Before I go on a rant about everything BSH now, I would like to just add that I work a full time job 50 hours a week, so time is sparse. I decided to take this one night after work away from developing the game to talk about how things are going. So, here it is.
I've decided to expand upon many things I've already built for BSH. I have already started building the scripting interface, and have decided to include more editors inside of it, including things like a Path Editor, Matinee, Character Creator (using sprites packaged with the game), Enemy and Boss creators (same as Character editor, but with more emphasis on how and when they attack), etc.
Other than that the interface looks much prettier, and I have created a method of Bitmapping that allows players/designers to "paint" terrain, but haven't got much to show for it yet. This will convert tiles into smoothed or flat ramps, corners, etc. on the fly. Tools are also present that allow for tile-by-tile placement, as well as a Poly Fill tool that allows the creation of terrain with a polygon editor. Terrain layers are initially only their (invisible in-game) collision layer, until a "material" is added. These "materials" control the appearance of the tile, as well as the affects of contact, like dust trails left from jumping/hitting a material, even including destructible blocks.
Some changes have been made to the base gameplay as well. Where the current demo only has movement and attacks that resemble a poor Super Smash Bros. rip off, the current game replaces these mechanics with a "Ki Gauge" which works quite a bit like charging your chakra in Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm mixed with charging Sonic's spin dash.
A "Charge Dash" for instance is performed by holding Block and pressing the Jump button rapidly. This will allow you to go extremely fast, as fast as a land vehicle, and would put your character in a dashing state that allows you to run on walls. "Rushing" it will make your character perform a hard vault in the movement direction. While this does allow for a quick dodge, you're character won't be able to regain composition until hitting a wall or floor.
A "Charge Attack" performs a more powerful attack. Obviously. Each character has two kinds of attacks, based on what armor they're wearing. So, if we were to use Super Sonic Shinobi armor as an example, charging the long range kicking attack turns into an Homing Dash that locks on to enemies in the direction you're moving, somewhat like Sonic against, hence the armor name. Rushing will result in a slow spin attack with a giant shuriken.
This mechanic was designed to circumvent the complications of what I like to call "game state imbalance", a state created in a multiplayer game that uses depleting resources, affecting enemy encounters. Returning to Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm again, we'll use Chakra AND substitution jutsus as an example.
Chakra, used for jutsus (special attacks), depletes after some time. This mechanics works well to force the player to play strategically, requiring them to use chakra only when there is an opening, like if the other player has issued an attack.
Substitutions allow the player to blink away before an attack hits them. They can do this up to four times in a row. This allows them to quickly dodge incoming attacks, as well as make the game more of a balancing act between two players, where they both have to mind their resources, as well as their opponents resources, to attack at the perfectly moment, with a well placed Jutsu (special attack).
For a 1v1 battle, this system is awesome, and completely balanced. Though, in a 5v5 match or more, tracking all the enemy gauges is practically impossible. In a MOBA game, for example, you'll often find yourself at a loss in comparison to the other team if you, or your team, had failed to handle the other team early on in the game.
MOBAs like DOTA use leveling systems like an RPG, which increase character statistics, and a shop system for stat boost/ability items. These are both obtained quickly with player kills, thus requiring a HEAVY influence on character ability/stat balance, requiring a LOT of time and effort put in to the game before it can actually be enjoyed to the fullest extent.
Another mechanic I've created is "Team Combos". Most consecutive hit combos with normal attacks will only do 1 point of damage per hit, and can be easily dodged. Team combos, on the other hand, focus on cooperative enemy take downs. These are performed when two teammates are attacking the same target, and will perform an animation according to the character each player is playing as. These can be just as easily dodged, but will always result in a K.O.
Now, if you've read up until this point you might be a bit curious about the easy Coop K.O.. This is because all primary game modes will be made with two goals in mind:
- Fast return to battle
- Cooperative gameplay
On the other hand in a cooperative game like Monster Hunter, your goal is to take down a target together, by working together. Without that teamwork, most quests would be a failure. Taking the focus away from overcoming intense challenge, while keeping the challenge present and rewarding, makes Monster Hunter feel much more casual than a game like Dark Souls, that might end in a controller being lodged in your television.
So, I've made it my personal mission to not only reward cooperation, but focus in on it in game modes. The first of which is a spin on C.A.T (Capture the Territory) gameplay that requires a player in the team to hold a ball that disables attacking, requiring them to be defended by their team. Basically, it's like smooshing King of the Hill and Oddball in Halo. This game mode's alpha name will be "Ball King" as I have no other ideas. The ball can be thrown, allowing the player to attack or dash if need be.