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Update 7: Talking Heads, Exploration & Itemization

Discussion in 'Titan Outpost' started by MF, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. MF The Boar Studio Developer

    MF
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2002
    Parrots:
    523
    Location:
    Amsterdam
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    I promised more frequent updates, and here we are. Progress is going at a steady pace.

    Talking Heads

    In the negotiation update, people mentioned the game's portraits looked bad, and rightly so. I ditched the 2D portraits and modelled some talking heads like in Fallout 1. It goes well with the game's disposition system: If you piss a character off, an 'angry' animation will show, if someone likes you, they smile a lot, etc.

    I also implemented some lip sync code out of curiosity and it looks really good, but I'm not sure if I want to go down that route. I have some professional VO experience myself and could probably get some people I know who can act to help me out to fill the cast, so fully voicing the game is definitely an option but I don't want to limit myself in writing.

    For now, only the base computer is fully voiced.

    [​IMG]
    This is Karl, the ugliest portrait from the earlier update, in the new style. Karen is behind him interjecting in the conversation. I've created animations and a system that can handle other characters getting in on the conversation like that. Karl's eyes look a little dead, but that's intentional: He just got some bad news in this shot.

    Conversations are a major component in the game so I figured I should really give it as much love as a combat-focused RPG would get in its presentation of the battlefield.

    Exploration


    Time for some systems talk. The rover is heated and has its own oxygen atmosphere, so when you go out exploring the world map, your only limit is its battery life. When you exit the rover -or the base-, you do so in your cold suit. The cold suit's battery is drained not just over time, but also by conductance through your boots. Each 'tile' in the game has a conductance value through which you lose heat. You can walk across dry ice a lot longer than you can slog through puddles of methane, for example.

    [​IMG]
    Here is the player character standing on the methane storage bay, which is made out of a non-conductive polymer. Hence the 'Conductance 1'.
    [​IMG]
    In this screenshot, the player is fixing a crashed drone in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately it crashed on rock ice with only 2 conductance.

    Just as you can expand your reach on the world map by upgrading your rover, you can weather the cold and reach new areas as your character becomes stronger and your equipment improves. It's possible to build/buy a bunch of spare batteries and reach a difficult area early but it will hurt your progress elsewhere. Conductance goes up to 10, which leads to instant death.

    You will need to explore to gather minerals, find suitable lakes to mine, do scientific missions, sabotage another faction etc.

    Items

    [​IMG]


    Items are put into a few categories: Usable items, equipable items and processable items.

    Usable items can be used. When you do, you get a context-sensitive skill/stat application menu. You can try every skill on every item. Sometimes, a skill will work on an item but won't yield an optimal result. In this example, you've
    Show Spoiler
    succesfully used a frozen dead man's eye to scan his digital wallet, but your character's hacking skill is too low to continue unlocking the device. Using your physical stat will render the item useless, which means you'll have succesfully destroyed evidence for someone if you took that side in that particular quest, but you won't be able to extract money from it. The outcome is not binary: You still win, but not as much as if you'd have had leveled up hacking.


    Equipable items can be equiped. Tools, batteries, suit parts, etc. They enable or enhance skills.

    Processable items can be processed for scrap minerals and polymers, the two building blocks for construction in the game.

    As for the inventory carrying system... I'm still on the fence about that. It's kind of like Fallout right now, except with unlimited weight. Titan has relatively low gravity but high atmospheric pressure and the only way to really portray that in the game would be to have a volume limit. I tried a grid-based inventory, but it was a bit of a hassle. You won't be carrying around loads of junk in the game so it's probably OK as it is now, but I might try a slot based inventory at some point. The equipment part is already slot based, so it's easy enough to implement.

    Character System

    Someone asked about character progression in the last update, questioning whether this was actually an RPG or not. First we must ask, what is an RPG?
    [​IMG]
    It's an RPG. Debuffs and all. Skill progression is relatively flat with skills maxed at 5. Level progression is linear but with a unique, predetermined amount of experience for each level so I can properly balance the game when it's done. Even levels give you skill points, odd levels give you a perk. For example, speaking chinese is a perk that allows you to speak with the two characters in the game who don't speak English, poker face enables the poker face button during a negotiation, which lets you gain extra sway on a lie at the cost of a temporary debuff to charisma, and stuff like that. Poker face is really cool because it makes maxing out charisma useful. Character progression is also measured through goodwill with other characters (disposition), wealth, base improvements and items. All are just as important as your character sheet.


    That's it for now. I'll leave you with a screenshot of the Chinese Base I'm working on right now.

    [​IMG]

    And one more for good measure because I'm proud of it. There's some more on http://www.titanoutpost.com
    [​IMG]

    Hope you like it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
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  2. dmonin Arcane Patron Developer

    dmonin
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2017
    Parrots:
    47
    Awesome! Really like Chinese Base view.
     
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  3. MF The Boar Studio Developer

    MF
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2002
    Parrots:
    523
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    Thanks. You mean the zoomed-out isometric one? That's the game's default view for larger areas. The Chinese Base has multiple floors, roofs are occluded on the fly based on player position.

    The outpost has a more zoomed-in perspective shot but I'm thinking of adding an option for that to be isometric as well. Right now it looks a bit more like your camera angle in Sands of Space. Which looks great, by the way! I dig the grit.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018
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  4. dmonin Arcane Patron Developer

    dmonin
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2017
    Parrots:
    47
    Yes. I'm big fan of isometric view. And I like your models - wall tiles, floor etc. They are different one from each other. That's cool.

    Thats great!

    Good idea!

    Thanks :)
     
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