When creating the File Manager and Inventory screens for Waves² I found myself needing to sort lots of arrays of various types by largely arbitrary properties. I adapted this snippet to be able to sort arrays of either objects or structs by almost any UProperty within them. You’ll have to implement sorting by structures yourself but this took care of sorting tables full of strings or numerical values. Continue reading
Disclaimer: This topic has nothing to do with Arcade (soon to be renamed to “Arena”).
In case the giant “Coming in Alpha 5” on the Inventory screen wasn’t a big clue I’m working on the Inventory and RPG parts of GRID for the next update.
I just today got the Shop fully functional and wanted to solicit some opinions on the bit that comes next.
The Marketplace is where Items of all kinds are sold to aspiring Hackers. The primary Physical items are Hardware and Boosters and the Digital Items are Scripts and eBooks.
Physical Items must be delivered before they can be used while Digital items are added to your Purchased Files instantly.
Whenever you sell anything (be it physical or digital) you will instantly receive payment and the Item or File will be removed.
Assuming nothing terrible happens Alpha 4 drops next week.
I will be updating the Preview branch with an Alpha 4 RC hopefully tonight (Sunday the 12th of March) so those of you who enjoy finding crash bugs can go to town on it and do all the things I never thought to try.
Alpha 4 changes around game balance quite a bit so there will be a Leaderboard wipe to accompany it’s release.
It also looks more spiffy.
The “Unstable” branch is no more! Long Live the “Preview” branch!
Since Unstable was originally created for testing the Shipping build of the game (which is now the standard version everybody uses) it has been removed and replaced with a new branch called “Preview” which is going to be used to test upcoming major updates.
Anybody can use the Preview branch and there is no password required. Just be aware that things are far more likely to not work correctly/be balanced/be fun in this version.
To kick everything off the Preview branch has been updated with the first Alpha 4 Preview build.
After many weeks of work the Card Game AI system and Modular game modes tech is in place. From the point of view of the players you won’t see any obvious differences. What you do as a player hasn’t changed AT ALL. The main difference is in how content is authored and how enemies are spawned which I will go over below. Continue reading
Now as a quick aside I’d like to mention that there is a backstory of a sort to Waves² it’s just never really been a prominent part of the game. The idea is that the game itself is an operating system used by hackers to navigate Cyberspace. That’s why enemies are called Bugs and Viruses and why every Arena that gets generated expresses it’s seed value as an IP address (that plus they are much shorter and easier to remember than 32bit integers).
It’s update day! Woooo!
The Alpha 2 update for Waves² should be live by the time you read this complete with new gameplay, a new game mode and lots of balance changes and bug fixes.
For those of you who prefer my rambling videos check it out below.
The sequel to Waves is almost here! Just a few days from now Waves² will be available as an Early Access title on Steam for $10 (It will be cheaper when it leaves Early Access if you’d rather wait). You can check out the trailer below.
Lots of very boring work has been going on here in Squid Tower, but I’m closing in on a working Vertical Slice of game and the possibility of an Early Access release on Steam this year is looking good.
The number one thing I’ve been thinking about is loot. It turns out that Waves: Arena Tactics is all about loot and while that was never my intention at the beginning it’s how it’s ended up.
Loot can be bought from the shop, crafted (eventually) but mostly it is found during Dives. The reason you try to get deeper into a system is because that’s where the good stuff is kept. Deeper you go the better the loot and therefore the deeper you can go. It’s circular. Get deep enough and maybe you can crash the entire system and gain immense Notoriety (essentially experience points).
The idea I struggled with for a long time was that all loot should be fair and balanced; an ideology that was a hold-over from working on MMOGs for so long. This ideology is complete hogwash in a roguelike dungeon crawler like W:AT. Depending entirely on the players own skill level to improve over time is “pure” but results in most people just giving up out of frustration. There is also a physical upper limit on what a player can achieve meaning levels can never get more dangerous than that. Increasing quality of loot is what makes a Roguelike work and I am embracing it entirely.
