Author Topic: XCOM Inspired Fantasy Game  (Read 100202 times)

Offline NancyGold

  • Colonel
  • ****
  • Posts: 184
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: XCOM Inspired Fantasy Game
« Reply #360 on: February 18, 2022, 11:32:51 pm »
In XCOM player gets funding of the world governments.
I decided to overhaul it a bit, and instead make the player fund the oppressor.

As of now it is a % of the player's income and it will grow with time up to taking most of all player's money.
But it can be reduced by completing the king's quest (inspired by King's Bounty  :P)
But I consider also adding a flat tax for the low income scenarios.
In case player does crafting or a lot of freelance questing, hiding the money from the crown.
And it would also launch other systems, like forcing player to take debt to pay the tribute.

Now I was thinking about a more refined extortion hierarchy, and when player becomes the king there will suddenly be a need to pay tribute to the gods.
Or I can start the player as a serf, or a free person without any land. But for the v1.0 it will be that simple, because scope creep is already enormous for a single person indie game, which I need to finish before I either gain asylum in NL or will have to suicide to avoid deportation. In case I will have to kill myself, I will release everything into the public domain before taking the pills. But the project is so huge and already too so many years, I doubt anyone would be able to continue it or rewrite from 0.

« Last Edit: February 18, 2022, 11:35:30 pm by NancyGold »

Offline NancyGold

  • Colonel
  • ****
  • Posts: 184
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: XCOM Inspired Fantasy Game
« Reply #361 on: March 05, 2022, 01:39:13 pm »
Amazing! There is now fighting at places, like Obolon, I walked a year ago in Kyiv :(
The Borispol airport I took flight from got bombed  :'(
A Kyiv trans girl who supplied me hormones is missing, while the friends family hides in the country.
Putin doesn't play tactics games, but Z-erg rushes like it is Starcraft. Or is it a Z-ombie Rush?!!
For Ukraine it looks like a tower defense game with huge columns of mobs going to kyiv ignoring everything.
And Zelensky armed every single Kyiv hispter. Even girls now have AK-47.
I really should have stayed and re-applied, instead of running away. Today Ukraine needs any support it can get.
So I have decided: my next game will be fully voxel, revolving around a self-defense squad in Kyiv.

Offline NancyGold

  • Colonel
  • ****
  • Posts: 184
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: XCOM Inspired Fantasy Game
« Reply #362 on: May 31, 2022, 07:45:38 pm »
Still alive.
Implemented something I previously thought impossible:
Large scale objects inside a cubic lattice based isometric engine.
It allows 3 levels of exposure: interior, exterior and floor only views.
Separate case is when mice cursor is on top of object roof.

I have also implemented tileset based large objects.

Guess it is the most baroque isometric engine ever.



Offline NancyGold

  • Colonel
  • ****
  • Posts: 184
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: XCOM Inspired Fantasy Game
« Reply #363 on: June 09, 2022, 12:48:59 am »
Finally finished importing all the tower parts.
These stack on top of each other, plus additional occluding sprites.
Occluders are required, because compared to the original XCOM, my engine cells dont have walls.
I.e. if one wants a wall, it has to be a separate cell, like in Magic & Mayhem, on which I based my design.
Now for art and compactness purposes I need to hide sprites beside say this tower top's rail, so I draw this rail as separate sprite with different draw order.
Calculating collision with such occluders will be additional challenge, but I don't need it for a fantasy game.

Obviously the tower will require retouch, because originally artist drawn it smaller, since back then I was unsure about the sprite size.


