frameworks I've set up (or upgrading them), rather than building new frameworks. There's a couple smaller exceptions, but most of the skeleton is done and it's all about fleshing it out (and balancing/tightening it as I go).

    I'm going to try to make a kind of loose checklist here for that:

    Combat

    This is probably the next set of updates. There's a bunch of other materials here, and this system heavily influences both the resources and towns systems.

  • I want to get the last two weapon types working -- these involve grappling nearby enemies or leaping over them. These will be some kind of glove and count as a weapon.

  • For sanity reasons, I need to generalize the weapons system into a framework rather than several loose functions.

  • Like torches, weapons should hook back into the equipment system and items systems. I think for the time being I'll just create a weapons shop to sell weapons rather than playing with the crafting system (that really requires the metals update). "Power Gloves" and "Shields" will count as weapon types, and you'll be able to equip to two different hands to dual-wield whatever you want.

  • Swap over to WASD controls and get the mouse working for directional / arc attacks. This will definitely take some work.

  • Handle thrown weapons (and I guess by extension, item dropping in general) as well as thrown weapon techniques. Animations would be nice, but that's not going to happen any time soon.

  • Get player health set up. I think for the time being going to 0 will just make you go back to full health.

  • Handle enemy attacks -- need melee stuff obviously, but would like to see projectiles, things like bombs, grappling attacks would be pretty cool.

  • Re-examine enemy movement patterns, really flesh those out.

  • Enemy support and communication. If movement patterns and attacks are list-based enough, communication will be pretty easy to set up.

  • At this point, phase 2 of combat should be done. I might move on to phase 3, or I might switch gears. What I'd definitely like to do is set up a system for enemy spawning and engagement limits. This will let me continue to test the system while doing other things.

    House interiors

  • Set up a furniture system, as well as a pretty significant update to the amount of items in the game -- there should be things like clothing, dishes, paintings, etc.

  • Import (or recreate) my Handgame files into a lockpicking framework, tie this into the equipment / items system, make a shop for it.

  • Set up interior walls and a "line of sight" system for NPCs. NPCs should also move around slowly in real-time. Overall try to make the theft system challenging but fun.

  • I could theoretically be done here -- I can of course keep balancing things and add more item types, but I won't have to do any more meaty programming.

    Town generation

    This definitely needs to happen. Right now only one town is generating, but the amount of shops during testing is going to go way way up. I think to start out I'll just generate the basic town layout I've been generating and work up to cities / nexuses later.

  • For the time being I'll just create a town somewhere inside some radius (maybe 400 tiles).

  • Towns should load as you approach them, and offload as you move away. The framework for this is already set up, but the hooks aren't in place yet.

  • Allow shopkeepers to have Services, which ties into the Events system (something I learned from NIFE).

  • Create some kind of "Travel" building, and populate it in every town. This should have a service where you're linked to adjacent towns in the grid, which then also renders them (and offloads the old town, if that isn't already automatic). This can change to a more general distance-based system once towns are generating in different places.

  • Create a "Talk" tab. For now this will happen only for shopkeepers.

  • Create a very very basic Talk system whose purpose is to scan towns to find specific building types. While this will be in the final game (and the "information" system in general will be highly useful in the future), the point of this is to make it easier to find shop types moving forward. If it can pinpoint the exact house(s), that would be pretty awesome too.

    Other Projects

    After those things are done, I'll have enough of a game in place that I can start fleshing out the actual gameplay of the actual game. Here's a (probably partial) list of how all that will go down:

  • Animal corpses and animal resources.

  • Fix metal generation so they're distinct from surface resources (a minor fix really).

  • Create a ton of crafting recipes to basically flesh out the entirety of the early game.

  • Do some work with bases so you can at the very least smelt metals. Will probably have all kinds of shortcuts here for testing purposes.

  • Flesh out caves. The biome code is screwy and needs to be fixed, torches need to burn out, the holes system should be different, implement ropes and grappling hooks and also metal vein generation.

  • Implement animals to scan stuff or let you move around better.

  • Flesh out the shops that can generate. I'll probably want to make towns bigger too.

  • Heavily expand the Information system. I want to be able to know where to find resources.

  • Flesh out town generation -- town chunks, different layouts, and particularly townfolk houses.

  • Itemize Town NPCs and hook in the Conversations system. Will also need to set up a rudimentary Quests system here.

  • Expand town generation and fast travel algorithms. Might do libraries at this stage, might scrap that mechanic entirely.

  • Expand Bases and base mechanics

  • Implement *some* kind of saving mechanic, even if it's just a text box with a bunch of json in it.

    Final projects

    At this stage, most of the game will be done. There's still some stuff to do but it hooks into whatever the game looks like at this point, which will probably be different from my notes here.

  • Deep Castles -- this could really be in the list above, but it's not a huge priority, and it's a late-game thing anyway.

  • Get resources generating better, and implement tools and the start of the work-value algorithm.

  • Inventory weights and base inventories.

  • Base portals, if they're not done already.

  • Armor and a death system.

  • Resting, sleeping, camp, food mechanics

  • Magic -- this is entirely too dependent on the rest of the game -- it'll influence combat but it'll influence town and resource mechanics too.

  • Lore, story, and whatever handcrafted stuff I need to stick into the game.

  • The Soul's pivot -- this really just does nothing more than manipulates all the json I've been coding the game with. I'll need to document it and expand the interface. I might honestly do this at an earlier stage -- it would be *extremely* useful for testing.

    Beta

    At this stage, the game will basically be done and I'll just need to polish it up, rebalance things and do a good bit of testing. I'll also release it for open beta testing here and elsewhere.

  • Posted July 1st by Xhin
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    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    Thrown Weapons Notes

    I'm probably going to actually implement this today, I just want to lay my notes out for it.

  • Weapons can be thrown orthogonally, diagonally, both, or free -- this won't happen in this update, it needs to be a general function for weapons.

  • Once you've thrown a weapon you can't throw it again -- however some weapons can have multiple physical weapons (known as "Shadow Weapons") attached to them. In those cases whatever you're doing with a thrown weapon you do for all of the ones that have been thrown, and you can throw weapons up to your max.

