A common refrain, unfortunately. Apologies for being off-line for a few weeks; the usual combination of work, life, and other things not MicaBytes related has kept me busy. In a turn of good news, I can say that I don’t plan on picking up “Mass Effect: Andromeda” anytime soon, so at least that won’t eat a month of my free-time. TBH – I might change my mind if the reviews turn out amazing, but at the moment it does not look like it.
The past few weeks has been spent working on the character portraits. This turned out to be a much more complex issue than I had expected, and ultimately resulted in some pretty major changes to various aspects of the game. To summarize a few of the changes:
- Player faction has now been changed into player origin. Ultimately, I felt this was the best way to handle the wide variety of origins that a character can have; so you can now chose between e.g., Spanish or Afro-Spaniard as a player origin. I used the opportunity to heavily expand upon the origins available in the game, so you can also chose between being a French or Huguenot (French). Plan to add Scots and Irish as separate British origins as well, assuming this works. Origins have religious and language traits, which will – eventually – affect who you get along with in the game.
- Player backgrounds now limit which origins you can be. Only current example is that buccaneers cannot be Spanish; but this will be more used with some of the new backgrounds coming later.
- The character item system has been reworked, so that it is now based around four basic slots – headgear, body, weapons (x2), and accessories (x4). Accessories can be anything; rings, necklaces, an extra pistol, etc. I’ve also introduced the possibility to have multiple item configurations; i.e., you can chose to designate one set of clothes for social occasions, and another set of clothes for combat. This will be important, as clothes are planned to have an in-game effect – the configurations will hopefully make it unnecessary for the player to fiddle with the inventory/items too much.
Apart from the new game mechanics, there are simply issues that I’ve had to work on that I hadn’t fully anticipated the complexity of. Like, for instance, the need for the player to be able to “trial” new equipment that they want to buy in the shop (do you want to buy a brown top-hat to that black coat?) Or the whole issue of how to convert existing savegames – with no appearance information – to the new system, without everything breaking. The solution to the latter is to randomly generate appearance, and then add a facial generator in the status view. This will be partially removed latter, btw, once the majority have upgraded to the latest version, so don’t wait too long with converting.
One more thing that is being added back into the game that I know many of you have been waiting for: the character item shop. The goods will be somewhat limited to start with, but I’ll be steadily adding new stuff as new updates roll out.
Everything is very close to completion now. This is a big risky update, though, since it changes so much underlying game logic AND save games, so the next update will first roll out to the “closed” beta group, before going out to everybody.