Tuesday, April 30, 2013

[Personal] Busy Life


Just a few things.  Level 4 is pretty much done, and there are some new songs in the works.  I have some art done for an options tab as well, to customize controls, volume, settings, etc.  I just need to figure out how I'm going to implement it.


I won't be getting too much done over the next month for SBX:Invasion.  First of all, this Saturday I'm getting married to the most amazing person in the universe (and any other universes for that matter), and then we are leaving for Italy for 2 weeks!

As soon as I get back I'll be moving all my stuff out of my place before the end of May to her place and preparing to move to Boston July 1st to work on SBX:Inv full time for my own company!  I'll be starting up a small one man studio LLC so look for news on that front in July/Aug.

Until then I'm going to be super busy, there won't be many updates to the blog in May, however in June I should be able to work on SBX:Inv a bit.  So much moving around this summer but I am excited to take the plunge and go indie full time!

Scary, exciting future ahead.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

[SBX:I] Balancing the Numbers on Turrets - Save&Load Game - Level Select!

  So I got a bunch of the dumb stuff out of the way I wasn't wanting to work on, like the Save/Load system and the Level Select screen.

They're both very simple systems.  For the save and load you can only keep one save file, if you make a new game it immediately overwrites the old load file.  (It tells you this if you click New File).  The level select screen is fairly simple as well.  You can use the mouse or the arrow keys to move the selection box around and then Press Enter to enter levels that you have unlocked.

For now there is just a screen for the Main Campaign.  Later I am planning to add challenge modes and there will be a button to swap the level screen to those levels.  For now though it is set up to handle 10 main levels and an Endless Random Level once you beat the game.

Here is a screen shot of the Level Select screen.  (I think it needs a more little flavor to it):

Also I reduced the HP on the Level 3 boss a bit.  He was a TAD too hard for only being in level 3.  That said he will still wreck your face if you don't plan it out right.

The other big thing I did this weekend was balancing out the Turrets.  Since I think it's an interesting and fun thing to do, I'll show you my notes on how I went about balancing the turrets.

The stat I wanted to see was DPS per Cost in each category.  So I calculated DPS for each of the turrets and divided the cost by it to find the DPS Cost Efficiency.

This stat shows how much DPS you are paying for with each piece of metal/gold/ore/core.  I wanted to see this to see how the DPS Cost Efficiency was matching up to other benefits of towers.  For example if the Flame Turret is more efficient than the Sniper Turret, that's fine because it has a short range and can't hit through walls.

So here are my notes (by hand in my notebook, yeah I'm old school).  The DPS Cost Efficiency is bordered in green under the total cost of the turret (for upgraded turrets this is base turret cost + upgrade cost).

These findings were particularly helpful in balancing what I wanted out of the turrets.

Here are the changes I made after this experiment and the reasons why:
The main things I was looking at was the efficiency in the Gold, Core and Ore categories.  The Metal is not as significant but it at least gives me an idea of what you are getting.  I might increase the metal cost for a few turrets that have high HP (like the Ice Laser Turret).
  • Changed Sniper Turret CORE Cost from 4 to 5 and reduced GOLD Cost from 50 to 40
    • Reason:  The sniper turret was TOO cost efficient with Cores for its massive range and accuracy.  It was slightly Gold inefficient compared to other turrets so i reduced that slightly.
  • Changed Missile Turret COOLDOWN from 120 to 90 and increased POWER from 65 to 75
    • Reason:  The missile turret was very inefficient and not providing a whole lot of DPS.  This change increased the DPS from 30.25 to 50 and brought the turret a bit more in line with other turrets.  It still isn't the most efficient, but it has good range and now has an efficiency of 1 for Ore instead of 1.65.  
  • Also I am keeping an eye on the Shadow Flame Turret (It's really efficient and does great dps and attacks through walls.  The costs might need to be bumped up a bit.
I'll do calculations on the benefits of the generators as well in the future.  Also I'll need to plan out the Lightning and Arc Flash turret when I make them (they aren't in the game yet) ;-).

The Lightning Turret and Arc Flash Turret will be the best AoE turrets in the game but they'll be really expensive.

I might add an upgrade for the Sniper Turret as well to give you 11 turret options so that it matches up with generator options.

That's a little insight into what's new.

The Sandbox Link is updated here:

You can save your game now in the new file!  For the next few updates at least when you download the new file, you should be able to overwrite the data.ini file in the new one with the old one to keep your save data.  Just drag and drop it over and replace the old one.  Until I make major changes (like challenge levels) this should be fine.