  • You also can't use a weapon for anything else if you've thrown all copies of it. This won't happen in this update either, it's reliant on the equipment system and how weapons are differentiated from techniques (which I haven't figured out yet).

  • Thrown weapons will be indicated on your map -- currently I'm using a white ) on a black background. I'll probably use | for spears and keep ) for axes. (it's possible to throw both without re-equipping anything, so distinguishing them is important).

    Thrown Weapon Effects and Techniques

  • If it lands on the ground, a "reverberate" effect can affect adjacent enemies, dealing reverberate damage or possibly stunning them via "Reverberate Stun Chance".

  • If you hit a mob with a thrown weapon, it'll become "sticked" and will indicate that by having a strikethrough through the symbol. This counts as one of your throws, but the weapon is obviously moving around now, and the techniques change a bit as well. The enemy also takes "Throw Damage".

  • Regardless of where the weapon is, a "Recall" effect will put it back in your inventory. This can have a chance of working rather than being absolute -- if it's absolute, the weapon is basically a ranged weapon with infinite ammo.

    Ground Effects

  • A "Tug" effect will pull the weapon towards you some number of spaces, hitting anything in the way.

  • A "Jerk" effect will instead pull *you* towards the weapon, but otherwise it works the same as the above (you can hit things along the way).

  • A "Fragment" effect will make the weapon affect everything adjacent to it -- sort of a delayed-reaction reverberate effect. This deals Fragment damage and possibly stuns via the Fragment Stun Chance effect.

    Sticked Enemy effects

  • A "Yank" effect will pull the enemy towards you some number of spaces. It's like a grappling hook but you don't have to actually be orthogonally/diagonally aligned to the enemy and you can delay it as long as you want.

  • A "Draw" effect will pull *you* towards the enemy some number of spaces.

    Other stuff

    Obviously, there's other possibilities here, but honestly the melee combat system is complicated enough as is -- my other ideas will instead make their way into the magic combat system.

  • Edited July 4th by Xhin
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    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    Weapon as items/equipment notes

    My next project is making weapons equippable items, as well as tying this back in with the crafting/alchemy and shops systems. I'm outlining my notes here for my own use (and for the roughly 0% of you who read my updates in this post).

  • While you can carry any amount of weapons up to your inventory limit, re-equipping things inside combat takes several turns.

  • You can equip a weapon (axe, sword, spear, staff, bow, flail, clawarm) or support weapon (shield, grapple glove, acrobat gauntlet) in each hand. You can use a weapon and a support weapon, dual-wield weapons, or maybe use two support weapons if they're sufficiently powerful. There are no two-handed weapons.

  • Weapons can have several different "techniques" associated with them -- techniques are what you're actually doing with the weapon and are what I've actually been building/testing. For now it makes more sense for weapons to have techniques that are different moves, and them be based on the weapon type -- though there's not actually a hard limit in there anywhere, so weapons that have multiple slash/etc techniques might make sense in the future. Bows with multiple types of arrows also makes sense, but that'll have to happen in a later update.

  • Control-wise, you press Q to switch to your left hand or cycle between left-hand techniques, and E to switch to your right hand or cycle through right-hand techniques. I'm not sure how you put away weapons entirely yet or equip combat magic -- that'll be something to figure out later.

    Weapon Types

    Below is a description of each type of weapon and its various strengths and weaknesses:

  • Axe -- Has a weaker Slash technique than the Sword, but a better Throw technique than the Spear.
  • Sword -- Has a weaker Thrust technique than the Spear, but a better Slash technique than the Axe.
  • Spear -- Has a weaker Throw technique than the Axe, but a better Thrust technique than the Sword.

  • Staff -- has the best Slash technique (including knockback in every case), but does very little actual damage. More of a defensive weapon than anything.

  • Bow -- Has a ranged attack that can potentially be the most free (shoot over solids, hit the specific enemy you want in a column, hit any space rather than one in a diagonal/orthogonal direction). Also has a very weak Thrust attack with a tiny bit of knockback or stun for emergencies. The downsides are a lack of interesting techniques beyond that and the reliance on arrows, which are a form of ammo.

  • Clawarm -- a "thrown" weapon that hooks into enemies and can pull you towards them (draw) or them towards you (yank).

  • Flail -- a "thrown" weapon that hits the ground, possibly for reverb damage or stun, and then can be pulled towards you (tug) or you can be pulled towards it (jerk).

    Axes, Spears, Flails, and Clawarms can sometimes have a "Recall" effect that returns them.

    Axes, Spears, Flails, and Clawarms can have "shadow" weapons which allow you to throw multiple copies.

    Axes, Spears, and Flails can have a "Fragment" effect that lets them do controllable reverb damage or stun when on the ground. This can sometimes return it to your inventory.

    Support weapons

    These count as weapons (and can do damage sometimes), but have more of a support role in combat.

  • Shield -- Has a thrust with a knockback and Crush effect that lets you basically shield bash enemies into walls. Shields also have more useful defensive properties against enemy attacks than grapple gloves or acrobat gauntlets.

  • Grapple Glove -- lets you grab an adjacent enemy and move it to the opposite side of you or throw it in that direction. This can also have a "crush" effect.

  • Acrobat Gauntlet -- lets you leap over an enemy or a stack of them, possibly doing damage to everything in between. Very overpowered, so naturally has the least amount of defensive properties.

    Support weapons can block enemy projectiles or melee attacks sometimes. I'm not sure how this system works yet, but the shield is the best and the acrobat gauntlet the worst.

    Weapon Techniques

    Below is a list of what every weapon technique does that aren't described elsewhere:

  • Thrust -- lets you hit one enemy ajdacent to you. This tends to do the most damage of any weapon technique. Spears tend to also have a "Pierce" effect where it'll hit two or more enemies behind the one you hit as well.

  • Slash -- lets you hit multiple enemies adjacent to you in an arc. Does less damage than a thrust, but you're hitting multiple enemies, so it's useful when they cluster up around you.

