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Developers => Developer's Lycaeum => Topic started by: Rickton on November 15, 2013, 05:26:26 PM

Title: Possession 2 - Playable!
Post by: Rickton on November 15, 2013, 05:26:26 PM
Latest news:
There's now a preview build of the game (http://weirdfellows.itch.io/possession2)! Last updated Nov 6, 2016. Three complete levels from the final version are playable!

----------
Original Post:
Apologies if this is in the wrong place, wasn't sure if here or the Incubator was better.

   Recently I've begun working on a sequel to my 7DRL Possession (http://forums.roguetemple.com/index.php?topic=3159). I don't know how widely-played it was, but from what I've seen people talking about it, it seems to have been pretty well-liked. Anyone who's played it, feel free to chime in with your opinions on how you think the changes I'm suggesting are terrible ideas that ruin the basic concept that made the original game so great.

   Obviously the new game will feature a ton of new content and more varied maps, but I'm also considering making some mechanical changes as well. In my mind, one of the strengths of roguelikes is that the player's choices are important. When a wrong move can wipe out your entire game and nothing can be taken back, being forced to choose between two unknown outcomes has a lot of impact.
   However, in Possession, there are a couple of places where I think the choices aren't that difficult, because the right choice is obvious.

   The first, which may not really be that much of a problem, is that there's no incentive to continue exploring the level once you've found the stairs. There are no items or treasure to pick up, so you're not going to find anything useful. The only reason to stick around would be to prepare for the boss fight.
   One way I'm going to change that is by some levels having keys or bosses/mini-bosses scattered around that you have to find/defeat before going to the next level, rather than the boss just showing up when you try to go up the stairs. (Keys would be abstracted, there still won't be an inventory, because I just feel like dealing with items while switching bodies all the time would be a major pain).
   I'm also considering putting "soul orbs" scattered around the level that enable you to increase the powers of your ghost and maybe even gain special abilities, but I'm not too sure about that. I feel like that might detract from the central premise of the game, that your ghost is totally weak and powerless except for possession.


   The second, and in my mind more important problem (because it involves the central mechanic of the game), is that it's almost always better to possess a new body instead of stay with your current one. Granted, if the new body is a different monster you have to make the decision of switching to a different monster that you might not like as much as the one you're possessing, so that's fine. But if you encounter another copy of the monster you're currently possessing, there's no reason not to pick the new one. Either the old body's already been in some fights and so has taken damage, or if not, fighting the new monster will cause the old body to take damage, so you might as well just possess the new body and keep full health.
   I've got a few ideas on how to make this choice more interesting. First of all, I'm pretty much certain I'm going to have the possessed creature "level up" as you defeat other creatures. This'll also make it so that lower-level creatures are still useable in higher-level areas; in theory, I'd like it to be possible (if extremely difficult) to play through the whole game while only possessing a single creature.
   In the old game, damaging a creature made it easier to possess, but possessing a creature healed it completely, so really the only risk you faced was that you might accidentally kill it. I'll probably also change it so possessing something doesn't heal it completely, so you have to weight the consequences of damaging it to make it easier to possess, but also meaning it'll be weaker once you DO take control.

Then there are a couple of other ideas I'm tossing around that'll change the way things work a bit more, that I'm more interested in getting feedback on:
Anyway, if anyone has any comments about any of the above, feel free to chime in. I'm normally pretty bad with doing dev logs, but I'm really going to try to actually post stuff about the development of Possession 2.
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Jo on November 18, 2013, 03:13:16 AM
Just in case, do you realize this game was one of the top rated games of the 7DRL?

It even got a perfect score from one of our reviewers, the only perfect score in the competition.

http://www.roguetemple.com/7drl/2013/

As you can see you tied for first!

There is quite a bit of commentary in the reviews there.

7DRLs are rarely that widely played, but this one was solid as hell. I'd love to see what you do with it.
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Jo on November 18, 2013, 03:26:54 AM
Note there is a video play through from Game Hunter as well.

His commentary is invaluable. He did a vid for every single 7DRL game. Crazy man.

The vid is linked from the link I, um, linked.

Please tell me you knew about this? That you 'won' the competition?

If you didn't know then please come back and tell me, I would LOVE to have been the one that broke the news to you 8 months after the fact.
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Rickton on November 18, 2013, 05:59:12 PM
Hah, no, I definitely knew (has it been 8 months already though?). That was very cool to see. There is definitely some good stuff in there (well, from 2 of the reviewers anyway). I'd seen Game Hunter's video, it actually was responsible for the majority of the interface changes I made for the post-comp version...watching someone else playing and commenting on your game is really enlightening.

I attribute a lot of my success on the tools I was using...I was using LÖVE (http://love2d.org/), which is a lua-based game framework, so I didn't need to worry about writing graphics code, or keyboard and mouse code, I just had to write the game itself. And since everything was in Lua, I didn't need to recompile, I just needed to restart the game to see my changes.

Anyway, I've implemented some of the changes I talked about in the top post: having to leave the body and zoom to the new one before you possess a new one unless you're already next to it. It works pretty well on the lower levels, I haven't made it to the higher levels without dying (usually due to something not working how it should) or crashing yet though, so we'll see how tough it is with enemies who have low possession chances.
I should have a dev version up for testing today or tomorrow.
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Jo on November 19, 2013, 09:52:21 AM
Cool.

I'd love to have been the bringer of that good news though.  ;)
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Rickton on November 19, 2013, 08:04:30 PM
OK, here's a version testing some of the possession changes I talked about in the first post. Possessing a creature you're not next to causes you to automatically leave the body you're in (exploding it, natch), and zoom to the new body. If you fail to possess it, it's stunned for a turn, so it won't just attack you and kill you immediately (though you do have to worry about other nearby enemies).
No new content, it's basically the same as the first game aside from the above changes, though there are some interface improvements (and the cavern generation code has been tweaked to allow more variety).

Mac Version (http://www.taylor-vaughan.com/possession2/dev/Possession2devmac.zip)
Windows Version (http://www.taylor-vaughan.com/possession2/dev/Possession2devwin.zip) (untested)
.love file (http://www.taylor-vaughan.com/possession2/dev/Possession2dev.love) (Usable on Mac, Windows or Linux, requires LÖVE Client (http://www.love2d.org)
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Rickton on November 20, 2013, 11:17:29 PM
I've added in projectiles, which are a feature that was sorely missing from the first game.
Pictured here, my test case: a skeleton throwing its own bones at people.
(http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/projectiles.gif)
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Darren Grey on November 25, 2013, 05:21:46 PM
As the person who gave you a perfect score I suppose I should comment on how you could improve on that... ;)

I agree on many of the design changes you suggest. However I think forced keys/minibosses is a bad idea. If you feel the exploration is lacking in the game then cut it out entirely. Make the levels smaller, but with the other stairs still a guaranteed distance away. With smaller levels you can still do minibosses - just have every 3rd level be the proper boss. You can also keep the same enemy types across these sections before the boss fight leads to an environment change.

Levelling up your ghost seems wrong. The whole "weak ghost" thing was really appealing to me.

A bit of levelling up possessed creatures seems good. But I also did like how "disposable" they could be at times, and it was nice to be forced to try other creatures, even if the creature you switched to was technically weaker. Don't make it too hard to switch between bodies, just enough that it's a tactically interesting choice. And don't make staying in one form too advantageous, since it would be really boring to find one "ultimate" creature that you just stick in for the rest of the game. In particular be careful with any healing you allow, and have proper caps on added power from experience.

Looking forward to seeing what you produce :)
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Rickton on November 26, 2013, 05:45:41 PM
Thanks for the comments, Darren! (And for the perfect score  ;))

I agree on many of the design changes you suggest. However I think forced keys/minibosses is a bad idea.
The keys and minibosses wouldn't be for every level. I'm going to be putting in special levels (think DCSS's branches vs. main dungeon), and was thinking of the keys/minibosses for some of them. I'll try it out and see if it's too annoying.
I might also, rather than forcing players to explore, come up with powerups or something scattered around that they can pick up (limited-time buffs, healing, etc.). Carrot vs. stick approach, I guess.

If you feel the exploration is lacking in the game then cut it out entirely. Make the levels smaller, but with the other stairs still a guaranteed distance away. With smaller levels you can still do minibosses - just have every 3rd level be the proper boss. You can also keep the same enemy types across these sections before the boss fight leads to an environment change.
I don't really like the idea of keeping the same enemy types across multiple smaller levels. That just kinds of seems like adding unnecessary padding just to make the game longer. I am planning on making the game longer, but doing it by adding more content.

Levelling up your ghost seems wrong. The whole "weak ghost" thing was really appealing to me.
Agreed. After thinking some more about it, I've scrapped that idea.

A bit of levelling up possessed creatures seems good. But I also did like how "disposable" they could be at times, and it was nice to be forced to try other creatures, even if the creature you switched to was technically weaker. Don't make it too hard to switch between bodies, just enough that it's a tactically interesting choice. And don't make staying in one form too advantageous, since it would be really boring to find one "ultimate" creature that you just stick in for the rest of the game. In particular be careful with any healing you allow, and have proper caps on added power from experience.
Yeah. Bodies should definitely feel disposable. The mechanics should support the callous disregard the ghost apparently feels for the dungeon creatures. I just don't want it to be an obvious choice to switch to another one, there should be trade-offs. The way I'm leaning, possession is probably actually going to get easier...just more risky if it fails.

