May 6, 2011

Grand Rogue Auto 0.3.8 Released !

Behold, Grand Rogue Auto 0.3.8 !

Why not 0.4, you may ask? Because I have to work on the faction and combat stuff some more before being able to switch to the mission system. This said, this new release introduces major changes regarding the controls and the combat system. As usual, this article gives detailed information regarding the update and what I am going to work on next.

1. Running, Shooting and Stamina

As explained in this article, the player can run and shoot 2 times per turn. To do so, you must switch to running mode by using the 3rd button on the left (the walking/running guy) panel, or by pressing the [W] key. In running mode, everything you do -except waiting- consumes Stamina. If your stamina goes below 0, you automatically switch back to walking mode.

In running mode, you can move 2 times per turn (useful for chasing NPC) or fire one time and move one time, or fire two times. Firing in running mode reduces your accuracy considerably. Using burst fire (glock, rifles and smg) in running mode is counterproductive, it will eat all your remaining actions points and your accuracy will be reduced too, so you should stick to standard / aimed (more on that later) shots for the time being.

Your total Stamina is based on your Strength attribute. Some drugs can increase your maximum amount, and some items may restore your current value. Also notice that some weapons (shotguns) will reduce your stamina points greatly when you're hit.

NPC don't understand this concept yet. So you won't see other NPC running or shooting 2 times per turn until a little while (but yes, it's coming). However, they can use burst shots now.

2. Health and Combat System

The health bar disappeared, it's now replaced by a bar for each one of your body parts (head, torso, legs, and arms). If one of those bars goes 0%, you're dead. Same for the enemies. The torso is the easier to hit but it has the most HP, while the head has 50% less HP, but it's also much harder to hit. As a result, it is now possible to aim at specific body parts with most weapons (except some smg and melee weapon). By default you will aim at the torso, it's the easiest to hit, but it has the most HP. There's also a (30%) chance to hit another body part by 'mistake'. In the above screenshot, I shot 2 times using burst fire (which always targets torso) and you can see that the bullets hit different body parts. You can also notice that combat logs are now more informative.

To aim at a specific body part, granted you're not in burst-mode and that you weapon supports this fire mode, you can either right-click on your target and use the drop-down menu, or press the [V] (or NumPad [+]) key to cycle between body parts. You can see where you're currently aiming at in the Target area of the right panel, next to your hit chance.

There's still work to be done on that part. I'd like to add specific negative effects when a limb is wounded and when it is critically wounded. I would also like allowing the player to use healing items on specific body parts (fallout style). It will be done sooner or later. Also the introduction of body parts, that can be different from a NPC to another allows me to add special creatures with tails, wings or whatever (well, probably not in this game, but you get the idea).

3. Damage Types and Armors

Weapons now have a damage type: guns and rifles are using piercing damage, shotguns are using impact, melee weapons are split between impact and slashing, the RPG launcher uses explosive damages.And so on, there's currently 7 different damage types (it can be changed easily), with fire, electrical and chemical.

This is important because Armors have been introduced. They can be bought in weapon stores and gang hideouts. Armors protects specific body parts against one or several damage types:

You can only use one armor per body part (granted it's compatible). So basically if you buy an armor covering both your body and your legs (like riot armor) you won't be able to wear boots. Theoretically armors should support special effects, and have a durability that decreases each time it soaks damages but it's not implemented properly yet.

4. User Interface

It has been improved to accommodate those changes. 
  • Information panels for weapons and armors are accessible from weapon stores and from your inventory. 
  • It's also possible to switch weapon quickly using the mouse by right clicking on your weapon's name or image in the right panel. 
  • The targeting system (using keyboard) has been rewritten, the cycling is ordered by distance, the current target stays selected while it's in your line of sight.
  • A key has been added [E] to cycle between enemies only. 
  • You can toggle run/walk mode using the [W] key or the 3rd button on the left panel.
There's probably a few other tricks I forgot to note regarding the UI. Still, i hope it's intuitive enough for the time being. A complete overhaul is planned, but I still have a few things to add first.

5. Zombie Mode 

Yeah, it was broken in the previous version. They were attacking each other and dieing before doing much damage. It's now fixed. Zombies are less numerous at start, and have a reduced line of sight, but they have an innate claw attack that will infect people when hurt. Infected people slowly loose health and when they die, they turn into zombies. You can cure yourself using the anti-venom found in hospitals and some houses.

