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Posts: 3,007
Reply with quote  #1 

I have completed implementation of the Technician role, and so Artemis Away Team can now be played with a complete team of 5 players! The addition of the Technician adds the ability to recharge Power Cells, giving your blasters infinite ammo, and the force field generators can be repaired if they are brought down by enemy fire. The game can be found here: 

Here is a screenshot of the Technician's screen, both in normal scanner mode, and in the new repair mode: 

Tech1.png  TechRepair1.png 

The repair mode (called "imaging mode" in game) swaps out the scanner for an "interior view" of the Force Field Control which is selected in the first image. Obviously, the Tech can't see the rest of the battlefield while working on repairs, so he will need a teammate (usually the Scout, although the Marine can fight enemies while the Tech works on his own) to watch his back. Holding down the Analysis button (the same as Analysis for the Scout) will generate a repair instruction and repair the console slightly. Two instructions are visible at the top of the Tech's screen, and there is room for a third once another Analysis is complete. 

The Tech has completed the last two instructions (they would be red if they were no longer connected/disconnected) by diverting the power from the Verniers downward so they connect to the power flow from the Carpactor to the Protonics, and diverting the power from the Pau-Grid so it no longer connects to Compensator. The white lines show the power flow. At the start, each source is connected to the system in the same row, so you have 5 white lines across the grid. You can divert power at each node up, down and to the right, as indicated by the arrows. The Verniers were originally connected to the Regulator, but each source can only be connected to one system. (The opposite is not true, as you can see) 

A complete repair consists of 6 to 10 instructions, but for now both Force Field Controls and Supply Locker take 6 instructions. Only the last two instructions need to be maintained by the Tech as he completes the third, any instructions prior to that are ignored. Instructions can reverse each other, for instance the next instruction could be to Connect the Pau-Grid to the Compensator, or Detach the Verniers from Protonics. This will not "break" the previous instruction, both will be considered complete, and you would move on to the next instruction. 

Once all 6 instructions are complete, the console is repaired completely, even if it was destroyed. Just like the Scout, the Tech must select the right frequency to begin repairs or he will damage the console. In this case the frequency is Gamma. Note the Tech sees all five frequencies, so he will be telling the Scout which frequency to use for Analysis. If the Scout runs the Analysis, the Tech won't be able to see the current instruction (it will say "Ask the Scout for next instruction") but if the Tech uses the Analysis function he will be able to see the instruction. The Tech, however, cannot do another Analysis until he successfully completes the instruction so he'll have to alternate Analysis and clicking on the nodes, slowing him down and making it harder to keep up with the incoming damage. (You can see that the console has lost about 1/3 of its hit points just in the time taken on the first two instructions) 

The Tech also has the ability to recharge power cells, using the button and indicators to the left. When any player, including the Tech himself, reloads their blaster, the empty cell goes into the Tech's Empty Cell supply. If standing next to a console, and the right frequency is selected, the Tech can recharge an Empty Cell, turning it into a charged Power Cell. The Tech can then switch to his blaster and Give Cell To any other player. 

There is a new console, the Supply Locker, positioned between two of the force field generators. (Not visible in the screenshot) At difficulties 1-3, this can be used by the Tech to recharge cells. He can also repair the locker. When the Leader calls for a resupply, the items now can be taken from the Supply Locker by the Marine and Doctor. 

I was originally hoping to have finished the Plague and Core Breach scenarios before releasing this version, so I will have completed all Stationary scenarios. (Except Game Master mode, but that will probably be one of the last things I will complete) After completing the Tech, however, I am concerned about how well the Scout and Tech work together, and how well they will be able to keep up with damage to the force fields at high difficulty levels. So I am releasing the game with just the Elimination scenario. It turns out the Tech should be very useful in this scenario, so I want to have some playtesters try that out. 

In particular, I would like to know if enemies should do less damage to force fields, or if Analysis needs to repair more damage. I expect force fields to fall from time to time as enemies destroy them, only to have them come back up as the Scout completes an Analysis. If the enemies can slip through both layers of the force field too quickly, though, I may have to reduce the damage, particularly if they just bust through at high level without a chance of the Scout stopping them. 

Of course, tactics like using the Marine's Stun and EMP grenades to slow down incoming fire, and letting enemies slip through some force fields, while the Scout and Tech keep one or two others up and at full strength, may help with this situation. I can't determine this with just my own testing. So I welcome any input. 