Looking forward to seeing what you produce :)
Thanks! It's always good to know someone out there enjoyed something you've made.
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Rickton on November 27, 2013, 06:25:19 PM
Semi-crossposted from my development blog (http://ironypolicy.wordpress.com/2013/11/27/possession-2-programmer-art-and-first-new-creature/)

The new game will feature graphics (though ASCII will remain as an option), and I've got someone better than me at that working on them, hopefully I'll be seeing what he's done this weekend.
For the time being, I've been texting out the graphics code with some pixelly programmer art:
(http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/gangsallhere.png)
I actually kind of like them, but hopefully my artist's art will be better. At the very least, it makes screenshots more interesting, at least to non-ASCII-literate people.

I've also added and fully implemented the first new creature of the game: the caretaker! He’s found on the first level, and is a sort of stealth-based character.

He has some unique abilities that aren’t really like anything in the first game. First of all is Undead Repellant, which keeps undead from noticing you (though they’ll still notice you if you attack them!). The second one is Undead Bait. If you throw it at an empty square, it will make nearby undead congregate around it. But, if you throw it at another creature, it will make all nearby undead attack THEM instead!

(http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/undeadbaitedcreature.png)
(Unfortunately, after taking the screenshot I noticed that the creature will also attack ITSELF, so that needs to be fixed).
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Jo on November 28, 2013, 12:57:41 AM
I like your tiles. Very clear. Lots of fun.
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Rickton on December 05, 2013, 05:45:30 PM
I like your tiles. Very clear. Lots of fun.
Thanks. We'll see if that ends up being the final style or not.

New devlog, crossposted from my blog (http://ironypolicy.wordpress.com/2013/12/05/possession-2-artificially-intelligent-tourists/). "Artificially Intelligent Tourists."

I've made some improvements to the creature AI, using a lot of the information from this article (http://roguebasin.roguelikedevelopment.org/index.php?title=Roguelike_Intelligence_-_Stateless_AIs) as a starting point. Different creatures now behave in different ways...most still act like they used to, blindly charging at you and attacking you. But they can also be (and become) hostile to other creatures, and fight them rather than you! Some types of creatures will even be friendly to you if you're possessing one of their own. They also have the ability to get scared and run away, or, for more long-range creatures, try to maintain a minimum distance.

These behaviors can also be combined to result in interesting behavior. For a good example, we have Tourists. Tourists are now "hostile" to all other creatures, but they won't attack outright. They prefer to hover around their target without getting too close, occasionally taking pictures, and running away if they're approached. Occasionally, the creature they take a picture of will get pissed off and start chasing them trying to attack them.

(http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/tourist.gif)
(Recommended soundtrack (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnHmskwqCCQ))

They're a nuisance, because their camera flash will stun you, but if they're focused on one of your enemies they can be helpful, because the camera flash will stun your enemies, too!

Sidenote: Before I had the maintain-minimum-distance code in and set the tourists as hostile to other creatures, they'd roam around the level attacking other creatures. Since I also hadn't finished the code that makes creatures hostile to things that attack them, they offered no resistance, so the tourists were basically traveling around killing everything. Games as social commentary!

This new system also has better support for passive creatures. For example, Snailpeople are described as peaceful. In the old game, they'd only attack you if you attacked them, except that the way the AI was written, they weren't aggressive enough to pursue you if you attacked them and then ran away, or were attacking them with a spell from far away. Now, they'll ignore you if you leave them alone, but if you hurt them, they'll chase you with no forgiveness. Some creatures also ignore you unless you get too close to them.

The new AI also includes AI for follower creatures, so they're slightly better now, finding their own targets to attack rather than waiting for you to target something. Creatures are also able to follow other creatures, for example necromancers now spawn with a few zombie followers.

All of these improvements do come at a cost though. On my 6-year-old laptop, the new AI code is 10 times slower than the old code. Not much of an issue, for my computer it now takes a 10,000th of a second per creature rather than a 100,000th of a second, so there's no noticeable change. But if it gets too much slower, there would be (and actually, there was, before I improved a certain part of the code that was being unreasonably slow).

There are still some improvements I'd like to make, but we'll have to see how much of a hit they cause performance.
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Rickton on January 01, 2014, 07:43:29 PM
Crossposted from my blog (http://ironypolicy.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/possession-2-new-level-designs-and-graphics/).

Happy New Year! It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Writing devlog posts just kind of fell behind over the holidays, but work has continued.

Today I’m going to talk about the levels. Possession 1 had just one level generator. It worked pretty well, and made pretty good-looking caves, but there wasn’t much variation.

I’ve added some more randomness to the cave generator, so that sometimes it makes more open cave and sometimes more enclosed ones, but I’ve also added three more level generators. They all will receive some more tweaking as work continues, but here’s what they look like so far:

The “BSP Tree“:

(http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/bsptree.png?w=150&h=96) (http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/bsptree.png)
Click to enlarge.

The standard seen in most roguelikes, this generates a bunch of rooms and links them together with corridors.

The Maze:

(http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/maze.png?w=150&h=96) (http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/maze.png)
Click to enlarge.

Pretty self-explanatory. Generates a maze. To make it more interesting, I remove all the dead ends (except two, where I place the entrance and exit), and add some extra passages and rooms.

The “Drunk Walker”:

(http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/drunkwalker.png?w=150&h=96) (http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/drunkwalker.png)
Click to enlarge.

It needs a little more work to ensure that more of the level is open, but this builds random, more natural-looking tunnels across the level.

There’s more new stuff in levels besides changes in their shape, though. There are going to be special levels (the first of which is almost finished and will be the subject of a later post), as well as modifications that can be made to basic levels, such as adding rivers (of water, lava, blood, slime, etc.) and chasms, or covering the level in (flammable!) grass and trees:

(http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/woods.png?w=150&h=96) (http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/woods.png)
Click to enlarge.

I’ve also written the graphics code for tiles in the levels themselves. There are seperate tiles for walls depending on what other walls they connect to, and various floor tiles to make the level look more varied. You can also see a chasm on the left. Chasms can be crossed by flying creatures, but not by others, and you can knock your enemies into chasms if you have abilities that let you push them around!

(http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/tilesandchasm.png?w=150&h=96) (http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/tilesandchasm.png)
Click to enlarge.

Not all levels will look the same in graphics mode, either. Special levels will have special tilesets. For example, here’s the “graveyard” tileset from the first level:

(http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/graveyard.png?w=150&h=96) (http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/graveyard.png)
Click to enlarge.

All the environment graphics are pretty ugly, I know…I just made them quickly for testing, the final versions will look better.
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Vanguard on January 03, 2014, 07:23:40 AM
That looks pretty cool!
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Enke on January 04, 2014, 12:35:31 AM
This seems pretty interesting! I think I'll give this a try.
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: spelk on January 04, 2014, 01:38:50 AM
Really like the idea behind your original game, looking forward to seeing the new version make an appearance. Especially to see the tile version in action.
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Rickton on January 04, 2014, 02:56:19 PM
Thanks everyone! Hopefully sometime soon I can get another development version up. Right now too much is in a half-finished state.
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Rickton on January 16, 2014, 07:46:59 PM
Not only will Possession 2 feature greater variety in its regular levels, but there will also be several "special levels" which you will sometimes visit instead of a regular level. The special levels are themed, featuring special tiles and design, and creatures that fit the theme. More interestingly, they usually feature special tiles, features, effects or layouts. Think Crawl's dungeon branches.

The Tombs are the first special level I've made. They're a series of rooms connected by corridors. Inside, you might be lucky(?) enough to find mummified kings sleeping amongst massive piles of treasure!
(http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/tombssleepingmummy.png?w=150&h=96)
Click to Enlarge (http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/tombssleepingmummy.png)
Being a ghost, you don't really have much use for gold. But the mummies don't know that, and if you touch their gold, they'll come to life and attack!

There are also cultists scattered throughout the tombs, who wander until they find a mummy, then begin worshipping it. While the cultists aren't very strong (and the mummies themselves are a bit on the weak side, too), if you're not careful you could find yourself being chased by a mob!

(http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/tombs.png?w=150&h=96)
Click to Enlarge (http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/tombs.png)

There's an upside, though. If you possess a mummy, unaligned cultists may start worshipping and following you instead!

(http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/tombscultistfollower.png?w=150&h=96)
Click to Enlarge (http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/tombscultistfollower.png)

There are other creatures in the tombs, too, such as deadly sphinxes, adventurous archeologists, as well as our old "friends" the tourists:

(http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/tombstourist.png?w=150&h=96)
Click to Enlarge (http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/tombstourist.png)
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Rickton on February 01, 2014, 06:29:21 PM
Today's post is about speed! Not only is it the first R-rated movie I ever watched (and haven't seen since), trying to account for it is also a pretty big issue in roguelikes and other turn-based games.
(http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/mv5bnzu0mzm4ndewml5bml5banbnxkftztywmtqxmty5-_v1_sy317_cr40214317_.jpg?w=101)

It's much easier to just have everyone move once per turn. Anything else just gets complicated, both from a programming and a gameplay standpoint. But given that the differences between bodies are such a big deal in Possession, I really want there to be some creatures that are weak but fast, and some that are strong and slow. Not to mention the possibilities of spells or obstacles that speed/up slow down creatures, and let the player (or their enemies!) run away or escape more quickly.

