17 April 2014
Anyway, what have I been getting up to since my last post? Well, lots, really. I have basically finished the scenario and it seems to be all ready for the submission date of May 1st. I have worked on many aspects, but the majority of the time has been spent on working with play-testers and improving the map based on their feedback. Voice acting has also made its way into the scenario. It was all done in one evening with myself sitting alone on my bed doing silly voices. Ah, the game dev. life is for me! The voice acting should be in my submission no problem, the only issue is, I'm not sure how easy it will be to share all the files easily on Steam Workshop. I think there might be an issue of A) File size and B) Having an easy way for the players to download the files and them put them into the correct folder once done. If the voice acting doesn't make it on to the Workshop, I might record a play through of it so that people who do want to see it can.
Before I go, I would just like to thank everyone that has been on the contest thread. In particular AoF_HockeySam18. They have all been very helpful and supportive in any questions or problems I have had, (and trust me, there have been more than a few!). Either way, all of them are a really nice bunch and make the AoE community a really pleasant thing to be a part of. (The same cannot be said of DOTA2 *cough* *cough*).
Well, I'll release an update to tell you how it all goes. The map should be available to download sometime in May. Wish me luck! I'll need it...
19 February 2014
Yearning for something, someone even.
Cricket soothing with annoying
It isn't working,
Writing this in the netting of heat.
I don't want to tell you what or who I miss,
It would simply be his annoying
16 February 2014
The main way in which I have been doing this is by thinking about what you would find in the city of Rome that could also be a threat. Here are some of the ideas I have:
- A garrison of soldiers at the city barracks.
- A stables, with trained horse riders.
- A temple, with monks that can convert units.
- Ships that have come from the docks on the river.
|The stables, as mentioned previously.|
I have also made one of the objectives that can be destroyed the city's university, to make up its lack of military might, I have given it a lot of protection, with many castles and watch towers.
One of the major issues which I have been thinking about is what the player should or should not be able to destroy. To give a sense that the city is somewhat realistic, there are a lot of civilian buildings that play only a background role at best. I was debating whether I should allow the player to destroy these or not. If I don't let them destroy the buildings, it will make the map more focused and less cluttered in terms of options, giving a smoother experience. Allowing the player to destroy them will, however, give them more tactical options, destroying buildings that are blocking their path for a greater tactical route. Additionally, it also gives the sense that you are attacking a whole city, rather than just a set few objectives. For now, I have left the buildings so that the player can attack them. This may change though as I get closer towards the end of development.
What's next? Well, I will be thinking more about the writing and the story specifics of the scenario. I have some ideas floating around at the moment, so I will mull over them a little more before I start to implement them.
6 February 2014
There was suddenly a new development: a name. Natalie. At this my brain started to whir into action. I went through every folder and sub folder in my brain. Nothing. I simply couldn't recall her. I dashed to my computer and vigorously searched every social network at my disposal. Again, nothing. Who was she? Perhaps this was all a hoax, someone playing a part? Surely not. Maybe someone from a party last summer? Possible. Either way she was lost on me, her name drowned in the dews of time. I moved forward with the conversation, trying to read into what she was saying. Anything really, only so that I had a chance to scrape the barrel of any encounters I had had.
There was a swift change of tone from Natalie. She said quite solemnly, (although you can never truly tell with text messages), 'I need to tell you something'. This is when I looked up from the glare of my phone. I stared at myself in the mirror, examining my perplexed face. The plot was about to thicken. I replied 'Go for it', trying to sound as blasé as possible. There was a long wait.
A sudden buzz escaped from the phone a solid five minutes later. She had replied. It was a long message. She described a time we had met, she thought that I was funny, handsome, and kind. I even had a great smile. But then she went on. She talked about how it had never worked out with guys for her before. I had had a serious effect on her life and she thought of me a lot. But this is what amazed me. There was one final sentence at the end of the text that made me feel like I had never done before: she was in love with me. Pure and simple. Love. I was well, shocked to say the least. A sudden spasm of guilt travelled down to the soles of my feet. This girl had told me that she was in love with me. She had been brave, taken the plunge. And me? I didn't even know her name.
I paced up and down my room, stepping over my politics essay that was lying, unfinished on the floor, due in for the next day. But that could wait, this was important. I stopped. Standing motionless in the middle of the room, I gave myself a smile, I glanced at myself in the mirror once more. I was proud, I was happy. I didn't even know who this girl was, but I, in that short period of time we must have met had changed her life. She had fallen in love with me. The journey I had set out on pursuing these string of text messages had paid off, I was important to someone. Somebody cared about me. I continued pacing not knowing what to reply, I had to know who she was now, I couldn't go on like this. Then, as I was about to start writing out my follow up, another buzz escaped from the phone.
