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Monday, 28 April 2014

MechCorp Update (28th April 2014) - Tactics

This is a milestone and I've been wanting to make this post. Let me just start by saying the project has comes along way, after many iteration of UI design and mechanic change. The game is finally at its alpha state, looking like.. a game.

Obviously the core concept doesn't change. It's still very FTL-ish, with squad based tactics and progression a la XCom. What I've done in the past 2 months is establish the base premises of the game and redesign the UI to match that game. My take? Game design and UI design are tough!

Anyway, given what I've done so far, I like to talk about the tactical aspect of the squad. It's by far, the most demanding elements of the gameplay in term of design.

From the get go, I wanted a fast pace turn based battle, as opposed to XCom where you really have to take time to decide a move. For that, the emphasise should be less about the player decision on the field but to the composition of the squad and the general tactical layout before the battle. So the grid which the battle take place has been simplified and shrunk greatly. There's no cover system and fog-of-war. It's all about the hostile unit composition and how best to minimize the their damage output while maximize ours.

There's damage type to consider, energy weapon deals energy damage will be absorb by shield. Ordinance based weapons deal kinetic damage that by-pass shield and damage the hull directly, but they have limited ammunition. Shield will recharged over each round so wearing down the shield doesn't make any difference unless you get to the hull.

Then we have the mech's class. There are 3 type of mechs: Assault, Support and Tactical. In a nutshell, their are tank, healer and dps. Assault mech has active shield system and is more capable of soaking up damage. Support mech can repair friendly unit and provide buff/debuff. Tactical mech, while less armoured and has low mobility, is capable of dealing aoe damage from long range. Each mech class has a signature ability or two which reflect their tactical role. For instance, assault mech can detonate a EM blast that damage all surrounding unit with a chance to cripple them for a round. Support mech can link up it's targeting with adjacent friendly unit, granting a bonus in attack.

And there's mech modification. Each mechs can be fitted with different modules to boost certain stats. Defensive modules to offer more protection for Tactical mech, offensive modules to boost a support mech fire power, etc. There's even a chance that you can add extra ability to a mech by using modules. An assault mech that can repair itself maybe?!

Well I think there's a lot about setting up a squad that can handle various enemy/situation in a battle imo. Hopefully that plays well in game. I'll probably talk about some other aspect about the game in another post.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

MechCorp Update (Scrapped Progress)

It's really has been a while since I last posted. I've been working almost exclusively on MechCorp and I'm trying to keep it close to my chest until I feel it's in a more polished state. For now, I'll just show some stuff that I've tried but doesn't work out.

Basically there are two major gameplay phase in MechCorp. The exploration and adventure phase and the battle phase. When it comes to the battle, I've tried to go for a more dramatic feel a la XCom style, with fog-of-war and very tight action cam sequence through out. So a complete new ActionCam system was developed. It auto-centers on the selected unit, tracks units movement, highlight the spotted hostile unit, rotate and zoom in on attack instance, all in a very smooth and stylised manner. You can see the dynamic camera in action in the video below. Please excuse the jerky frame rate, the video was recorded only a rather crappy machine.

Also to accommodate the fog-of-war gameplay, I've readjusted the grid size and more significantly, change the grid to hex-based. A set of new abilities designed around tactical play for fog-of-war was also added.

The battle scene play rather well on its own, unfortunately when put together with the exploration phase, it just doesn't cut it. It works alright, but it lacks the tight, fast-paced, streamlined feel I'm trying to do for the game. And some how the battle felt disconnected from the rest of the game. So I can only do the reasonable thing that is to scrap the whole thing and try for a different approach.

The good thing is not everything has to be done from ground up. There are lots of progress that has been made and kept. The UI has been massively overhaul and redesigned as well as some of the core design. But all this is another post which I might do later this week.