Offline NancyGold

  • Colonel
  • ****
  • Posts: 184
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: XCOM Inspired Fantasy Game
« Reply #364 on: July 09, 2022, 11:52:20 pm »
Have to overhaul the magic system again. Initially it was based of reagents, with the idea being "reagent = ammunition", since the game began as a fantasy XCOM. Yet I always found ammunition management to be the most inconvenient thing in XCOM. In my case more complex spells require several reagents (think your soldier has 10 guns, each uses a combination of ammunition - insane!). Now I have also introduced the gods system, and these gods are heavily interlinking with magic system. For example, severing god's influence in the realm will affect spellcasting of that god's dependent spells. There is in fact a way to block all other players from spellcasting, while retaining that power. Of course I can enable/disable spells per player, but the most robust way to implement is by switching spellcasting from reagents to to global mana pool Master of Magic style. But I have colored mana, there are several mana pools. And these mana pools are refilled based of player relationship with gods (player controls god's temple, player gets that god's mana). Finally there is the good old alchemy - converting gold to mana, and the other way around. I like that idea more, since it develops on top of Master of Magic design. But yeah, it further deviates from XCOM. And previously I have already abandoned the idea with ammunition like arrows and cannon powder. Maybe I'm just less autistic on HRT to appreciate the ammunition concept being explicit in game design and now try to streamline everything. Because I'm also looking on making all encounters faster and maps as small as possible. But I never liked the "hunt that last alien" concept. But yeah, there are already fantasy mods for OpenXCOM, so guess people can get exactly that. I'm better of trying alternative designs.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2022, 12:00:46 am by NancyGold »

Offline NancyGold

  • Colonel
  • ****
  • Posts: 184
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: XCOM Inspired Fantasy Game
« Reply #365 on: August 14, 2022, 10:47:35 pm »
The project is not dead... yet.

I have redesigned the mana system. Now there is single mana color, but it is capped by the number of crystals players has.
Crystals are a rare resource and a way I bind multiple systems now.
Player uses them to hire more powerful units, construct advanced buildings and just advance the game.

Currently I'm working on making the chapter 1 completable.
Basically the game is broken into loosely connected chapters.
Where the agency player represents gets hired to solve different problems.
Since I think single "demon invasion" thing would be really boring.
And I don't feel well just copying the original XCOM, without re-imagining everything.

The first chapter is about player rescuing a princess, so I needed a princess sprite and had to draw one.

This time I decided to finally create a human character base, so it will be easier to produce different human sprites.
Just draw the clothes and weapon over the existing animation. But these make for really boring copy-cat characters.
So will be used mostly for NPCs, like city civilians, which player can capture for different purposes, like sacrifices and magic experiments.
Yeah there is this reverse-XCOM mechanics, where player plunders cities. Actually inspired by Hammer of the Gods (and old DOS game).



Offline NancyGold

  • Colonel
  • ****
  • Posts: 184
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: XCOM Inspired Fantasy Game
« Reply #366 on: September 03, 2022, 11:17:57 pm »
Finally the princess got into the game. The paperdoll system still needs some refinement.


« Last Edit: September 03, 2022, 11:20:46 pm by NancyGold »

Offline NancyGold

  • Colonel
  • ****
  • Posts: 184
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: XCOM Inspired Fantasy Game
« Reply #367 on: September 10, 2022, 01:03:29 am »
Base system works surprisingly well, but the project scale is getting even more out of hand.

Offline NancyGold

  • Colonel
  • ****
  • Posts: 184
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: XCOM Inspired Fantasy Game
« Reply #368 on: September 11, 2022, 03:39:13 pm »
It is kinda tricky to combine male and female bases with the same set of clothes and equipment, but I kinda did that, due to the art style being half-way chibi. I think I can also dynamically generate dwarf versions too, which is kinda mandatory, since the short characters can pass through passage that are unavailable to tall ones. Generally making a good pixelart base is an alchemy. But it is kinda mandatory for a dynamically generated game, where characters and encounters have to unique. I have 24 frames of animation, which have to be duplicated among all clothes, but weapons can be added dynamically.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2022, 03:44:48 pm by NancyGold »

Offline NancyGold

  • Colonel
  • ****
  • Posts: 184
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: XCOM Inspired Fantasy Game
« Reply #369 on: September 23, 2022, 01:56:02 am »
Still working on the base system.

Had to implement the animation script level XY frame positions for all directions, so I can reuse the same frame at different positions
Code: [Select]
                aware
                xy -4 -2  xyr 4 -2 point
                xy 0 -10  xyr -2 -10 atk1
                xy 8 4    xyr -8 -4 atk2
                xy 8 4    xyr -8 -4 atk3
But I think the right thing would have been calculating these in the world space, not the screen space, so this xyr duplicate wont be required for the 180 degree version of the anim.

Now some big layers can't be easily composed into a base, which is limited to 96x96 frames, for numerous development reasons. Therefore I have to render say winged characters using some hacks, just because the wings are so big.


