Procedural Cinematics and Plot-lines
Continuing on my "mechanistic" approach, several new systems have been introduced this week. While their functionality is very fundamental at the moment, they are ready to be expanded in future updates.
One of the core gameplay mechanics I'm targeting is the idea of a procedural plot-line. This isn't a system intended to randomly generate Shakespearean masterpieces or even the serious plots found in AAA blockbusters. Rather, it's meant to create simple, lighthearted sources of conflict that have clear gameplay objectives.
In order to make it feel more story-like, procedural cinematics can be triggered under various circumstances. At the moment, these are simple sequences that are generated on the fly. In multiplayer, the sequences are triggered only for those in the immediate vicinity.
Also featured in the video is the new rag-doll physics events. On knockdowns, characters will go into ragdoll mode until getting up. Parkour type mobility actions also have the potential to trigger this mode depending on the circumstances. For example, if you perform a diving action, failing to land on level ground will result in a collision. Colliding directly into a wall or obstacle mid-dive will cause you to crash and fall. Diving directly into walls is not suggested, as shown in the video. If this happens while trying to escape police for example, you'll quickly find your character being cuffed.
Character system and Property Management
Characters generated are persistently held in the character database. They inhabit homes and automatically populate jobs throughout the game world. In many ways it is setup similarly to the systems used by Bethesda's Elder Scrolls and Fallout games. However, rather than using scheduling packages, NPCs are positioned by auto-calculations defined in behaviors and then routines, respectively. When no players are close to an NPC, they revert to the auto-calculation mode.
Functionally, persistent characters provide handles for plot-lines. A generic NPC can be drawn into a procedural plot. Their daily routines provide a backdrop that makes their participation more interesting and potentially can present a greater challenge in completing plot objectives.
Homes and businesses are placed on properties. These properties can be purchased, rented and sold by the player. Any other structures are inhabited and owned by NPCs generated by the world system. Future expansion of the property management system may include customization of player owned structures.
I've also devoted a small amount of time to the development of additional tile sets which can be used in pre-baked structures as well as the snap-build system. A few structures built with the new tiles are seen below:
Also completed this week were a few miscellaneous systems, such as a new road generator which uses 3D template tiles and a host of logic and trigger mechanisms to be used by plot-lines. I now have a twitter, FB page and discord server. Stay tuned for future releases!