March 7, 2011

Variables Zones, Captain's Journal

I've been working on a few new features. The first one will add quite a bit of visual depth to the story of the game. As you may know, Skybrawler has a fairly large world map (see the Planet Desia page) which you regularly visit -- between every level. I've been pondering how to make the world map more interesting, and I stumbled across a fairly obvious and easy solution.

I now have it set up so that as you progress through the game, the world map changes to reflect the things you have done in the story. For example, if you establish a base, the base appears on the map. If you blow up a mountain, the mountain becomes a crater on the map. And the list goes on.

All it takes is splitting up the big map into 36 small parts, turning each part into an object, and then having each object check the game's progress. If a certain level has been completed, that zone will update its sprite to reflect the change. This will be to such an extent that the final world map (when the game is finished) will look quite a bit different than it did when you started, and you will be able to see the path you have carved as you have made your way through the story.

The second feature is going to replace the standard, boring, "Objectives" list. Instead, there will be a Captain's Journal which you can open whenever you like. The initial page of the journal will always be your "To-Do list" (to replace the Objectives list). But from there, you can flip through the pages and look at information about the game. As you encounter new enemies, characters, or alien tribes, information about those particular things will be entered into your journal. By the time you finish the game, your journal will be a full encyclopedia outlining all the details of the game. This is similar to the Tome of Knowledge concept from Warhammer, although executed in a slightly different fashion. I really liked the concept in Warhammer, and it's unfortunate that it hasn't carried through to many other games, so I fully intend to resurrect the concept on Skybrawler.

Plus, I can't count on every player to spend dozens of hours at this web site reading through all the info, so I should at the very least make it accessible in-game.

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