Status Update: Ailments and AI

Posted On: 2019-09-16

By Mark

I spent the past week focused almost entirely on some key tasks required for my next prototype, and I have made some very exciting progress as a result. In light of this, I thought I should use this week's post as a quick status update:

Current Status

As mentioned above, I am currently working on the next prototype for my main project. At present, I am planning to use the prototype to test a few new mechanics that intersect with the existing set of mechanics in interesting ways. I expect I will have some story elements as well (similar to Magic Training Prototype) but the details of that is still quite unclear - and generally secondary to figuring out whether the current mechanics work (unlike the mechanics, there are many other options for how to gather feedback on a story.)

With regard to what specifically has been accomplished recently: last week was spent implementing the game's first status ailment, as well as building out the AI for a new kind of enemy. The status ailment is particularly exciting for me, both because it involved implementing a plan I've had sitting in my head for months, and also because working on it involved reworking collisions so that I can use them in a much larger variety of NPC interactions*. While a bit less exciting, having the AI is extremely useful, as it allows me to prove that the enemy type and behavior is sufficiently interesting before creating any of the art or animations for the creature.

* I am aware this doesn't sound exciting, but it really is. I am always keen to use systems with abstractions that mirror how I think about the problem, and changing the combat system from "player" vs "enemy" to "is this character hostile to this other character" has been a positively magical change for me.

The Future

The elephant in the blog post* is the question of "when will the the next prototype be available?" I don't want to answer this question for a few reasons:

  1. Making precise estimates before having confidence in them is the most reliable way to miss the deadline.
  2. Using ambiguous terms will mean completely different things to different people. It is entirely possible to say something that is accurate using one's own internal time ranges for the vague terms, but have the listener interpret it completely differently.
  3. Making factually true statements about when it will definitely not be done (ie. "definitely not by...") runs the risk of accidentally anchoring expectations to a time frame that is far too short.
Hopefully by enumerating these risks to making an estimate, I have absolved myself of having to take on any of those risks.

I hope that this post has been at least somewhat interesting. I normally try to avoid doing status-only updates like this (I assume that these posts are less enjoyable than my other, more detailed posts.) If you have an opinion about this, please let me know.

*I'm never quite sure whether I can safely port an idiomatic phrase that assume physical space into a digital one, or if it will accidentally create unknowable horrors in the reader's mind. If the later is the case, please accept my sincerest apologies.