24 May 2012

Retrospective: Games Computing, Year 1

I've officially finished my first year at uni now. My last exams went pretty good, confident I've got a decent grade. So with all that finally done, I've decided to do a kind of retrospective showing all the new stuff I've learned or experienced in the past year. So here we go:
  • Learnt C# to a very competent level.
  • Learnt XNA and started producing a fully-fledged game and game engine using it.
  • Taken part in a Game Jam (24-hour Game Dev event) and successfully developed a game in the allotted time.
  • Learnt Java to a competent level.
  • Produced a working and fairly popular Minecraft mod.
  • Created a fairly successful blog with a reliable following.
  • Greatly increased my repertoire of watched anime and read manga.
  • Met many... interesting people.
  • Become involved in 2 university societies.
  • Learnt how computers work from physical, through component and operating system, to application level.
  • Gained a great appreciation for pasta.
That's all I can think of for now, but it shows most of the stuff I've done. This year was good.

22 May 2012

Fallout: New Vegas mod idea: PsychosisMod

I came up with this idea when I decided to try a F:NV playthrough as Kal (the schizophrenic mass killer from my writing of the same name) and decided that I needed something more to make the Courier into Kal. Thus, the idea of PsychosisMod was born.

The idea is that with the mod activated, the player has a constant urge to kill which can only be held off by doing so. This would make it interestingly hard to play a good character, as Kal is always attempting to be. Of course, this is still an idea because of a limitation in Gamebryo. While it is fairly simple to detect if the player kills a certain NPC, it's (afaik) impossible to detect if the player kills any NPC without adding a script to every single one. But nonetheless, here is the idea:

PsychosisMod

When the player awakes, they find a selection of strange notes in their pip-boy. Soon they develop a growing urge to kill which refuses to go away.

> The player must kill humans regularly in order to stave off psychosis.
> Killing non-humans also works but is much less effective (must be killed more often).
> Blood packs can draw out the onset of psychosis, but is by no means a solution.
> As the player approaches psychosis, they get less communicative (penalty to charisma, intelligence, etc.) and more violent (bonus to strength, endurance, etc.).
> If the player reaches psychosis, they pass out and everyone in the immediate area is killed, regardless of standing towards the player or plot importance (essential characters are still only knocked out).

As the player becomes more aware of the psychosis and, inevitably, kills more people, several perks become available. These perks change how the player reacts to the psychosis and also has permanent effects on the player's karma rating. They are given below in the order they are revealed. All the perks are mutually exclusive.

> I am a monster.
>> The player believes they are evil and the psychosis is a monster within them. They accept their need to kill but still struggle against it.
- Player may no longer achieve the 'Very Good' karma level.
- Approaching-psychosis SPECIAL affects are reduced.
- Blood packs immediately bring the psychosis closer, but then hold it steady for a longer period of time.
- Killing humans (even evil ones) gives a karma penalty.

> I am a nightmare.
>> The player accepts and welcomes the psychosis, believing themselves to be an angel of death or similar.
- Player may no longer achieve the 'Neutral' karma level or higher (always Evil or Very Evil).
- SPECIAL effects are permanent at a reduced level, only the positive ones increase as the psychosis nears.
- Blood packs and killing non-humans have reduced effect.
- Killing humans gives a large bonus to the player.

> I am a vampire.
>> The player believes in the Family of Arefu. They abhor killing and will instead try to stave off the psychosis as long as possible using blood packs.
- Similar to 'I am a monster.', however:
- Blood packs push the psychosis back instead of just holding it off, allowing them to be used as a permanent, if expensive, solution.
- Killing humans gives a large Karma penalty and brings the psychosis much closer, causing a 'slippery slope' situation where a player failing to keep up with the blood packs quickly degenerates into psychosis and will remain close to it until they can pull themselves away.

Comments, improvements or even a solution to detecting player kills would be much appreciated.

12 May 2012

Coming to APS soon™

This is a list of the stuff that will be coming to APS in the next few versions, sorted by time (soonest to least-soon):
  • Various edits, bugfixes and improvements. Small stuff basically.
  • Sort out the triggers and actions, especially the Tokamak's. They're so damn confusing to use ingame.
  • Add ComputerCraft Peripheral capabilities to the APS machines. Will allow near-absolute control over the machines so that users of ComputerCraft can fully automate their APS contraptions. See planned functions here.
  • Expand config control. Allow for more parts of the mod to be changed through the config.
  • Sort out some niggling things, like making the machines rotate like normal blocks (you know, like how the furnace always faces towards you when you place it). Will also likely change some of the textures so they are on the sides, not the tops, to fit with everything else.
  • Have yet another stab at SETS and LaserGrid.
  • Add a matter-transportation (read: Laser-based teleporter) system.
  • Add player teleportation capabilities to said matter-transportation system.
As you can see, I've not given up on APS. I've just been busy with other stuff (and working on Carthage/CZ2D, which is nearing its first working release) and will continue when my exams are over. I would have squashed a few more bugs over the past couple of days but the svn is being stupid so I can't redownload the latest source (if anyone wants to go to the APS sourceforge page, download the source files and send them to me, I'd appreciate it). I've now managed to get access to a recent source, but the svn is still being stupid. I'll have to make sure everything's working before I start on stuff, though it would appear the CC integration will require a bit of code jiggery-pokery to get working in a nicely structured way.