First and foremost, I’m aiming to release 0.4 on the 21st or 22nd of December! It’ll be crunch time for the next week, but I think that’s a realistic target. By the end of today I should have finished every feature, after which it’ll just be down to bug-hunting, playtesting and compiling. Due to a number of unforseen real-life circumstances in the past month or two I haven’t had the spare time to experiment with a Linux build as I would have liked, so I’ve had to push that back again and focus on prioritizing the game itself. It is therefore once more in the pipeline for 0.5. In the mean time, however, here’s some of this week’s work:
- I’ve finally created an ointment graphic I’m actually happy with. This blasted thing went through over a dozen iterations until I found one I liked. Many of the earlier versions were more like small bottles, but they didn’t look particularly impressive, shading was proving difficult, and I didn’t want there to be any overlap with the ‘bottle’ item type (which will appear more fully in later versions), so I changed it to be something more like a jar instead.
- I’ve done a significant overhaul of the in-game UI. Health is still displayed on the left, but it is now displayed in a very new way which gives you all the information you might require about your various limbs in a very concise manner (more on this below). Secondly I’ve added a huge number of extra possible in-game messages, colour-coded them appropriately, and also recoloured some older messages to help them fit into the new order of things. I’ve also adjusted the various bars displayed below the map screen. I’ve taken out the idea of willpower as being akin to a “berserk” attack, and the idea of exhaustion, as I felt they were adding an unnecessary extra layer of complexity, probably wouldn’t play all that well, and – perhaps most importantly – there were other things I wanted along the bottom. So, next to stamina (which is all but disabled for this release) you have four new metres. The first displays your pain level, and as this increases you may start to notice some visual effects clouding your sight. The second is the amount of air you have. Standing inside any kind of cloud (and swimming underwater, in later versions) takes away a unit of air each turn, and unless you replenish your air in time, you will suffocate, as well as taking whatever forms of damage (fire, poison, etc) might be caused by the cloud. In the future there may be items to negate this effect or provide you with more air. Next to that is your blood level. You regain 1 unit of blood every turn, but injuries which are left bleeding without being staunched (by healing moss) or sutured will also cost you blood with each step you take. I would advise against letting that counter reach 0. The final meter shows your poison level; above a certain point poison is fatal. For this release you will either be equipped with a single potion of antidote when the game begins, or I will simply disable fatal poisoning (depending on the time each of these would take). Also, an important note – for 0.4, when you die, you will respawn in the same world. This will not be the case in later versions, but I want people to be able to experiment in multiple lives with the health/damage/limb system without having to create a new world each time.
(Full version @ Ultimaratioregum.co.uk)
Here’s a closeup of the new health system. Along the top we have the six “limbs” – Head,Left arm, Right arm, Torso, Left leg, Right leg. The bits in brackets are not shown in-game, but are visible in the guidebook entry which explains this in detail. Flesh and bone show their statuses on a range of 1 to 4 (with different colours), whilst fire and acid burns are shown by stars. Infections (disabled for this release) and blood loss are shown by exclamation marks. Ointments, healing moss, sutures, bandages and splints are displayed as shown in the diagram, whilst old wounds (caused by failing to set a broken bone quickly enough after breaking it) show as a counter. Do also note the diagram below is actually impossible, as your torso cannot be splint-ed for example, and just serves as an illustration of the system.
There’s now not much left to do. I need to have the game spawn branches and stones across the map, dependent on biomes; I need to spawn the player with an appropriate variety of inventory items; I need to enable the player to ‘w’ield torches and ensure that torches actually burn down, though until a later version you will not be able to make torches yourself; ensure all throwing/hitting/landing messages for items are correct for all combination of impacts on things you can and cannot see; and then work on the death system, which for now will despawn you, explain to the player that “true” death is not enabled for this version, then respawn you elsewhere on the map. Barring some unexpected pitfalls, see you all next weekend for the 0.4 release! Until next time you can keep up to date on my devblog, Facebook page, or Twitter feed. The devblog is updated weekly or fortnightly generally on Saturdays, Facebook a few times a week, and the Twitter roughly daily. Any thoughts, please leave them in the comments! Stay tuned...