At first I tried a simple system where certain creatures either got an extra turn or lost a turn every X number of turns, but implementing it got kind of ugly and annoying. I decided to look into what other people had already done. I found this post (http://kooneiform.wordpress.com/2009/04/14/roguelike-turn-based-time/), detailing a wide variety of time systems used in roguelikes, and decided to go with an energy-based system, which is apparently what Angband (http://www.phial.com/angband/angfaq1.html#5k) uses, which is somewhat appropriate I guess because even though I don't really like it much now, it was the first roguelike I ever played.

Anyway, the basic way it works is, every creature has a "speed" rating that is added to their "energy" stat every turn. If their energy stat is above 100, they can move, and 100 is subtracted from it. If it's above 200 they can move twice, above 300 three times, etc. Most creatures just have speed 100, meaning they move once a turn.

For example:
CreatureSpeedEnergy, Turn 1Energy, Turn 2Energy, Turn 3
Bat150150 (moves once, reduces to 50)200 (moves twice, reduces to 0)150 (moves once, reduces to 50)
Zombie5050 (doesn't move)100 (moves once, reduces to 0)50 (doesn't move)
Caretaker100100 (moves once, reduces to 0)100 (moves once, reduces to 0)100 (moves once, reduces to 0)
Same goes for the player, of course. If they have above 100 energy, they can move, if not, a turn happens without them. If they have above 200 energy, their move is an "extra" move. They still move, as does any creature with more than 100 energy, but nobody's energy increases that turn.
(http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/running-away.gif?w=150) (http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/running-away.gif)
The ghost moves faster than most creatures, so the player has a chance to run away.
Click to enlarge.

This system worked pretty well as-is, but it does run into a weird problem. I had bats and ghosts both faster than normal, but the ghost was slightly faster than the bat. It got an extra turn every two turns, and the bat got an extra turn every three. This resulted in, one turn, the ghost would move twice and the bat wouldn't move, the next turn the bat would move twice and the ghost wouldn't move. It didn't make much sense.
(http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/bat.gif?w=150) (http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/bat.gif)
Player takes extra turns, then bat takes extra turns.
Click to enlarge.


So, to get around that, I made it so that if the player is faster than a creature, the creature saves up enough energy to take an extra turn, it doesn't actually take its extra turn until the player takes their extra turn. That seems to work pretty well so far. Might take some more tweaking as things continue, but we'll see.

(http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/newbat.gif?w=150) (http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/newbat.gif)
Bat now takes extra move when player takes extra move.
Click to enlarge.


The other problem with this system is that all actions take the same amount of time. It's not currently possible to have, for example, a creature who moves slowly but attacks at the same speed. Or a creature that can move 5 spaces per turn but only attack once. I'll have to see if that's something I want to invest the time into making possible.
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Rickton on February 20, 2014, 06:20:01 PM
I'm working two jobs right now, and the past few weeks have been pretty busy for me. I have managed to continue working on Possession 2, just not as much as I'd like. Today's post isn't really focusing on any one aspect in particular, just highlighting some of the things I've been working on.

I've made some more AI improvements. Smarter creatures now try to avoid dangerous terrain, such as lava and fires, while dumber creatures will just walk straight through.
(http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/skeletonfire.gif?w=150)
Dumb Skeleton walks straight through the fire. Click to enlarge. (http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/skeletonfire.gif)
(http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/caretakerfire.gif?w=150")
Smarter caretakers paths around the fire. Click to enlarge. (http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/caretakerfire.gif)

I've also made spellcasting AI improvements, so that creatures running away can use defensive spells like teleportation, and creatures can also use positive spells (like healing) on their allies.

Content-wise, I've also continued work. Here are shots from a few new special levels. First of all, the ruins of an underground city full of Lovecraftian monsters. It's mostly finished, just needs a little more work on some of the creature powers.
(http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/eldritchcity.png?w=150)
Click to enlarge. (http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/eldritchcity.png)

There's also a few areas that are still very much in progress, a nature preserve (full of flammable grass and trees!) and the ruins of a demon city.
(http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/demonruins.png?w=150)
Click to enlarge. (http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/demonruins.png)
(http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/naturepreserve.png?w=150)
Click to enlarge. (http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/naturepreserve.png)
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Rickton on April 03, 2014, 06:05:43 PM
Crossposted from my blog (http://ironypolicy.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/possession-2-some-new-creatures/)
So I apologize for not really having posted anything recently. There's been some work going on, but a lot of it has been kind of behind the scenes (probably worth a post, might be of interest to other game dev people), and honestly, there hasn't been THAT much work done, either. Right now my job situation just makes it hard to put as much time in as I'd like, especially considering I'm still running and working on Pleasantville by Night (http://www.pleasantvillebynight.com).

I do still have the energy to do some conceptual work, so once I do get the time to work I have plenty of creatures already planned out. I've also managed to make myself do the sprites for quite a few. Here's a look at some of them:

(http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/thenewguys.png?w=150)
Click to Enlarge (http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/thenewguys.png)

That's fifteen new creatures. Possession 1 had a total of 31 creatures, not counting the ghost. Only 24 of them were possessable. The creatures in that one image alone is more than half of what the first game had!

Here's some more info on how much bigger Possession 2 will be than Possession 1. Possession 1 was five levels long, and each level had the same group of creatures available each time. Possession 2 will be ten levels long, and eight of those levels will randomly be one of three possible levels and creature groups. If each of the levels has an average of five creatures, that's around 130. That's already a hundred more than the first game had, not counting bosses or summonables. And, of course, there's going to be a wider variety of level designs and level features, not to mention all the new creature abilities.

In about two weeks, my job hours are going to drop to sane levels, so you should be seeing more from me after that point. My priority will be to get a playable version out. It won't be complete (or probably even winnable), but you'll finally get a chance to play around with some of the new stuff.
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Rickton on April 29, 2014, 06:46:36 PM
Crossposted from my site (http://taylor-vaughan.com/possession-2-interface-work-and-good-news/)

I'm going to preface this by saying that work on the user interface is probably my least favorite kind of programming. It's tedious and boring, and doesn't feel very productive. But once it's done, it makes a world of difference. Since the first Possession was whipped together in a week, it didn't have that much polish, though I think it was pretty good for being made in only 7 days. I'd like Possession 2 to be much more accessible, better-looking, and playable, though, so I've been doing some work towards that end.

The sidebars used to just be drawn as a simple square. I whipped up a border to use instead, and also made it adjust based on how much information needs to be shown rather than just taking up the entire side of the screen. It also shows you the special abilities you can use in your current body, and you can now press the number listed to use that ability instead of having to go through the spell screen.

(http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/sidebar-and-menus.png?w=150)
Click to enlarge (http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/sidebar-and-menus.png)

One thing you can see in that picture is something entirely new: A menu that shows up when you right click on an enemy or square. It lists the abilities you can use on the targeted location, which means that the game can now be played entirely with the mouse, if you want. (Actually, that's not completely true yet, you still have to use the keyboard to go up and down stairs).

Another other thing I've been working on is changing the stat system of the game. In Possession 1, every creature had a "Hit Chance" and a "Dodge Chance. But what made things confusing is that the actual hit chance was the "Hit Chance" of the attacker minus the "Dodge Chance" of the defender, so a 50% hit chance could in reality be, say, a 10% hit chance if the attacker had a high dodge score. This also led to silliness like some creatures having a 120% hit chance. I've gotten rid of that, and just gone to a basic "hit skill" and "dodge skill" system. Since those numbers aren't quite as intuitive as hit chances, the game now shows you the chance of hitting (or being hit by) an enemy when you target them.

(http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/targeting.png?w=150)
Click to enlarge (http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/targeting.png)

Here's what the Monsterpedia, which contains information about the monsters you're possessed, looks like now. In the first game, it was just kind of a jumble, the creatures were just listed in there based on which ones you possessed first, but now they're sorted by level, and the list is scrollable. It also tracks your stats with the individual creatures, showing how many times you're possessed a creature type, how many times you've exploded one, as well as how many kills you're made and turns you've played as a creature.

(http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/monsterpedia2.png?w=150)
Click to enlarge (http://ironypolicy.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/monsterpedia2.png)

I'd like to get some feedback on all these interface changes, which is hard to do without people actually playing with them. Luckily, it actually looks like the game's going to be in a stable enough state (though still nowhere near finished, content-wise) to release a playable dev version soon. And by soon I mean "hopefully this week." So stay tuned for that.
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Rickton on May 03, 2014, 02:28:36 PM
So I've finally got a playable version up! Still very in progress, obviously. Some things have missing/incomplete graphics, some features aren’t implemented yet, and there’s still a lot of balancing to be done. But you can try it out and see how you like it, and please let me know how you do!

Mac Version (http://taylor-vaughan.com/games/possession2/dev/possession2%20dev2%20mac.zip)

.love file (http://taylor-vaughan.com/games/possession2/dev/possession2%20dev2%20love.zip) - Works on Linux, Mac or Windows but requires LÖVE Interpreter (http://www.love2d.org/).

