Development Progress – I'm Totally On Track* for v0.05-alpha
It has been ages since I last published an article, so I figured I might as well make one now to outline some of the improvements I have made since the v0.4-alpha release. There's quite a lot to go through actually.
* "Totally on track" meaning "I have no idea what I'm doing but at least it looks cool"
The FAQ Screen
Judging by how experimental and unstable AGFFA is, I figured I should create a list of 'frequently asked questions' as a warning for those who are planning on adding the plugin to their game. The FAQ automatically opens when a new pilot is created, and has a list of 8 frequently asked questions and formulated responses for each of them. Hopefully it'll answer some common questions for people who are looking to add this plugin to their game, and more importantly, warn and prevent people from messing up their save files.
Interceptor & Fighter Combat
One of the largest issues with v0.4-alpha and preceding releases was the large size of capital ship sprites, which resulted in large collision boxes which soaked up damage from enemy fighters. Since large capital ships quite frequently overlapped with friendly fighters, the smaller ships were protected by them and were virtually immune to enemy fighters.
I have attempted to solve this issue by giving all fighter and interceptor weaponry the "phasing" attribute, which although makes asteroids and other obstacles useless as a form of cover (phasing weaponry can pass through obstacles), does make fighter vs fighter combat more viable. This is because fighters can only hit their targets, so their weaponry will pass through other non-targeted enemies.
Outfit Overhaul (Yep, another one)
This change is pretty self-explanatory. I fiddled with the ship outfits names, thumbnails, and some of their values as well. I actually uploaded this gif to Moddb a while ago, but I might as well copy and paste it here as well. The icons are quite clearly copied from the new game Star Wars: Squadrons, but this shouldn't pose a copyright issue. I think.
The Ship Scaling Dilemma
Recently, I have been wondering whether the current ship scaling should be altered in AGFFA. The image below contains two scales: the current one (where I just "eye-balled" and guessed the size of ships roughly), and a linear scale. The Executor-class Dreadnought is part of both scales, and is quite obviously too large in the linear scale to have in-game. If I were to follow the linear scale, the Executor would be long enough to fill at least 5 computer screens in length, so there's no way I'm going with that.
So, I spent about an hour fiddling around with Microsoft Excel to see if I could format a logarithmic scale or something curved to decrease the size of larger ships. I ended up with the equation f(x) = 13.418x^0.742 (which I realise isn't logarithmic), which still grossly increased the Executor Dreadnought to an absurdly large size.
I think I'll just stick with the current scale, even though it makes a Lucrehulk seem half the length of a Super Star Destroyer (which is quite clearly not the case in lore).
Oh, Here's Some Other Stuff
- The Eclipse II-class Super Star Destroyer!
Unfortunately, the Axial Superlaser is pretty difficult to use since it takes ages for the ship to face towards its target. It's pretty destructive though, and it's a real shame that the ship takes most of the screen, making the target most likely off-screen.
- The B6 Prototype's Composite Beam!
This weapon deals a lot of damage, and isn't quite balanced yet. (hmm... though nothing really is balanced anyway)
Alright, that's enough of that. I'm tempted to add more gifs to the article but I won't. (I only recently realised I could do that and I think it looks awesome).
If anybody has any suggestions for me in terms of possible features for the plugin, I'd love to hear your suggestions (not that I will necessary add it, but I'd definitely consider it).