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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Althea Campaign Interface

Another quick update just to report that things are still progressing along nicely. Alongside creating new material, I have been improving existing code and making everything work together more smoothly where possible. I took a pleasing step forward this week, by introducing the "extra buttons" that run inside the main hotbar specific to the Althéa Campaign, including ones for the Main Menu and combat procedures in particular, which I hope will make combat within the campaign both more controlled and enjoyable.

New hotbar buttons and Main Menu options!
The New Interface

To explain briefly, there will be (as it currently stands) six new buttons within the main hotbar that sit alongside (to the right of) the familiar camera angle buttons:

1) Main Menu Button: Basically does what is says, and brings up the Main Menu for the player, where they will have further in-game options. This menu is not available during combat.

2) Party Maps Button: When the player(s) acquire maps throughout the campaign, this button will open the Map Screen when pressed to allow viewing. In a MP game, the map opens for all players so that the map can be viewed and discussed by all players at the same time.

3) Turn Based Pause Button: One of the first combat buttons that player(s) can use. This is a global toggle setting, so it sets for all players in a MP game. When clicked, the game will pause every six seconds, which the player must un-pause. This auto-sets if "Pause on Attacked" is selected from the Main Menu, allowing a hybrid turn-based system to begin.

4) Toggle Player Group AI: The second combat button, which can also be used to simply immediately stop all companions in their tracks if need be, is the Group AI toggle. Note, a "group" is all PCs that a player controls. In an Althéa MP game, each player controls their own group of PCs, as opposed to a normal OC game where only the party leader player controls the added PCs. This AI button does *not* toggle AI for those creatures in the party that are not "created" by the player or added as "companions". e.g. Animal Companions and Familiars cannot have their AI turned off.

5) Observe Condition (HP Bar): If the player acquires the ability and wish to use this facility, then HP bars for enemy creatures can be toggled on or off via this button. Note, it is a global setting, so all players would have this feature turned on or off in a MP game.

6) Statistics Panel: Lastly, their is a button that brings up a game statistics panel giving some information about the PCs in the party. e.g. Number of deaths (and type of revivals), best creature killed and number, etc.

Main Menu Updates

Lastly, just to mention a couple of new additions to the Main Menu:-

A) If a PC suffers a penalty to hit and damage due to hunger, they will now find it on the Main Menu.
B) A new toggle button to pause if a trap is triggered has been added.

Actually, I have made an improvement to Trap Detection as a whole. Now, by default (with or without the above option being switched), a PC will stop everybody in their tracks if a trap is detected. This is *not* using the pause facility, but simply a command to stop, which stops PCs from doing whatever they are doing. The pause option (as mentioned above) is a toggle that sets the pause if the trap is "triggered", when "stopping" is too late. At this point, the player can decide whether to quickly intercept the moment of pause for their PCs or not. (Hitting the AI toggle should do the job.)

I am hoping to move forward on finishing some more quest writing in the coming weeks, subject to some real life events that are occurring. I will try to keep you all updated all the same.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The Vigour Sytem (Revisited)

It has been over six years since I last spoke about the Vigour system in any detail, but my latest updates to the campaign have been dealing with polishing this system using the scripting knowledge I now have compared to back then. One update, the effects of vigour are now added to PCs as icons next to the portrait. That is one update that can be "seen", but a lot more has been updated "under the hood". Some news will be similar to before, but there are definitely a few changes for the better I believe. These changes had to be made to make the system fit better with long distance travel and make more sense in general.


First, I decided to re-align the descriptions and effects of my vigour categories so that the system was more straightforward in application. Here is the new outline of the vigour categories:-
New categories divide between REST and FOOD requirements
As you see from the chart above, the main difference between the old version and this new version is that the 100% is divided equally between REST requirement penalties (> 50%) and FOOD requirement penalties (0 - 50%). The key thing to remember is that eating FOOD will improve any vigour up to 50% and the PC would need to REST to improve the vigour to 100% to remove all penalties.

The campaign also dictate the following rules with respect to REST ....

1) A PC cannot REST without access to food, but they can WAIT.
2) A PC cannot REST until 8 hours has passed from their last rest (unless at an inn).

However, note that the above vigour penalties do NOT begin until it is time to REST after 8 game hours has passed anyway. Therefore, vigour penalties will only ever apply if the PC cannot rest (due to their environment) and/or does not have access to food.

Note, also that allowing time to pass using the WAIT option during a rest, will also impact on a PC's vigour depending upon the number of game hours waited, according to the table above. Therefore, it becomes important for PCs to have access to food if they WAIT for any periods of time.

Five new vigour state (I-V) icons that can appear on a PC

Hunger now attributes to the worst penalties if not maintained. As a guide, an iron ration improves vigour by 25% up to a maximum of 50% vigour score. Other sources of food improve the vigour score by more or less than 25% upon consumption, but always only to a maximum of 50%. Therefore, the game mechanics stop a PC from eating an iron ration (if the player tries) if their PC's vigour score is already 50% or higher. On the other hand, some other food items may be used and wasted if used inappropriately. If the PCs find the Arcaene Magik scroll, Create Food and Water, (and can use it) then suffering from hunger would not be a problem for them again.

If a PC becomes DEPLETED and they carry an iron ration within the player's group, then they will automatically eat it. This check to eat food is made earlier if the PC uses the WAIT command: The system checks if the PC has become FAMISHED during the WAIT time and makes the PC eat a ration if available to stop them from dropping below 20%. The player can obviously continue to use food items to bring their PCs up to 50% if available and need be.


Travelling on either an overland map or using a map to travel (both available from module 2 onwards) work slightly different with respect to vigour depletion and using iron rations:-

In the former (overland map travel), vigour drops rapidly as the player moves their party across the map, and the system automatically feeds the party with available rations when the leader drops to 65%, boosting them back to 90% unless the rations had to be shared, in which case they get only a proportion of the normal 25% boost. If the food runs out, then the vigour continues to drop to 0%, whereupon it continues to accumulate additional HUNGER damage in the way of penalties to attack and damage every hour, up to a maximum penalty of -5. Any penalties due to lack of vigour are applied to the party members when they leave the overland map and return to a "normal" area.

In the latter (clicking on a map to travel to a destination), the result will tell you if the party has enough provisions to reach the selected destination. Or, if the party could make the destination by sharing the provisions they have. If the party have sufficient provisions, then they make the journey without any impact to their vigour and simply pay the amount of provisions required. If the party have to share provisions, then they will arrive at their destination with vigour penalties for sharing. The maximum amount of sharing can leave the PCs with no less than 10-20% vigour (and associated penalties), subject to how much they had before starting their journey.

The vigour (rest and hunger) rules available in game!