Weekly Update - Targeting, Animation Woes, Lore Writing

This week I implemented a targeting system for combat but then encountered a bit of a roadblock trying to make headway with Antilia's old combat animations. I have since been doing a bit of lore writing while pondering my path forward.

For those who might have missed last week's "brief" update on Discord: Last week I spent time improving the effects for the iichii's ranged attack, and then provided some new collision detection functions for swept boxes and spheres. The swept shape intersection tests improved the feel of swinging weapons and hitting things compared to the previous implementation (for felling trees).

The iichii can 'spit' at the player as one of their attacks. Now the creatures can continue to attack a target even if they cannot reach the target.

Targeting System

This week I spent some time working on a targeting system. A key or button can be pressed (or toggled) to lock onto the enemy that is nearest the center of your view. While in this mode the camera and player's character will always face the target.

I don't have any animation yet for the character strafing, but if I can get these mechanics working smoothly I plan to add them. Being able to quickly dodge left or right would be nice as well. (This system should be familiar for those who play action RPG games.)

The camera and player's character will always face the target when using the lock on target mode.

NPCs also use the targeting system. By the way the iichii stay oriented to the player's character you can tell they are targeting him.

Animation Woes

My next plan was to add the death animation for creatures, get the game over mode for players working, and put it all together for a functional "first pass" combat system. But as I went to add creature death I realized I had a problem.

The old Antilia MMO combat animations suck.

The only sword swing animation I have right now is just terrible. In the MMO damage was dealt based on proximity, and the animation played through without any collision detection. In the new game I have a physics box primitive on the sword and I'm checking each frame to see if the sword hits anything as it moves through the scene. The result is much more satisfying of course - swinging your sword and hitting a tree stops the animation immediately and a sound plays.

Of course that doesn't work if zero thought went into designing the animation so that the blade would pass through a creature standing in front of the character.

In recent weeks I've mentioned a few times now that animation was creeping up my priority list. This week it finally bubbled up to the top. In order for me to get the "first pass" combat system I want built it is time to address the animations problem in Antilia. (I'll try to describe the problem in more depth and my plan forward in a future update.)

Lore Writing

It was around mid-week when I realized combat wasn't going further until I deal with the animation issues. I decided to put programming on a temporary pause while I research my options for animation. In the meantime I've also been doing a bit of lore brainstorming and writing. For the past several weeks I have been arranging all the guilds on the Isle of Kasau and their guild members around the edge of my whiteboard. In the center I've been writing brief quest outlines, and then drawing lines connecting the characters and adding notes regarding their roles.

A fairly straightforward set of quests for the village of  Tasii Garden involves defending the village from iichii that attack from the neighboring swamp. As I develop that quest and try to write NPC dialog for it I am constantly needing more detail about how the defender's guild works, the history of Tasii garden, and the nearby group of Tasiiama.

Anyway, here are a few articles I've been working on or organizing notes into for the past few days:

  • Neitaku Tribe - A tribe of Tasiiama that live on the Isle of Kasau
  • Moun Lakii Seafarers - A tribe of Tasiiama seafarers that frequent the Isle of Kasau
  • Spent a lot of time thinking about Taipii History and organized some headers there, but nothing to read yet.
  • As many quests are tied to guilds, establishing basics for more of the guilds is a priority right now. My historical brainstorms and writing has been focused on the  Tasiiama and  Defenders Guild at the moment, as that relationship will be in focus for my quests in the tangled lands (combat 101).
  • The former textiles guild (I never liked that name) is now the  Weavers Guild. The Defenders Guild,  Explorers Guild,  Masons Guild,  Farmers Guild, and Weavers Guild look to be the first guilds established by the Taipii in the first few years after arriving on Antilia.

That's all for this week, thanks for reading!