Offline NancyGold

  • Colonel
  • ****
  • Posts: 184
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: XCOM Inspired Fantasy Game
« Reply #370 on: September 27, 2022, 04:50:13 pm »
Given the introduction of paperdoll/base system, I decided to rethink the entire character/tech tree.
Before I just had some creatures attracted by buildings, akin to Dungeon Keeper.
These creatures came with predetermined equipment and abilities.
There was an inventory system and equip-able items since the beginning.
The equip-able items were a minor gimmicky thing, which gave small bonuses like +1 to defense.
Creatures had no progression, outside of the polymorph spells, which changed the creatures.
It was okayish, but offered no uniquiness to different creatures of the same type.
So now I decided to overhaul it and move closer to XCOM and Final Fantasy Tactics.
Equipment will be a huge thing now, and having a hook will be required for humanoids to scale walls.
There will be further creature progression, like humanoids will be able to grow wings.
Example is that flying zombie from the previous post. Think of it as flying armor from XCOM.
Before there was a ring of flying artifact giving flight to any no-flying character.
But it was really bolted on, without any character development and tech level.
I'm fixing it now. No, not with character jobs, but with a novel system, which fits nicely with city building.
Also I still wont be introducing experience or job/class experience, since I'm not making an RPG game.

In fact, no RPG elements is the 1st of the 3 design guidelines I use
1. No experience/character-classes or other D&D nonsense.
2. No randomness for action result. Even if the result appears to be random, it still depends on the world state (i.e. phases of the moon). Basically when I want something to be random, I make it depend on many factors, some of which are non-obvious or unseen to the player. Then I introduce abilities to access these factors.
3. A gameplay feature, which forces player to plan in advance, is a good one. So in my game design book, requiring spellcasting to take some time is a good idea. Yet more powerful spellcasters should have lower casting time. That alone gives player so many options: pick a weak spellcaster, who will do the job but take it long and will require you to plan further, or waste money on the expert one. And this 3rd rule indirectly helps implementing the 2nd one, because player choices introduce randomness, which is not as annoying as dice roll, because if player fails, that is the player's fault.

Anyway, now I have to draw a ton of pixelart myself, for the basic stuff like outfits. I don't hire artists anymore, since cheap artists produce too low quality art, so even I can already do a better job, while professional artists require fulltime employment and really huge salary. Then a lot of effort is wasted communicating what is required, and even I myself don't completely understand how it all should. This entire thread demonstrates doing new stuff, instead of just cloning Final Fantasy Tactics or XCOM, requires a lot of R&D, and sometimes taking breaks so I can return with a clean head and news ideas.

« Last Edit: September 27, 2022, 05:02:19 pm by NancyGold »

Offline NancyGold

  • Colonel
  • ****
  • Posts: 184
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: XCOM Inspired Fantasy Game
« Reply #371 on: October 02, 2022, 09:21:57 pm »
After a bit of further R&D I decided to scrap all the humanoid artwork and move to a new base:

The old base was too chibi, not flowy/edgy enough and had practical issues.
If the old base was heavily FFT inspired, then the new base is basically a complete HoMM2 copycat.
I don't want to copy XCOM style bases, because with all due respect, XCOM pixelart was far from being perfect.
I think I can do better even with my programmer art skills.
And I really love the HoMM2 graphics, over HoMM3 and HoMM4, despite HoMM4 being my fav game design wise.

In fact I borrowed several ideas from HoMM4, as that game had nice adventure feel, similar to the Rings of Power on Sega Genesis. And I liked the bottom-up approach to character classes, where the heroes gained classes based on their skills. For Spell of Mastery I came up with a 4 primary attribute system: ador, craft, faith and bond (BAFC - bond-ador-faith-craft). These variables (which I call talents) control how passionate the character is (risky vs careful), if the character prefers clever way to solve problems, if the character is faithful into the chosen god and the own action and if the character has good skills on forming bonds (basically D&D charisma with a huge twist). Then there is also chaos, order, life and death system (which I call COLD), which combines with the attribute system. Together they control what the character can ultimately do. And it is not possible to create a universal do-it-all character by setting all attribs to max, because say high ardor character will have numerous development branches closed, especially on the path of order, yet at the same time have development branches open on the path of chaos. And then all characters begin as commoners, your usual human beings, and moving to the path of order or chaos will require special rituals, which are not always possible (that is being controlled by the COLD attributes). The humans are jacks of all trades, and yet even a high-tier human mage can't compete at order magic with the one on that path, especially if such mage has aptitude towards order. For humans BAFC+COLD together produce the "cosmos" determinant, which basically says how cosmopolitan and generalistic the character is and if it can succeed as a human being, and characters with high cosmos can't succeed on the non-human paths.