This moment, this next message, illustrated to me how someone can make and destroy a person in just the space of ten minutes. No wars were fought, or long lasting relationships of love broken. But rather two text messages. This message was a death warrant in a way. I read it twice over to make sure I wasn't going crazy. But she was gone, Natalie was fading, as sand might fall between your fingers. Her love for me was leaving, stepping out of the back door and into the dark horizon. It turns out who I thought was Natalie was in fact a friend of mine, she was worried about me, thought I hadn't been looking too good recently. She had done this as an attempt to make me feel better. Her intent was sweet at heart, I know. But even still, she had taken a bite out of me. I was hurt, wounded. Now, you might be thinking that I'm over reacting, that I should never have taken this complete stranger's words to heart, that I was was weak and shouldn't have been so destroyed by those two little messages. Well, Rome wasn't built in a day, and it wasn't destroyed in one either. But I? I was built in a day.
3 February 2014
And scrambled out of the earth,
They had to decide,
As they were surrounded,
Surrounded by the depths of eternity.
Their choice was for all of them,
For all the future selves who would fall or scramble.
They were surrounded on either side:
The weary still of death,
The loud frolic of life.
And they went away,
With only the whispers of myth carrying them,
into the thick clouds
and the thicker dirt.
12 January 2014
Firstly, my main priority was to learn how triggers worked. Despite having made maps for AoE before, I have never made a scenario or any map for that matter which has required the use of triggers. It turns out, they are fairly basic, they are just simple 'if' and 'then' statements used practically all the time in programming. I did have a bit of an issue concerning the triggers, however. I wanted to have specific character names; such as Emperor Maximus, King Genseric and his son, Huneric. This meant that when having a specific character talk, if I wanted to just have the character's name appear and not the player name I had to give it as an 'instruction' rather than a 'player says'. So whilst it does look a little weird, I do find it is better than the alternative. Additionally, having it appear as an instruction allows me to change how long it appears for, which is helpful for particularly long/short speeches.
One of the main focuses that I had was the design of the map itself. This is an ongoing process still. Although, what I want to achieve most with it is a good balance between a nice city and having a mechanically fun map to play. One way that I was intending on achieving this was by awarding the player for exploring. It would allow me to be a bit more creative with how the map looks as well as add another layer of depth to the map. I intend to award players for exploring with some basic RPG elements. When they find something, one of the characters will gain extra attack or they could receive extra units for example. In fact, whilst I was thinking about this, I just so happened to Tweet that making an Age of Empires RPG could be a lot of fun. This is what happened:
Does this mean anything? Could the Age of Empires team be at work on a spin-off to the series? Only time can tell. Although, it's more likely that it is nothing at all and I'm just getting all over excited.
Apart from that, I do not have that much to tell you guys at the moment. I'm trying to avoid giving away too many details of the map as it is being entered into a competition (my friend recommended not to talk specifics too much, so I will follow his advice for the mean time). Until then, don't fast castle too much, it isn't fun being on the receiving end of one of those.
20 December 2013
Meet Matt, despite being young and having the rest of his life ahead of him, he is worried, concerned. Matt worries about what his legacy will be, what he will be remembered for. One day, as an attempt to create some sort of legacy for himself, he makes a ham sandwich. However, by the end of the day that small legacy he created is gone; as Matt eats the sandwich whilst visiting the park.
This short film was made by Fynn Levy, Matthew Stokes and Matthew Toohig.
11 December 2013
Having mulled over my initial map idea and reviewing what I had made so far, I decided that some major changes had to take place. Quite simply, I needed to restart making the map. The size that I had initially chosen was all wrong, it didn't allow the type of gameplay that I wanted to encourage in the map- larger exploration and pursuing objectives with multiple tactical options; rather than linear tower defence-like gameplay. Additionally, having contacted the judge for the competition further, I realised that I could have a lot more of a creative licence than what I was originally holding myself back with. However, there were still some key ideas that I wanted to keep: the destruction of the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, for example.
|Initial layout (smaller).|
|Current layout (larger).|
I also did a bit more research into the events of the conflict itself. I found out that in fact, there was very little fighting within the sack and few people are recorded of actually dying. This was because there very little Roman troops in the areas at the time. However, I have decided that I will have some Roman soldiers in the city (for there to be some actual conflict), and perhaps have a larger Roman force return to attempt to reclaim the city midway through the scenario.
I found out that I could, if I wanted to, add voice dialogue into the scenario for the characters. Whilst this is a nice idea, I'm not quite sure if I will implement any, as I'm not quite sure who I would get to do the voice recordings (it might just be myself putting on some stupid accents), as well as the amount of time it could take up.
Until next time...
7 December 2013
I was looking through the discussions for Age of Empires II: HD Edition and I came across this. I read through it and I was immediately excited. "An opportunity to compete my map making skills against others! And an excuse to do some historical research!" I was thrilled. Anyway, I have since decided that I am going to give entering the competition a go. Along with it, I intend to have a series of development logs, not only so that I can track my process, but anyone else who is interested can join in the journey with me. So, enough of my jabbering, here it goes:
- The setting allowed me to use the new Roman units and building set included in the recent The Forgotten expansion.
- The ambiguity of the actual events gave me more creative license.
- The Vandals (the Kingdom who attacked Rome) were original Eastern Germanic, but had moved to Northern Africa. This meant that I could add a variety of units from different areas, without breaking the historical validity too extremely.
4 December 2013
30 November 2013
To what extent was the 1964 Presidential Election was the most important reason behind US escalation in Vietnam?
Just an essay I wrote about something I have been studying in history classes. It may even help other students: