Monday, 2 July 2012

The Ballad of Brave Sir Robin RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!

Typically my blogs are written as full blown stream of consciousness style, which tends to be rather amusing, off the cuff, overly long and it also tends to mean that I forget to mention stuff that I've actually done, hence -

- 13th month anniversary blog part TWO!

Bravely bold Sir Robin rode forth from Camelot.
He was not afraid to die, O brave Sir Robin!
He was not at all afraid to be killed in nasty ways,
Brave, brave, brave, brave Sir Robin!

Oh Brave Sir Robin, Thou Art Inspiration To Us All!

Alas we cannot all be as brave as Brave Sir Robin ... which is why I've introduced the RUN AWAY  Mode.

It was something X-Com had, the ability to flee with your remaining troops in the transport at abandon the ones still outside to fate worse than getting set upon by a pack of Chryssalids ... actually that usually was their fate ...

Give back Rudi Unger!

Now in my project your troops are dropped by dirigible into up to 3 Deployment Areas of your choosing (left flank, central, right flank). If the battle isn't going well you can now retreat to the Deployment Areas and abort the mission, saving the troopers inside the Deployment Areas, including any critically wounded casualties that are lying inside them. Troops and casualties outside of the Deployment Areas are captured, never to be seen again. As it's going to have a SteamPunk vibe they'll probably end up being condemned to live out their days forced into doing something dastardly and unchivalrous like teaching 12 year old schoolgirls how to bake crumpets. Surely for men of honour there can be no greater shame!

Currently my Deployment Areas are just a blue/black striped transparent box which obviously needs changing to something with a bit more graphical gravitas. I've created a new in-game options button which brings up a whole list of options such as "graphics/audio options, save game (not working yet), Quit, etc" and "Abort Mission" is found under here (rather like ye olde X-Com).

Selecting it brings up a warning detailing that you will fail the mission (thus losing any territory if you are defending it in the Main Campaign game) and informing you how many troops will be rescued and how many will be permenantly lost to enemy hands. You can cancel if you think the losses are too great, or go ahead with the rescue and have a dirigible pick up the survivors. Rescued troops will retain all of their experience from kills recorded during the battle but will not get their additional mission experience bonus - to stop the player starting battles, withdrawing all his forces and then getting a free EXP point. NO cheating for you!

Run Away!

The ability to soil your pants and flee waving your arms in the air whilst screaming like a little girl startled by a large and hairy spider discovered hidden away inside of her lunchbox upon opening it is also mirrored in the enemy Ai. If you've been handing them an utter thrashing and they have become hopelessly outnumbered they will also think about legging it and extracting as many survivors as they can from an unwinnable situation.

 During playtesting I noticed an annoying little issue ... your troops automatically stop moving when they spot a new enemy so that you can decide on a course of action such as attack, move elsewhere or keep going. However when walking over rough terrain it is possible for the trooper to get repeated glimpses of an enemy Ai who you don't want to attack or can't attack due to your weapon's limited range. When this happened the player's trooper would stop every few feet and the player would have to reclick the destination to get them to move and then it would happen again. So I created a simple "don't stop moving" toggleButton. The player can now manually stop their trooper as normal, and when new targets are spotted the target indicator displays them to inform the player of the potential danger without halting the trooper. If the enemy Ai makes their reactive fire test the player will stop as normal and come under passive/reactive attack. Annoyance squished.

And I've also done some tweaking to the troops/equipment/deployment screens. Most of this is about throwing in extra warnings when you attempt to deploy a squad with guys either missing ammunition for weapons or not equipped at all. There's a fair few changes I still want to tweak into the deployment screen, mostly ergonomic/aesthetic, but it all works fine for now.

And now, back to Brave Sir Robin...

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