  • Ranged -- hits an enemy that isn't immediately adjacent to you. This will typically be in an orthogonal direction or an orthogonal/diagonal direction, though sometimes you'll be able to do this in a "free" way -- picking any target inside a range.

  • Throw -- this throws the weapon itself. Tends to do more damage than ranged attacks, however you lose the weapon and can't use any of its other techniques until you pick it back up. If you have shadow weapons, you can throw multiple copies and only can't use other techniques if you've thrown all available shadows.

    Weapon Crafting

  • Very early-game you'll be guided into making a choice between a wooden staff and a wooden spear. You can also make a more complicated weapon, but it takes more materials -- wooden staves and spears only require a single branch each. You can also make a basic wooden shield, though it's purely defensive and fairly heavy without offering much defense.

  • With a branch, some string (made from plant fiber) and a rock, you can make an upgraded spear, or a basic axe or sword.

  • With a branch and some plant-based rope or animal-based rope, you can make a bow. You can also craft arrows with sticks (cut from branches) + pebbles + leaves. Animal-based rope is much much easier to make, but if you're having trouble with enemies you can do some work to make a bow with plant fiber.

  • When you start hunting animals, you can use hide to make a better (and lighter) shield, bones to upgrade the stick/rock portions of your weapons (including arrows), or fur/wool/down to upgrade the plant-based string or the rope used in bowmaking. Feathers will also improve arrows.

  • Metals will upgrade all of your weapons again and also allow you to make the Flail, Clawarm, Grapple Glove and Acrobat Gauntlet.

    You can also just bypass all of this and buy the weapons you want in a shop -- though you'll need a good bit of money for better weapons, and unless you're an exceptionally good thief, you're going to need to get out in the world to make money.

    Weapon Crafting Alchemy

    Actual weapon properties can vary a lot -- different damage, throw range, pierce, etc. There are also things I haven't covered yet like weapon sharpness, weight, equip time, possibly some elemental or other types of effects down the road.

    These properties are dictated by the materials that make up the item -- stone weapons made with different types of branches, string or stone will have different properties.

    With metals, you can freely alloy metals together to get the kind of properties you want. You can also melt metal weapons down, alloy them with other metal weapons, and then reforge them into something better.

  • Posted July 8th by Xhin
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    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    Various upcoming features

    I've been working on several new systems to flesh the game out more and make it more interesting.

    Town distribution / travel

    There are large regions of the world known as "provinces" (currently, 4500 tiles by 4500 tiles). Each province has a Nexus, three cities, and ten towns. All 14 of these occupy one tile each in a 9x9 supergrid (each tile of the supergrid is currently 500 regular tiles). The nexus will always spawn in the middle and cities will always spawn in the middle of adjacent 3x3 grids. Towns will generate anywhere else. Some pictures will probably help here.

    There's four different ways these locations are connected together, with differing price points. Locations close together are the cheapest, "city links" connecting towns to the closest city within some range is more expensive, and the link between cities and nexuses is the most expensive. There's also an "edge" travel system that connects everything on the outer edge of the province in a kind of loop -- this is in between local travel and to-city travel but covers larger distances. Long story short, even if you have a map, finding the best route from one location to another takes skill.

    Provinces are also connected to each other by following the local rule with towns on the respective outer edges. This kind of travel requires the permission of whatever ruling body is in the nexus, but you can also set out semi-blind and try to find an edge town in another province yourself.

    Other types of locations

    In addition to towns, some other locations will spawn inside a province:

  • Mines will have a surface entrance and will spawn within the cave layer with a thick impassable wall surrounding them.

  • "Mana Cracks" use different terrain generation and will contain either shrines or biome entrances.

  • Outposts and single houses can exist outside of towns.

  • Farms or something equivalent. Not sure what these look like yet.

  • Some type of dungeon will spawn that isn't continuous like the Cave layer but is also distinct from Deep Castles.

  • Larger lakes where water movement speed is a mechanic again. Better fish, probably harder water-element monsters, loot on islands and different (or no) resources.

  • Whatever else I come up with.

    Some of these things will be distinct to biomes as well.

    The goal is to have things to find while navigating the terrain. Like everything else, there will be variations. These things also tie into other systems, like purchasable maps and quests.

    Quests

    I'm working on a kind of randomly generated quests system. These will basically have you do things you'd maybe be doing anyway, along with standard courier/fetch quests. I'm going to pore over a lot of different quests in various open-world games to try to generalize them as much as possible.

    Quests are location-specific and heavily limited -- for example an outpost might only have one quest, a town might have 3-4. Quests tie back into the provinces system so knowing where your destination is and how to reach it is essential.

    Dimension changes

    Given all these changes, limiting the number of dimensions makes sense. You'll still need a few to be able to get around barriers but you really don't need an infinite amount of them. I also want to handcraft the dimensional palette some more because compared to biomes, most dimensions are pretty ugly.

    Limiting dimensions will also make it so biomes can spawn in any dimension and will encourage players to learn how to use their existing dimensions rather than just try to find something better somewhere else. There are a lot of advantages here.

    It might make sense to vary things physically from province to province rather than from dimension to dimension -- since provinces are quite large, this means getting to a different province takes work. I'm also considering creating a bit of ocean (with the swim speed thing) around a province. Overall this would help to keep the game self-contained within a province while still providing variety over time.

  • Posted July 16th by Xhin
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    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    I have a new generation algorithm I'm working on:





    There's several different components to it, but basically the idea is that it generates random squares according to various criteria (how big they are, how randomly they're distributed, whether they can overlap, etc). Tweak some lower-level parameters and you get rectangles or even circles.

    There will also be a secondary component that connects these "rooms" together by "hallways" -- like rooms, hallways can have a variety of properties.

    This algorithm will be used for a variety of things:

  • Dungeons will have pretty reasonable square distribution and smaller hallways (though that might depend on where the dungeon is).

  • Mines will have wilder distribution and larger hallways.

