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Tidalis Beta 1.017: Improvements To Combo Scoring At Game Over

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x4000:
That sounds like a pretty cool idea, though. :)

And it really depends on target audience.  The crazy complex AI War interface isn't a problem because it's aimed at grognards and grognards only.  "I am the hardest of the hardcore" is the immediate message, and that is a happy message for them, not a scary one.  It has a niche and it works.  It sounds like your RPG idea is also coming into that sort of niche.  AI War is our best-earning game, by the way, so niche does not equal bad by any stretch.

Regarding Skyward Collapse and Exodus, they both have aspects that can cater to the grognards, but also aspects that make them more surface-accessible.  That's one of our philosophical shifts here, really.  Tidalis was too far in the extreme of being casual-friendly, but it wasn't really casual-friendly (was still hardcore and overwhelming), even though it looked casual-friendly (thus turning off the hardcore puzzle fans if they didn't know what it was already).  We're really trying to hit more of the middle ground, which actually I think both of the Valley games and to some extent Shattered Haven all did.

LaughingThesaurus:
Ooh, how could you tell it was a bit of an RPG? :)
The plan I really had was 'there's a prebuilt class or three with loads of attacks that just get unlocked as you get stronger rather than you putting together your own as you get stronger'. That way, you could totally go the full on custom way, which is really the route it was meant to go... or could experience the game with a 'just give me stuff' button. I'd love to work on this actually, and get it going. I have ideas on implementation and everything, the problem is that there's potentially a whole lot of multiplayer focus. Without being able to handle netcode yet, it's not exactly a viable idea to go bringing in a co-op intensive game. Let's just say I am having a hard time exercising self-control over how awesome the multiplayer plan hopefully is. ;)

What I've actually noticed, is that the middle ground you're hitting almost looks like the SNES style. They're like, games that are really easy to just start playing, but really hard to master all of the little complexities. In fact, that ties back in with the ideas of unlockables. Sometimes, you didn't just start with hard mode. Zelda introduces one dungeon item at a time. Contra welcomes you to try as much as you want, but you need mastery to succeed and unlock the harder levels with cooler guns.
Tidalis basically sounds like Bejeweled; Overwhelming Edition, right? Looks and sounds so happy and fun and simple and "Wait what are streams? What do you mean THAT'S how you combo?" I can tell you for a fact that the combo system was met with that reaction in my head.

x4000:
Cheers. :) And yes, the NES and SNES, and to a lesser extent Atari and 80s/90s PC gaming, were my biggest childhood influences. I enjoy later stuff, but not with the childlike sense of wonder I had before.

In terms of my intuiting rpg, I'm pretty sure you said that! :) Sounds like a fun idea. Netcode is generally very hard, but if you have sufficiently few agents you could use something off the shelf like Unity 3D's built in netcode. They handle all the internals for you, but we've found that having thousands of entities is not the best thing for our particular pipeline. The way we draw graphics and handle game logic is very engine-independent by design, but that creates some bridge/adapter problems for us. If you're just going to use vanilla unity plus probably one of the 2d packages that are in the unity asset store, then you'd have an easier time.

LaughingThesaurus:
I actually don't remember saying RPG, so maybe I was more excited than I thought. Although, often times the easiest way to intuit something is for it to be outright said to you.
The netcode has to take into account the basic idea of 'projectiles enhance each other if they come into contact'. So, that may involve some pretty precise detection, potentially a lot of entities. I'm not actually very good with the technical side of things at all, I was hoping for a lot of enemies to bash through rather than a few very tanky ones, but the 'lots of enemies' thing is a sacrifice that can be made for the sake of making it actually work better.
This is a bit of a different topic for another day, but I wonder if games these days really can evoke that same sense of wonder. For some, probably not. It's almost as if more games are geared towards more adults rather than for 'all age audiences'... and also stick with more down to earth concepts rather than 'man in green tights only hope for seven maidens fights giant pig'. There are still magical games, but the market's in a different place.

x4000:
It's entirely possible that I just heard a few details about character rolls and went "oh rpg."

Regarding the netcode and the spell reactivity, the best way I can think of to handle that is via something like the ai war netcode. Ie, you can't directly move your guy around, all you can slow point and click like diablo, and there is a tiny (subsecond) delay. You could have oodles of enemies and spell with the local gpu and CPU being you only limitation in that case. Bandwidth would only be dependent on the number of orders given by players, which would be trivial. The ai could be deterministically simulated on each client with fixed seed random number generators.

Of course I'd you wanted something more immediate than diablo, where you can directly walk around, you need more traditional-action-game netcode. That is more of a bear, to me. It's an exercise in reconciliation of constant desyncs rather than trying to stay in sync. All fps games work this way, as does any other action game where you directly move around with no sub-second hesitations.

Anyhow, yeah: as the number of agents goes up so too does the challenge of making it, but obviously I have a lot of handy proof sitting around that it can be done.

Hope that's useful. :)

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