Loot is digital in nature in W:AT. This is a world of bits and bytes not swords and treasure. When you pick something up it gets added to your download manager and queued up for download. Should your connection be terminated before the download completes then you’ll lose the loot (although leaving through the level exit will always complete all downloads instantly). Considering that the best loot is guarded heavily an unauthorized download attempt might cause a significant system response. Picking something up is only the start of your job collecting loot not the end of it.
I’ll go over all the types of Loot in the game and give some examples.
All equipment is stuff that you can equip to your avatar. Fairly self explanatory. The majority of Loot is equipment and comes in 3 versions (V1.0 to V3.0) and each version is just flat out better than the previous one. Most V1.0 equipment can be bought from the shop as your Notoriety increases but the better versions need to be found by Diving deeper. V3.0 equipment tends to only be found in the most secure systems at the deepest levels guarded by the nastiest programs. Eventually crafting will allow you to create alpha and beta versions giving you an incremental increase towards the next full version by combining your spares (therefore v3.0b would be the best equipment you can get).
Your Avatar has several slots you can put Equipment into. There are 3 Program slots (Primary Weapon, Defence, and Super Weapon) and 5 Upgrade slots (3 Accessory slots, a Modification slot and a Booster slot). I did toy with the idea of borrowing Eve Onlines slot system but found it was quite cumbersome on a joypad, there are however similarities between the two.
Your Programs are the only way you can directly interact with the programs populating a system. They should be fairly self-explanatory but I’ll go over them anyway.
Primary Weapons are your basic attack (gun). Primary weapons use no energy and are always available. They are the bread and butter of the game and take one of 3 forms (I’m working on a fourth but I’m not committing to it yet) – Projectile, Beam and Thrower. Projectile weapons all launch a projectile that takes time to hit its target and often have an explosive element, high rate of fire and a large spread. Beam weapons all fire continuously and have zero travel time hitting instantaneously, they’re great at single target damage. Throwers are very short ranged but require very little aiming and often have a secondary effect like burning, stunning or knock back.
Defences are non-damaging programs that are intended to keep you alive a little longer. Defences always use up energy and may have a cool-down period after using them. Once a Defence is triggered it lasts for a fixed duration of time so knowing when to use them is critical. They can however save your life. Examples of Defences are the “Slow Field” which slows down everything around you, the Energy Shield which makes you temporarily invulnerable, self-heals, cloaking devices, teleporters, EMP blasts and sometimes they just give you massive buffs (for those that believe attack is the best form of defence).
Super Weapons (New better name suggestions welcomed) user up energy in order to kill things very efficiently. Smartbombs are the simplest example being great for removing all the chaff you may find yourself swarmed by. Some Super Weapons just do lots of damage or clear the screen while others are more about area denial such as lightning storms which last for a while striking enemies randomly inside their area of effect.
Upgrades are passive bonuses and can be used to tailor your Avatar to a particular play style.
Accessories manipulate the 8 base Stats in the game and define your Avatar: Health, Attack, Defence, Speed, Energy, Health Regen, Energy Regen, and Hacking. Health and Speed are obvious, Attack multiplies the damage of all your weapons while Defence absorbs some of the incoming damage your suffer. Energy is used to run Defences and Super Weapons and Hacking is used to crack open files and databases you find in the game (some files need a higher hacking stat to access at all). Health and Energy Regen just represent your avatars ability to passively regenerate those two stats.
Accessories come in many forms the most basic of which is just a single stat modifier like +10 Health. More complex forms might offer a larger single stat increase at the expense of another such as the Turtle which offers +15 Defence at the expense of 10 Speed. Others may offer small gains across many stats which is only useful when you have 3 of them stacked up. With 3 versions of every Accessory there are already over 100 Accessories in the game and the potential for even more in the future.
Modifications offer passive buffs that can be quite game changing but always come with a significant downside. A lot of the team buffing auras are modifications such as Healing Auras which increase the Health Regen of everybody within a certain range. Other modifications like the Vampire regenerate your health as you cause damage to enemies or they might just add a secondary effect to your attacks like a stun or burn effect. The downsides might just be sacrificed stats or debuffs (the Vampire Mod has a negative Health Regen so it might kill you).
