For August a lot more work was done in improving the combat. Three new combat mechanics have been added which are the flanking mechanic, effective range, and the ability to take multiple actions in one turn! Additionally, a majority of all the combat UI has been implemented, the camera has been greatly improved, and a dialogue editor tool has been created to increase the workflow of writing dialogue.
Got You in My Sights
One of the newly implemented combat mechanics is the idea of an "effective range". When performing an attack, based on your character and weapon stats, the attack will have an "effective range" where attacking a target outside of this range will carry heavy negative stats effects. The idea behind this is to allow a character to attack any target they have a line of sight on, but also make sure that the different weapon types are used at ranges that are appropriate (shotguns used at close range, and snipers used at long range). To make this visually clear, there is a red border that is shown when making an attack that explains the character's range.
Another on the added mechanics is "flanking". In general, it's a good idea to get behind the enemy, so that you can make an attack where they aren't behind cover but getting the right angle for a flank will also be rewarded with an added stats boost. This is indicated with a cone behind the target. If your character's line of sight is within this cone, then the attack is considered a flank.
Inspired by the Brave/Default system from Bravely Default, I added a system where you're allowed to perform multiple actions in one turn. If you do multiple actions in one turn, this means that you will be much farther back in the turn order timeline and it will leave you susceptible to taking a lot of damage without being able to retaliate. Additionally, if a character reaches the fatigue threshold, they'll faint and be removed from battle. This was done so that characters are highly discouraged to perform three high-cost skills in one turn unless they're willing to remove the character from battle.
Dialogue Editor Tool
Dialogue will be prevalent in Bright Red Skies, so I was trying to find ways to increase the workflow of creating dialogue. The solution was to create a tool that would allow me to easily form branching dialogue trees where player choices can be added, and nodes can connect with one another. Also, there are options to modify the text, characters involved, the expressions that each character will have, and any story state changes that might occur by selecting a dialogue choice.
As you can see in the first couple of gifs, the camera movement looks much more interesting than it previously did. This is because the combat camera uses Cinemachine now. It's essentially like having the power of an entire camera team to control what you see! It makes sure that targets you want in focus, are always in focus and it lets you control the transition between different cameras a lot more easily. Eventually, I'd like to update all the camera controllers to use Cinemachine but for now, it's just the combat camera that has been updated.
Behind the Scenes
This part of the devlog is for talking about the improvements that were made but can't clearly be shown with a gif. It's done so that you can have a better understanding of all the things that have been completed. For August, the following was also done:
- Fixed the pointer position of the extra info elements, so it targets the center of a target squad not its feet.
- Percentage box and status effect popups now scale with distance from the caster, so their sizes are more reasonable.
- Removed all old code related to the previous implementation of the combat and info menu.
- Fixed issue with the game not ending when the last enemy unit is defeated.
- Updated how turn initiative is calculated.
August was a great month for development, and I'm pleased that a lot more was completed than I anticipated. In my opinion, the game is really starting the shape up and the combat is near being finalized. There is more work to be done on the combat, and I hope to get this done for September, or October at the latest. The current plan for September is to complete:
- End of turn direction for combat
- Ability to use items
- Loading screen with scene transitions
- Status effects and visually showing their effects
- End of combat screen (success and fail screen)
- Destructible cover (if time permits)
When the combat is complete there's going to be a demo that will be released that allows you to move in the world map and get into battles! Optimistically, this will be released at the end of September, but realistically it might be closer to the end of October. Keep your eyes out for it!
If you have any suggestions or want to give your opinion on the game, follow me on social media, I listen and respond to any comment :D