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  Sneak Peek: Loonyland II: Winter Woods 04:09 PM -- Fri May 19, 2006  

I won't bother explaining what this location is. That is left as an exercise for the reader. But what on earth are those flames around Loony?? Could they be Toasties? Toasties are the result of a fun spell. They hover in a circle around you, lobbing fireballs at any enemies they see. If you get hit by anything, one will explode. This is sad, because it leaves you with one less Toasty, but it's good, because it means anybody near you just got blown up. Balance is still very unknown in these early areas... I'm afraid the Toasties may be too mighty.

And in case I haven't shown this before, the white glowy circle is the 'exit' thing. Wherever you see one of those (they do kind of a black-hole-imploding animation), that's an exit to another area.

I've finally implemented the official shop functionality. Shops now gradually refresh their inventory as you play. This has two effects: first, if you wanted to buy something and can't afford it just yet, there's a good chance it'll still be there when you return. Second, it means you can't just keep entering the shop over and over hoping for the right stuff to show up. And hey, for third, it's kinda realistic. What doesn't currently happen that might be fun is if items you sold to the shop showed up in the shop's list, if there was room. That would give you a sort of 'undo' for accidentally selling stuff, although you'd lose a lot of money buying it back.

Here's another new tidbit: now that there are Talents, and enough game that I've actually done some serious playing, I have added a penalty for dying. It's pretty minor, but it'll hopefully encourage you to avoid dying. Previously, I'd sometimes just go ahead and walk into some badguys, just to get back to town more quickly. The penalty is that you lose 10% of the progress you've made upgrading all your Talents to their next level. You can't ever lose Talent levels, but if you keep on dying, you sure won't ever gain any! I like this penalty because it has the desired effect - discouraging suicide - but it doesn't ever put you in a situation where you're stuck (a gold or experience penalty could do that - if you can't afford better gear or gain any levels, you may never be able to survive where you are). It took a bunch of brainy thought to put that all together.

There's also a handy tip system now that guides you through the game initially, and I think it's pretty good at telling you what you need to know without overwhelming you. Eventually I'll have to see how it works for real humans. But first, I need to implement Alchemy, because I just put in the Guru that gives it to you!
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