But that all is mostly for the background, since the characters player will hire, although can develop further, will come with all the skills necessary for the game. So it is not required to understand this system or do through character to play the game. It is more for my own convenience to add depth to the game, so characters wont feel static and will have unique personalities. Give that I have 5 sates per each attribute, and there are 8 attribs BAFC + COLD, and I have 5**8 = 390625 different possible psychological profiles for characters. That is not much, but beside these static talent profiles, characters have dynamic skills, which although determined by the talent profile, can changed through training. The training state of these skills actually determines the character class. To generate the mercenaries for player to hire, the engine actually does the backtracking from the class requirements to skill, to talents. Basically it isolates a subset of all profiles matching that class, and then picks one at random. Similarly to how Prolog does it. Again, that happens behind the scenes and player doesn't really need to understand it. But it is impossible to implement with pen and paper, so I hope I drifted far enough away from D&D by turning the core idea behind it inside out.

I know for people accustomed with D&D such name will sound crazy, but I believe character systems should be more about psychological side, and appears to transition nicely into actual game mechanics code. Moreover, this system runs on top of the existing gene and gene-expression system, which is more about the physical fitness and status ailment (like the character being poisoned, losing limbs or eyes). That COLD system was actually featured in several prior games, among them Lords of Magic and HoMM4, which completely abandoned the previous Might & Magic games elemental approach for this math styled based axiom system, which then expands into the elemental things, as a side effect. Lords of Magic still had water/earth/air/water elements on the same level as the chaos/order/life/death, but the designers there, despite being really smart and innovative, had cloudy understanding of what they are trying to achieve. Recently a new game, Songs of Conquest, stole a lot of ideas from Lords of Magic, including its city development approach and the unit stack size limitations (as  a fix to the single-hero issue of the original). Another HoMM clone, Hero’s Hour, took real time aspect of it, plus the army composition display on the world map, instead of just that single boring hero sprite. Hopefully in 25 years or so, somebody will finally make an ideal HoMM style game, with all the design issues fixed.

That all seems so insanely complicated, but my game began as basically a Warcraft II engine implementation ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-k8jkeFfnl0 ), back then in pure Common Lisp (SBCL compiler), which I then ported to my own Symta language. And it was actually a full blown Warcraft II implementation, copying 1-to-1 the AI behavior and I even had all the spells were implemented. Compared to Spell of Mastery, the WC2 project was really simple and took me just two month to implement in Common Lisp. Then I decided to turn into my own thing, and I planned to make a puzzle game akin to DKPuzzle.pud map for WC2 and CoreWars, because WC2 engine is basically a cellular automata, and therefore inherently puzzle friendly. So there was idea on combining all kinds of puzzles into a Rube Goldberg device, with a bit of strategy elements. But then I decided that 2d is too boring, and the game really needs 3rd dimension. WC2 tile engine was unsuitable for that, so I turned it into an isometric engine, very simple at the time (the one I currently have uses dependency graph to implement the painter algorithm). But then I found that solving sokoban puzzle in real time, while enemy attacks you, as a bit annoying. So I added pause. That haven't improved the gameplay too much. So I moved the game completely into turn-based mode. Initially it had a final fantasy style / heroes of might and magic scheduling, where units moved in accordance with the speed, which is basically an extension of the Chess scheduling of player moving 1 piece a time. In fact you can add this scheduling to Chess, and at one point I actually tried giving units actual chess like movement patterns. That worked but was kinda gimmicky and the scheduling proven to be too annoying, since turns were too short and player was interrupted by AI moving its piece. So I moved to the XCOM style whole team turns. And then it was like... fsck it! I'm making an XCOM clone, but with everything different from XCOM.

