We've discussed what our plans were for March in our February progress report. Now, let's take a look at what we've actually accomplished and what we plan on doing for the upcoming month.
Demo Build v0.1
Done! But instead of delivering it mid-March, it got pushed back to the end of the month. Sorry about that! As mentioned before, we originally planned on transitioning from a weighted-system AI to GOAP after completing the demo build. Around the first week of March, we were already working on a GOAP version and it was working much better than our previous one that we decided to push the transition earlier than previously planned. So this first demo is already on GOAP! I'll probably write another blog post on our website to explain this new AI system in layman's terms.
Switching to GOAP meant having to redo all the existing actions, and introducing new ones as well so that set us back by quite a while. The current demo still has a limited amount of NPC actions as many have not yet been transferred to the new system. Our two developers were also on leave for an entire week for a vacation scheduled way back so there was a small lull in development.
Having said that, the demo is already uploaded on itch.io! We've gathered a few early testers to give feedback. The primary focus of the test is to check whether the NPC AI behaves believably. We also want to see how well the game informs the players of what's going on in the world. We're still looking for a few more testers so feel free to reach out if you'd like to provide early feedback!
Done! Although there are still a lot of placeholder assets that will have to be replaced in the coming months. We also want to improve how well the game generates town and dungeon areas and make the dwellings and inns look better.
Done! You can watch it here.
Not yet done! This was targeted around end of March or mid April, so technically we're still on track. However, I feel like we probably will not be able to do an interesting and well-polished trailer even by mid April so my new target for this is mid May. Finishing the trailer is actually pretty important since our Steam page is already up and having only a teaser and a few screenshots there is probably affecting our Visits-to-Wishlist ratio but I want to get this really done well so I'm willing to take our time prepping for it.
This wasn't on our progress report before but it is something interesting that I think deserves to be mentioned. In World's Bane, we want knowledge sharing to be a key mechanic. One of the things we are experimenting on is how characters keep track of other characters and objects in the world. In most games, NPCs are usually omniscient and are aware of everything else around them. Here, each character has his own Awareness List, which keeps track of the characters and objects they are already aware of, either by directly encountering them or by being informed by the player or another character. In most cases, characters may only interact with those in his Awareness List. The Awareness List also stores the character or object's location on certain situations, which may or may not be accurate.
Once this system has been polished, I feel that this will be a good foundation for implementing some interesting mechanics like baiting, rumors, fake news, etc.
implement improvements and bug fixes based on early testers feedback
update Interior Maps with more assets, animations and layout improvements
introduce a Crime System where characters that commit illegal actions can be reported or apprehended by witnesses, and then nobles and faction leaders can judge them
implement two new Corrupt options: Lyncathropy and Vampirism
add AI behavior that allow NPCs to attack their enemies in various ways (direct assault, curse, poison, etc)
add Traits that allow NPCs to cure various negative status effects such as injury, illness, curse, etc
revamp our pathfinding system for performance improvements and to allow a more robust means for characters to interact with other characters and objects
record various gameplay video clips in preparation for the Gameplay Trailer
send out an updated demo to publishers/investors at the end of the month
Whew! A lot of work for one month. Tune in on our next devlog to see whether we got on track with all of these or not. We mentioned before that the Combat System will be added by April but I think we'll have our hands full with these other more pertinent tasks first. The Combat System will have to be revisited a little bit further down the road.