Monday, February 25, 2008

Guard senses: motion

This week I got a little bit done on the plane flights to and from the Game Developer Conference. I added an alternate control scheme for notebook computers since I happened to be working on a notebook computer and they don't have numeric keypads. I opted for a numpad-style configuration of keys that are marked on my notebook as an alternate numpad: 7, 8, 9, U, I, O, J, K, L. I looked up the notebook control scheme in Unangband and it uses a VI-style scheme, where the NSEW movement is on J, K, L, H, and the diagonals are on keys hanging off of H: Y, U, B, N. I don't like this scheme as well because, while it's more comfortable for vertical and horizontal movement, it's definitely less comfortable for diagonal movement, and diagonal movement is critical in my game.

I've made the alternate scheme available simultaneously with the primary scheme (as opposed to having a configuration option) since I don't use a lot of keys yet. The game keeps track of which one you're using and adjusts the status-line help prompts to refer to those keys.

I also made wall sliding a bit more conservative, so it would stop when you hit a usable object such as a door.

The big thing I've been experimenting with, though, is guard senses. I've been trying adding motion to the mix, so that if you move you are more visible than when you're still. After experimentation I think it may be a bad idea. For one, it exacerbates the general problem with stealth-based games, in that your movement is restricted and you have to sit still and wait (something that turns a lot of people off to the genre). However, the bigger problem is that, if you are moving and a guard is about to spot you, often times sitting still will only plant you in the path of the guard, to be discovered in a few turns when he draws near. If you are about to be spotted you need the freedom of movement to get out of the way.

No comments: