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ryleyra

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Posts: 3,006
Reply with quote  #1 
Based on the suggestions of HaydenBarca after the release of 0.2.0, I have made a bunch of changes to Artemis Away Team, plus I have completely implemented both the Scout and the Leader. The game can be found here: http://www.phan.org/games/ArtemisAway.ArtemisAway.apk 

Here's screenshots of the four working roles:

Leader1.png  Scout1.png  Marine1.png  Doctor1.png 

Since this is an Android app, there is no documentation included in the installation, but I have a ReadMe file here, and change notes here. Here is a shorter list of the improvements to the game: 

 * Both the Marine's blaster and the weaker blaster used by the other players is now autofire, and will fire as long as you hold down the button. I intend to add an option to turn this off, but for now it is always on. Note that if you are stunned and the screen begins to flash, you have to lift your finger off the button to fire again.

 * Blaster reticles are now the same color as the role's standard reticle. No more confusing your target for the Marine's! 

 * Enemies will wander around for a lot longer before they descend on you, especially if they start further away. This draws out the game and gives you more time to scan or prepare.

 * Force fields are now a different shape, and extend further from the console. They are nested, so you can turn them off and back on to trap an enemy inside. 

* The Scout can partially repair force fields. The Analysis function generates repair instructions intended for the Tech, but even without the Tech in the game, if the Scout chooses the right frequencies he can repair some of the damage done. 

 * Speaking of frequencies, both frequencies and blaster resistances are displayed as a combination of positive green bars and negative red bars, letting you see at a glance exactly which settings have the best effect. You can see those displays in the screenshots above. Note that the Leader, of all roles, is displaying the full range of five values. (The Scout can see all five blaster resistances, but he's looking at the force field generator, and is limited to three frequencies)

* The Leader has a number of useful abilities, including hailing the ship and asking for Resupply, which will replenish the Marine's grenades and the Doctor's hypos. Once the Tech is in the game, Power Cells will be able to be recharged too.

 * Note the Leader's options for dealing with enemies. He can call for Surrender as usual, but Bargain is an alternative for Skaraans and calming down aggroed natives. And instead of three Taunt choices, there is only one, but you can Bluff as well, which will make the enemy run away! 

 * The movement buttons on the Leader's display don't work in Stationary mode, but that will be the Leader's role. Take Cover is also an advantage exclusive to teams with a Leader on them. 

 * Naturally, the Leader can also command allies to move to a better position and attack specific enemies. This can be quite powerful under the right circumstances. 

 * I left this out of the change notes, but there is now a Zoom 0 setting, that will set the view range to 5 meters. This is intended for the Doctor, Scout and Tech, who have to work with objects in Interaction range, but it can be useful for the Marine or another other role when enemies get close and aiming the blaster gets tough.  

 * Also, I have made the networking code much more robust. There is an "End Game" button on the Game Over screen which will take the host back to Scenario selection to start a new game, and the host can back out and restart the game at any time, without dropping the connection to the clients or breaking the game. Or so I hope, if you can find any combination of selections that make the game act strangely, please let me know. 

Please let me know what you think of this new version. I will work on the Tech next, and once I have something working, I will add the Plague and Core Breach scenarios. I don't know if I will finish all that in a month, but I'm still enthusiastic about working on this. 


ryleyra

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Posts: 3,006
Reply with quote  #2 
Has anyone even downloaded this? I don't expect a lot of folks to be able to try and play it yet, but I know I've gotten some views, and I'd like to know that it at least will run successfully.

Also, I'm seriously considering changing the Scout's reticle to green, because the current blue color is almost indistinguishable from the Doctor's cyan. I tried making the reticle slightly different (it has square "corners" instead of round) but that's too subtle.

I was hesitant to use green because that's the color of the background. And even though Artemis SBS uses blue for the Science grid lines, I like the "scanner" feel of the green. So I'm thinking maybe the natural color of the Scout's reticle really should be green.

Any thoughts?
HaydenBarca

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Posts: 196
Reply with quote  #3 
Yep, I've downloaded and tried a solo Marine mission (haven't tried a multiplayer yet).  It works fine and the difficulty is much more approachable (Diff 1).  I liked the Zoom 0 setting.  The enemies were spaced out enough that there was time to be strategic, but not so spaced that it was shooting fish in a barrel.  The only problem I encountered was when I was down to a single enemy remaining and they just wouldn't come to me (kept running forward and back and forward and back out of range).  I'm sure the Leader can taunt them into coming, so it's probably not a big deal with a full team.

I agree that the Scout and Doctor are hard to distinguish (just based on the screenshots).  I agree that "terminal font green" is a good one for the map.  Making scout a non-blue would be better.  Yellow would probably be clear on the black background (and suggest "warning" coloration).

For an off-the-wall idea, it would be cool for the Scout to have a different reticle inspired by Star Wars binoculars from New Hope (scout-like):
http://www.technovelgy.com/graphics/content07/lukes-binoculars-view2.jpg

My son and I will try multiplayer and additional roles soon.
ryleyra

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Posts: 3,006
Reply with quote  #4 
Well, the Technician is going to be yellow, so that color's already taken. That leaves green or orange.

I might be able to find a green that is a darker emerald green and won't clash with the background. I'll have to experiment and see.

And I may have to adjust the movement code a little bit. They are more likely to come straight forward as they get closer, but at 25 to 30 meters they can get stuck out there. I may add a timer so that if enough time has passed, they just move forward.

Of course this is all specific to Stationary mode. Once I've implemented the other movement modes you will have to seek out the enemies and move in closer, just like in Artemis SBS. (Or rather, the Leader will, or the Host if there is no Leader. That space under the Blaster button is left specifically for a forward arrow that will show up only if needed)
ryleyra

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Posts: 3,006
Reply with quote  #5 
I just noticed that the description for the Leader on the Role Select screen says the Leader is not available. This is of course not true, and you can click on "Play" and starting playing the Leader. The only role not yet working is the Tech, so just ignore the message.
ryleyra

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Posts: 3,006
Reply with quote  #6 
I have decided that I will go ahead and post the new version with the Technician as soon as I have tested it enough to make sure there are no gotchas. I was going to wait until I had the Plague and Core Breach scenarios finished, but I think the addition of the Tech adds enough to the gameplay to warrant a test release, and I would like for folks to test out the Tech and Scout's interplay and make sure it works. 

In particular, I want to make sure the Tech doesn't get into a situation where he cannot continue repairs because of an impossible to satisfy sequence of instructions. I've set it up so the Tech has to maintain the last two connections while making the third, and while I've caught some potential conflicts, I suspect there could be some I'm not even thinking of. 

I'll post more details when I post the release. I'll also note that while I was expecting certain roles to not have much to do in the combat missions, I think the Leader, Tech and Scout will actually give a huge bonus to the team's capabilities. You probably won't be able to do without a Marine and Doctor, but a full team of five won't be wasted.

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