Skip to main content

Vinland 1936

What have I been up to this month?

Well you can see it in a couple of development blog videos, here, here and here.

Vinland 1936 is a game I've been working on (on and off) for about 3 years. It is somewhat based on the old Nirval interactive game, Blitzkrieg;





I hope you've played it since it is one of the best games ever!!! (IMHO)
Blitzkrieg was a real time tactics game. You didn't build a base, or spawn units. It wasn't about rushing the enemy. You got a small number of troops and vehicles that could be replenished or repaired if you had access to a supply base and the right supply trucks, but couldn't be replaced if lost. Once your vehicles were destroyed and your infantry killed you were finished. You couldn't just churn out some more from your factory and have another go at rushing the enemy guns. This made you invest a lot in each of your units. They really mattered.

It was also procedurally generated. Each mission (except for the historical missions) was put together from a sophisticated random generator. Each time you played you'd have to work hard to crack a new set of environmental puzzles. This means I can still play the game and enjoy it years later.

My own game is going to be similar, but I want to take the idea of replayability even further. In Vinland 1936 you are going to be playing an alternative history setting. Although there are a list of "historical" vehicle designs for each faction you're going to be able to customize them and create new machines. You'll not be stuck with the same old Panzer IV or Matilda II every time, your gameplay will change with the availability of rare parts, salvaged enemy chassis and your understanding of the customization program.

Here you can see an early war tank:



Slow but well armored, it has a heavy gun in the hull and a small turret.
There are several ways you could customize this design, adding more armor at the expensive of speed, adding a commander's cupola to the turret to help with visual range and targeting. Improved suspension will become available, or better weapons. Eventually you'll want to buy a new design since the small turret limits its usefulness in later encounters. But as you use it the crew will gain experience, maybe getting some special skills. It might be better to keep upgrading it rather than get a new tank with raw crew members.

Here's where having vehicle customization really makes a difference vs just having static designs. There's going to be an element of strategy in the vehicles you choose to design that will make every mission feel unique.

I really love the Blitzkrieg games, but the WWII period is so well known now it's hard for it to hold any surprises. And the most recent blitzkrieg (3) looks pretty boring to me, with very little of what made the original game so great.

I'll leave you with a picture of some of the vehicles I designed so far while messing with the vehicle editor:



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Make your game models POP with fake rim lighting.

I was watching one of my son's cartoons today and I noticed they models were using serious amounts of simulated rim lighting. Even though it wasn't a dark scene where you'd usually see such an effect, the result was actually quite effective.



The white edge highlighting and ambient occluded creases give a kind of high contrast that is similar to, but different from traditional comic book ink work.


I'll be honest, I don't know if there's a specific term for this effect in 3d design, since my major at university was in traditional art. I learned it as part of photography.


You can find plenty of tutorials on "what is rim lighting" for photography. It basically means putting your main sources of light behind your subject so that they are lit around the edges. It can produce very arresting photographs, either with an obvious effect when used on a dark subject...


..,or as part of a fully lit scene to add some subtle highlights. See how alive the subject look…

How to... build a strong art concept.

So you want to make some art assets for your game. The first on the list is a Steampunk Revolver for your main character to shoot up Cthulhu with. Quickly opening your internet browser you start with a Google image search. Ah, there is is!

It might be a good idea to find a few influences so you don't accidentally end up copying a famous design.


Just mash them up and you're ready to go! Off to your favorite modeling program.
But wait! isn't there more to building a strong design concept than that?

Of course there is.
One of the diseases of modern design is that of recursion. Everything is a copy of a copy of a copy. This is especially a problem with "historical" concepts. Over the course of that recursive process the concept becomes infected with modern design elements, and ends up looking very similar to everything else that anyone else has ever made.
If you want to come up with a really fresh idea, you have to get beyond secondary references and go look at real …

Skynet

Ok, so it's not exactly skynet, but I have got my first AI state working, kind of.


The first state is "HOLD" in which case the agent stays in place where they are and shoots at any unit that comes in range. When I started writing this module, I found that the existing method of triggering actions wasn't good enough to allow the AI to choose the best weapon or target. It worked by simply sending a command to the unit to trigger the currently selected action.

If the action is valid, it triggered, if not it didn't.
That's fine for play controlled units, as that's all they need to do. But AI needs to know in advance if the action is valid. The player can get that info from UI feedback, but that wasn't available to the AI player.

There were three problems:

1. The UI feedback duplicated code in the action trigger function. These  two sets of code could get out of phase so that UI feedback was wrong.

2. The action trigger didn't give enough feedback for …