  • Random, crazier distributions without hallways will make "ruins" like the image above. Which look a lot like the terrain I'm already generating sooo maybe not.

  • If I can get my margin code working right, this algorithm will build "mazes" with guaranteed passageways based on the squares that generate.

  • I can hook this algorithm into my town generation algorithm for smooth but varied or wilder town layouts. It's looking like the engine will know how many houses are in a town before it knows how to generate them, so this will be useful there.


  • Posted July 27th by Xhin
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    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    The new generation algorithm is going quite well -- just putting finishing touches on it at the moment. Should have something in the other post soon enough.

    Now that I have a good framework for locations, I want to lay out my notes for how they work in more depth.

    Types



  • Dungeons -- Probably the most reasonable type, these are rooms connected by hallways. The way hallways can generate varies a lot, which I'll outline in my update post -- they can be twisty and confusing, or quite large and linear or varied. Dungeons can have multiple floors -- they'll generate some overworld rooms and hallways with one entrance which will start generating dungeon floors at lower and lower levels with more rooms. Entering a dungeon requires a Silver Key which can be found in structures on the Cave level.



  • Mines -- Mines are wider regions basically constructed of nothing but large hallways. Here you can find one or two dimension-specific metals in larger quantities, however Mines are also guarded by wandering NPCs so stealing things from them requires excellent thievery skills. Mines have entrances in the Overworld, however in Caves you can also run across Abandoned Mines which have less metals but no NPCs. (Though they can have enemies).



  • Biome Caves -- These are similar to mines, but look a bit different depending on the biome in question. Not sure what they look like internally yet, will probably have scattered loot and enemy encounters.



  • Labyrinths -- Winding passageways through various shapes. Any of those shapes can potentially be a room. Ideally there's a kind of linear progression here -- going to one room unlocks another, and so on with the best loot in the last room.



  • Ruins -- Open areas with these kinds of "statues" which are a part of the normal landscape. These will be interconnected in some way so whatever they unlock will be tied to doing something at several ruins locations. There will probably be a bit of lore associated with them as well.



  • Shrines -- More random structures and colors. Not entirely sure what I'm doing with these yet, though they'll probably tie into fixtures such as Altars. Might be above-ground, might be mostly underground.

  • Posted August 11th by Xhin
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    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    Streamlining the game

    Now that I have a good sense of how the new systems work, I have a better understanding of how they tie into the rest of the game and what game progression looks like.

    1. You start the game reasonably far away from civilization with several broken machines and no items or currency whatsoever.

    2. The first step is collecting energy to repair your Extraction Contraption, which allows you to harvest resources. Collecting energy lets you learn how to navigate the terrain and find resources, as well as do dimension jumps to get around barriers. Starting out you have access to three dimensions known as the Triad, with handcrafted palettes and the same structures, though somewhat different resources.

    3. Once you have your EC repaired, you can harvest wood, rocks, etc to make some basic weapons and things. It's wise to continue to evade enemies, who when close to the origin won't be hostile unless provoked. You'll get a warning if you step outside the boundary of safety.

    4. Your next step is really up to you:

    4a. Repairing your portal gun will allow you to go to the nearest town and start progressing in civilized lands.

    4b. Repairing your building tool will let you create a simple base to start doing progression steps there.

    4c. Venturing out past safety will let you start collecting animal resources, exploring deeper, and progressing along that path.

    You can also do some of all three if you want as well.

    Civilization path

    Towns are all connected together and areas of interest are reasonably close to them, so on this path you're mostly evading the deep wilderness and gathering resources and information that help you explore it better. You have a lot of freedom here and are basically set loose to do whatever makes the most sense:

  • If you want to start the main quest, you have to find someone in the province named Asher. This involves asking around in towns and figuring out how to get wherever you need to go through the various town-to-town transport systems. You'll need money for your travels and money for food, so you'll probably need to do other things for that.

  • Towns on the coast will sell bait, lures and better fishing rods. They'll also buy fish, so you can progress there and make some money that way. Inland lakes will also generate with better fishing opportunities and you can find maps that point towards them.

  • Each town will have several quests available. You can hear rumors of these in Bars and find whoever it is. Quests range from collecting resources to fetch/delivery stuff, to clearing out small dungeons, to visiting outposts / isolated houses. They pay decently. Once you've done enough small-time quests you can do bigger quests for town/city rulers -- these are somewhat more involved but have higher payouts. Eventually this will allow you to cross into other Provinces easily.

  • You can be a thief and steal things and resell them. If you're caught, you forfeit whatever you stole in that house and can't steal from there again for a while. If you have three of these in a town you can't steal from that town period until time lapses. Along the way your skills will increase in some capacity.

  • You can collect resources and sell them. Somewhat boring, though there are some rarer resources that are quite worth your time -- finding those involves finding appropriate maps by asking around. Enemy drops tend to be more valuable, so getting better weapons and armor is a good idea.

  • You can join a guild and do quests for them. These are handcrafted to a large extent. Higher-level guild quests are a good way to get into harder-to-reach areas, like the Spelunker guild opening up caves or the Cartographer guild letting you access other Provinces.

  • If you're on one of the other progression paths, you can use towns to ask around about better resources, machine repair, and so on.

    Overall, town progression should open up other provinces, mana cracks, the cave layer, and things like ruins and dungeons.

    Base progression path

    The base progression path no longer requires metals -- instead it's much more self-contained and resources you gather or loot you find is converted into different types of raw energy to build base extensions with. So you can still explore the world or towns but you have a different goal in mind with the loot gained.

    1. The first step is building the first room of your base. Building tiles requires energy, and putting floor tiles on solids or solids on floors a lot more energy, so it's in your best interest to build a base into natural structures. A room must be between 20 tiles and 100 tiles continuously connected in any shape. It must be surrounded by either solids or doors and the floor must be floor tiles you've placed, though the solids can be natural solids. Bases can't be built within 30 tiles of a structure like a town or ruin.