Windows version coming, but I need to get on my girlfriend's computer to test it.
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Rickton on May 04, 2014, 04:23:08 PM
Windows Version (http://taylor-vaughan.com/games/possession2/dev/possession2%20dev2%20win.zip).
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Zireael on May 08, 2014, 01:56:09 PM
Curiously enough, this link works while the one in Early Dev does not ...
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Rickton on May 08, 2014, 01:57:56 PM
You just happened to click this one right after I'd fixed the links. :)
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Vanguard on May 08, 2014, 10:49:40 PM
I played this once and it seems that possessing every enemy is much easier than fighting anything.  It crashed and I knew why it crashed but now I don't remember what the reason was.  Welp, see you later.
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Rickton on May 09, 2014, 02:18:56 PM
I played this once and it seems that possessing every enemy is much easier than fighting anything.  It crashed and I knew why it crashed but now I don't remember what the reason was.  Welp, see you later.
That's certainly true on the lower levels, but possession gets more and more difficult on the later levels. Is it still too easy later on? Is it not risky enough that you leave your current body and move next to the new creature even if you fail?
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Rickton on June 17, 2014, 06:11:24 PM
It's been a while since my last devblog (to put it lightly). Content progress has continued, and I'm sure I'll get into some of that later. But what I've also been doing (continuing somewhat the theme of the last devblog), is working on adding some polish to the game.

Maybe that's a bad idea, maybe you shouldn't polish a game until it's finished. I don't know how you're "supposed" to do things like this. Psychologically, though, it's been helpful for me, because it makes the game look more like an actual game people might play rather than some hacked-together piece of crap. It'll also make for better screenshots, and a more enjoyable dev release, whenever the next one comes.

The fact of the matter is, as inconsequential as some of these types of features might be, they're essential to people wanting to play the game. No matter how good the gameplay is, if it feels and looks off, it's going to turn people off. Little features like these go a long way:

First, and most usefully, abilities with areas of effect now show where the effect is going to be:

(http://taylor-vaughan.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/targeting-gas.png)
Targeting poison gas attack

(http://taylor-vaughan.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/targeting-gas2.png)
Poison gas attack result

Not as essential, but probably still useful thing is making damage more visible. The old dev version did have numbers that rose from a creature showing how much damage was done, but now I've also made them flash and get knocked back a bit when they get hit.

(http://taylor-vaughan.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/damageflashes.gif)
Damage knockbacks and flashes

Special damage types also have animations that flash over a creature who's been damaged:

(http://taylor-vaughan.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/unholydamage.gif)
Unholy damage

The game now warns you when you're about to move into a dangerous area (ie lava if you can't fly, or next to a creature if you're a ghost). This should hopefully cut down on annoying accidental deaths caused by running too fast without paying attention.

(http://taylor-vaughan.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/ghostwarning.png)
Never stand next to an elvish environmentalist...that all-natural deodorant doesn't work too well.

(http://taylor-vaughan.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/terrainwarning.png)
I don't see why I wouldn't be sure.

Purely cosmetic, there's a small animation when a walking creature, well, walks:

(http://taylor-vaughan.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/walking.gif)
A leisurely stroll.

And graphics for certain features, such as splashes that show up when they go into the water (or sewage, as the case may be), and making it look like they're actually standing on a bridge instead of on the side of it.

(http://taylor-vaughan.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/splashes.png)
The ratking and ugly vampire have a nice chat while standing in sewage.

(http://taylor-vaughan.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/nosplashes.png)
The ghost has no friends to chat with in the sewage, and also doesn't make any splashes because it flies.

(http://taylor-vaughan.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/walkingonbridge.png)
On the bridge over the river of the dead. Who's that mysterious stranger on the left?

Oh also, corpses finally show up in graphics mode, instead of just as colored % signs.

(http://taylor-vaughan.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/before.png)
Before...

(http://taylor-vaughan.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/after.png)
...after.
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Rickton on July 18, 2014, 06:09:42 PM
Crossposted from my site (http://weirdfellows.com/possession-2-progress-updates/)

Well, it's been a month since the last post, but the past month has been pretty busy life-wise, first I was out of town, then had people coming in from out of town to stay with me, then out of town again. So that's my excuse.

Anyway, one major piece of news is that the tombs are officially finished, which basically means that I told myself I wasn't allowed to work on them anymore. The tombs tileset has all the graphics done, all its creatures are done, and it has a unique boss. This shot shows him, and a new creature from the tombs that hasn't been shown before, the pyramidologist.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/tombs.png)
Tombs boss, and Pyramidologist creature.

All of the special levels up until now have just used the regular map gen code, with some special rules applied on top. For the newest special level, the Adventurer's Tavern, I wrote a brand new map generator.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/tavern.png)
The #s are beds, they just don't have graphics yet.

I'm sure people have done something like this before, but here's a description of how it works, in case it inspires anyone to use something like it.

First, you split the level into a grid of equal-sized squares. Since right now my levels are 50x50 tiles, I'm splitting it into a 5x5 grid of squares each 10x10 tiles.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/emptygrid.png)

Then, it picks a random side, and makes all the rooms on that side "barrooms", that will contain the exit. Then, it picks a random room one up from the other side, that'll be a "storeroom" and contain the entrance.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/tavernmap.png)
It puts a couple more storerooms in there for good measure, too, but whatever.

Then it puts hallways in all the empty rooms, and puts bedrooms in the empty space, resulting in a final result that looks like this (in ASCII mode to show more of the level):

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/tavernascii.png)

(Skipping a lot of steps obviously, but if anyone's interested I could go into more detail)

I won't go into full details on all the creatures in the tavern (partially because none of them are fully coded yet) but I will leave this guy here:

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/rogue.png) (http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Screen-shot-2014-07-11-at-1.22.25-PM.png)


Some other creatures I've implemented are:

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/bloodmage.png)

The blood mage, who I think would make a pretty interesting class in a "normal" roguelike or RPG. He has some powerful spells that let him decrease how much damage he takes and deal a lot of damage to the enemy, but to cast them, he has to sacrifice his own health points.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/koboldprotestor.png)

Kobold protestors, who are weak and scrawny, but throw molotov cocktails, and can blame a nearby creature for their troubles, causing other nearby kobold protestors to attack them.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/taylor_1.gif)

Unicorns that shoot rainbow death lasers at sasquatches and big game hunters.
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Bear on July 18, 2014, 07:03:17 PM
Kobold protesters who are blaming you for their troubles so that other protesters will attack you?  If you think the player can take the awful pun-ishment.... Please, PLEASE let them be attacking with Blamethrowers.   ;D

I also really like the rainbow death lasers. 
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Rickton on July 18, 2014, 10:27:39 PM
Thanks!

And wow...Blamethrower...that's horrible...but also too good to pass up.
Title: Possession 2 dev blog: Navigating Around Dangers
Post by: Rickton on July 31, 2014, 06:07:02 PM
Crossposted from my site (http://weirdfellows.com/possession-2-navigating-around-dangers/).

This post is a little more technical, but hopefully someone out there will find it useful if they're wondering how to face a similar issue.

Possession 2 features two basic types of creature behavior, dumb and smart (though there are a lot of complications that can go into them to make them act differently within the two categories, as touched on in a previous post (http://weirdfellows.com/possession-2-artificially-intelligent-tourists/)).

Dumb creatures are fairly simple, as you might expect. If they see an enemy, they move towards them in a straight line, if they can. If there are any obstacles blocking the way, they go around them using basic pathfinding. They will move through dangers that don't block movement (fire, lava, poison gas) without caring.

Intelligent creatures, like dumb ones, move in a straight line to their target if possible. The difference is that they pay attention to whether or not there are hazards in the way. Now, just avoiding hazards would be easy enough, I'd just have to set tiles with dangers on them to be "impassable" on their pathfinder, and they'd path around them like other obstacles. But I don't want them to avoid dangers all the time. If it's impossible (or extremely impractical) for them to move around a danger to get to their target, they should be able to go through them.

What I ended up doing was implementing what this article calls "Djikstra maps." (http://www.roguebasin.com/index.php?title=The_Incredible_Power_of_Dijkstra_Maps)

Basically, the way it works, is that it takes a section of the map, and creates a grid on it. Each square on the grid is set to 10, except impassible squares like walls, which are ignored, and "target" squares (usually enemies), which are set to 0.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/djikstragrid.png)

(In this situation, the drunk tourist would actually just move in a semi-straight line -- depending on how drunk he is -- towards the ghost and wouldn't bother making a map, but I'm doing it as an easy example.)

Then, it loops through all the tiles, until each tile is one greater than the lowest tile it borders (ie all the tiles next to the ghost are 1, all the ones next to those are 2...)

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/djikstragriddone.png)
(Just realized I made a mistake, the tile in the upper-left should be 4, not 3.)

Then, the creature picks the tile it's touching with the lowest number (randomly choosing between them if there's a few it's touching).

This method is also used for creatures running away. Instead, they just pick the highest number they're touching. Fo example, imagine the image above stretches to the right a little. All those tiles to the right would be 4, and the drunk tourist would move to them if it was running away.

Things get a little more complicated if there are hazards involved. In that case, the hazard adds a number to the tile's value, depending on how dangerous the hazard itself is (which is set on a hazard-by-hazard basis when I make them). For example, the hazard value of fire is 10. Let's set a few fires next to the ghost:

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/djikstrafire1.png)

Those tiles, which would normally be 1, are now 11. Notice that this changes the values of the tiles next to them, too. The tourist now has fewer options to get to the ghost, plus its route is going to be a little longer.

