Health, Morale, and a New Look for Humans

Fireman

Figure 1.1. Perfectly safe.

As usual, it’s been about three months since my previous post and a Kitbash status update is woefully overdue.

The game has a new health system for dealing with the trauma and torment you’re likely to experience during your space adventures. There’s also a new morale system in place, measuring each unit’s level of cool-headed resolve or wild panic. Not that there’s any reason to panic, of course. Space travel is safe! See Figure 1.1.

I’ve also finally settled on a character design for humans in the game. Nothing special, but it was still a nightmarish task for a non-artist like myself, and took forever. Not fun at all!

Read on for the full details.

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Modules and Tasks: Things to Do to Get Things Done

Random board layout

Lots of new goodies scattered across the procedurally-generated layouts!

Here’s a quick look at some of the additions to Kitbash since the previous update, way back in August:

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After Action Report

Captain Fleetwood had found himself aboard a small ship — just two zones. Life support was offline in one of the zones, with no oxygen left to speak of. A flip of the coin had placed Fleetwood in this inhospitable half of the ship. The situation was immediately tense.

He could tell from the lights that the zone’s generator was functional. The life support module must have been damaged or deactivated, so he quickly set about searching the unfamiliar layout to find it. Time was already running out — he couldn’t breathe.

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Hoard Mode: Adding Furniture to Kitbash

[E]

Level 1 Crowd Cleaver


Things are finally starting to settle down here after last month’s whirlwind of activity.

I survived the 9 hour drive to PAX, helped manage the crowds in the expo hall, and chatted with a few other indies along the way. Volunteering as an Enforcer was a great way to experience PAX — lots of fun!

Our foster puppies fully recovered from their viral infections and are finally out of quarantine. We re-homed one of them earlier this week and the other may join her new family as early as this weekend. Good luck, pups!

It was an exciting month but I’m looking forward to turning my full attention back to game development. Here’s what I’ve been up to recently:

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Progress, PAX and Puppies

Progress

Fire

Been having too much fun implementing hazards…

Development on Kitbash has been chugging along. It’s a bit stressful to see the months flying by while I wrestle with some of these features. The game is shaping up nicely though — I just wish it wasn’t taking so long!

Since the previous blog update in April, I’ve implemented the following:

  • Fog of War: The random board layouts are now hidden away and are revealed room-by-room depending on your units’ line of sight. As you’d expect, this has totally changed the way the game plays, even at this early stage.
  • Locks: This is a subset of a larger system of interactive objects strewn about the boards. It always bugs me when a door in a game is locked from both sides, because that’s rarely how you’d actually want a lock to work. So I was quite intent on making sure doors in Kitbash could be locked from either or both sides. It’s a very minor thing, but part of the freedom you get as a solo developer is that you can fritter away valuable time on very minor things. (minor != unimportant)
  • Hazards: This isn’t a game about space marines blasting the hell out of anything that moves. This is a game about mishaps, malfunctions and maladies — and these things are generally going to get out of control if the player isn’t careful. One of the ways they can manifest is in the form of a hazard. These are environmental dangers (such as fire or overclocked gravity) and they’re going to do terrible things to your hapless crew.
  • Loot: I think this is new since April. Each unit now has an inventory of loot that gets dropped when they die. Units can pick up whatever loot they’re standing on. It’s a simple system that will get built up a bit later.
  • Action Points: This is another evolving system. Units spend Action Points (or “Time Units”) to go about their business each turn. There have been a lot of details to work out and I feel good about how it’s come together so far. I should write a separate post about this sometime to explain some of the unusual choices made: diagonal movement, fast/slow reactions, strafing, what happens if you step into a fire and then end the turn with lots of APs left, your choices when spending APs to use skills, etc.
  • Miscellaneous: With three months of work since the previous blog update, there are lots of miscellaneous bits that have either slipped my mind or don’t really fit on this list. Working out details about the metagame, character development, all the stuff that gives the tactical battles a reason to exist.

And I’m so close to finally having some furniture/scenery on the boards! The boards still look so vacant, when actually each area contains 9 different modules (medical, comms, cargo hold, etc.) It’s just days away now. Or at least it would be if it weren’t for…

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Practical vs Presentable

One of the benefits of being the only person working on a project is that I’m free to veer off in strange directions without inciting chaos. As I dug into some of the items planned for the next milestone, it became apparent that things would go smoother if I took a detour through the unknown.

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Milestones

Heading towards Milestone #1

Heading towards Milestone #1

This week marks the beginning of a new project milestone for Kitbash. Milestone #3, specifically. The first two milestones passed by quietly — this time I’m forcing myself to pause just long enough to post an update. I’ve been posting some Twitter updates and taking part in Screenshot Saturday on Reddit, but this blog has been woefully neglected.

Milestone #1: Barebones

The first milestone was completed a few months ago and mostly involved familiarizing myself with C#, Unity and Blender. The requirements for the milestone included the following:

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Kitbash’s Origin Story

Development has been a bit slow lately because we’ve taken on another foster dog — a clever but timid pup who’s being trained and prepped for a new shot at life. I was chatting with him this morning, trying to take his mind off his recent de-sexing, and he suggested I write a post about the origin of Kitbash.  Good idea, pup!

This post will be a bit rambly and disjointed. I just wanted to give some background before jumping into posts about the game’s current state.

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What is Kitbash?

Kitbash is:

  • a turn-based squad tactics game for PC/Mac/Linux
  • X-COM meets Firefly, with a smattering of Paranoia (the RPG), Moon (the movie) and Sudoku (the logic puzzle)
  • about assembling a crew of jumpsuit-wearin’ space professionals with trust issues
  • full of mishaps, maladies and malfunctions

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Getting Started

Welcome to the Devtactics dev blog!

The intention behind this blog is to track my progress through various game development projects. You might find the occasional tutorial or tip posted as well — we’ll see how it goes.

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