Damn, it's been two weeks since the last devlog already? Time does fly fast, especially when all your daily and weekly routines have been flipped upside down because of the pandemic.
Here's a list of stuff I changed/added recently to Shardpunk:
Shotgun AOE attack
I mentioned it in the previous blog entry; I wanted the shotguns to feel more juicy on the short range, therefore I've added an AOE attack for them. It covers three adjacent tiles next to the shooter. What is more, it requires the weapon hit to be at zero level, and uses all the heat in the shooting process.
Here's the thing though: I played the combat several times and didn't find myself using that new ability too often. That might be related to the fact that I've reduced the game difficulty a little (I've decreased the number of enemy pods). I'll have to ramp it up again.
Lesson learned: adding new, powerful player skills to the game is equivalent to decreasing the game's difficulty level (duh!).
Side note: it might be that the AOE range is simply too small. I might need to ramp it up.
Clearer % to hit visualization
As a bonus, while working on the shotgun AOE thing I expanded the %to hit calculation/visualization mechanism, so now the % to hit chances are being displayed directly above enemies:
This provides more clear information for the player; also, it helps me a lot with debugging.
Oh, the % to hit is also displayed when targetting friendlies (as shotgun's AOE attack can damage them as well):
Ranger's precision shot
Another skill is the "precision shot" for the ranger, that gives a 100% to hit chance but comes with a cooldown.
It's a nice thing to have access to an action that you can always count on.
More information displayed in the game's HUD
This was an experiment, and I liked the results: I made sure that all traits of currently selected character are always visible on the screen, without the need to open up character details screen.
Initially, I thought that the only way to show all the traits in the HUD is to introduce trait icons. However, I still believe that creating distinguishable icons might be a challenge; it might be worth coming back to the icons' idea after I have all the traits/skills/effects figured out.
Right now I am displaying trait names, and it looks good. I was afraid that it would cover too much of the combat screen, but in my opinion that's not the case.
Short-term, I want the game to be ready for any upcoming showcase/competition. Digital Dragons submissions have been pushed to May (though I don't know whether this is the final date). Pixel Heaven Fest's deadline is at the end of August. I need to be prepared that I won't have time to flesh out both combat and shelter layers on time (and make them work together smoothly), which means I will have to be ready to rip out only the combat part again.
Long term, it is about fully integrating the shelter layer to the game. I am thinking of a demo that would allow the player to start the game in the combat mission, then move to the shelter phase, and then play a part of another combat mission. This should be enough to grab the interest of the players and receive feedback before I work on the game further.
That's it for now. Stay safe!