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  Sneak Peek: Loonyland II: Winter Woods 04:58 PM -- Thu April 13, 2006  

Same picture again. I'm going to try to keep this a really active journal of my development rather than holding out on it until I have something interesting enough to take a shot of. So you'll see the same shot repeat many times before you see a new shot, but you'll get a lot more actual information. Knowing I need to tell everybody what I'm doing should also add some nice pressure to actually do something!

So since yesterday, what's new is that I spent an hour or so tracking down an absolutely inconceivable bug. This will make sense even to people who know nothing of programming: There was a line in the code equivalent to "X=3". I used the debugger to step through and watch what was happening, since things weren't working right, and you know what I found? X was 0, then that line executed, and X was still zero. That is impossible. It defies all reason! Computers can't be disobedient! Eventually I 'fixed' it by adding a "#pragma pack(1)" (which doesn't make sense to non-computer people, bear with me), which is also stupid since packing was already set to 1 (oh, and did I mention that the setting of the variable only failed in one particular file? If I moved it to another file, no problem). So anyway, that garbage aside - which was the second time in two days the mysterious ever-changing packing has bit me - here's some new stuff:

The potions are now in, there are 20 of them, although only 2 actually do anything so far. That would be Healenbrau and Magicola that work. You select potions in the spinny magic menu depicted in an earlier sneak peek. Potions can be any of 10 different power levels, with snappy names like "Half-Full" and "Fizzy" (it's up to you to learn which names mean which levels!). The higher power, the more good the potion does, and the longer it lasts. All the potions except the two I've actually implemented are timed ones. You can only have one potion active at a time, something I agonized over a bit, but finally decided it was very important for balance. I looked at the list, and if you had all 20 potions going at level 10 at the same time, it would be quite a sight. I will probably add a meter that pops up to indicate how long the current potion has left. Either that or bubbles will float up from you or something. I don't want to give them all unique visuals since, after all, there are 20 of them, and potions are just supposed to be a little side element of the game.

I've also toned down some of the early monsters, and given them the ability to drop potions. Actually right now, they drop potions at too high of a quality, I need to cut that back. I think there's going to have to be a lot of balancing in this game, with all the drop rates and damage values and everything. That should be kind of fun though. I tried to keep the numbers fairly small for things, so that for example a +1 to damage would be a nice thing to have, but that makes balancing trickier. If I find that 4 damage is too much for something, but 3 is too little, I'm kinda stuck.

Balancing all the skills is going to be the craziest part. The game needs to be decently playable whether you choose to focus on axe combat, throwing axes, or magic (5 different flavors to choose from! Can't max them all), or just choose to spread things around. I also look forward to more specialized builds. For instance, you (and me, for sure!) could make a character who focuses on summoning things to do the fighting for you. That's mostly magic, but there are two skills outside of the magic section that would be a part of that as well (and you'd probably want some other stuff, like extra health and defense, that any character wants). Maybe a lightning-focused character with electrified throwing axes and lightning magic. There are also items that will help with different builds, by boosting the appropriate skills and with other magical bonuses. For instance, a Boney Amulet makes the Boneheads you summon shoot fireballs and regenerate health, in addition to hitting things with swords.

Well, that's enough spoilers for one day.
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