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Claustrophobia: The Downward Struggle
Claustrophobia Development Log #12
June 21, 2014 - The Indie Forge
Hello all! Long time no see. Apologies for the delay in this Dev Log, I’ve been rather busy, and just when I was about to write about progress yesterday, I managed to break a fairly significant chunk of the game and ended up spending all day fixing it. But such is life, and I’m not here to moan about that! So, onwards with progress!
Skills and Abilities
The majority of my work these past few weeks has gone into designing and implementing one of the last major engine features: skills. No RPG would be complete without them, and since Claustrophobia has always had an emphasis on custom classes and play-styles, I felt it deserved a large chunk of development time.
While V1’s Skill system was meant to offer a variety of skill sets which you could tailor together to create your own class, it’s largest failing was that these classes had little synergy and there was not much incentive to branch out once you had chosen your “starting class”. The new system should hopefully change all that.
Pictured above is the Abilities window (as it currently stands - obviously class abilities and skills pictured are placeholder). On the left are your character’s Talents, while on the right is your Spellbook. When beginning a new game, and on reaching certain levels, you will be given a number of Ability & Spell points. Ability points can be spent to determine what weapons, armour, and class skills your character will be able to use, while Spell points will be used to improve the spells you have learnt.
Spells themselves will each have a class and a class level that they are associated with. In the example above, the spell “Fireball” is a Level 1 Test Class Ability, and therefore would require 1 point in “Test Class” to learn and use. Putting another point into “Test Class” will allow you to learn level 2 abilities in that class. There will be no limit to the amount of classes you can put points into, but you will only have a certain amount of points to spend. Spread yourself too thin, and you will not have enough points to learn more powerful spells. You will, however, have access to a wider range of lower level spells. At least 1 point in each category (weapon, armour, class) is required, but after that, it’s your choice. I am also looking into having a fourth category which comprises of passive buffs, such as increased sight, arrow retrieval, etc.
After choosing 1 or 2 starting classes, you will be given a choice of (potentially) 3 starting spells, which will be determined by the class(es) you’ve picked. After that, new spells can be learnt by reading Spellbooks which can either be bought in special shops, found lying around, or found in Skill rooms, which will appear every now and again. You can only read Spellbooks which match your Class and Class level.
Alongside the main Skill system, I’ve also added Active Items. These are anything that you can use to give an effect, such as potions and scrolls (which will both return in the same way as V1). Their implementation however is completely different. An active item’s use is now considered a spell in it’s own right, which means not only can items now have cooldowns, mana costs, and most importantly, targeting, but they can also be dragged onto and used from your skill bar.
This means that I can add all sorts of items that simply wouldn’t have been possible before, such as scrolls with damaging effects, wands, lockpicks, etc. It’s also a nice little quality of life improvement (and I literally broke 90% of the engine getting it working, ohgodistillhavenightmares…)
Targetting & Enemy Abilities
As well as getting the design and UI up to speed, I’ve also spent some time working on skills themselves. V1’s player skills were fairly black and white: either they were instant self-casts, or they were single target ranged spells. Enemy skills were even bleaker, they were always single target (the player) damage/crowd control. So, considering I was going on about how flexible the new engine is a couple of weeks ago, I decided to jump in and start fleshing out skill types. We now have support for self casts, single target, multiple target, area of effect, and toggleable skills. And those go for both player and enemies. In fact, it’s entirely feasible to give enemies their own inventories of items to use. But that might be getting ahead of myself.
Oh, and did I mention friendly fire? Yeah that’s a thing now. You can thank me later.
That’s about everything I’m going to talk about in depth. Along with all that, I’ve also:
- Added unidentified objects, which take on a random appearance for each playthrough (pretty much as before).
- Started adding in the old scrolls and potions.
- Added the title menu and almost instant saving and loading between screens.
- Added clicking & dragging support for items and skills in menus.
- Added XP and Gold rewards and recognition for double, triple, and super kills!
- Fixed a load of bugs, then broke everything and had to fix it all over again.
And that, my friends, is that. I’m really excited about the potential for the new skill engine, which I will be working on now for the next few weeks. Please let me know what you think about everything, and leave me a comment in the internet location of your choice!
Until next time,