Fiptubat 0.5

This release is mostly cosmetic: I added a new level, UI and models. The full list of fixed issues can be found here.

New Level(s)

The new level is an industrial complex, built using props from the Phishers’ Gauntlet project that I abandoned. I’ve also added some third-party assets:

The title scene also has some limited scenery, with other player characters crouching behind cover.

New UI

Mostly, I got rid of the smiley faces that showed the player status. My original plan there was to have images similar to Jagged Alliance 2 that become increasingly bloodied as they take damage, but I found this to be dead weight.

I also replaced the fonts. Instead of Arial, I’m using this archaic typewriter font. I’ve also used Ampad Brush in the title scene to make the buttons resemble graffiti on the walls.

Screenshots of the level

It’s still a bit empty, even after adding props, but I’m starting to get tired of this project. For something that was originally meant to be a proof of concept, it’s gone further than I expected. I’ll probably leave it for a month and come back to it, but I’m a bit stuck on what to add next.

Fiptubat: Character Models

Finally, some character models!

The new character models in the Editor. Right of the screen is a human one; to the left is a patrol bot, and a turret in the background.

Humanoid

The human models are based off WW1-era infrantry, such as these Vickers gunners. They were supposed to have helmets, but that seems to clip with the camera, so I’ve hidden them for now. I may add them back for NPCs to distinguish them from the player-controlled units, and I would like to add some slightly different skins.

The animations are adapted from Kubold’s Pistol AnimSet Pro asset. Integrating this took about two weeks, and along the way I ran into a hilarious rigging bug (shown below). However, it was well worth the price.

I'm pretty sure arms shouldn't look like this...

Player-controlled units still have a few issues:

  • When moving, they’re supposed to point their gun at the ground, but the camera controls override that. I’m not an expert with guns, but that doesn’t strike me as good firearm safety. NPCs obey this fine.
  • The camera movements are influenced by the animations, which makes aiming a little harder. I’ve also had to remove the crosshairs graphic.
  • When climbing, the camera occasionally clips through the scenery. I suppose I could just remove climbing entirely…

Turrets

These are based off the Swiss MG-11, a derivative of the Maxim gun, converted into a heavy emplaced raygun. If you look closely, you can see handles on the back. I’m not going to implement this, but the idea is that in-universe this would allow them to be manually operated when remote control (inevitably) fails. I’ve also ditched their scan animation entirely. Now they only move/rotate when a target is confirmed.

Patrol Bots

After redesigning the turrets, I decided that a similar aesthetic for the patrol bots made sense. In this case, a Maxim-esque gun with fixed traverse: the gun aims by rotating the body towards the target, with vertical aiming controlled via animation. They’re supposed to visibly hover while moving, but that doesn’t seem to work when they’re aiming. I suspect that’s really a configuration issue with the animator.

Next steps

  1. Add an extraction vehicle. I bought another asset that I’d like to use here.
  2. Expand the level. I was originally going to add a new one,

As usual, you can find it here.

Fiptubat 0.4

Finally, Fiptubat has reached version 0.4! The full list of fixed issues is here, but here’s the main ones.

Humanoid enemies

The big change was adding humanoid enemies that take cover. Finding cover was adapted from a very useful post on the Unity forums, which uses the following flow:

  1. Sample random (or not-so-random) positions around the unit’s current position
  2. For each sample position, find the nearest edge in the NavMesh.
  3. Obtain the normal field of the resulting NavMeshHit
  4. Remove any results that don’t point sufficiently away from the target direction
  5. Choose the closest.

It broadly works. Once they get to a cover position, they will repeatedly fire at their chosen target if they can see it, or reposition on their next turn.

Combat

Multiple fixes:

  • Turrets will pick the most exposed enemy they can find, rather than the closest. There is one slight caveat: this is based on the number of Raycasts that hit the target, which may result in things like this.
  • Suppression mechanics: dump enough ammo into the area around a target, and they lose their remaining action points. On their next turn, they’ll have half their total.
  • Turrets no longer have 2-D aim. This took me the better part of a day to fix, and was the last issue added.
  • Enemy units will try to relay the position of enemies to their comrades when spotting them.
  • Sidestepping is no longer a free action. It now works by shifting the player units a guaranteed distance forwards/backwards/sideways, with a cost of 4 action points per unit moved.

Other fixes

  • Toned down the sirens. Turrets still use this when spotting an enemy, but they have other noises. The humanoid enemies use a recording of Radio na Gaeltachta under heavy static.
  • The player unit’s current path is now visible as a solid red line. I would like to make it dotted and translucent behind objects, but that’s another issue.

The next release will probably involve character models and a larger level to play in.

Fiptubat gameplay demo

I finally have a gameplay video for Fiptubat – warts and all. It shows the player units picking their spots and moving to them, basic combat, and swapping turns with a hostile faction.

The video shows one really annoying bug that I haven’t got to the bottom of yet. Player units sometimes start jerking around when standing still, and I’ve tried quite a few things without any success. I had originally planned to fix this before filming, but decided that it didn’t break the core gameplay enough to hold back everything.

New game project: FIPTUBAT

About a year ago, I screwed up the boot loader on my computer, which put a crimp in my development work. While trying to fix that, I spent a lot of time watching Christoper Odd’s XCOM 2 playthroughs, and it eventually lead to a new game project. I’ve been working on this since May.

The idea I had was to try doing a turn-based tactics game (such as XCOM, Jagged Alliance or Silent Storm) from a first-person perspective, i.e. from the perspective of the units themselves. This has lead to a few interesting design implications around player units in particular:

  • Should player units be allowed to look around without costing action points?
  • How should aiming work? Should it be freeform like in a first-person shooter, or should the player choose from a list of existing targets?
  • Should player units be allowed to move at all without costing action points (e.g. stepping in/out of cover)?

It’s currently a WebGL prototype, available here. There’s no screenshots yet, but the general turn-based mechanism, combat and objectives are functional.