I would also like to know if any impossible combinations of instructions come up. I have tried to prevent the most likely conflicts, such as trying to connect one source to multiple systems. Note that connections that flow off the bottom of the grid will connect at the top. Since only the last three instructions need to be maintained, it should be possible to connect two paths that cross each other by rolling one of them over the top of the grid, and the third should be able to connect parallel to either one or the other. If you find three connections that can't be connected, though, please let me know what they are so I can try to find a solution. 

Note that in some cases you may have to disconnect the first two connections and re-route them in order to make the third. This is an intended feature. 😃 Although I think I like the imaging mode gameplay, I would not mind any suggestions about how to improve it, or even other ideas about what the interface should look like. 

There are also a number of new controls on the Options panel, allowing you to turn on and off the blaster arc, the autofire feature, and the yellow warning labels that appear to clarify some error sounds. There is also a pretty powerful configuration section for the compass, allowing you to turn off the magnetometer if you have a gyroscope, and vice versa. You can even turn off orientation detection completely and scroll the scanner with your finger, although this surprisingly makes the game even harder. 

As before, I have posted a ReadMe file with instructions for setting up the game here, and my change notes here

I will keep you all updated on my progress on the new scenarios. Once I finish with Plague and Core Breach, which should be a nice change of pace from the usual combat, I will start working on the movement modes. You will then be able to move around the map, instead of having to wait for the enemies to come to you. 

BTW, I have not adjusted the enemy behavior in regards to how long they will walk around at the outer ranges of the map. I found that with the force fields in play, a game can last as long as 10 minutes, and so I don't want to make enemies start charging towards the players too soon. As Hayden Barca noted, the Leader can use Taunt to call enemies closer, and once they are within 20 meters they should come at you more quickly. 


Posts: 3,007
Reply with quote  #2 
I just had a thought. Would it be helpful for the repair instructions to be numbered in reverse order? Right now they start at 1, and the last instruction is marked "R" so you know when it's done. But I think descending numbering would be better. 

I want to limit it to one character, so ten instructions would be 9 to 1 and then R, and six would be 5 to 1 and then R. But if that sounds intuitive to you let me know. 

Just something to think about while you're testing out the game...

UPDATE: Okay, I just decided to make the fix and upload the new version. I didn't change the release number or anything, I'll just call this a bad upload. 😃 

The image above won't match your game, but you should get the idea. 


Posts: 3,007
Reply with quote  #3 
I have uploaded a second new version of the APK. I found two bugs; the allies would continue firing after defeating an enemy, continuing to target the same enemy even after it was dead, and the game would crash on game over if the options pane had not been opened. 

In addition, I increased the size of the imaging grid, and added sound effects when the nodes were rotated and an instruction completed. There had previously been a sound played when the repair was complete, and I considered leaving the imaging view open on repair complete, but I felt this looked like there were still repairs to do. So as I originally planned, the imaging view will close when the last instruction is completed.  

I don't know if anyone downloaded the release before now, but just download it and install again.

Posts: 3,007
Reply with quote  #4 
Okay, I've uploaded yet another bugfix. The Scout was unable to fire his blaster if auto fire was turned off, and if it was on, he could not STOP firing! 😃 I'm not sure if I introduced the bug in this release or it was present in 0.2.1, but either way I felt that it was serious enough to merit another re-upload. 

While I was at it, I implemented cover for allies and for enemies shooting allies, and let allies fire at enemies at long range. Allies will also do stun damage to enemies, which will stack with your own stun effects. This should make them a lot more useful in supporting players like the Doctor or Technician while playing solo. The Leader could already position allies for best effect, but the range increase should help allies fire at enemies from behind you. 

Like before, I have not incremented the version number, but I have updated the change notes with the second fix. I've also added some information in the ReadMe file about installing the APK file. 

I'll also add that I am very curious about whether Artemis Away Team can be played over the Internet. In theory, it should be simple enough; Artemis can be played over the Internet, and it uses the same interface Artemis Away Team does to specify and connect to an IP address. However, the Host is going to have to run on an Android phone or tablet, which will have to be assigned a Internet-accessible IP address. I suspect it can be done with a Wifi Hotspot, but I'm not 100% sure. 

If anyone would like to try this out, not only will it be good verification, but we could get a group of playtesters together to try out the game without them having to meet in person. We'll need a Teamspeak connection or the like, but the phones don't have to be visible to each other. 

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