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  Sneak Peek: Loonyland II: Winter Woods 05:07 PM -- Thu February 9, 2006  

A few things going on in the shot, and a few things not in the shot. In the shot, there's a bunch of stuff that's in the Tundra area. Rocks, lumps of snow, dead plants, and even a handy cave. Gameplay tip: The Restoration spell is in that cave and not too hard to get to. Go find it! All the rocks and stuff keep the tundra from being overly tundratical and empty. I don't know how down I am with the little lumps of snow around each plant and rock. It's a bit weird, I know. The amazingly dense line of trees is actually just a reference I made for the edge of the woods. I'll be thinning that out.

Also, there are now numbers that drift up to indicate damage done (yellow is damage done to you, red is to enemies). So you can see I am pummeling these puppets mercilessly with my mighty 2-damage Ruined Axe. They are hitting me back, which is where that little pip of yellow comes from - it's a "1" indicating me getting hurt. One more of those and I'm a goner (see life meter in upper left)!

The other thing in the shot is an excerpt of a different shot, because it's hard to find a time when it's up. That's the message log in the lower left. It pops up when it has something to tell you, and then fades after a few seconds to not get in your way too much. It tells you what items you find, when you level up, etc. You can look at a backlog of the last 30 or 40 messages in the pause menu. I've been thinking of implementing online chat in this game, which would also go there. But it's kind of silly to have online chat with no online play, and I can assure you there won't be online play. But I confess it would be fun to chat while playing. Pretty unlikely idea, anyway.

Not in this shot is the save/load system I just got working. Like everything else, it's different from the original game. You can't choose to save or load. Instead, whenever you quit, your progress is saved, and you come back to it exactly where it was, as if you had never left. So you can't tell your wife "I just need to get to the next save point!" Not that I'm speaking from personal experience. What I haven't implemented yet is what happens when you die. You get zapped back to the last town you visited, with full health. No penalty in money or experience, I think. Maybe a money penalty would be a good idea. There will be a lot of "towns" in the sense that I'm referring to here, although most will just be a cabin or inhabited cave, something like that. Just spots where you can meet up with one person, and your 'progress' can be saved.

And of course, later in the game, you'll gain the ability to mark one town as a "home" and zap yourself back to it at will, whether or not it was the last you visited. Or some variation of that concept anyway.
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