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Dev Blog #8: Refactoring, Dialogue, and Even More Combat

This week we have another finished character: Dino. A charming explorer, who can be a bit clueless at times, Dino is one of the bachelors of Lost Haven.


Combat AI


Huge improvements were made to the combat AI for enemies. Before, enemies would chase their targets, attack relentlessly while standing in one place, and then look for a new target when they were victorious.


Now, enemies will move more tactically. They take time between attacks, sometimes opting to get a better angle on their foe. Additionally, they will leave space for other mobs to fight alongside them. The combat, as a result, is a lot closer to the fluid and realistic feel that we are aiming for.

Another critical piece of the combat system that was completed during this development sprint: Death and damage. NPCs of all kinds can now die, and react visibly to taking damage. The damage and death animations both are directional, and will look different depending which side the character was attacked from.


Dialogue


Some exciting news, in the past few weeks we have started working with our voice actors and voice director for the Lost Haven demo. We don't have anything to show off just yet, but we are really pleased with how things are going and can't wait to reveal more.


But, before we actually integrate the character audio, we need dialogue text. Probably one of the most thankless jobs to date, one of our devs powered through days of tedious data entry to get all of our dialogue entered into the Dialogue System.


Refactoring


We also completed some more technical stuff. In order to support modding once the game is released, we use JSON for many of our data-storing needs. One of the big things we got done this sprint on the more technical side is researching and implementing schemas for our JSON files. We now have deep nested schema referencing. Hooray!


There was also a great deal of refactoring done on the character pathfinding, to decouple it from the AI. This makes it easier to direct NPC movement from the AI, and it's just a better software development practice.


We like to sprinkle in refactoring and bug fixes as we go, so the code is always improving and little mistakes don't get left behind as we develop.


What's Next?


One of our goals for this next sprint is to create more stuff for our NPCs to interact with. The priority so far has been to implement the NPC behaviors, and we have included just enough to demonstrate and test those behaviors. Now we are ready to add variety and detail to that system, filling the NPCs' lives with things to do.


In the next few months, as we near our target date for the demo, Lost Haven will start to take on the style and visuals we have planned that we haven't been able to show you yet. We've already made some adjustments to our sky/weather system, added water to Lost Haven, and made some stylistic tweaks to the graphics settings.


Our 3D modeler will be finished with the characters for the demo very soon! In addition to that, we also have plans in the works for more animations, music and sound effects, and more work on our story, quests, and dialogue.


Thanks for reading! Check back here for more updates, or follow us on Twitter to get updates delivered straight to your feed.

© Savatronix, LLC 2016

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