May 19th, 2016: Runestar devlog 18/5/16: bugfixes and performance updates
Posted by Gravecat at 2:34 am under Game Dev, Runestar. Comment?

Game version: 0.20.16l (pre-alpha)
Lines of C++ code: 9,292 (+179)
Lines of JSON data: 3,379 (+1,375)

A relatively short update this time, mostly since I’ve not posted anything much about the project for almost two weeks, and I don’t want people to think that’s already dead. In a nutshell, life’s been pretty busy lately and I haven’t had a huge amount of time to work on the project, but what I have been doing is largely behind-the-scenes work.

So what’s changed since my last update? Plenty… that isn’t very interesting to talk about. There’s been a whole bunch of bug-fixin’ (including a few minor memory leaks and a buffer overflow that had been in the code for months or longer), more stability for the Linux build, improvements to the built-in error-handling subsystem, a whole bunch of improvements to the JSON data files bringing the city up to speed with the new time and weather system, and a small tweak that ended up improving the rendering speed by approximately 16%.

It’s not quite ready for a public demo yet, as there’s a lot of core systems that I really need to work on and fix up before I’m happy letting people poke at it, but the project is coming along very nicely and now that I have the city update out of the way — a frankly tedious endeavour which had to be done, but took far longer than I’d anticipated — I can go back to focusing on adding more fun mechanics and interesting things. Stay tuned for more updates!

May 7th, 2016: Runestar devlog 7/5/16: current state of affairs
Posted by Gravecat at 7:36 pm under Game Dev, Runestar. Comment?

Game version: 0.20.10d (pre-alpha)
Lines of C++ code: 9,113
Lines of JSON data: 2,004

Rather than try to summarize every change that’s happened so far, I’m going to go over the current list of features in the game, before I cover the last few days’ development.

Runestar is what I’d describe as a single-player MUD, though some elements of the gameplay will derive from the more familiar roguelike genre. Fortunately for me, a lot of the base and frankly boring parts of development are out of the way — a rather chunky, custom system for handling graphics on top of SDL with pseudo-ASCII graphical tiles (my system allows me to treat them more like text than individual sprites), basic framework for rooms, movement, items, inventories (including NPCs inventories and item weight), roaming NPCs and monsters (known in MUDs as mobiles, or mobs for short), a very basic equipment system that currently only supports using weapons, a core combat framework which works well enough but will be fleshed out a great deal later, and an XP/skill system which allows the player (and NPCs!) to improve in skill by, well, using skills. The user interface itself allows the player to type commands, along with keys to scroll through the history window, recall the last command entered, and more.

A good start, overall. But the last few days of development have improved things greatly, adding a lot more features: the drop-down HUD (can be toggled with the tab key) containing an automapper, character stats (currently: mind and armour are not implemented), a little box of possible status effects (more on this below) and a weather and time indicator. That’s right, I’ve brought the venerable old weather and time code over from my previous project and polished it up, allowing both the weather and time of day to affect the temperature of the area and the odds of the player character getting drenched or drying off.

I’ve also added hunger/thirst (as well as edible food objects and water containers that can be quaffed), hypothermia when the player is far too cold for too long, fixed the code a little so that it compiles happily on Linux, fixed the death system which was previously not working properly at all, started work on improving the NPCs to be less generic and more like individual named characters, and finally the biggest improvement of all — sound! The title screen has a funky chiptune, combat now has a variety of sounds depending on the weapons and the NPCs/enemies involved, doors creak open and closed, thunder and rain are now audible, and… well, you get the idea.

Progress is good, and I’m very excited about how this project is going to turn out! 🙂

May 7th, 2016: Runestar: It begins!
Posted by Gravecat at 6:23 pm under Game Dev, Runestar. Comment?

This blog has been neglected for a while now, and with my return to activity, I’m going to bring with me something rather important: news of my latest game development project in the works, currently titled Subgea (edit: the project has since been renamed to Runestar.) As some of you may know, I’ve been working on-and-off on a number of different gamedev projects over the years, but they usually end up abandoned after a month or less of development — mostly because I couldn’t quite put my finger on exactly what I wanted to make, and there seemed to be no point continuing on a project I wasn’t enjoying.

One of my rather impractical dreams has always been to build my own MUD — Multi-User Dungeon, which for those of you who are not familiar with the term, is a genre of game that evolved from the old single-player text-adventure games of the 80s, and is the precursor to the much more familiar, modern MMORPG (Massively Multi-player Online Role-Playing Game) genre. Unfortunately, the technical skills required to do so eluded me when I was younger (though I did run a moderately successful social MUCK for a while; some of you may recall the now-defunct SporkMUCK), and the dream largely faded. The popularity of the humble MUD has fallen greatly in recent years from its peak around the mid 90s, so while my skills are now much improved, it seems as though I’d missed the boat.

Or maybe not.

Earlier this year — late February, to be exact — I started a new project from scratch, albeit salvaging a number of elements and gameplay ideas from my older, scrapped projects. Unlike many of my previous projects, where the direction I took was heavily biased towards what I thought other people might want the game to be, this new project was all me. I’ve always wanted my own personal, long-term game project — something to work on for years as a hobby, like ADOM, Dwarf Fortress, or Minecraft before it became so commercially successful and ceased being a passion project — something that I’ll build for my own preferences, not what I think gamers as a whole would like. That project became SUD, an acronym for Single-User Dungeon. Not to be confused with a text adventure, SUD would be played in real-time, with the world changing and events happening around the player even with no input given.

Development continued on this new project for a couple of weeks, with elements and ideas being taken from older, scrapped projects, merged together with a new style of gameplay. Unfortunately, life happened and I got largely distracted from the project, shelving it with a promise to return later. Now, two months after putting it aside, I’ve brushed off the dust and started working on the project again, under a new name — Subgea Runestar. The last few days of development have seen some significant improvements and changes to the core gameplay, and I’m really enthusiastic about the future of this project, which I’ll continue to document in this blog as significant events occur.

I’ll leave this post with a few screenshots of the game in its current (heavily in development) state, and I’ll be posting regular development diaries as things progress.

Subgea   Subgea   Subgea   Subgea

Page 4 of 41234