6. City, NPC, Factions, Misc.

Regarding the city, NPC, and stuff. Gang members will buy better weapons if they have the cash for it. The combat AI can use burst shots, but it can't really aim its shots or run yet. Logic of couriers has been improved, and shops should be getting new stocks more quickly. A police station has been added, and the police forces will try to "liberate" city blocks from the gangs. I also added more weapons, npc, armors, tiles, furniture, sprites and items to the game. All in all, it's more polished than before. There's also a faction called The Brotherhood (temporary name) added to the game, they have specific sprites and weaponry, and they own a few weapon stores in town. It's a demo faction created using the faction editor, and it may or may not be used in the storyline later.

7. Bugs fixed and added

I fixed some annoying bugs (people closing/opening doors in loop), but the main news is that I found why the game was using so much memory. It was definitively a stupid mistake corrected by removing a single line of code (shame on me). Anyway, the game uses much less RAM than before, and it should be much more responsive when playing in a big city (granted your CPU can handle this many NPC).

This said, I have done a hell lot of changes in the lowest layers of my code to implement the combat system (and other stuff) properly. I've done little play-testing, so you are kinda bound to find new bugs (or old ones reappearing) in this release. Please report them in this topic. Seriously, inform me about any weird behavior you encounter, I may already have found it, but it's best to be sure.

8. Modding and Game Engine

This is the new tileset editor. It allows to add new wall and floors to the game easily. Yeah it's far from being intuitive, but it will be improved as the development advances.

Here is the new armor editor. It allows you to add new armors or edit existing ones. It's fairly easy to use, but notice that even if you can assign a special effect to an armor, it won't work in-game yet. I'm hoping to fix this for next release.

The weapon editor was improved, special effects are working, and are applied to the person hit by this weapon. You can also select the damage type, set if a weapon is innate (can't find in any shop, don't drop on death) or not, and if it's a legal one or not. 

The effect editor was improved too. Effects can cancel one another (like an anti-poison item can cure you from a poisoned state). You can set a probability of success to an effect, like having 50% chance to loose 10 stamina on hit.  Much more is coming regarding those special effects, but I will detail that in another article.

9. What's Next ?

So, I am going to finish the combat system as cover (from objects on the map) and area of effect are not yet handled. I will also expand the health system. I also definitively need to reduces the load on the CPU, this version hasn't been optimized as the previous ones, and you can feel it if your computer is a few years old. I know how to, but yeah it's going to take time. I'm also going to finish the faction warfare system. This done, I will release 0.4 and start working on the mission-related stuff and buildings with several floors.

Note: If you have a previous version of GRA installed and if the game crashes at world generation, delete the whole folder and try again.Custom or old weapons, effects and items aren't compatible with this new version.


  1. Ahhh Nice!!!

    This new one is amazing, btw, love turning into a zombie just to start an out break. SO much fun.

    @SerialKicked Hey this is getting really good, the zombie mode was fixed as promised. Very pleased. Is there a way I can be able to add more factions and also add the Zombie horde as a visibly controlling faction on the city map?

    This is getting better, especially with the new health system. and I imagine since you mentioned body parts in the upcoming, will that mean we could like shoot off someones arm or something?
    Also how is the development coming in general, Mr. Serial, because I noticed you implied that this is going to take time?

    and do you plan on adding like a Prison for the criminals once combat is worked out; a place where even the player could be sentenced?

    On last one, :), will there be a way to ever keep track of the day and nights that go by?
    Ex. July 16th 2011 or 27 days since generation..

    And Mr. Serial thank you so much for taking your time just to even read these questions and amswering them. Really it truly show your community Chivalry.

    @Deon Hey so since you're in the DF modding community you must atleast know some coding, so may I ask are you from Russia?

  2. Oh my, don't call me "mister", just SK or serial is perfectly fine, i don't give a damn about titles and such. Anyway,

    About the zombie mode. It's going to be improved over time, as it's a very cheap way to show that the engine I am writing is able to deal with all sorts of scenarios. Starting a zombie holocaust using the development menu will be improved so it'll become a valid option when you start a game. However, like i said before, my goal is not to replace Rogue Survivor, which does an awesome good job at dealing with this scenario. But, in my next projects, zombies will have to be handled one way or another, and GRA is a good test-bed for that. So yeah, the concept will be expanded but it will be for later and in another game.

    About body parts, yeah I haven't posted the most gruesome screenshots available, but yes, when a limb goes 0% it's considered chopped off, and you get a result in the combat log. To be honest it still needs tuning/improvement, but the main idea is already here :). All I really need to add are specific effects when a limb goes critical and set an array of deadly limbs (torso, head..) and non lethal limbs (tail, wings..). When done, we're going to be basically "Dwarf Fortress" proof combat-wise.

    About Day/night cycle: Yeah it's planned, with fog and other conditions. To be honest I have no idea when it's going to be fully implemented, but yes, it'll be featured in the game at one time or another.

