Dev Update #007 - Making it Rain

The game is moving towards the goal at rapid speed. It's time to file off the last edges to make everything as good as it can be. And I need your help!

So recently I found myself thinking about the following issues, based on player feedback and my own observations:

So to solve these issues I've been building things and testing out a few changes in the beta branch. I'll be speaking about a different issue and my thoughts and changes over the next few days. 

And today, we're talking about COMBAT:


The topic that combat needed some additional pizzaz came up a few times in the past - mostly when talking to publishers who think about selling a game through screenshots. It looks great in motion, but when it's static it may look a bit simple, a bit bland. Now I don't want to overload the combat screen with fancy trims and ornaments - I very much like the board-game like simplicity.

I always thought something like weather could do the trick. It's an animated layer that doesn't make the underlying structure more complex but provides additional visual detail in front of everything.

Turns out that works. It makes the screenshots more interesting, it spices up GIFs (which are SUPER valuable when it comes to catching people's interest) and it's fun.  I've made a few weather effects - simple ones that trigger relatively often, and more involved ones that come up only rarely (to not distract too much) based on the terrain you're in.

Currently we have the following "calm" effects

  • SoftWind: This is the basic dust-motes and small clouds of dust wind effect, that you might have been familiar with. It's been in the game for a long time and can be triggered on most locations. But now it can be - like all weather effects - be mirrored. The wind will stop always blowing in your face. Finally.
  • SandPuffs: A variation on the soft wind. here there's smaller puffs of sand being thrown up throughout the screen. This is the little brother of the sandstorm.
  • CloudShadows: Strong sunlight, a few motes of dust and the shadows of clouds lazily crawling across the screen. 
  • StaleDust: No wind, just motes of dust glittering in the light. This one's for the indoor urban combat background.
  • LightRain: A drizzle, mostly in the swamp area, sometimes in the mountains.

And then there's the "strong" weather effects

  • Hailstorm: Big chunks of ice rain down and break apart on the ground
  • Sandstorm: Rough winds and puffs of sand at high speeds, something for the desert.
  • HeavyRain: The big brother of the Light Rain. Torrents of water flooding the swamp regions.
  • RoughWinds: Rough winds tearing at everything. Mostly in the mountain terrain.

The difficult thing was to make the effects work well considering the artificial perspective we have in combat. The background is a sort of top-down view, while the characters and obstacles are all shown from the side. When making the rain it was most evident. I tried a bunch of different movement for the drops, even one that was similar to a camera looking down, with the rain falling past it, but it ended up too distracting.

See for yourself:

More hyperspace than rain, if you ask me. Also annoying if you watch it for too long.

And what weather effects would you like to see in game?

Let me know! I'd love to add more!

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