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Saturday, April 13, 2013

[SBX:I] Level 3 is done! Version 0.007 is available for download!

  I've done quite a bit of work on SBX:Invasion over the past few days and I finished up the boss and a bunch of other little things and have them all added in the newest file that you can download here:

or here:

  So what have I added this update? Well, lots.  Most of it you won't see though (unless you figure out how to use cheat codes and go to the test level).  And if you want to know how to do that, subscribe to my blog and I'll tell you how to go to the test level which has all structures unlocked.

  Here is a list of just SOME of the things I added:
  •   You can now upgrade Gun Turrets to Sniper Turrets in Level 3.
  •   Expanded Generators were removed from initial structures and now upgrade from a Basic Gen.
  •   The Expanded Generator Build slot has been replaced with Long Generators which increase tower range.
  •   Sniper Turrets have advanced targeting with movement prediction.
  •   Level 3 now has a (pretty damn hard) Boss!  He will plow through your turrets and walls and wreck havoc to your fortress!  Expect to see him intermittently in later levels at various power levels.
  •   You can now use the [U]pgrade button to repair walls when they are selected.  This is more cost effective than replacing them.
  •   Increased timer at the beginning of the levels.
  •   Better Tutorial, explains each step slower and walks new players through placing generators and turrets.
  •   You can now place blocks when there is a weapon graphic beneath it.
  •   Reduced Mining Research Gold Costs.
  •   Updated F1 Game Information to have accurate control information.
  •   Fixed a BUNCH of memory leaks.

I think the thing that surprisingly took me a while was figuring out the advanced targeting on the Sniper Turrets.  I was really tired, but once I figured it out, it was fairly simple.  

In the next few updates I'm planning on adding in the rest of the weapons, buildings, generators and walls that will be in the game and you will gradually unlock them as you progress.  Also some things on my to do list are:  Saving/Loading, Level Selection, Escape Menu with Options, Pause Button (Separate from Escape), and a Structure Build Panel to select structures from and place with just the mouse.

Also Level 4 will be the next update!  Here's a random screen shot for the day:

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

[SBX:I] Boss of Level 3 soon - Artwork finished

  I have the artwork done for the boss of Level 3 (Is also a normal enemy later on).  I just need to add in his main weapon so that he can wreck your turrets hardcore :D

  The boss of Level 3 will be a large battle cruiser that releases a new type of enemy, the Kamikaze fighters.  They will suicide into your walls and buildings to blow up an area around them dealing massive AoE damage.  The boss is a new class of 'Elite' enemy that will likely show up around the end of waves as minibosses and bosses.  There will be other bosses later as well, but this guy is going to be seen more.

  So here is an image of the base model for the new Elite class enemy that you will fight at the end of Level 3 in the next release:

This bad boy will release smaller enemies that will rush your walls.  These are the new Suicide class fighters and will be seen intermittently in other levels as well:

This small guy packs quite a punch.  I drew inspiration from the scourge from Starcraft 1.  They will rush you down quickly but have little health.  If you can kill them before they hit you it'll be good to save your towers. In conjunction with the Sabo type enemy, these can wreck through your defenses.

Some things that I have added as well that are in the file but may not be active in the next update until later levels are:
-  Turret Upgrades:  Currently there are 4 turrets (Gun, Missile, Flame, Laser) and these four will upgrade into (Sniper, Barrage, ShadowFlame, Ice Laser) respectively.  In the info tab you can mouse over the upgrade button to see their costs and either click the Arrow Button or press 'U' to upgrade your turret if it is available to do so.  I have activated the Sniper Upgrade in Level 3, so if you have extra gun turrets around, upgrade em to the long ranged sniper turret!
-  New Generators:  I have added 2 new Generators the Quick Generator (reduces time between shots) and the Heal Generator (Heals linked turrets and self over time).  Also later on I will add generator upgrades for each of the generators.  Also I think I might take out the expanded generator and make that an upgrade instead and make it a bit more powerful.  That would make room for another cool generator (like a +Range gen).
-  Level 3 Boss:  The boss will be done soon and I'll have a new file once I get all the bugs and kinks worked out.  I also still need to add his main weapon:  A rocket launcher to the top of him.  ALSO:  Beware!  The boss will destroy any walls he flies through!  His hitbox is too large for the pathing system to work right so he just plows right through any buildings in the way!  I will probably add a small amount of damage back to him when he does so.  This guy is big but not so bright.

I have things set up to pound out Level 4 once I finish up the boss!  With 2 new enemy types Level 4 should be a fight!  I might mix things up too and vary the game a bit from the basic base defense.

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