Boosters only last a single level but provide a massive bonus during that level. The only way to gain extra-lives is by equipping an Emergency Backup Booster giving you a single life that lasts for one dungeon level. Other Boosters may give you a huge bonus to your stats or negate the Downside of a Modification. Boosters being consumable means that there are a lot of them out there and simple versions are readily available from the Shop.
Every level contains a number of Passkeys which are required to be able to unlock the level exit and in some cases well protected files. They aren’t very fancy but they are required to get deeper into the level. Passkeys are only ever contained in Databases which must be hacked (staying within proximity of the server until the security is broken down) which has a tendency to draw the attention of the system defences. Not all Databases contain Passkeys but they always contain something worth your time unlike Files which sometimes contain nothing at all or even worse Viruses.
Yep Money. However we’re not talking gold coins as this is a digital universe. As a hacker sometimes you’ll find data that somebody might want to pay for (or will pay a ransom for). When this happens the offending files are converted into cash as soon as they finish downloading. These files might be a database of user names, payment details, credit card numbers, nude cell phone pictures or CCTV footage of illegal nuclear waste dumping. Whatever form it takes it’s worth money to the right (or wrong) people. Eventually I’ll add Bank systems that only ever contain large quantities of money but that’s for a different time.
Pickups are temporary little boosts dropped by programs in the system as they get terminated. You can also find pickups inside files. The most common pickup dropped by all programs is energy. All programs use energy to run so when you terminate a program you can steal the energy before the system reassigns it. Some pickups might boost your stats temporarily as well.
Last Nights Livestream
First thanks to everybody who turned up to our Livestream last night. We all had loads of fun showing the game off and everybody was really nice so we’ll definitely be doing this again and trying to make it a semi-regular occurrence even after the Kickstarter.
Characters In W:AT
One of the problems I’ve always had with Waves was the lack of character for people to relate to. Believe it or not being an abstract sphere with a gun is not enough for a lot of people. During the Stream I suggested the idea of being able to unlock Characters (which I think I will start calling Runners because I’m a hopeless Cyberpunk junky). Each Character has a different set of baseline stats and bonuses to certain playstyles in a similar way to Character cards in a Living Card Game like Android: Netrunner.
I Want Your Voice!
With the introduction of Runners it makes sense that each Runner gets a personality. The original Waves had a pair of Robotic announcers that told you about things like pickups and how little energy you had. These voices will return in the new game (indeed they are already implemented) but I’d like to add more voices with different accents and phrases for each Runner as well as localized versions different languages.
If you have a unique accent (or can affect one) and you would be interested in having your voice plastered all over the game then I want you to get in touch! Drop me a message on email and I’ll add you to the list. It won’t be hard stuff mostly things like “Quad Damage” and “Shields Full” not lengthy diatribes on the nature of transhumanism.
Anybody who gets their voice in the game will be credited as a voice actor and this invitation is open to everybody in all tiers.
We Need Guns. Lots of Guns.
There are ten main weapons in the game right now and five “Super” weapons but I’d like to expand both of these lists. A big part of W:AT is customising your experience with different equipment loadouts. During the Stream last night we showed off lots of different builds that can be achieved and I plan on putting up some videos on the YouTube channel showing off different ways to play the same mode.
If you can think of any weapons or equipment you’d like to see in the game then you can send me your ideas over twitter or facebook or via email if you’re shy. I’m looking for things that will be tactically different from the existing weapons rather than just a re-skin or more powerful version.
For reference here are the weapons that are already implemented:
December was a slow month with the Holidays taking up the bulk of the time so I mostly focussed on bug fixes so there isn’t a video this time.
January was all about getting ready for the Waves: Arena Tactics Kickstarter which took far more time than I expected it to (turns out the Camera hates me). Hopefully the Kickstarter should be launching in the next week and will run till the end of Feb.
I’ve also lined up a Composer for the new game who I’ll announce when the Kickstarter goes live.
I’ve also been tidying up some loose ends such as getting the Waves Soundtrack up for sale on Steam at last. It’s available to buy now for just $2 here.
Now if you’ll excuse me I need to put together a proper Press Kit for Waves: Arena Tactics and do a bunch of boring business things like talk to Accountants. Hopefully I can get back to actually making a game soon!