    2. Once you have the room built and some checks are done to make sure it's a valid Base, you'll have a base with a single general-purpose room and some minor storage space. You can build more rooms and assign them functions, however base fixtures require one of the eight mana types. To get that, you'll want to construct an altar out of wood / stones / bones / etc (different materials make different types of altars). Making an Altar Room might be a good idea.

    3. By sacrificing different resources and items on an altar, your base gains mana equal to its mana strength. Every item and resource in the game has at least one element attached to it, while things found in mana cracks are all that mana type. Crystals are particularly concentrated sources of mana, but they're highly valuable in other ways too. Same deal with powerful weapons and so on. Altars aren't tied to any particular element -- you can gain any kind of mana on any kind of altar, however different altars will have different bonuses attached to them for resource/item types, mana bonuses, etc. So having multiple altars is still useful in the long run.

    4. Mana is used to make different base fixtures such as forges, wood crafting tables (for making furniture), storage modules, as well as ways to repair and upgrade machines. The portal gun in particular has to be upgraded via mana, and it allows you to connect far-off places together in the same base. This is also one of the ways to upgrade your Leaping Latch to access more dimensions than the Triad.

    5. Eventually you'll be able to make Alchemical Stations that let you really customize your items, as well as extract valuable compounds from less valuable materials, one of the ways of achieving Wealth.

    Exploration path

    This kind of path is probably going to happen anyway, but you can absolutely just set off and do it on your own if you want.

    Food is obviously easier to get, though finding high-buff food is relatively rare, and you'll definitely have to prep more balanced meals yourself.

    1. At this point you have some basic weapons and fishing rods, so you can collect surface animal resources.

    2. While it's possible to skip animals and make rope through plants, this is time-consuming so animal wool/etc is the way to go. In addition to rope, you'll want to make some bombs from fat or oil. Making torches is also a good idea since your base visibility is pretty terrible. If you haven't accessed towns yet, you might want to try to find some Bird, Bat, or Mole eggs and let them hatch into animal companions.

    3. Your next step is to actually find a Cave entrance. All across the world are cave entrances blocked by rubble and a few rare ones that are open. If you don't have this information from towns yet, then you'll want to send birds out to try to find them. Birds that you've raised yourself are less reliable but you get a lot more use out of them before they fly away. A good strategy is to send out long-range birds to get a general idea and then short-range birds once you're closer.

    4. While you can't access blocked cave entrances directly, you can send moles in them, who will reappear in a direction pointing towards the next cave entrance or towards an unblocked one (again, some strategy with different types of moles is useful). Eventually you should find an actual cave entrance.

    Both blocked cave entrances and unblocked cave entrances will appear on your Province Map permanently so you can find them again if you die a horrible death.

    5. To enter a cave, place a rope in it and descend.

    6. The Cave layer contains several new resources, the entrances to different types of structures, and many Cave holes which will go down or up some number of layers. Rope properties are important here -- some are better at ascending, some are better at descending, and some are better at grappling. They can also break if your weight is too high.

    7. Inside Caves, you can collect:

  • Metal Ores (if you haven't already been collecting them from mines),

  • Petroleum, which will allow you to blow up blocked cave holes and access the cave layer that way, as well as make better bombs.

  • Quartz, a useful element for summoning enemies, accessing mana cracks and doing things with Ruins and Shrines.

  • Rarely, elemental crystals which will give you access to basic spells. These are a bit more common in abandoned mines.

    Navigating caves is tricky:

  • While there's a lot of solid, open areas, there are also a lot of annoying rocks blocking your path, and you can't simply Leap around them because your Leaping Latch doesn't work down here. If you see a nearby stalactite you can sometimes grapple past them or onto them. You can also use bombs to blow them up.

  • Lava will sometimes generate, which damages you if you touch it, and displays in a semi-quantum way so it's hard to tell if you're too close to it or not.

  • Underground Rivers will sometimes generate. These are thick lines that have a current in some direction -- every time you move you're also swept downstream. You can mitigate this with Seals, but if you haven't gone to any towns you probably don't have access to those or even eggs (since they're on the coast) unless you've found them as loot.

  • Your torches burn out. Make sure to bring a lot of them!

  • The enemies are a lot harder down here and more elemental-based as well. Some of them can fly.

    To help out, you can use Bats in a similar way to Birds on the surface world -- they'll tell you what's ahead and help you find structures, resources and cave holes. You can also send Moles into Cave holes to get an understanding of what's below or above you before you waste a rope.

    8. Petroleum will let you access caves a lot better. Metals will let you make better weapons and armor, enough to fight off the enemies down there and to start really exploring ruins/dungeons as well. Quartz and Crystals will improve your repertoire of tools.

    9. Once you have some Quartz, you can send Birds out to find Mana Cracks if you haven't accessed them already via towns. Placing Quartz on the mana altars there will allow you to access those mana dimensions. You can also use Quartz to capture enemies and use them as allies or mounts -- water-based ones will allow you to cross Province oceans yourself. Overall, the world will open up a lot.

    Mid-game

    I'll write this section later I guess. Need to organize my notes a bit more.

  • Posted August 11th by Xhin
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    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    I'm taking a bit of a break from ruins to focus more on towns. This push should get towns pretty close to where I want them since it integrates a lot of different systems together.



  • I have house interior walls generating correctly, other than a minor bug. (sometimes they'll block doors or staircases).



  • I tied the ruin room distribution function back in with house generation, but unfortunately it isn't as generalized a solution as I thought. Towns overall need to be reworked heavily.

  • Same deal with province generation -- this tends to create spiderweb-linked provinces, which I don't want. I'm instead going to change the distribution a bit so every quadrant has a town in it, or maybe 8/9.

    In any case, I'm going to hit this project from two different directions, probably starting with:

    First Front: House Interiors

    House furniture

  • Fix the door wall bug obviously.

  • I've compiled a nice long list of furniture and items to be found in them. I need to work with this a bit more.

  • Setup a framework to generate furniture along walls or out in the open where possible.

  • Setup a container framework to store items and allow player retrieval. Allow these containers to contain procedural items as well as static ones, and be tied more generally to a container at that tile rather than a specific container instance.

