Tuesday, June 19, 2012

More Pieces of the Puzzle

It's amazing to me how many puzzle pieces seem to be involved in putting together a CRPG.  You need inventory systems, combat systems, magic systems, etc.  There are items to track, statistics to track, character information to track, etc.

The last few weeks, I have been working hard to nail down the inventory system, and for the most part, I have.  All the commands are in place that allow players to manipulate items in their characters inventories.  They can trade items amongst party members, drop items they don't need, use items (though only a couple at the moment, since not all items have been given information), and equip items that can be worn or wielded.

Standard inventory screen with some fancy icons.

Being able to equip important items is probably the most important thing that characters can do with their inventory.  I've created a way for players to clearly see what each character currently has equipped and what slots they take up.

Where would we be without equipment?

But, besides working with equipment, I've been doing a couple of other things too.

I've added some music and icons (all taken from artists who devote their resources to people like me who make games under the creative commons license, and I will insure each of them is properly credited...and if I can help it, I'll do something else special for them in the game).  This gives the game a less bland feeling.

I finished up the shop, giving players an option to sell items that they find while adventuring.

Oh, and I've also been working on spells...

Priest Spells

So, overall, the game is coming together pretty nicely, one puzzle piece at a time.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Healing and Death

It goes without saying that as a player takes their characters on quests in Lands of Adventure, they're going to encounter combats and dangerous situations.  Along with these dangers will come damage and death.  It is unavoidable.

Damage is done to characters in the form of Life Points, and each character only has so many.  When they reach 0, the character is dead.  For that reason, each party should have at least one Priest character, who can use their divine magic to heal members of the party.  Being able to heal is important to the party's overall survival.

But, what happens when the priest runs out of healing spells or someone dies?  Well, the good news is that even death is curable...for a price...

Welcome to the Waystop Temple.

In true CRPG tradition, Lands of Adventure includes a mystical temple where players can have their characters healed and raised from the dead.  Of course, this kind of healing doesn't come free.  The characters will have to surrender some of their hard earned gold in order to get back in fighting shape.

While I don't want the game to be completely brutal, I don't believe that CRPGs should coddle players and never put them in danger.  I think it's okay for characters to die on occasion, especially if a means exists to return that character to life.

Let's take a look at what the temple can do for the player:

Healing, healing, healing.

Light Healing: A character can be healed up to 10 Life Points with Light Healing.  This is useful if a character hasn't taken a lot of damage, or needs just a little bit of healing to get back up to their full capacity of Life Points.

Full Healing: For the right price, the character can also be returned to their maximum Life Points with a single spell.  Of course, this can be expensive.  But, when necessary, it can also be really handy.

Cure Disease: Sadly, characters may encounter all sorts of things when they're roaming around the world.  Catching a terrible disease is one of those things that they probably want to avoid.  Still, if it happens, they can have the disease removed for a fee.

Ressurection: So, you had the misfortune to have a character die during one of your quests?  No problem.  Pay the priest at the temple and he will be happy to return your character back to life, though only with 1 Life Point.

Sounds good, right?

But, what if you don't have a lot of gold and you want to heal your character naturally?

The Waystop Inn interface.

Luckily for the characters, they can visit the local inn and rest.  During a single night's rest (which only costs 10 gold pieces), they will recover a random number of Life Points and Mana Points based upon their level.  It may or may not get them back to full health, but several days rest would probably do the trick.

Either way, the characters can head out and fulfill their destinies without worrying too much about whether or not they have the means to rest or come back from the dead.

Well...unless they all die...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Items and Inventory

If you're wondering why I haven't posted about Lands of Adventure in a few weeks, it's because I've been too busy to really do any work on it.  But, even in my time away from it, I have been giving a lot of thought to the way the inventory system would handle items and how shops in the game would be set up.

Before I stopped working on the program a month ago, I had the skeleton of the system worked out.  Earlier today, I jumped back into the thick of things and quickly threw the whole thing together.

One of the shop screens, this one showing weapons.

Originally, I wanted to be lazy in my approach and create the game so that each character could only possess three things:  a weapon, armor and possibly a shield.  What I came to realize after a while was that doing the game that way would make me really unhappy.  I didn't want to cheat the player out of a better inventory system that allowed them to equip and carry multiple items (like rings, magical wands and potions).

So, looking at some older CRPGs, I figured out how to create an inventory system that tracks a certain number of items in a character's inventory and allows them to interact with those items.  A character can equip items that can be worn, trade items that they don't want, drop things they think are unnecessary, and sell items back to the shop at less than their selling cost.

An example character inventory.

What you might be thinking to yourself is that this is fairly obvious.  But, if you aren't a programmer, you may not realize how difficult putting something like this together can be.  Actually, a great many things in a CRPG can be quite challenging to get working exactly the way that you want.

Part of the fun of building one of these games on your own is that there are a lot of technical challenges to overcome that make me appreciate how much hard work went into those old games I loved.  Each time I achieve a goal, I feel it makes me a better programmer...because programming is all about knowing what your problem is and then teaching your computer, via scripted language, how to conquer the problem and do the work you want in just the way that you want.

Equipping armor.

There's still work to be done with the inventory system.  It took a while to figure out how to implement everything in a way that works.  Simple things like: knowing if a player is trying to equip something like armor, or if they're trying to equip a scroll by putting it on their head.  Or, knowing whether the thing the player wants to use in combat is a Rod of Fire, which allows them to damage enemies, or a bandage that will give him the opportunity to heal one of his damaged party characters.

Easy in concept, but harder in execution.  Still, it's rewarding when it works.