March 2011


Right now my thoughts are with the people of japan, a proud nation that has been hit very hard by earthquakes and tsunamis and also is doing everything possible to prevent a second (or even worse) Chernobyl over at Fukushima I.

Ususally I’m not affected by disasters and human suffering (though it may sound harsh, but both are part of life) but with what happened (and what’s still happening) in Japan it’s totally different. It’s hard to see these people suffering from the disaster and being under the constant fear of a nuclear disaster that could happen any minute now.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been driving a japanese car for ten years now without it having any issues at all, maybe it’s because I’m using a lot of electronics from japan every day, maybe it’s because I really like watching japanese movies (I actually hate the crap that’s made in hollywood) or maybe it’s because some of my most memorable gaming moments happened in japanese games (Silent Hill, Resident Evil, Final Fantasy, Demon’s Souls, and many more) and maybe it’s because japan is such a proud country with people that stick together even under the worst conditions possible, something most western countries wouldn’t do.

But no matter what, my thoughts are with the japanese people right now and I hope that japan will be able to rise up from this catastrophe again!

Game design : Regional construction queue

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time now and I was pretty unsure wether it would be a good idea or not, as it would change a fundamental part of the gameplay, what I’m talking about is constructing buildings in your regions, a very important part of the gameplay that you spend a lot of your time with.

Up until now you’ve been able to construct only one building at the same time in each region, forcing you do revisit a region once this building is finished in order to start constructing the next building. Especially in the beginning of a new game this would mean you’d visit all the regions where you constrcut buildings every single turn (as most basic buildings are finished within one turn), resulting in the same task being done over and over again.

So in order to make constructing buildings less monotonous, I decided to add a regional construction queue for buildings, pretty much in the vein of the construction queue for military units but with one big difference. For military units you can construct 4 at the same time, while the rest is on the waiting queue until an active spot is freed when a unit is finished. For buildings this would influence the balancing and gameplay too much in my opinion, so I went for a different approach. When your start out only one building can be constructed at the same time, but you can plan up to two additional buildings (both values can be influenced, e.g. by a special global project that may let you construct two buildings at the same time). So if the building currently under construction is fnished after ending your turn, the next planned building will automatically be constructed. This means you won’t have to visit the regions as often as in “Phase 1”, removing a lot of dullness from regional management.

And in the end I think this will benefit the overall gameplay a lot, cause during my recent playtesting sessions I noticed how dull it is, after starting a new game, to visit each and every region in every new turn just to place a new building, so with this building construction queue gameplay should improve a lot.

And yes, as you may have guessed from the partial screenshot for this posting, the regional view has radically changed. It’s now implemented into the new GUI and looks a lot fancier, is better etc. I’ll post some screenshots from the current build soon, so that you can take a look at the new regional view.

Newton SDL developer demos updated (to SDK 2.32)

Just a quick note that I finally got around updating the SDL developer demos for the Newton Game Dynamics Engine to the latest 2.32 release of the SDK. Also note that I also uploaded the character controller demo for NGD 2.32 (I haven’t updated this one to 2.x up until now), and also note that it’s “just” an update of the version for 1.53 and that it does NOT use the integrated character controller of the Newton Game Dynamics SDK. Actually I have a version of this where I use the internal character controller, but that one is still not finished in the SDK. For example jumping would not be possible and the integrated controller is also based on raycasting rather than real physical interactions so you couldn’t for example tip over the stack of boxes in that demo with this one. That’s why I decided to release an updated demo of it that still uses a manual approach.