It's all well and good to draw numbers on pictures, but how does it work in action? Let's take a look at another situation, and do the numbers by hand to see where the drunk adventurer should walk, sans any drunken stumbles into the fire (these pictures are all from the tavern level, and if you can't tell, there's a lot of drinking going on there):

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/firewalkerdjikstra.png)

And what path does it take in the game?

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/firewalker.gif)

Nice!

As I mentioned before, different hazards have different danger values. Fire's is 10, which means it's super dangerous, but what if it was only 1?

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/nondangerousfire.png)

Now, it's possible the drunk adventurer will still take the same path...its values haven't changed. But, it could step into one of the fires marked 6, because they have the same value as the empty tile, and the creature randomly chooses between equal values. This would actually save it some time, but it doesn't actually know that because it only looks at the tiles next to it, it doesn't actually plan the whole path in advance (it only looks smart, it's not actually that smart).

Last theoretical situation in this longer-than-normal post...what if there's a fire in the doorway next to the ghost (setting fires back to 10)?

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/firewalkergridfiredoor.png)

The numbers are all higher, but it'll follow the same path as originally, even stepping into the fire at the end. This is what I was talking about way back in the beginning of the post...if they just can't avoid it, they will still walk through hazards.

And actually, right now, once it is next to the ghost, it won't even care that it's getting burned. It'll try to attack the ghost because attacking things has a higher priority than moving. I should probably change that if you're in a dangerous place like the middle of a raging inferno.
Title: Re: Possession 2
Post by: Zireael on August 01, 2014, 12:30:42 PM
That's a really neat explanation of Djikstra maps, thanks!
Title: Re: Possession 2
Post by: Rickton on August 02, 2014, 02:30:56 PM
Glad you found it informative. But apparently I'm an idiot and it's actually "Dijkstra" (I switched the I and J).
Title: Re: Possession 2
Post by: Rickton on September 18, 2014, 03:49:26 PM
Crossposted from the official Possession 2 site (http://weirdfellows.com/possession-2-bosses/).

Boss design in games can be difficult.

In the original Possession, bosses were pretty basic. They were creatures slightly stronger than most of the regular creatures on the level. None of them had any special abilities, except for the fact you couldn't possess them. I made them unpossessable for a few reasons: one, it'd be a pretty anticlimactic fight if you just possessed the boss as soon as it showed up then merrily went on your way. But also, it forces you to change your tactics somewhat. In most other fights in the game, you always have the option of possessing the enemy rather than trying to fight them (either right off the bat, or if you start losing). Making these strong creatures unpossessable meant that you had to actually fight them, hopefully using what you learned about your body's abilities during the rest of the level.

A lot of the bosses in Possession 2 are still pretty much the same: just a stronger enemy you can't possess. But now, some of them do have ranged attacks and special abilities, like regular creatures do (for example, the Bounty Hunter Imp from the first level has pistols it can shoot at you).

Some (but not all) of the special levels will have bosses that are pretty different, though.

Here's The Baron, the boss of the Swamps. He's actually pretty weak, but you have to make it through his zombie and skeleton bodyguards to actually fight him (and just wiping out the zombies beforehand won't work, new ones will sprout up as soon as the old ones are killed).
(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/thebaron.png)


Here's the Eldritch City's boss room. A single narrow walkway surrounded by pits. Surely it's just for decoration, nothing bad is going to happen here.
(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/tentacleroom.png)
When you try to go up the stairs, four tentacles pop out of the pits and start trying to lay the smack down on you. You have to defeat all of them to advance. The good thing is, they're confined to the pits, so you can run away and regroup more easily than most bosses if you need to. Just watch out to make sure they don't smack you into the pit or into a wall.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/tentacles.png)


The tavern doesn't even have any specific bosses. Instead, to leave the level you'll need to fight your way through a massive barroom brawl!
(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/tavernfight.png)
Title: Re: Possession 2
Post by: Rickton on October 15, 2014, 05:03:29 PM
Crossposted from my site (http://weirdfellows.com/possession-2-where-things-stand/).

Well, still no progress on the "post every week" front.

I started working on Possession 2 in November of last year. I'd hoped to get it out in less than a year, but things aren't looking like that's going to happen. Of course, January through April I was working 50+ hours a week at my "real" jobs, so I can't really be too hard on myself about it. After all, if you look at it like that, it hasn't really been a year, right? (Excuses, excuses...)

Onto some good news, though, I think things are close to being ready for another public alpha release, to play around with some of the new creature and levels. This one will be much more "complete" than the previous ones, with no ASCII stand-ins in graphics mode and more things in their "final" places.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/possession2-menu.png) (http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/possession2-menu.png)
On the "polish" front, I've made the main menu a lot more appealing. Graphical and ASCII versions for comparison. (Click to enlarge)

In the final game, you'll have to go through 10 levels (well, 11 if you count the final level) each time you play. I'd originally planned on adding 16 themed special levels, two each for levels 2-9, and the game would either pick one of the special levels or make it a "generic" level (which still has a lot of variety: each generic level has its own set of monsters, and they're randomly chosen to be wide-open caves or rooms-and-corridors, can have lava, water or chasms running through them, or can be a forest). Levels 1 and 10 will be special levels in their own right, but the same special level each time, though still randomly generated.

Unfortunately, to be able to get the game out sooner, I'm thinking I'm going to have to cut it back to one special level per level at first, for a total of 8. Of course, each level will also have their "generic" version too. Considering I've got five special levels "done" (at least before I get testing and feedback), that puts me significantly closer to that goal. I'd probably release the 8 other special levels later in a free update. The five levels I have finished are the Tombs, the Sewers, the Eldritch City, the Swamp, and the Tavern. They're all pretty different, and all have unique creatures, level features and bosses that go with them.

Images of special levels:
(Click to enlarge)
(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/tavernfight1.png) (http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/tavernfight1.png) (http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/eldritchcity.png) (http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/eldritchcity.png) (http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/sewer.png) (http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/sewer.png) (http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/swamp.png) (http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/swamp.png) (http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/tombs.png) (http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/tombs.png)

I've broken it down to the major things I need to do before final beta testing. I'm sure I've forgotten something that I'll add to the list later, but for now I have:
So, all in all, while I haven't made as much progress on the game as I'd have liked, progress is still being made. This is my first project of this scope, so I don't really feel too bad about underestimating how much it would take. From what I understand, everyone underestimates how long software development takes, even people who've done it for years. Cutting back on content is not something I'm terribly happy about, but I think it's what needed to be done at this point.

If you're interested, you can sign up to get exclusive info and news on Possession 2 before anyone else does, including first access to the new build! (http://eepurl.com/31G7P)
Title: Re: Possession 2
Post by: Rickton on March 06, 2015, 03:36:39 PM
New post, crossposted from my site (http://weirdfellows.com/possesion-2-november-march-update/):

It's been almost five months since the last blog post, I guess we're long past due for another one.

Unfortunately, I haven't gotten nearly enough work done considering the amount of time that's passed. In truth, missing my one-year deadline kind of bummed me out for a while, and then the holidays came to distract.

Still, I have gotten quite a bit done. There's a new special level in, the Mines. It's a pretty dangerous place even aside from the monsters, since it's filled with rocket-powered minecarts, lava and explosive barrels.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/mines.png)
Dwarves apparently have no workplace safety laws.

I've also been doing a lot of work that is pretty unexciting (but necessary). Some UI and polish work, like scrollbars in the message log and monsterpedia.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/monsterpedia-scrollbars.png)
Try to contain your excitement.

The game has rudimentary mod support now, which is kind of exciting, but again, doesn't make for a great screenshot.

There are also sound and music systems implemented. I haven't decided what I want to do for the music yet (ambient noises? regular music? chiptune?) but I have found and implemented a lot of sounds for monsters and spells. They obviously can't show in a screenshot, but I might try and get some video up later.

For those of you who might be in the market for sound effects and are willing to pay a little bit, I really recommend Affordable Audio 4 Everyone (http://www.affordableaudio4everyone.com/). They sell packs of professional-quality sounds for way cheaper than most libraries out there. Plus, a portion of the proceeds go to charity so that's always nice. There are, of course, plenty of free sites with sound effects, but finding high-quality sounds on those can be hard, plus there's always some worry about whether or not the person uploading the sounds really had the rights to do it (I've heard some sounds on some sites tagged as "public domain" that I'm almost certain came from a commercial product).

I have had some good luck on Open Game Art (http://opengameart.org/). The quality there seems to be a little better than other free sites, and people who upload sounds they didn't make usually include links to the original so you can check it out and make sure it's legit.

I've also recently found Sweet Sound Effects (http://sweetsoundeffects.com/). It's another free site, but the sounds are all made by one guy, so they should be legit. I haven't tried many of their sounds yet, but it seems like a good resource.

