Over the Top

No, that’s not a reference to the greatest movie about professional arm wrestling ever made.  It’s the only phrase I could possibly use to describe the video that Josh put together today.

When you recover from the inevitable face melting that results from watching this video, you might notice some of the new visual details we’ve added.  Probably the most obvious is the camera shake.  We might dial this back a little, so that it doesn’t become irritating while playing.  It really adds intensity to the visuals, though, seriously.

There’s also a camera zoom that happens when enemies are nearby.  The camera zooms out so that you get a better view for combat.  Once all the enemies are gone, it zooms back in so that you can focus on the tiles.  The change in zoom is a strong visual indicator that something bad is nearby.  Before, we just had the cursor change shape and color, which was fairly easy to overlook.

The background tiles are no longer just dull, gray blobs.  They have some actual materials applied.  Most of them are still pretty plain and repetitive, but you can see some scattered here and there that have some interesting materials.  Those are the ones that you’re hunting.  Josh and Garrett are working on the full list of materials and how they should look.

You’ll need plenty of basic metals to build new stuff for your ship, so those boring metallic tiles aren’t just there to fill empty space.  But the challenge will be to find areas of the map that contain concentrations of the rare materials, because those will let you build the best weapons, engines, shields, and so on.  Unsurprisingly, you’ll probably run into the nastiest enemies in those areas, too.

Tiles (and enemies) are just randomly generated in the build that you see in the video.  That won’t be the case in the released game.  We’ll be using a mixture of procedural generation and old-fashioned level design to place everything.  But the end result will not be random at all, in the sense that it will be the same every time you play.  Purely random levels are interesting in some ways, and much easier to create, but they don’t suit the style of The Ladon Device.  We want the player to be challenged to find the best way through a level, which means we want to design the levels in a specific way.

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