Crowns, Gauges, & Butterflies!

Did I mention I like gifs?  There’s just something so satisfying about them…

At the beginning of this week (in addition to punching myself for postponing last week’s post until Monday), I set a deadline for myself for Floral Kombat for June 3rd, to see if I can add all the basic features I want by then†.

†A very convenient deadline, as I’ll be teaching a 2-month VR course (!) starting around that date, and that will be full-time.  Yes, this means I may need to take a few months’ hiatus.

I don’t expect to have everything in, but I do want to see how far I can get with that deadline in mind.

So what do I plan to add to the game?  Weeeeell…

The simplified list:

  • more insect types that do different things and/or have different stats
  • more simple terrain types (i.e., more than just walls: slow-down patches, rotors, bumpers, etc)
  • design the flow of how more complicated content gets unlocked/taught to the player

Plus, of course, balancing, polish, menus, etc etc.

So what did I do this week?  It’s slideshow time!

CLICK

(Did I mention I like gifs?)

Crowning

May 12, 2016 13:38

Something I noticed when playing 3-player was that it wasn’t always entirely obvious who was in first.  This can allow the player in first to be somewhat sneaky about creeping up to 100%, but I wanted to make that a little more challenging, so I added a crown that zips over to the player in first place.

Crowning has a few unresolved issues.  Because I only want there to be one crown, it was unclear by design what to do in the case of a tie, so I decided the crown should disappear and just stay where it was.  This gives the effect I want, roughly, which is that when a player zips into the lead, the crown zips on over, marking the player as a target.  Ideally, though, it’d be nice to mark all players in first.  Maybe I should just have there be more crowns then?  Or maybe the crown should split?  Maybe a crown’s totally incorrect for the metaphor I want?

Ideally, I think the crown (or whatever it is) should stand out a bit more than it does; yellow appears a LOT in the game already††.  Yellow makes sense for a crown, but could get away with being some other color, and I think that might be better.  I’d also like to add a rainbow trail to it so it makes a rainbow when it zips across the field, maybe even some sparkles’ll rain down, and it’ll have a nice glow…

In any case, I want it to be bolder than it is.

††no, I haven’t set the color palette yet, but I would like to reserve yellow for pollen (and things that make sense as yellow, like bees).

Leech Life

May 12, 2016 13:46

Some players thought that Bursting was giving them pollen, and someone even suggested making it cause pollen to drop onto the field as a pickup.

I decided to see how this idea would pan out.

Admittedly, I’m not too hot on it.  In any case, I’ve made it configurable (more on that at the eeeend), so I can turn it off/on pretty easily.

Flaming Bees!

May 12, 2016 13:39

Why not, right?

A lot of people thought that Bursted bees should have some attack characteristic and one of the most frequently requested features was the ability to launch bees as an attack, so…

Bursted bees get engulfed in flames briefly, and enflamed bees deal the Burst effect (knock-back + pollen damage) to any player who didn’t launch them.

Launching bees is pretty difficult as an aimed attack currently, but you can make pretty okay use of this by bursting an idle bee (the trajectory is much easier to eyeball, i.e. it’s a straight line vs the combination of tangential velocity and burst velocity).

As an unintended side-effect of the way setting bees on fire was implemented, bees also burst when a Male Flower ejects them… so I should probably fix that… or leave it, if people like it?  But probably not (people seemed not to like when male flowers burst when ejecting bees).

May 12, 2016 13:41

 

Burst Juice

It’s not gonna be a gif.  Sorry.

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 1.43.50 PM

Based on a suggestion posted on THIS VERY BLOG (:D), I’ve made Bursting expend a meter that refills over time.  This idea attempts to resolve the ability of Burst-trolls to essentially bring a match to a standstill in the previous version.

(and certainly all the configurable buffs I’m trying out on Bursting probably don’t help that issue any… but… but…)

I figured the HUD for this need only be on-screen (i.e. not also on-player).

As an added potential bonus, this may also help teach players how to Burst (I wanted to label the gauge in some meaningful way — I figured “burst juice,” which I figured would make sense only to me — and so putting the control input there made the most sense).

And…

Butterflies!

May 12, 2016 13:47

Ooooo aren’t they pretty?

But what do they do?

At first I thought they should be “batterflies” and orbit around you un-steal-ably and Burst opponents at a distance, but that’s not very butterfly… Then I thought they should shield against bursts… but I wasn’t sure what that would really mean exactly… so…

I decided to make them ATTRACT other insects!

May 12, 2016 13:48

The consequence is that butterfly holders gain the ability to grab insects WHILE MOVING.

The butterflies themselves are also pollen holders, so they can empty out bees for you.

[Fun fact(s?): the way I handle things that have other things orbiting around them is with a component I call BeeSystem — like a solar system, but for bees!  Now that there are more than just bees that can be in orbit, I’ve got to rename it, but, in wanting to keep the initials BS, I plan to rename it BugSystem, which is totally not confusing at all and has no other connotations especially not around computers.  I originally thought of dropping the BS and calling it InsectSystem instead, but “is” is a keyword, so that wouldn’t do… even though, honestly, I dislike the word “bug” with-respect-to insects.  Like, it just feels… it’s like called … well, I can’t think of an equivalent, but it feels imprecise and … OH like the term “outer space” though, honestly, I don’t really mind that one…]

Also, notice above I said that you can grab “insects” while moving.  Yup. You guessed it.

May 12, 2016 13:49

Butterfly chain!

It’s actually significantly challenging (or it was for me, anyway) to get a chain greater than two butterflies long, but I did once manage to get a 4-butterfly chain, and I felt really really cool.

Butterflies are not without… some special issues.  Because of the way orbiting is implemented (i.e., it involves attempting to trace a specific trajectory rather than interacting via some sort of 1/R^2 force), butterfly-butterfly interactions are… well…

May 12, 2016 13:52

I guess it kind of looks like they’re chasing each other?  Or, like, you know, just bein’ butterflies or whatever?

It’s… pretty chaotic.  Ideally, I’d like to get them into a binary orbit, since I think that’s what players might expect instead.  That’s what I did, anyway, before I thought about how I’d implemented it.

Oh, and it doesn’t help that they’re not only both in each others’ “orbits,” but also attempting to flower towards each other at all times, since they’re both attracting.

But, I guess it’s a thing for now.  I would say “it’s not a bug, it’s a feature,” but… they ARE bugs!

Something that really helped me move quickly this week is that I’ve recently gotten into the habit of implementing most new features to be configurable, i.e. able to be turned on or off with the flip of a boolean.  This is great, because it means I do a lot less waffling about “oh, is this change really good?” “Did I do it right?” etc etc.

Coding’s a lot like improv in that you get a lot more done/better results when you disregard your inhibitions.  (A friend recently mentioned a good adage: “Code drunk, debug sober, document high.”  Improv drunk, by the way, I think is actually a bad/dangerous idea, but the idea of not over-thinking it is what applies here)

Those are all the pics/gifs I have for this week!

Until next time,

~Zach

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