Finally, I've realized I really need to step up my marketing materials. I've put up a website for Possession 2 (http://possession2.com/), and I'm working on a trailer. I also need to buckle down and get an acceptable preview version out. Need to start getting the word out a little better so there's people who actually want to play the game once it comes out. I hate doing marketing stuff, but it's a necessary evil I guess.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/websiteshot.png) (http://possession2.com)

Anyway, I do have some blog posts already written and ready, so there won't be another four months until the next post this time.
Title: Re: Possession 2
Post by: getter77 on March 06, 2015, 08:47:53 PM
It is thoroughly awesome that 2015 may well see the full release of not one, but two possession-centric Roguelikes or at least get tremendously closer!   8)   You should totally throw some time at the start of the new MidBoss beta that came out fairly recently to kick off the final push---where each project has went in very different directions on some aspects, surely there's some mutually nifty things each can note to bolster the entire lot.
Title: Re: Possession 2
Post by: Rickton on March 24, 2015, 02:56:50 PM
It is thoroughly awesome that 2015 may well see the full release of not one, but two possession-centric Roguelikes or at least get tremendously closer!   8)   You should totally throw some time at the start of the new MidBoss beta that came out fairly recently to kick off the final push---where each project has went in very different directions on some aspects, surely there's some mutually nifty things each can note to bolster the entire lot.
Yeah, it's kind of funny how that happened. I haven't played MidBoss, and probably won't until I finish Possession 2, but it seems pretty cool and I definitely hope it does well..
Title: Re: Possession 2
Post by: Rickton on March 27, 2015, 02:30:01 PM
Crossposted from my site (http://weirdfellows.com/possession-2-light-it-up/).

The most recent feature I've added to the game is (are?) lit areas. They were a planned feature that got cut pretty early on, since it wasn't necessary, and I didn't want to waste time on it. But then I came up with an ability that required it, so I went ahead and put it in. Luckily, it didn't end up taking very long to do.

Basically, everything that can go in a level (features, effects and even creatures themselves) can potentially "cast light."

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/lightexamples.png)
An effect, feature and creature that cast light.

Any time anything that casts light is added to the map, it also gets added to a list of "light sources." The map now also has a "lightmap," which holds a true/false value for each tile that says whether it's lit or not. Every turn, every tile on the lightmap is set to unlit. The game then loops through all the light sources and checks every tile within each light source's "light distance" to see if it can draw a straight line to the tile without hitting any sight-blocking obstacles like walls (using Bresenham's line algorithm (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bresenham%27s_line_algorithm)), and if it can, it sets it as lit.

Now, in terms of determining what creatures can see, every creature has a set sight radius. Anything that's within that range of them, they can see as long as there's nothing blocking the way. Now that I've added the lights, all I had to do is check to see if the tile is in range OR it's set as lit on the lightmap (it still also checks to see if anything is blocking the creature's line of sight, of course).

Here's an example. The player (currently possessing the zombie), can see a small radius around themselves. The torch on the left also illuminates a small area around itself, but some of the light is blocked on by the trees.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/torchexample.png)

For the player, every turn I check every tile in the map to see if they can see it. Not very efficient, and if I did this for every single creature it'd probably be pretty slow. The good news is, creatures generally don't care that much about the stuff in the levels. They just need to know about walls and floors, and (for the more intelligent ones), hazards. All this information is actually stored in a preset pathfinding map that all creatures have access to without actually having to have seen the tile (more info on how that works in a previous post) (http://weirdfellows.com/possession-2-navigating-around-dangers/). I guess we can assume that they live in the area so they know where everything is. The only thing they actually need to worry if they can "see" or not is other creatures.

So, all in all, it really was a lot less complicated to add than I thought it would be, which is really nice because usually when you add a new feature it turns out to be MORE complicated and take twice as long as you expected to code. And now I can have things that light up the levels like torches or candles, and you can see fire even if it's far away, and even glowing creatures that you can see in the dark.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/forestfire.png)
Forest fires are visible from quite a distance away.
Title: Re: Possession 2
Post by: Rickton on April 14, 2015, 02:36:02 PM
Crossposted from The Possession 2 devblog (http://weirdfellows.com/possession-2-fear-and-loathing-part-1-fear/)

Not all the creatures in the caves are mindless monsters that will attack until one of you is dead -- though some particularly stubborn, foolish or brave ones will. Most creatures in the game have a fear value that can cause them to run away if it gets too high.

When a creature gets damaged, its fear goes up by the % of health it lost compared to its max health. For example, if a creature has 50 max health, and gets hit for 10 damage, that's 20% of its total health, so its fear goes up by 20. Most creatures then have a set bravery value, and if their fear goes above that value, they'll run away. Here I've set the caretaker's bravery to 5 to show how this works:

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/caretakerfear.gif)

Certain abilities can increase fear (for example, there are banshees in the game who have a wail ability that causes fear), and having certain conditions (poisoned, cursed, etc.) can increase or decrease fear or bravery. Creatures that like to keep distance between them and their enemies (usually spellcasters or other ranged attackers) also have their fear increase when enemies are too close.

When a creature runs away, it uses the so-called "Dijkstra maps" I talked about earlier (http://weirdfellows.com/possession-2-navigating-around-dangers/), but instead of moving to the tile that's closest to an enemy, they pick a tile that's the farthest away from them.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/nondangerousfire.png)
(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/firewalker.gif)
Imagine this, but in reverse.

Creatures' fear decreases by one every turn, if it's not near any enemies it decreases by two, and if it hasn't seen any enemies in a long time, it decreases by three. So, a creature that is afraid of you and runs away will eventually stop being afraid (even if it doesn't heal).

There are certain other things that increase fear, too, like seeing a nearby creature explode or get possessed. I wanted to implement a generic event system and have creatures react to those events, to have lots of things able to influence creatures' fear. Unfortunately, I've had to cut that feature out, because it's not necessary and it's just something that would add move dev time, which is really not what I need right now, and the things that increase fear are just hard-coded instead.
Title: Re: Possession 2
Post by: Rickton on June 23, 2015, 03:48:26 PM
Crossposted from the Possession 2 devblog on weirdfellows.com (http://weirdfellows.com/possession-2-fun-with-checkboxes/)

So much for pre-written posts preventing me from going months without a post. I could make excuses, I could call myself a garbage human being, but whatever. It is what it is. It just worries me, because I know that marketing is really what determines how well your game's going to do, even more than how good the game itself is, and if I can't even do the bare minimum of that...

Well, anyway. I have been working, but as usual, not as quickly as I'd like. Part of that's because what I've been working on recently is probably the least fun part of any project: the settings screen.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/settings.png)
Awesome?

I'm actually kind of proud of the work I did (though I hated doing it at the time). The old game had all the settings and their locations hard coded, so moving them or adding new ones was a pain in the ass. This one stores each setting as an object that handles drawing itself, changing and being highlighted, and I can move them around or change them easily. The settings screen itself just has to know the order they're in, not exactly where they are.

Anyway, on more interesting note, this is the last big thing that needed to be done before I get a preview version out. I just need to semi-balance the levels that are going to be in the preview and make sure their creatures all have sounds and there aren't any major bugs. Then I'll be able to get a preview version out, hopefully along with a trailer, and I'll get the game up on Steam Greenlight. Then we'll see how bad my marketing skills really are...
Title: Re: Possession 2
Post by: Rickton on July 22, 2015, 02:41:27 PM
Crossposted from the Possession 2 Devblog (http://weirdfellows.com/possession-2-fear-and-loathing-part-2-loathing/)

In roguelikes, almost everything is usually trying to kill the player. It makes sense from a gameplay perspective, of course. Monsters are there to be obstacles standing between you and your goal. In the Possession games, you can even make an argument that makes sense from a narrative standpoint: people and animals can tell something's not right with something that's possessed.

That said, it can be interesting from a gameplay point of view (as well as making the game world feel more alive) by making some creatures hostile to each other, and some creatures not immediately try to kill the player as soon as they see them.

I've talked a little before about the fact that creatures have different "aggression" values, that some will attack on sight, while some will hang back unless you get too close.

In Possession 2, creatures can also have a "faction" assigned to them, as well as a list of enemy factions. If they see a creature that belongs to an enemy faction, they'll treat them like an enemy, exactly like they would if the creature was the player.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/elfdwarf.gif)
The miners don't take kindly to protestors in their mines...

Players can use this to their advantage, though. If they possess a creature that belongs to a faction, other creatures in that faction won't be hostile to them! Well, unless they saw the possession happen...

There are three special factions: Chaos, which means they'll attack anyone, Passive, which means they won't attack anyone except creatures who attack them first, and Player Ally. If a creature is a player ally, they're treated like the player, and are hostile to everyone except other player allies (including the player themselves, of course), and members of their own faction.

Aside from the factions, there are some other things that can change the way creatures behave towards each other.

The first one is the fact that creatures can have "masters," who they will follow around and attack the enemies of. Creatures won't attack their master or their master's other followers, and will attack their master's enemies, regardless of their own faction.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/mummycultists.gif)
A bunch of cultists beat up their mummy master's enemy: the archeologist.

Creatures also maintain something that I call in the code a "shitlist." It's basically a list of known individual enemies. If they notice and become hostile to someone, they go on the shitlist. But even creatures to whom they'd normally be friendly can end up on the shitlist if they accidentally hit them with a ranged attack that missed its intended target, an attack that damages an area, or if they hit them while confused/drunk/mind controlled/getting knocked backwards/whatever. Players can use this to their advantage by causing enemies' attacks to hit each other, making them attack each other while the player sneaks past or waits until they're weaker to pick them off.

