WHITE HOT HATRED OF “INDIE” LEADS TO FAUX PAS

Last night on #tigirc someone linked to a video Mega64 did for the GDC. Specifically, this video:

Not being familiar with Mega64 and seeing guys exhorting their “indieness” my ETERNAL HATRED of “indieness” exerted itself. I immediately tuned out of the video and started castigating it in the forum.

Yes, really. No, I didn’t realize that it was a parody. Because I hadn’t watched it all the way through.

Needless to say, the entire channel was amused.

So I’m making a public apology to #tigirc. Sorry I was a jackass, guys!

(PS: Here’s another great one:)

Back to Work

Um…not work-work, just work on Planitia. I’ll be going back to work-work soon, though.

Now, let’s get back to the feedback!

First, I’d like to thank everyone who sent feedback:

From the comments: Ryan, Keith Weatherby II, bingbong, Delve, SteelGolem, WonderMellon and sol_hsa

From GameDev.Net: Ravuya, Matrin, Cranky, kudi, Skeezix, ZippoLag, nordwindranger, polyfrag, Ezbez, DarkInsanePyro and cannonicus
From RetroRemakes.com: Dragon

From the Gibbage forums: bignobodski, Dan, delve and Simon Archer

From direct email: Ken

All right, now let’s get to what you guys actually said!

The most common feedback I got was “Holy crap it’srunning too fast my guys all flew off why’d they do that now the computer is here destroying my villages and now I’m dead.” So I will be slowing down the overall gameplay, for starters.

Lots of people said that clicking the minimap to jump the camera around didn’t work consistently. This is due to the fact that it won’t work if you’ve got a spell on your cursor. I’ll get this fixed.

One person (Dragon) said that he had trouble clicking the minimap to jump the camera around because he kept accidentally band-selecting. Band selection isn’t even supposed to be there any more since the introduction of the General. I’ll be taking it out.

The most common strategy for human victory seemed to be either lightning-bolting the enemy general to death (which wasn’t supposed to happen, the general should be invulnerable) or quickly lightning-bolting the enemy village to death (which you can only do because I started players with full mana, which won’t be in the final game).

Some players liked to fortify themselves and then use a combination of god powers and a large army to destroy the computer’s army, then push on the computer’s cities. This is closer to how Planitia is “supposed” to be played, but one problem is that the computer’s general just sits in the player’s base, pumping out units as often as it can. Because of this, I’m starting to think that the General should die when all units under his command are dead (just like villages die when all their villagers are dead). You won’t start the game with a general, he will appear near your main city as soon as you create a military unit. If all your military units die, he disappears, but he’ll reappear (again, back at your cities) when you create some more. This way neither you nor the computer will be able to camp inside the enemy’s base like that.

Units are supposed to drown a few seconds after they fall into deep water. If you’re quick with the terrain tool you can save them. I’ll get this in soon.

Simon Archer and many others asked for more animation on the sprites so players can tell what is going on better. I’d love, love, love to but I Are No Artist. I’ve been looking for a sprite sheet that includes eight-way animations – something like this, only with run, walk and fight animations. So far, nothing. Other than Final Fantasy Tactics stuff, yes, I know. I don’t want to use those because they are too recognizable. And The sprites I ripped out of Powermonger are just too primitive-looking when applied to 3D quads.

I had a couple people state that the multiple tabs were confusing, forcing them to either use god powers or the army or both. One person suggested consolidating the UI onto one tab, which…might happen.

A couple people mentioned that it’s hard to tell when the terrain is actually flat. I was going to have flat cells draw with a different texture so you could tell…I probably will, but I don’t have an appropriate texture at the moment.

So I’ve got a bit of work to do. I’m hoping to have a new version for you guys to try out Sunday.

Planitia Playable Beta Version .73 NOW AVAILABLE!

All right, here it is. Click here to download the beta.

Ya’ll be gentle with her, now. She’s sensitive.

Readme follows:

This is a work-in-progress demo of my game Planitia.

Current version is .73.

NOTE: IF YOU GET A MESSAGE SAYING THAT D3D9_**.DLL IS MISSING THEN YOU NEED TO UPDATE YOUR DIRECTX.

Planitia is a real-time strategy game that allows you to both build an army and use god powers to crush your enemies.

In this demo you play Green. In the main window you will see the game world, your general (the large guy with the green cape) and your village.

———————
BASIC CAMERA CONTROLS
———————

Planitia is meant to be played with one hand on the mouse and one hand on the WASD cluster on your keyboard. (Sorry left-handers – I’ll get controls in for you soon!) You use the mouse to interact with the interface. You can also move the camera by pushing the mouse to an edge of the screen, but it’s much easier to move the camera with the WASD cluster. You can rotate the camera using the Q and E keys. You can also click on the minimap to jump the camera to that location.

———-
GOD POWERS
———-

On the right side you will see a GUI display with a minimap. The blue bar below the minimap is your mana. Below that are buttons for the god powers. Only some of the god powers work now, inactive god powers have their buttons greyed out. The working god powers are:

Flatten Land (looks like up/down arrows): Costs 3 mana per second.

Allows you to raise or lower land to village height. Click and hold in the world window on any terrain to affect it. Flattening the land around your village will allow it to grow, and the more villagers you have the faster your mana will regenerate. Villages only grow at certain populations, so your village may not grow immediately even if you’ve flattened the land properly. Just be patient. You may also need to use this tool to create land bridges so that you can attack your enemy.

Earthquake (looks like concentric circles): Costs 25 mana.

Drops an earthquake wherever you click in the world window. Be careful not to cast it on your own village. The earthquake prevents enemy villages from growing and forces their gods to use more mana fixing what you’ve done.

Lightning Bolt (looks like…um…a lightning bolt): Costs 10 mana.

Casts a lightning bolt wherever you click. The lightning bolt damages units and throws them into the air. You can even knock them off the game world this way.

All god powers have a shared 1.5 second cooldown.

————–
MILITARY UNITS
————–

You can left-click on your general to select him and move him by right-clicking on the terrain. You cannot select your villagers.

If you click on the second tab on the GUI (looks like a red general) you will see the military buttons. You will see buttons for archers, barbarians and warriors, along with a display of how many you currently have of each.

Clicking the archer, barbarian or warrior buttons converts a villager into a military unit of that type and adds it to your army. Your army will always follow your general so you don’t have to worry about controlling units individually. You can attack enemy armies or villages simply by moving near them – once your units get within combat range they will attack automatically.

One thing to keep in mind is that once you convert a villager to a military unit it no longer gives you mana.

——-
OPTIONS
——-

If you click on the third tab on the GUI (which is currently blank) you’ll see the exit button. You can also exit the demo by pressing ESC.

If you wish to give me feedback on this demo, you can do so at anthony.salter@gmail.com, or comment on my blog at www.viridiangames.com.

Copyright 2006, 2007, 2008 by Anthony Salter. All rights reserved.

Well, Poop.

I had the beta ready to go (though it’s not as complete as I wanted it), but when I put together the package some release-only bugs popped up – and I mean “only happens in release mode when you’re not running in the debugger” bugs. So I will be delaying the release of the Planitia beta until Monday night. Sorry about that.

Quick Planitia Update

Okay, I said there would be a demo by the end of January and now it’s February 1st. Events have conspired (like they always do when I set a release date) to make it more difficult to work on Planitia that usual.

The demo will be out on Sunday, February 3. Just give me this weekend and you’ll finally get to play it.