  • Tie this framework back into furniture, and hook into player movement (the hooks are there at least)

  • Procedurally generate items in furniture (with the subtractive/additive stuff) on room load. For now I'll just use existing item types.

  • Integrate the new item types back in with the inventory system and the furniture system.

  • Allow for more detailed fine-tuning of item distribution -- Should be able to fine-tune it according to the type of house, maybe the type of town, etc.

    Theft System

  • Make some containers locked, make some locks lockpickable with a lock complexity.

  • Add a lockpick item type and equipment type (pretty easy).

  • Recreate handgame code with a variable number of "fingers" and EN's observations on win conditions.

  • Come up with a set of properties for lockpicks (complexity, uses, possibly things like hints or "noise" factors).

  • Integrate this back in with pickable container locks and the actual lockpick item (should be whatever is equipped).

    NPC involvement in thief system

  • Generalize the mobs system so it isn't limited to combat mobs. Too useful to not use here. Could pave the way for NPC combat in the future, but I really don't want to have that for several reasons.

  • Integrate NPCs into the mobs system.

  • Implement a timer to make NPCs move in real-time.

  • Set up a "line of sight" system based on shape.line or dirs.line_between or something to get tiles along a line.

  • Hook this back into build.is_solid to determine if there are any solids inside the line.

  • Hook this function into the theft system -- basically make a line of sight between each NPC and you and if there's not a solid in the middle, you get "caught".

  • Create a "caught" system -- basically just something that prevents future thefts from that house for some number of turns (300 maybe), as well as future thefts from that town if you have three or more of those (600 turns maybe).

    Second front: Town Generation 2

    Province Fixes

  • Distribute towns better -- 8/9 or 9/9 quadrants should be filled, or whatever looks best after a lot of testing.

  • Pass out a "town size" variable, depending on the amount of connections to other towns (this makes the most sense).

    Town Generation

  • Somewhere after generating the town information, generate the names of towns, shops that will appear in each town, the NPC's, and the maximum size of each house.

  • Temporarily remove infinite towns, create a small function to load any particular town into somewhere close to origin, erasing the old town beforehand.

  • Temporarily remove town walls. These should be based on the edges of the town rather than generated first.

  • For now, create a new distribution algorithm to expand houses out similar to the way ruins do without hitting overlaps or going above margins, but preserving the amount of houses and npcs in a town. Will probably be pretty tricky. Might make more sense to just put houses in a grid and vary their position within a grid space.

  • Somewhere around here, non-shop NPCs will appear in houses as well. This is probably a much bigger project than one or two bullet points.

  • Figure out some kind of basic estimation algorithm depending on how the above step is done.

  • Hook the estimation algorithm into the zload.

    Province Generation

  • Distribute zloads across the world according to town location and estimated size.

  • Alter the `` function to go to a random town in the province, or something else.

  • Change the transport house to connect to other towns according to province links.

  • Indicate your position in the province on the map.

  • Let you hover over map towns to get their name.

  • Generate an ocean around a province, out to the edges of the grid. I'll keep other provinces from generating at the moment. Will probably need to just set up delineated rectangles for this and run checks through them -- some are always ocean, others are based on vectors and distances.

  • Edited August 13th by Xhin
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    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    Item Types / Loot

    I compiled a long long list of item types, and thus potential loot to be found in houses and generated structures (like ruins and dungeons), as well as to figure out which item types I still have to add to the game.

    Combat

  • Weapons -- Self-explanatory.

  • Arrows -- for use with bow weapons.

  • Armor -- Equipment that increases defense, carrying capacity, health, mana, and other base stats.

  • Jewelry -- Equipment that does more specialized things like specific element resistances, bonuses to potion creation, etc.

  • Scrolls -- Single-use spells, with global or personal effects.

  • Wands -- Multi-use spells, with ranged/targeted effects.

  • Crystals -- The carrier of mana-based spells, also useful for upgrading spells, also gives a huge base-mana bonus when sacrificed on a base altar. Can also be crushed into powder to make scrolls or wands.

    Consumables

  • Food -- replenishes the hunger meter, and gives various lasting (but minor) buffs. Would optimally be subcategorized into ingredients and prepared foods (though you can eat either).

  • Potions -- gives shorter-duration but stronger buffs, can also be curative. You can also consume potions even if you're sated.

  • Drink -- various alcoholic drinks. These are basically potions, but have a narrow range of cumulative effects. There's also a different system for making/storing/stealing them.

    Animals

  • Scout Animals -- These help you find resources/towns/etc around you. At the moment I have Birds (surface-level stuff), Bats (underground stuff), and Moles (Useful in pinpointing caves and doing stuff below your current level in them).

  • Mount Animals -- Rideable animals that do various helpful things. Horses will let you move around better, Kangaroos are useful for jumping over clustered barriers, Seals are good in water (the rare Fire Seal is good for lava), Giant Frogs will let you pick up resources more easily, Donkeys let you carry loot around better (might just merge them with horses), Bears have combat potential. Most of this is implemented already.

  • Animal Eggs -- eggs of any of the above animals, which will hatch over time.

    Eggs that you've hatched yourself will be somewhat less effective than quartz-mirrored animals that you buy in shops or find as loot, however you'll get way more uses out of them.

  • Summons -- Summonable monsters, who will fight alongside you. While you can capture your own, you're limited by the enemies you can actually get to near-death -- finding a strong summon early on can be useful, though it might take a lot of mana to use.

    Materials

    I've covered the different materials types elsewhere. Basically though you can occasionally find caches of them. Particularly useful if the material is rare.

    Tools

  • Lockpicks -- for picking locks in houses and ruins.

  • Keys -- roughly divided into Gold Keys, which open up locations; Silver Keys which are sequential, have numbers attached to them and are based on progressing through a dungeon or w/e; and Blue/Red keys, which open up interesting or extremely valuable optional rooms and containers.

  • Torches -- For lighting dark areas -- caves, possibly dungeons.

  • Rope -- For climbing down cave holes, up cave holes, and grappling via stalactites.