So, this is all well and good, but it does present a problem. If creatures on the other side of the map are attacking each other, then by the time the player gets there, they'll probably all have killed each other off, maybe leaving a few almost-dead stragglers. And while it's kind of cool to walk into a room and see the aftermath of recent fighting, it's not very challenging or fun if there's nothing left for you to fight.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/deadenemies.png)
I bet there's a challenging room full of enemies to fight through this door! Oh...

The first thing I do is also a bonus for performance. Creatures far enough away (currently defined as "more than twice as far as the player's sight distance") don't run through their whole AI code. They just move randomly to a square they're touching. If they do happen to take damage (say they wander into lava, or step in a trap or in front of a moving mine cart), they only take 10% of the damage, rounded up. Of course, if something happens that would instakill them (getting knocked into a pit, for example), they'll die.

So this works well for far away creatures, but maybe a creature is physically near the player but the player would still have to travel a long distance to actually see them...they might be on the other side of a wall, but the nearest opening in the wall is halfway across the level. Or maybe they're just in the next room, but the player's hanging out in this room for a while, so we run into the same problem.

For creatures near the player, but that the player can't see, they'll only take half damage from everything. This could be exploitable (position yourself so a friendly creature can't be seen, but their enemy can...enemy takes full damage and ally only takes half!), so it actually only kicks in if you can't see the creature or their attacker.
Title: Re: Possession 2
Post by: Gornova on July 28, 2015, 03:20:21 PM
Really interesting series of post, thank you about sharing!

About world simulation: seems boring to find a room full of dead bodies (a joke for a ghost with possession power ? :P lol), but could be a great plot twist for player. Wait forever and everyone will die eventually! To me seems a good enough motivation to keep exploring and make choices.

For example explore a maze in a certain order could resolve in a different encounters because in other part of the same maze all creatures are dead  :o
Title: Re: Possession 2
Post by: Rickton on August 02, 2015, 02:56:00 PM
Really interesting series of post, thank you about sharing!

About world simulation: seems boring to find a room full of dead bodies (a joke for a ghost with possession power ? :P lol), but could be a great plot twist for player. Wait forever and everyone will die eventually! To me seems a good enough motivation to keep exploring and make choices.

For example explore a maze in a certain order could resolve in a different encounters because in other part of the same maze all creatures are dead  :o
Thanks for reading!
Yeah, something like that could be interesting if it was designed that way on purpose, rather than just being a side effect.
Title: Re: Possession 2
Post by: Rickton on August 13, 2015, 03:01:45 PM
There's now a preview build of the game (http://weirdfellows.itch.io/possession2)! Three complete levels from the final version are playable!

We're also on Steam Greenlight, so any Steam users, please check it out and give us a vote!
Open in Browser (http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=492138692)
Open in Steam (http://possession2.com/greenlight.php)
Title: Re: Possession 2
Post by: getter77 on August 13, 2015, 08:38:25 PM
Congrats!   Definitely feel free to make a topic in the Announcements board with the rest.   8)
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: akeley on August 13, 2015, 09:27:57 PM
I played this once and it seems that possessing every enemy is much easier than fighting anything.

This still holds - I just went through the entire demo only possessing/exploding everybody and my sole fight was the boss. And the possessions work almost always. I really think the game should be harder, even on these early levels (3 out of 10 is nearly a third of the entire game...)

Without rebalancing there doesn`t seem a point in using all these fun systems you devised - I really like all the crazy happenings, characters, abilities...
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: Rickton on August 15, 2015, 02:26:55 PM
I played this once and it seems that possessing every enemy is much easier than fighting anything.

This still holds - I just went through the entire demo only possessing/exploding everybody and my sole fight was the boss. And the possessions work almost always. I really think the game should be harder, even on these early levels (3 out of 10 is nearly a third of the entire game...)

Without rebalancing there doesn`t seem a point in using all these fun systems you devised - I really like all the crazy happenings, characters, abilities...
Thanks for checking it out, and I think you're right. I didn't want possession to be too hard, because trying to possess someone causes you to leave your body even if you fail, and I didn't want someone to get stuck as a ghost and killed they weren't able to possess someone because of the RNG. But I've been thinking it over, and I've come up with some solutions that might work (failing to possess someone increases the chance of success every time you do it, or maybe the longer you spend as a ghost, the higher your chances of possessing someone get).
Title: Re: Possession 2: Return to the Nether Regions
Post by: akeley on August 16, 2015, 03:57:02 PM
failing to possess someone increases the chance of success every time you do it, or maybe the longer you spend as a ghost, the higher your chances of possessing someone get

Something like that would help I suppose. Also maybe make some enemies immune or v.difficult to take over, so the player sometimes is forced to use possessed critter`s strengths and abilities.

Personally I like RLs that are brutal from the start and also don`t mind RNG "unfairness" (it ain`t really that), as long as it`s not being ridiculous. But sure, I understand why devs might want the "easier" approach. It`s just, if the easy stage is too long it becomes a chore eventually...after all we restart a lot in RLs. Ah...the joys of balancing ;)
Title: Re: Possession 2 - Playable! And on Greenlight!
Post by: Rickton on October 13, 2015, 05:22:21 PM
Crossposted from weirdfellows.com (http://weirdfellows.com/possession-2-greenlight-feedback/)

Putting Possession 2 up on Greenlight was a bit nerve-wracking. It's the first time that the game was going to be exposed to the general public. Luckily, comments seem to be mostly positive (at least the ones I could understand), and the negatives have mainly focused on the graphics, which I expected.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/russian.png)
I'm not sure what to make of any of these, but I'm hoping the Russian ones at least make sense in Russian...

We've still got a ways to go, though, so if you're on Steam, help us out by giving us a vote!

Open Possession 2 Greenlight in Browser (http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=492138692)
Open Possession 2 Greenlight in Steam (http://possession2.com/greenlight.php)

Someone's actually made a video of himself trying it. I'd link to it, but for some reason he's taken it down. If you make games -- or any other kind of program or app -- I cannot stress how helpful it is seeing someone who's never seen it before play it and try to figure it out, especially if they describe what they're thinking as they do it! When you've been working on something for a long time, you take a lot about how it works for granted, and forget that things might not be very obvious.

Most of the feedback I got from this video was interface-related (as well as noticing a few bugs that had slipped by). This particular person clicked through to the game immediately, skipping the how-to-play (which I expect most people will do). They also only used the mouse, not the keyboard, but still actually managed to do pretty OK, considering. Obviously I need to put in some kind of in-game instruction or tutorial mode, which I haven't done yet, but I did add the possession ability to the sidebar (the guy who made the video only possessed stuff by clicking on them when he was next to them). I've also added ability buttons to the sidebar, to make it easier to play with just the mouse.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/sidebarbuttons.png)

He also didn't realize that you could change the name on the new game screen, and had trouble getting off the screen, so I made that a little more obvious too, and added an actual "begin" button:

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/newgameblink.png)

Gender options aren't in that shot, but they're sill available. They're just hidden until you move the cursor to the gender section.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/gender.png)

You might notice a new section on the new game screen, the seed. This is the seed used in the random number generator to generate the levels (and only used to generate the levels). Putting in the same seed will cause the levels to generate identically, although any randomness that happens during the course of the game will be different. This will let people run challenges to see who can get through the same levels faster, or whatever. It also makes it easier for me to test bugs and changes in the level generation code by generating the same level after changing the code. I honestly should have done this a while ago when I was doing more work on the level generator, but oh well.

On a gameplay front, the main feedback I've gotten is that possession is too easy. It's generally the best option in any situation, rather than fighting, just possess all the enemies and blow them up. While I don't want it to be too hard, to prevent people getting stuck as a ghost and dying because they failed to possess something a dozen times, I also don't want it to be the obvious best option. There's no point to having such a wide variety of monsters and abilities if there's never a real reason to use them.

I've got some ideas on how to fix this, but that's a topic for later.

If you haven't played the preview build yet, check it out on Mac, Windows, or Linux (http://weirdfellows.itch.io/possession2).
Title: Re: Possession 2 - Playable! And on Greenlight!
Post by: Rickton on October 25, 2016, 11:48:36 PM
Crossposted from weirdfellows.com (http://weirdfellows.com/possession-2-one-year-later/)

Wow, I knew it had been a while since the last post, but I didn't realize it had been a year. Hold on, this is gonna be a long one.



For a while, I wasn't really doing much work on Possession 2 at all. Actually, going by my notes, from May until August I didn't do any work on it at all. Going from working at night to a "normal" 9-5 job left me worn out and feeling like I didn't have the energy to really do anything after work. That's been getting better (partially due to other reasons), so I've been getting more work done. Sometimes taking a break for something and coming back to it gives you a lot more motivation to work on it; I'm finding working on the game much more enjoyable than I did a few months ago.

Another big event happened as well, which I think is also a big help with motivation to focus on the game:

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Screen-Shot-2016-09-08-at-5.16.20-PM.png)

Possession 2 got greenlit!

For those who don't know, that refers to Steam Greenlight, the process by which you get on Steam, which is the largest platform for PC game distribution. In a nutshell, you post up screenshots and description of your game, and people vote if they want to buy it or not. Eventually, if you get enough votes (or something, it's kind of an opaque process), you get "greenlit" and are allowed to sell the game on Steam (after filling out a bunch of paperwork and stuff first, of course). Honestly, I'm not sure how it happened, because I was nowhere near the top 100 games on Greenlight, which is what general consensus says is where the games that move on are chosen from, but whatever, I'll take it.

