Time for a technical update! As you surely remember from my Christmas blog post, we've been working hard at implementing a first playable version of the game using our new modular code base. Besides all the art, we've been working in parallel on implementing (1) many of the core game mechanics, (2) a map system and (3) networking. The time has now come to integrate these into something playable.
Game mechanic-wise we've implemented base versions of many important features. Soldiers can be selected, moved around, be used to shoot at the enemy, throw grenades and drop dead when hit by a bullet or within the range of an exploding grenade. We have also implemented game phases and a simple score panel. Networking is also being implemented, with the ability to enter a lobby and join a room. Most of this functionality is completely new, though some parts we could partially port from last years’ prototype build.
Note that we've just implemented the systems for things like throwing grenades, shooting and movement at the moment, not worked them out in detail. For example, soldiers can shoot, but the exact hit chance algorithm is just temporary. A lot of tweaking will be required to make it all final and well balanced. How much tweaking all depends on the results of play testing and any game design changes we do along the way. To make this job easier we are making use of an external scripting language (LUA) to be able to easily tinker with algorithms that are related to things such as hit %, suppression, grenade range, etc. This is a very important addition, as tweaking was a tremendously tedious job in the old Call of Combat, as it required me to change the source code, recompile it, upload the new version, restart all servers and have everyone update just to change one will little value somewhere. With our new setup even a non-technical person can tinker with base values and algorithms without even needing to restart the game to see the results!
One core game mechanic that has not been mentioned so far is of course a cover system, the system you need for your soldiers to be able to use terrain, buildings and objects to protect themselves from enemy bullets! As some of you might remember we've been experimenting a bit with this already last year in the prototype. The reason we haven’t simply ported this code to our current modular build is that it ties in directly with the whole map structure, which we want to finalize first. So these last few weeks lots of work has been going into developing a flexible way to determine what the map terrain looks like and what cover goes where. We believe this should make it easier to create a greater variety of maps, while also leaving some room for some cool future additions. You’ll be hearing more about this is greater detail in one of the next few blog posts.
Oh, and you may be wondering why we don’t add some nice sexy screenshots of the current build to this blog post. The reason for that is simple: the current build is simply butt ugly :P. We’ll be sure to post some screenshots when we've integrated some of the beautiful art that Erik has been showing off already these last few months.
Florian, aka "KAding"