  • Bomb -- For blowing up rocks that are in a pathway, particularly in caves (you can do it on the surface too, but building over it probably makes more sense)

  • Fishing Rod -- for fishing

  • Fishing Rod Lures -- like much of the rest of the game, fish are elemental and lures attract the fish of the appropriate element.

  • Currency -- just caches of whatever the game's currency is. I like the 7-currency system but I don't know how viable that is with the changes to provinces and dimensions.

    Knowledge

  • Lore Books -- basically books with snippets of lore in them that round out your lore knowledge (which are hyperlinked together kinda like a wiki). You must be on a couch or camping in order to first read them, though you can access lore you've already learned at any time.

  • Maps -- province maps that show the location of various things -- for example cave entrances, ruins, mana cracks, towns with a certain kind of shop, etc. These sometimes show an overview of the whole province or they'll show a zoomed-in portion of it.

  • Treasure Maps -- show the exact location of a specific piece of loot buried in the ground basically. Use a bomb to blow it out of the ground. Might skip this.

    House Stuff

    This is a list of stuff you can find in houses almost exclusively. Some of it can be bought (like cookware), Sometimes it can be found in mazes if someone is living in there, but most of it is exclusive to houses.

  • Dishes -- used for holding food. If you use dishes and a table to eat food, you get some extra buffs. Sometimes the dishes are fairly valuable.

  • Cooking -- supplies for turning food ingredients into the more-balanced (and often more potent) meal food.

  • Clothing -- probably will be purely trade items for the moment.

  • Bags/coin purses/etc -- same here.

  • Paintings -- same, though these are colored and actually hang on walls, so they might be decorative at least.

  • Figurines -- statues of various things in the Province. These come in sets and they're worth more when you collect all of the ones in a set.

  • Writing -- basically writing supplies -- paper, inkwells, and quills. Quills can be crafted pretty much instantly from animal feathers, while ink can be derived from some types of fish. Paper making is a bit more complicated. In any case if you mix all three writing supplies with crystal powder, you can make a scroll based on that crystal's spell.

  • Lighting -- things like candles. Purely trade items since houses are always lit.

  • Tools -- various household tools like hammers, brooms, etc. Trade items.

  • Posted August 14th by Xhin
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    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    House furniture

    Next, I'll list out house furniture and what types of items they contain. Furniture can either be in the open (the amount per room is based on the size of the house) or pressed up against one of the walls (house walls or interior walls). Rarely, you'll get alcove furniture which spawns at the end of a 1-tile tunnel made from walls.

    Sometimes a counter will spawn along one of the walls, turning it into a kind of gradient. Additional types of furniture can spawn here.

    Note that I'm using the term "furniture" loosely -- while most of it is a type of furniture, some of it isn't but serves a similar purpose (the storage of items).

    For the time being, furniture is only one tile in size. All symbols subject to change. Or I might use sprites. Or something else entirely (there are some decent RPG fonts out there)

    Open furniture

  • Tables (∏)-- Contain Dishes and Lighting. Can sometimes contain bags, currency, or a small tool or two.

  • Desks (Д) -- Contains writing supplies, lighting. Sometimes scrolls or lore books.

  • Workbenches (Δ) -- Contains materials of any type, around 5 or so. Can contain tools, potions, a single weapon, torches or bombs.

  • Sack piles (♣) -- Can contain food ingredients (predominantly), plant or animal products. Can sometimes contain ropes instead.

  • Grand chairs (Ћ) -- Can have some kind of wood weapon (a spear, bow, or staff), a wand, a torch. Sometimes a fishing rod.

  • Wood Barrels (β) -- Contains Drink. Can be tapped with an empty bottle or waterskin.

  • Metal barrels (δ) -- Can contain oil, fat, sometimes milk or cheese if I implement those. Can be tapped with an empty bottle or waterskin.

    Wall furniture

  • Dressers (╬) -- Contains clothing or bags. Can also contain currency, figurines, or potions.

  • Wardrobes (Ω) -- Contains clothing or bags, typically with a higher value.

  • Chests (⌂) -- A mixed bag. Can contain dishes, cooking supplies, clothing, bags, writing supplies, lighting, tools. Can contain a weapon, a piece of armor, potions, a scroll, animal eggs, materials, torches. Rarely a map or crystal.

  • Hearths (●) -- Contains cooking supplies, tools.

  • Shelves (Ξ) -- Another mixed bag. Can contain potions, currency, lore, dishes, cooking supplies, figurines, lighting. Rarely can contain jewelry, wands, scrolls, lockpicks, maps.

  • Glass shelves (Ħ) -- A rare type of shelf. Tends to contain rocks or metal ores, feathers, fish bones, figurines. Can contain wands, potions, crystals, summons, animals, keys.

    Alcove furniture

  • Armor stands (†) -- Contains pieces of armor.

  • Weapon racks (∫) -- Contains weapons.

  • Fishing racks (↑) -- Contains fishing rods, bait, lures.

  • Tool racks (√) -- Contains tools such as brooms, hammers, etc. This is the most likely to appear.

    Counter furniture

  • Jewelry Boxes (■) -- Contain Jewelry. Can also contain keys or lockpicks. Jewelry boxes tend to be locked.

  • Piggy banks (□) -- Contains currency.

  • Dish rack (Џ) -- Contains dishes and cookware.

  • Cutting board (‗) -- Contains meat, vegetables and fruit

  • Baskets (Ū) -- Contains other types of plant-based foods. Can also contain plant fiber instead.

  • Safes (▲) -- Guaranteed to contain either a crystal, a couple wands, or some collection of potions. Will sometimes contain some kind of house item with a higher value than normal. Can contain lore. Safes have the highest-level locks in the game.

  • Edited Thursday by Xhin
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    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    Here's a chart of everything, to see the distribution of item types across furniture.