So what else has happened in the past 12 months?

One big feature that's in the game now that I'd been putting off for a while because I thought it would be a pain in the ass (but ended up being really easy) was saving. And unlike the first game, you can have multiple saves! That is, multiple characters saved at once, not multiple saves per character. It's still a permadeath game. I'm not entirely sure if you'd necessarily need to have multiple characters saved at the same time, but why not.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Screen-Shot-2016-10-24-at-8.00.37-PM.png)

I've also tweaked possession itself some. Possessing other creatures is generally much harder, especially if they've noticed you. However, if you try and fail to possess something, it weakens their resistance to it, so if you keep plugging away you'll eventually get them (unless they're unpossessable entirely, but the game will let you know about that).

The possession ability now also has a cool down if you're not in ghost form. Every time you possess another body, it increases by one. And, when you possess a new body, you'll have to spend a few turns adjusting to your new body. The number of turns increases the more bodies you possess as well. Combined, these changes make it a lot less optimal (or possible!) to just hop from body to body in combat. You actually have to fight now.

Making things harder to possesss also adds more risk to the player, so I've also added warnings that let you know if a possession you're about to try could put you in a dangerous position if you fail.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/possessionwarning.png)

Another minor quality of life change, creatures that haven't noticed you have their colors muted, so you can tell at a glance who is paying attention to you. This is in both the graphical and ASCII versions:

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/unnoticed.png) (http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Screen-Shot-2016-10-24-at-8.03.45-PM.png)

Speaking of graphics, I'm currently in the middle of a pretty large project involving the creature graphics. The way I make the graphics is I first draw them in a 16x16 pixel sized image, then blow it up to 32x32 pixels, which gives it the chunky pixellated look. The program I was using at the time (Pixelmator) automatically anti-aliased the graphics when they were resized. At the time, I liked it, because it gave a little texture to them, and I didn't mind the blurriness because I thought it made it look kinda old-school, like sprites on a CRT TV or something. But over time (and seeing it on higher-resolution screens), I realized the blurriness is not great, so I'm redoing the graphics in a new version of the program that lets me resize them without anti-aliasing:

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/blurry-comparison.png)

The good news is, most of the files I saved in the 16x16 format, so I don't need to redraw most of the graphics, just resave them. I'm not sure if it's going to be worth it to redo all the level graphics or just the creature ones.

But, because I like making more work for myself, I'm also adding animations to all the creatures. The screenshot jumps a little because not all the animations loop at the same time, but it covers the general gist of the idea.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/creature-anim.gif)

I think it'll make the game world look a little more interesting and alive, but I'm adding in an option to disable them if the player disagrees. These animations also will obviously only appear if graphics are enabled, not in the ASCII version.

I've also added other so-called "tweening" animations, like smooth movement, and health bars:

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/healthbar.gif)

And exploding a creature is a little more dramatic now...although unfortunately my screen record software's framerate is too low to really show it off. You'll see what I mean soon.

I've also added (optional) tutorial messages that show up as you play the game.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Screen-Shot-2016-10-24-at-8.07.30-PM.png)

In addition to UI stuff and graphics stuff, gameplay and content work has of course continued...including on the three levels that were in the demo. There will be some changes to the Eldritch City level including "open" rooms, differently shaped rooms (which I may talk about in a later post), lights and decorations:

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/obelisk2.png)

I've also tweaked a lot of the enemies' powers and behavior on all three levels, so things might play a little bit different from last time.

Last but not least, music! Originally, I was in talks with someone to make music for the game, but that's fallen through, so I've been playing around making some cheesy tracks on my own. I don't know if they'll be ready for the next preview build or not, though.



Speaking of, when is the next preview build? Since it's October, I'm hoping to aim for a spoooooooky release date of Halloween. That's less than a week away, though, so we'll see.

With this preview release, I'm hoping to almost all the interface and backend stuff done (aside from changes that might come up through feedback from player testing, of course). Pretty much everything left to do will be content/art/music (knock on wood), and most of the rest of the levels and creatures are at least partially-implemented.

As for when everything will be finished? All I'm prepared to say for certain is "not this year." Beyond that, I'd like to make a promise or even a guess, but given my history on working (or, more accurately, NOT working) on this game I don't think that's smart. After all, I originally planned on finishing the game in a year, and we can see how well that turned out. I'll just say that at this point, I really do feel like finishing it is actually achievable, which, if I'm being honest with myself, is not always something I've believed to be true over the past year or so.
Title: Re: Possession 2 - Playable! And on Greenlight!
Post by: Rickton on October 31, 2016, 11:20:56 PM
So, there's not a new build ready today. Some bugs popped up (plus it's Halloween, I dunno how I realistically expected to get work done tonight). But should be ready some time this week.
Title: Re: Possession 2 - Playable! And on Greenlight!
Post by: Rickton on November 06, 2016, 01:32:15 PM
Sunday still counts as "this week," right? There's a new preview build of Possession 2 available. Download it! (https://weirdfellows.itch.io/possession2)

This build features the same levels from the last release, though there's been a lot of interface improvements, a tutorial has been added, and creature graphics are now animated. It also includes the ability to save your game!

Content-wise, there's been some additions and tweaks to many of the creatures on the levels, as well as in some cases the levels themselves. I've also made some changes to the way possession works. Now, possession has a cooldown that increases the more bodies you possess, as well as an "adjusting to body" period where you don't fight as effectively, that also increases the more times you possess things.

Check it out, and please feel free to let me know what you think. I'm especially curious as to how people think the changes to possessing work.
Title: Re: Possession 2 - Playable! And on Greenlight!
Post by: Rickton on February 28, 2017, 10:52:59 PM
Crossposted from weirdfellows.com (http://weirdfellows.com/possession-2-updates/)

These past few weeks have actually been very productive, last week especially. In fact, this past Sunday I actually worked pretty much a full 8-hour workday, which I don't even know if I've ever done before on a personal project. Definitely not since I've been keeping track.

I've completed animated and non-blurry images for the majority of the creatures who already had images, helped in large part due to switching over to Pyxel Edit (http://pyxeledit.com/), which is a program made for animated pixel art. It's helped with that workflow tremendously over the last program I was using, Pixelmator, which is also a great program but more of a photoshop-lite than a pixel art and animation tool.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/pyxeledit.png)

It's a really nice program. It's still in beta, but it works great. I swear I'm not being paid by them, but if you're interested in making sprites, I'd recommend checking it out.

One big thing I was putting off for a long time was working on the final level and the final boss fight. No spoilers here, but the final boss requires special AI code unique from all other creatures. It seems to be a rule that whatever you put off because you think it's going to be really hard and time-consuming, ends up not being that big a deal once you actually get down to it (the downside is things you think are going to be quick and easy sometimes end up being hard and time consuming). Writing the boss's AI was actually pretty simple and only took about an hour. Of course, it might need to be changed due to testing, but we'll see.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/town.png)
What happened here?!

So the game is *this close* to being actually winnable. Which I'm sure would be a huge psychological boost for me because it'd make it feel that much closer to being done. On that note, I've been doing a lot of interface "juiciness" work, as well, and everything I do on that front feels great too, because it makes the game seem more and more finished. I'm sure someone else has said this before years ago, but UI work seems like exercise or meditation: it kind of sucks while you're doing it, but really does make things feel better in general.

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/sidebarhighlight.png)
You can highlight and target creatures on the sidebar now.

Now, there's still quite a bit of work to do, a lot of the levels need polishing (some more than others; the tavern for example is probably going to stay pretty much as it's been). But these days every step seems like it puts the game closer to being finished, unlike before where sometimes adding things seemed like it was just adding more work to do.
Title: Re: Possession 2 - Playable!
Post by: Rickton on March 28, 2017, 09:21:35 PM
Crossposted from weirdfellows.com (http://weirdfellows.com/possession-2-whats-in-a-name/)

A while back, I was cautioned (by Darren Grey, actually) about naming the game Possession 2, since the first game was just a quick project I made for the 7-day roguelike challenge that I never really spread around after the challenge, and almost nobody has played it or heard of it.

As we get closer to a point where releasing this game actually looks like a thing that might happen, I've been thinking about it, and I kind of agree. This game's going to have enough against it with the programmer art graphics and my total inexperience with marketing, I don't want anyone who might be interested passing it up because they'd never heard of the first one, or because it seems like a shovelware sequel to some crappy shovelware game.

The name of the original game was Possession: Escape from the Nether Regions, which I could potentially use for this one since the premise is the same, but they're different enough I'd like the original to stand as its own thing. I'm considering Possessor: Escape from the Nether Regions, but that might be too close as well.

I'd like to keep something along the lines of "Escape/Return from the Nether Regions" in there, because

1) Escaping from the Nether Regions is literally what you're doing

2) I think a tagline is more interesting than just a single-word name

3) It's weird, so hopefully it'll grab attention for at least a second or two

4) It shows that the game's tone is not 100% serious

But I could be misguided on that, too, because maybe that would turn people away, maybe they'd think it's nothing but sex jokes or something.

Anyway, I'm probably overthinking this, but I'd be interested to hear others' thoughts. Hell, if you have some other name suggestion unrelated to anything, I'm open to hear that too. Any and all thoughts welcome!

(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/possession2.png)
(http://weirdfellows.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/possessor.png)