Combat Overhaul, Demo, and Delays

Hello everyone,

Two weeks ago, I released the devlog for the combat overhaul, and I realized I haven’t made a blog post about it – so, here it is! Here’s the video if you have not watched it yet.

In summary, I added the new grunt enemy to test out the existing enemy frameworks, and I also added a turret enemy. The addition of these new enemies helped me to set up an enemy system that can be the foundation for all future enemies, and it was also helpful to test the combat mechanics of the player. I also tweaked the dash attack and the downward dash stab – the dash attack now damages all enemies that you dash through, and the downward dash stab locks the direction to straight down.

I also implemented the dash energy bar, which depletes when you dash and regenerates when dealing damage to enemies. In the future, this bar will serve other purposes, but I am still working out those specifics. Visually, I added blood particles, body parts, and flashes to aid the feel of the combat, but there is still a long way to go until it feels as good as I want it to.

Now, jumping to the present: unfortunately I have not been able to work on the game at all for the past couple of weeks. I had to take the time to refocus on school to catch up in certain classes, and as a result I am very behind with this month’s goals. This week is finals week, and afterward I will be able to continue on the game at full capacity.

The combat demo is yet to be released, but during the week of the 21st I intend to release the combat demo, and catch up on much of the lost time from the last couple of weeks.

Despite this setback, this does not change the release date of January 2022. When planning out the development schedule, I allocated a buffer period of about two months to allow for unexpected setbacks.

Once again, I apologize for the lack of updates, but development will continue as normal soon.

Combat/Dashing Tweaks & New Enemy

Hello everyone!

If you’re coming from the Crevis site – welcome! This is the new place for all of my projects and creations. Anyway, back to Nesus. First and foremost: thanks for all the support on the latest devlog! It inspires me that there are people interested in what I’m doing.

February Goals

For February, I’m aiming to release a short combat demo that will feature 3-4 enemies in various combat situations. This will be to test the feel of the combat system, and to make sure that I’m on the right path. We’re already more than a week into February, so I did not come empty-handed to today’s blog post! Here’s a little of what I’ve been working on.

Brute Walking Animation

The first image is a gif of the initial walking/running animation, and the second is a video of me fighting an unnecessarily large amount of these things! The video also shows a bunch of the little tweaks I’ve been doing to combat. To name a few: enemies now flash red and white when hit. In addition, their healthbars flash white to indicate that their health has been decreased. Hopefully this helps to provide more visual feedback to the player to make combat feel better.

On enemies’ death, they will now explode into a bunch of little pieces. I’m planning on adding blood and other particles before the combat demo, but this is where we’re at now! The video also shows me using several different attacks – the standard attack combo, the dash stab attack, and the downward dash stab attack. The standard attack is achieved by attacking normally, the dash stab by attacking and dashing at the same time, and the downward dash stab by dashing down and attacking at the same time.

While the dash stab only does 1 damage, it is effective in damaging several enemies at once. The downward dash stab does 3 damage, making it the most powerful single attack that the player has. I’ve been looking into ways to restrict the use of dashes and dash attacks, and here’s what I’ve come up with.

The Light Energy Bar

There will be a new bar next to the health bar called the light energy bar. This bar will deplete by 60% when using a dash. The dash stab will deplete it by 80%, and the downward dash stab will deplete it by 100%. The only way to replenish light energy is by dealing damage to other enemies, or to objects around the player. The amount of energy gained is something I still have to work out, but this system is to discourage players from hitting enemies, and then dashing away immediately. Instead, the player will be encouraged to take fights to gain light energy so that they can utilize the dash, and more powerful attacks. I’m considering having jumps use light energy as well, to discourage players from jumping away to safety – jumps may use 30% of the light energy.

That’s all for today! If you want to participate in the combat demo, you can do so by joining the Discord (the first couple of users to join will be given access).

Until next time!

Devlog #1 – Level Editor

Hello everyone!
Here’s the first devlog of 2021. I hope to make this a biweekly thing, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep that up. I’ll say monthly, just to be safe. Anyway, enjoy the video!

In the beginning of 2020, my friend Nate and I went up to Yosemite for New Years – and it was on this trip that I weighed my options for Nesus. There were only really two options – to use a different game engine that could accommodate my needs for parallax and lighting, or to create a custom, in-game level editor.

I decided to create a custom, in-game level editor, because I did not want to take the time to recreate the game in a different engine. It was the perfect solution – I wouldn’t have to recompile the game every time I wanted to make a change, and I could automate everything about the creation of levels so that I wouldn’t have to do repetitive tasks that disrupt my workflow. Oh, and I could add literally anything to the editor.

UI was difficult in the beginning, but early-on I found IMGuiGML, a port of the popular Dear ImGui development UI framework, perfect for creating editors. For months I worked with more drive than I have ever had in game development – and despite being in school I managed to spend 5-8 hours daily working on the editor. (2)

First, I incorporated the basic necessities first – systems for placing tiles/objects, and a layer system of object/tile layers, with saving specifically in mind. I incorporated tile brush sizes, in addition to making it so that you can place tiles from different tilesets on the same layer. This was something you could not do in GameMaker’s native editor – it required you to use a different tile layer for different tilesets. Internally, tiles are represented by ds_grids – and there are two ds_grids per layer. One grid holds the tile index, while the other holds the tileset index. (3)

After tile/object editing was possible, I had to make it possible to “run” levels. It was not yet possible to play the levels being created. To do so, I created a system called the “editor runtime” – this system deactivates all of the helper objects of the editor (including the object placeholders) and creates all of the instances based on the locations of the placeholders. Tiles did not need to be loaded, as they were already loaded by the editor.

Now that I had the editor runtime, I had to find a way to run a level separate from the editor. As of now, the game needed the editor to run, as it stored many of the data structures and information necessary to “run” a level. I created a new system, dubbed just the “runtime”, which was a little more work, and it runs in a separate room than the editor. The runtime must wipe itself of any old level content, load the tiles, and finally load the instance data, keeping saved variables and save information in mind. I had to recreate the data structures and systems provided by the editor, but in a standalone manner. (4)

Several days later, I completed the runtime, and the foundations for the level editor were complete. Afterward, I sought to solve the issues that plagued me in the first place – first, the parallax editor. I could now adjust the values of the file in real time, and readjust the values based on what I was seeing. I then added the lighting system into the editor – allowing me to view the effects of the lighting in real time and adjust the lighting values accordingly. The work on the level editor was finally starting to pay off! (5)

Following these features, I added the instance variable editor – allowing for the setting and saving of specific instance variables, the variable channel system – allowing for triggers to “trigger” a specific channel and instance variables to listen to specific channels, and generic instance variable saving – which allowed me to specify specific variables that would always be saved in an object, in addition to remembering that object was created/destroyed during the runtime. With the recent addition of the dialogue editor, the editor has become much more powerful than I originally thought, and now I can finally start working on what matters – the content.

TLDR; watch the video! Thanks for reading and stopping by – see you in a few days!