    Д Δ Ћ β δ Ω Ξ Ħ Џ Ū
    Weapons - - 1 - R - - - - 1 - - - - C - - - - - - - -
    Armor - - - - - - - - - 1 - - - C - - - - - - - - -
    Jewelry - - - - - - - - - - - R - - - - - C - - - - -
    Potions - - R - - - - R - C - C R - - - - - - - - - C
    Scrolls - R - - - - - - - 1 - R - - - - - - - - - - -
    Wands - - - - R - - - - - - R R - - - - - - - - - 1
    Crystals - - - - - - - - - R - - R - - - - - - - - - 1
    Food - - - C - - R - - - - - - - - - - - - - C C -
    Drink - - - - - C - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Animals - - - - - - - - - - - - R - - - - - - - - - -
    Animal eggs - - - - - - - - - C - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Materials - - C C - - C - - C - - C - - C - - - - C C -
    Lockpicks - - - - - - - - - - - R - - - - - R - - - - -
    Keys - - - - - - - - - - - - R - - - - R - - - - -
    Torches - - R - R - - - - C - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Ropes - - - R - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Bombs - - R - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Fishing Rods - - - - R - - - - - - - - - - C - - - - - - -
    Maps - - - - - - - - - R - R - - - - - - - - - - -
    Currency R - - - - - - R - - - C - - - - - - C - - - -
    Summons - - - - - - - - - - - - R - - - - - - - - - -
    Lore - R - - - - - - - - - C - - - - - - - - - - R
    Dishes C - - - - - - - - C - C - - - - - - - C - - R
    Cooking - - - - - - - - - C C C - - - - - - - C - - R
    Clothing - - - - - - - C C C - - - - - - - - - - - - R
    Bags R - - - - - - C C C - - - - - - - - - - - - R
    Paintings - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - R
    Figurines - - - - - - - R - - - C C - - - - - - - - - R
    Writing - C - - - - - - - C - - - - - - - - - - - - R
    Lighting C C - - - - - - - C - C - - - - - - - - - - R
    Tools R - R - - - - - - C C - - - - - C - - - - - R


    Despite appearances, this system actually isn't complicated at all -- all you're really doing is touching things and taking whatever is there. This amount of data is instead here to provide variety.

    Posted August 14th by Xhin
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    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    A complete list of Shops

    Now that I know what all the different items are as well as most of the game's mechanics, I can list out all the different types of shops:

    Distinct Shops

  • Bladesmith -- buys and sells weapons.

  • Armorer -- buys and sells armor

  • Jeweler -- buys and sells jewelry

  • Alchemist -- buys and sells potions and potion ingredients

  • Magic Shop -- buys and sells scrolls, wands and crystals.

  • Bakery -- buys and sells food ingredients, dishes and cookware

  • Inn -- Buys drink. Sells prepped food and drink. Rents out living spaces (beds/couches/tables). Is also a place to receive rumors of in-town quests and other quests once those are done. Towns always contain an inn.

  • Aviary -- Buys and sells birds and bats

  • Kennels -- buys and sells bloodhounds and moles

  • Stables -- buys and sells mounted animals of all kinds

  • Pawn shop -- buys household goods with a bit of a markup, buys and sells lockpicks

  • Spelunker -- buys and sells torches, rope, and bombs.

  • Angler -- buys and sells fish, bait, lures, and fishing rods.

  • Cartographer -- buys and sells maps and writing supplies

  • Outfitter -- buys and sells clothing and bags.

  • Lumberjack -- buys and sells branches, woods, leaves and fiber

  • Geologist -- buys and sells rocks, metal ores, petroleum, quartz and crystals.

  • Butcher -- buys and sells meat, bones and organs.

  • Trapper -- buys and sells wool/fur/down, feathers and scales.

    General Shops

  • Smith -- A combination of bladesmiths and armorers -- sells weapons and armor. Will also buy and sell metal ingots.

  • Mage -- A combination of jeweler, alchemist and magic shop. Buys and sells jewelry, potions, potion ingredients, scrolls, wands, and crystals.

  • Zoo -- A combination of aviaries, kennels and stables. Will buy and sell any kind of scout or mounted animal. Also the only place where you can sell animal eggs or animals you've hatched yourself.

  • Explorer -- A combination of zoos, spelunkers and cartographers. Can buy and sell animals of any kind, torches, ropes, bombs and maps. Birds and bats are a bit more common than other types of animals, and you also can't buy or sell writing supplies here.

  • Trading Outpost -- A combintion of lumberjacks, geologists, butchers and trappers. You can buy and sell branches, wood, leaves, fiber, rocks, metal ores, petroleum, quartz, crystals, meat, bones, organs, wood/fur/down, feathers and scales. Bit of a markup here, though these are at least fairly common.

  • General Store -- Sells a little of everything, buys a little of everything. The quality of the stuff you can buy isn't great and there's a rough markup on the stuff you sell. However, every town has one of these without exception.

    Miscellaneous shop types

  • Wholesalers -- Sells a bag of totally random loot, which will resemble the contents of a house. Generally you'll make a bit of profit here, sometimes a lot of profit if you get lucky. However you have to be at a table to actually unpack it, so you'll need to rent one or have a base nearby.

  • Collectors -- buys figurines from you, and sets for a bit more if you have every item in the set.

  • Priests -- Cures various afflictions, though I haven't set those systems up yet so I don't know what they are.

  • Palace -- large heavily-guarded houses in cities and nexuses that provide access to the ruling class.

  • Warp Gate -- lets you move between towns in various ways. This shop type exists in every town.

    Shop distribution

  • Every town always contains an Inn and a General Store.

  • Every city or nexus has a pawn shop.

  • Inside a province, there are at least three smiths, three magic shops, three alchemists, three spelunkers, and three catographers. These, along with 3/4 of the mandatory pawn shops, tie into the guild system.

  • Beyond the mandatory placements, every town has a "size" dependent on how many connections it has to other towns. Cities and nexuses are larger as well. Smaller towns are more likely to generalize, however smaller towns are way more likely to have Wholesalers, collectors, spelunkers and trappers. I'm not yet sure how many shops a town will have, that'll be something to work on over time.

  • Posted August 14th by Xhin
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    Xhin
    Sky's the limit
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