Gameplay Mechanics

GuildKnight Skill Progression

One of our next development targets is to add some new abilities for player characters to use while exploring the dungeon map. The actual progression that determines when and which Skills a player has access to won’t be implemented for quite some time, but it still informs our choices in which Skills to build first.

Basic Skill development for a GuildKnight is split into three tiers. At each Skill tier, there is a maximum number of Skills that must be learned before the Skills in the next sequential tier are made available. After creating a new character, the player will have the ability to choose a single Skill from Tier I immediately. After that, further Skill selection opportunities are earned by having a GuildKnight actively use their known class Skills.

In general, each of the Skills in a tier belong to one of three class “disciplines” that determine the play style that the Skill supports. These disciplines currently just exist to help drive design decisions for the class and ultimately may not even be exposed to the player. There are no restrictions on Skill selection for a character’s current Skill tier and any Skill within the current Skill tier can be learned.

Tier I

This tier will include the most fundamental Skills for each class. Currently we’re planning for there to be nine total Skills to choose from at this tier. Once a GuildKnight has learned three of the Skills at this level, they will be able to master one of their previously learned Skills the next time they gain a Skill advancement opportunity.

A mastered Skill will have its effects greatly enhanced beyond its standard capabilities. Our hope is that Skill mastery will help players to reinforce their desired play style while also allowing for more character diversity with a relatively smaller Skill pool.


Tier II

At this tier the Skills learned will have more dramatic effects and will often supplement the abilities learned at Tier I. Currently, we’re working towards having a total of six abilities at Tier II. The player will be able to choose two of these then will again have the opportunity to master one of them.

Tier III

At this, the ultimate Skill tier, the most powerful class Skills are learned. A GuildKnight may only choose one of three available Skills from Tier III. While the Skills at this tier can’t be mastered, the idea is that their effects should be powerful and game-changing enough as to still make for a satisfying final Skill choice.

After we finish development on our next new enemy type we’re going to start building out the first set of Tier I abilities. As we get closer to getting this done, we’ll share some details on what our first planned classes are and what kinds of abilities they’ll have.

Until then, it’s back to work~!

2016-12-19T03:58:34-07:00August 10th, 2015|GuildKnights|

Gel Behavior, Vision, and Traps

Our basic Gel enemy behavior is now complete! Gels will pursue an enemy player then retreat and split when their health gets low.

The goal is to have each enemy type that we add to the game present a unique gameplay challenge for the player. We don’t want any of our enemies to just be balls of hit points that trade attacks with the player characters until one of the dies. In this case, a party without enough combat power to defeat all of the Gels present in a single turn may quickly become overrun by duplicates.

Player units now uncover map tiles as they explore and vision is only granted based on the map position of each player unit. This adds an exploration component to moving around the map. It also means that its easier to wander into a surprise ambush.

<img class="alignnone wp-image-852 size-full" src="http://www.Neo-Blue see this” alt=”Unit Vision” width=”826″ height=”536″ srcset=”×195.png 300w, 826w” sizes=”(max-width: 826px) 100vw, 826px” />

Eventually, a GuildKnight with the right skills will be able to reconnoiter the areas ahead and help the party to avoid running into trouble.

Traps? We’ve got those!

GuildKnight Trap Gel Trap

Traps aren’t currently being placed as a part of map generation proper, but we’ll be building that system along with enemy spawning once we move forward.

The next target is to create a wider variety of enemies for the player to interact with and give player characters actual class and weapon skills to work with. This will help us to get a good measure of what the overall feel of gameplay is at this point before we decide where next to focus our efforts.

The next time I get a break I’ll do a write-up on what our GuildKnight skill progression plans are. Until then, it’s back to work~!

2017-02-13T05:08:27-07:00July 24th, 2015|GuildKnights|

Enemy AI: Phase I

We’ve finished up all of our basic menu systems for the dungeon game state and it’s currently possible to progress from the top floor of a generated dungeon all the way to the bottom!

We can now recognize when a unit is next to a stairway tile and present the Exit action.

A basic placeholder stage clear menu tracks turn count and surviving party members.

Now we’re ready to start building the foundations for interactions between the player GuildKnights and the monsters that roam the dungeons.

GuildKnights is a turn-based game where each distinct “group” in the current dungeon is allowed to execute all of the actions for its members before the turn shifts over to the next available group.  Under normal circumstances, group turns flow in the following order:

  1. Player Party
  2. Dungeon Enemy Groups
  3. Player Ally Groups

AI Units on the dungeon map all belong to special AIGroups.  Each AIGroup has a behavior tree that governs turn order and, potentially, specific unit actions for the group’s members.  While Enemy AIGroups with active units remain, the Dungeon Manager will randomly select one of the groups to be the acting group during the Dungeon Enemy Groups phase.