As a former Warcraft II engine my game had no accommodation for character development, but it had a system of dynamic status ailments for spell effects like haste and bloodlust. That system was also used for unit upgrades and the units inside of buildings. And everything dynamic, including inventory, was built around it. It allowed somewhat complicated stuff, like the WC2 flame shield spell, of flame sprites rotating around character or the blizzard spell projectiles falling down. In fact, I abstracted it into gene and gene expression concepts. Yet the problem I encountered now is that genes are hardcoded into unit type, which was shared across different units. And when you move to unique characters, there is just no type and every character has to carry all necessary genes. So now I'm struggling with getting rid of the static class system. But I still have to maintain it for static objects, like tiles and trees and rocks. Then again, maybe all trees and rocks should be unique too? Modern PCs have resources for that, but I was always into premature optimization, unnecessary limiting myself by making everything static by default, even inside a dynamic language. Anyway, it is still an RTS engine, and at one point I had a bug, of several units moving at once, out of their allocated action points, since the engine can schedule such movement.

Anyway, dunno what to do with the old art. Guess I can sell it for a few bucks. Still a shame I lost so much work due to bad planning.


Offline NancyGold

  • Colonel
  • ****
  • Posts: 184
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: XCOM Inspired Fantasy Game
« Reply #372 on: October 05, 2022, 01:35:27 am »
As part of the style review, I decided to lower the overall brightness a bit. Especially the one of that grass. Because high brightness sets a bit different tone from what I decided on now.


Also there is a yet another tactics game, Inkulinati. But this one is special. Usually tactics games are played on a 2d map, and preferably 3d (XCOM, Final Fantasy Tactics, Fallout Tactics, etc...), but this one is 1d. Not even a variation of height are present. Basically tactics game dumbed down to its absolute essence. There was also an 1d RTS, called Kingdom, also played on a line, without platform jumping or height variations. In addition to thembed down controls to just 3 buttons (left, right and action). Not super exciting to play, but really interesting game design wise, since it had everything an RTS expected to have.

Offline NancyGold

  • Colonel
  • ****
  • Posts: 184
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: XCOM Inspired Fantasy Game
« Reply #373 on: October 18, 2022, 10:17:09 pm »



As you already know the main challenged I took is avoiding the dice roll.
The foremost reason is that I want to deviate from the classic D&D-style gameplay and come with my own thing.

More math/physics-inclined people know that "randomness" is basically an abstraction, and immediately see that by discarding it one basically plays God (who doesn't play dice, as Einstein noted). In physics randomness arise when we don't fully understand the system and can only comprehend about it using statistics. That doesn't mean the system is random. That means we are ignorant.
Basically its workings are in the "fog of war" So if you remove randomness, you have to be explicit about the underlying process.

In my case I need more advanced character interactions. Say a character can lose when parrying a powerful attack blow. In D&D you just throw a dice and 5% of times the character will lose weapon. But how can one implement that in a deterministic way? I have solved that by introducing a horoscope system, where each character has future, which can be discovered by paying oracle and even changed. Basically it is a log of predetermined future events, based of the character's birth date plus current date. It looks like your classic pseudo random number generator, but it is not, cuz the rules it uses are much simpler and can peeked at by the player. This system is really tricky to implement, but it greatly changes the gameplay, exposing the process behind randomness to the player, at sufficiently high "tech level" Suddenly you have future prediction and manipulation magic school, which actually works!

So in the end the limitation was a boon. I actually created something different from the casual D&D, without losing anything. So yes, characters can still miss and fail, but in a completely deterministic way, where player can accommodate for that. Obviously such system can be back-ported to the original XCOM, but with a species of time manipulating aliens. But for D&D that will require a lot of time to setup the game, since dungeon master will have to determine in advanced, what will happen to the characters, instead of using the dice.

Basically what I came up with would better called "controlled determinism", because I add only as much determinism as required for the game rules, but without fully determining everything in advance and allowing for player input.

Online Yankes

  • Commander
  • *****
  • Posts: 2838
    • View Profile
Re: XCOM Inspired Fantasy Game
« Reply #374 on: October 18, 2022, 11:15:12 pm »
More math/physics-inclined people know that "randomness" is basically an abstraction, and immediately see that by discarding it one basically plays God (who doesn't play dice, as Einstein noted). In physics randomness arise when we don't fully understand the system and can only comprehend about it using statistics. That doesn't mean the system is random. That means we are ignorant.
Except when we have wave function collapse that effect is random, and there no way to have "hidden variables". Classic physic is indeed predictable but this is only abstraction over random system :>