    About the prison/criminal justice system. To be honest, I am not much interested in this. Cops try to kill bandits. If you do something wrong, cops try to kill you too. The whole legal process is foreign to me and to those cops. I don't think it's going to change soon, but however, in a future version, cops may ask you to pay a fine instead of trying to kill you directly.

    Damn, your questions are hard to answer to in order. So I'd like to let you know that the development is going fine. As a matter of fact, it's great, i can add all sorts of options and ideas without adding too much coding, which is great for a game that's supposed to be highly moddable. In other words, GRA is going to be a solid roguelike, and my next projects based on this engine should work too ^^.

  3. Did I see "wings" in that picture, with the area armour can cover?

  4. Yeah, it's from the body parts that are included in the engine but that are not effectively used in-game. It only appears in the modding tools.

  5. Hey, nuts! I was about to go to sleep, but guess what, NO! :D

    Also yeah, Aaron, I am from Russia.

    And I don't have a blog/site yet, SK, although I planned to start one, with all the projects... So yeah, I will start making more sprites to replace the "borrowed" ones :).

  6. There's a thread on Bay12Games forums now:

    Please show up and tell something to sparkle more interest in your great project :)

  7. Thanks for the link and posts there, Deon :)

    I've answered to some questions there. I'm not too keen on giving people too much expectations so early, I know by experience that can easily lead to a backlash later.

  8. I still see that it's better to hype people, draw attention and feel important which helps to motivate you, than to have a good game with noone interested :).

  9. @Deon, Nicely put Sir.
    In fact that is the best words of encouragement I have heard from anyone on the internet. And actually it still remains logical. So that is actually very impressive and good to hear a complement like that for Serial.

    Oh and I know that the compliment was ment for me. I just thought it was very nice of you Deon.

    @Serial, No, you get a point b/c this game you have made is the equivalent to dropping a bomb on the "Big Game Title Co's." The game you have made is far better in my opinion than mainstream media games. Why? Because it provides so much more input, care, and most importantly the ability to truly be immersed in this. So thank you Serial.

    @Deon Seriously you should be a freaken motivational speaker. I would definitely buy tickets to your speeches.

  10. Haha, I actually write some speeches here for people in our university, but I am only good in russian, I make too many mistakes in english.

    And of course it's better than "Mainstream" because SK has gone the "right" way of indie game developing.

    There's a short way to make a quick and fancy game to earn money/attention, and this game will be forgotten as fast as it was developed.

    Also there's a long way which takes a lot of time to develop basics which provide a solid gameplay, then build and expand on top of that until the game becomes a beast or dies midway. It's a dangerous route because if you lose interest, the game is gone... But if you keep it long enough, it pays off. This is the way the "real" indie developers should go, at least my most favourite games are developed this way (Dwarf Fortress, Aurora, Caves of Qud, Rogue Survivor, now Grand Rogue Auto).

  11. Hey, I've tried modding new buildings, and they... Well, they kinda don't work.

    The bank and the museum don't have anything in their SafeLuxury (a new container with "luxury" subtype), it's probably because they are offices, and I've set "Marketplace" to be an outside type of "park", and I can't find it... Maybe a bad luck.

    Also there're changed sprites for a civillian woman (in suit) and a worker woman, and some new and replaced furniture tiles.

  12. Oh and I forgot to mention, that link has my tileset for the city. Check it if you like it.

  13. Dude,
    @Deon, Those tilesets freakin kicks ass. I love it. It really does feel grim, like a real crime-filled city. Very good. So I found the museum and the banks. And you were 100% right (Go figure, Deon the master of all is right!) (No, Sarcasm.)
    So I though you also said, that you wanted to do speeches in English, and were not 100% at English. Well if you want to email, me some of the speeches, I can go through them and help you correct them and edit them. (I am from America) E-mail me at if you want to have some help in that area.

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  15. No, what I said is that I didn't write speeches in english because I am not good enough. I didn't try to do it, I had no such need.

    By the way, I wonder where did SerialKicked go? Some unexpected issues? Come on, give us a comment :).

  16. @Deon, Sorry then man I was wrong. But yeah where did Serial go, maybe he's been crunching out on studies, or a new update. What do you think?

  17. All of that at the same time :)

    New version coding ; "studying" a new map generator (because i definitively can't look at the current maps anymore without raging) ; and working.

    Oh, yeah, and i must admit, I played at bit of Witcher 2 too ^^ (runs as fast as a snail as my computer is basically half of the "minimum" requirements, but it's too good to miss imho).

    Don't forget,
    It's not because I am not posting that I am not coding.