Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Carving practical design from wooly ideas

As usual, my hand-wavy ideas make no sense when I start coding. This happens a lot. The current crisis is the idea that you can either play against adaptive AI, or a ‘recording’ made by you, or someone else.

So when you are placing turrets, either the AI is dynamically placing creeps to attack you, or it is just reading from a script like a normal TD game. The twist is that the script could be pre-recorded by me, or by another player (in the case of challenge maps) or even by you. Which means if you play an absolute blinder of a game in attack mode, you could then swivel round and play defense, against your own attack units and decisions, just like you can race against yourself in some racing games.

Problem is… I hadn’t considered that this only works for attacking units, not as defense. You can’t assume a slot is freed up as defense deployer, so it doesn’t work out. It’s dodgy enough as an attacker, given possible traffic jams…

Anyway, that isn’t a big deal. This is a cool ‘extra’ feature for A TD game. People will understand its only an option as defender. What’s a bit clunky is that it means coding some awkward sounding dialog at the start of a game to say

“Hey, you want to play against adaptive AI, or you want to play against the included, pre-scripted units?”

as well as

“Would you like the adaptive AI to use the included units, or to be able to use all your units too?”

I’m sure it will look ok. People like options right?

Gratuitous Tank Battles campaign map

Here is what the main ‘play battle’ screen looks like for GTB. The current plan is for three basic modes of play. The campaign scenarios, custom maps, and online maps, as shown by the three tabs at the top left of the screen.

The big map image changes to be a list of maps in the other two modes. The right hand pane shows information about the current selected map. Custom maps are ones you edited or designed yourself and saved locally. The online ones are maps you, or other players uploaded to be played by everyone else.

I still need to add in display of some high score data on that gap on the right. Also, a few of those buttons are debug-only, but you will have the option to play any map as attacker or defender, and to edit it and save it however you like.

I love company of heroes, but the map editor for it is ferociously complex, and there is no easy way to trivially change a map, then give it to a friend to play. My aim is for that sort of thing to be trivial in GTB. So when a player thinks that tile 16,24 should be place-able by the defender in map #4, he/she can just click edit, change that tile, then save it as a custom map for himself, or upload it as an ‘improved’ map #4.

That’s the theory.

Back from the mountains

I haven’t blogged for a week because I’ve been away. Unlike many geeks, when I go away I *REALLY* go away. I take a phone, for emergencies, but it has no email access. No computer, no tech. Just a digital camera. Here was one nights accomodation (a mongolian yurt in the alps) and a panoramic picture of the surrounding area..

Back in civilisation now, with much to do, and much to arrange. Plus, battlefield 3 to try…