An AIGroup behavior serves as the core for cooperative interactions between enemies within the same group.  In its simplest form, it will randomly select one of a group’s units and allow it to act on its own.  At the highest level, it can facilitate coordinated attacks where units with debilitating techniques can weaken opponents before the high-damage units attack.

Initially, we’ll be focusing on getting the basic AIGroup structure and random action order set up.  After that, we’ll be working on a simple AI behavior that will allow an enemy to path-find its way to a nearby player character.  Once that’s finished, I’ll be back to go into more detail on individual enemy AI as we dive into work on Idling, Tracking, and Fighting behavior trees.

Here’s wishing everyone a prosperous and productive new year!

2017-12-05T04:38:36-07:00December 29th, 2013|GuildKnights|

Map Generation and Navigation: Complete!

Work on basic map generation and navigation is complete so I wanted to make a quick post to highlight what progress was made and where we’ll be focusing next.

I did some testing on moving around the generated dungeons using our current input system browse around these guys.  Move actions are taken by clicking on one of your GuildKnights then dragging a path.  Units were originally limited to taking one move action at a time, but this proved to make moving around a party of four a bit of a chore.  I changed the system for managing move actions to dynamically allow a unit to use all of their remaining actions in a single move.  This doubles the distance that a unit can be moved with a single click-and-drag action and makes things move along a lot faster.

In these placeholder assets the arrows represent points along the move path where a unit will use an action point.

In these placeholder assets the arrows represent points along the move path where a unit will use an action point.

Now that a lot of the basic navigation functionality is working, I’d like to take some time to spruce things up a bit.  Right now, all of the art assets in the game are placeholders and I’d like to start working towards the final desired style for the game.  For the next big task, I’m planning to implement updated UI assets.  Here’s what the basic map UI looks like now:

In the final version of the UI, the character info cards that are in the corners here will be moved to the bottom center of the screen so you don't have to look all over your screen for stat info.

In the final version of the UI, the character info cards that are in the corners here will be moved to the bottom center of the screen so you don’t have to look all over the place for stat info.

Now, here are a couple of mock-ups for the updated player character card and the action window styles:

The updated player data card makes it easy to check a unit's stats with a glance. The updated action menu will display action category headers and energy costs.

The updated player data card makes it easy to check a unit’s stats with a glance.
The updated action menu will display action category headers and energy costs.

The initial release of GuildKnights will include a Japanese localization in addition to English, so I’ll probably go ahead and set up a system for managing the language swap as well since a handful of new menu strings will be getting added with these updates.  Once all of this interface work is done, it’ll be on to monster AI!

2017-02-13T05:08:25-07:00July 24th, 2013|GuildKnights|

Map Exploration Basics

Exploration gameplay in GuildKnights runs in a cycle of player and enemy turns.  Each of the player’s GuildKnights has a fixed number of actions that they can take each round (usually two by default). Once all of the player’s characters have taken their turns, the map’s enemies take their turns and any updating environment effects (spreading fire, moving floors, etc.) will update.  After this step is finished, control swings around to the player party again and starts the cycle anew.

The actions that a GuildKnight can take fall into one of three categories:

Move Action
Any time the player moves one of their characters across the map.  Each GuildKnight has a Speed stat that determines how many tiles they can move in a single action task manager app.

Technique Action
A GuildKnight’s active abilities. Learned through class advancement and increased weapon proficiency.

Map Action
Context-sensitive actions that can be taken based on elements encountered while exploring (e.g. opening a door, examining a discovered trap, etc.).

Move and Technique actions generally cost a single action.  Most Map actions can be performed for free, but some specific ones (like disarming traps) cost one action as well.  The player is free to have their characters perform their actions in any order they like until all available actions have been taken.

The game’s basic gameplay setup creates some interesting challenges.  Since each of your GuildKnights can move and act independently, they can be scattered across different sections of the map.  We need a good way to enable the player to keep track of everyone and bounce between them as needed.  Also, the fact that movement is turn-based stands to make the navigation of large areas somewhat tedious…

I’ve got a few ideas about how to handle these and once I’ve tried a few out and have found some success (or fallen flat on my face) I’ll report back with an update!

2017-02-13T05:08:25-07:00July 12th, 2013|GuildKnights|