May 27, 2011

Grand Rogue Auto 0.4.0 Released

It took me quite a long amount of time to release this update. Moreover Blogspot decided 2 weeks ago to rollback and delete comments and posts. So I have probably missed a ton of things in the meantime. Anyway, here we go, GRA 0.4 has been released, with a lot of improvements I will detail in this post.

Also, an Official GRA Forum is now available, if you have relatively long questions or comments it's a good place to post those, it will be easier for me to answer there. It's also very likely that i will post random ideas and info about the development there, like this one.

This new version breaks save-games, custom effects and weapons. This is the first time I say this even if it's not the first time it happens. But as people began to mod the game, a warning is now needed. This is going to happen fairly often during the development, mods made for a version are unlikely to be portable to another until we reach Alpha status (0.8).

Anyway, custom effects applied to armors are now working. Moreover some options have been added to those effects, it's now possible to reduce/increase accuracy and line of sight directly. Also, It is possible to link a sprite to an effect, it will be used both as a graphical indicator for sustained effects by the player and on tiles hit by this effect (smoke, fire and such). Give a look at the rocket launcher and the new flamethrower for an example.
Speaking of combat, area of effect is now working, more or less. It's not as well implemented as I would like it to be, but it's working and will be improved over time. Two new ammo types have been added (fuel and batteries) to help with the creation of new weapons. Also, effects are now linked to body parts, if one of your limbs goes below 50% health you'll get a negative effect, and if it goes critical (<25%) you'll get a more severe one. A body editor has been added to the modding menu to that effect. Using this editor you can set innate armors, decide if a limb is a vital component of a NPC or not and so on. As an example, Zombies can only be killed by headshots from now on.

Skin packs are now handled, you can install different skin packs and select which one you want to use when starting a new game. Note that it is not possible to change skin on the fly, when you start a game with a specific skin, you will have to continue with it. It's not going to change anytime soon.

The GUI has been improved (visit a weapon shop), you can also select your initial class when starting a new game. It's possible to use the NPC editor to add and modify available player classes.

The issue that was preventing savegames from working correctly is now fixed. Also, understand that the current (temporary) system only saves your character's progress. The whole world isn't saved yet. Loading a new savegame is like starting on turn 1 again except that you'll keep your stats, progress and inventory.

There's tons of smaller changes in this version, however I don't have the time right now to go into more details, so check the forum and the changelog for more information.



  1. Freaking swell, man! I was afraid something happened to you IRL, or you had some serious problems.

    I've read your comment on my questions in the previous post, and I was actually asking why making members of the "xenomorph" gang into "zombie" job didn't make them to attack me. They had -100 to each faction. Apprently the "zombie" job doesn't work if you assign it to a faction normally.

    I am going to start a mod thread on the forums, mostly adding graphics and cosmetic buildings/items/effects. This is LOOKING GREAT :D

  2. First small interface issue: two "check circles" under your name on the character creation screen hav black text on black background, so you cannot see what they are. What are they?

  3. Apparently they are male/female... However picking either one gives the same sprite, also on your screenshot they are in white text while for me they are black (invisible).

  4. Another issue: cannot unequip armor. And if you drop an equipped armor, it is still listed on the left in the inventory as equipped.

    I tried to make clothing to have visual effect (added effect with an overlay over the character and added the effect to the armor), however the armor sprite did not appear over my character... What's the problem?

  5. Xenomorph - Like i said, zombies are a special job designed for the related game-mode, and as such they are linked to the zombie faction. This said, yeah i will look into it, so they behave more or less like you expect. Or, i will add a "monster" job instead if i can't do that with them.

    Forum - It should be working correctly now, if you have issues when registering check you have javascript and cookies enabled.

    Interface - Humm, i don't have the same problem, that's probably because we don't use the same Windows version (which is?) or because whatever theme you're using is interfering. It's a common issue when altering windows as much as I did. I will see what can be done about it.

    Male/female - Yeah i know, I will correct that in the next version so the game will take a 'female' NPC if it exists in the database for the class selected by the player.

    Armor - Woops, i forgot to check that, thanks.

    clothing - You asked for this feature before, sadly it's not going to happen, at least in this game. Changing armor/weapon won't change the look of the player (or any other npc for that matter). There's several reasons for that:

    1. The graphical library I am using is slow, adding several layers per sprites will probably be too much for it. So it's a 'no no' at least until I switch to DirectX or OpenGL.

    2. It would require me to rewrite (again) large parts of my display engine, as it was not designed to do that kind of stuff. That's a lot of coding for a cosmetic feature when i have soooo many gameplay related stuff to add.


  6. It's okay, I don't mind having the same sprite forever, I just hoped I could "fool" the system by using the effect for the armor... And the question is, why isn't it working?

    I mean, we GET the ability to assign an effect to an armor AND a sprite to that effect, yet the sprite is not shown. Is it an artificial limitation? I just wonder.

  7. It's not working because I have not written code for that purpose :)

    At the moment, effect sprites are only used for tile effects (smoke, fire). I will also use those as a graphical indicator of effects sustained by the player so he doesn't have to keep the 'journal' window opened.

    btw the layer used for tile effects is below the one used by NPC so even it was working you wouldn't get the expected result.

    This said all this isn't written in stone, i may very well improve it when I feels its necessary.

  8. Hey Serial,
    Dude nice work coming along. Hopefully we can get those banks put in place. :D Otherwise how is the Witcher? Speaking of such would it be possible to add in monsters? :D Like in the sewers once you get dungeons working? And for the Body part system coming along will it be possible to add in explosions that could possible lob off people's limbs? Sorry if it sounds sadistic...

  9. The witcher 2 is a really good game, the only issue is that combat isn't properly balanced during the prologue making the game way too hard until you gain a few levels. Apart from this annoyance (and apart that i'm running it at 10 fps max) it's excellent.

    Adding animals / monsters doesn't fit in very well here (gators in the sewers, maybe? a zoo?). But it will be possible to mod them in, and put spawn points on the map.

    Area of effect weapons are already included, technically they can put a limb to zero health, but nothing is flying 'DF-style'. Humm, definitively doable, i only lack the art assets. I'll try to produce / find some.

  10. Hey thanks for the constant replies you always give. The sewer gators sounds extremely awesome. And also When the newspaper phase comes around would that mean you could read about significant individuals track them down and kill them. Like in DF. Or what are your plans for the next few months.

    On the witcher aspect what are your computer aspects may I ask. And really thanks for all of your support for the community. Oh and how do you make your own sprites.

  11. Plans for this month are:
    - New map generator with a coherent road network. Already made good progress on that part.
    - If possible, integrate skyscrapers and other buildings with several floors + related editors
    - Quick travel (subway stations)
    - A local pathfinder that doesn't eat so much CPU (i am probably a bit optimistic regarding this one)
    - Usual improvements regarding special effects, user interface, bug fixes and random stuff.

    Then, yeah missions and news system. Should have been for this update, but like i said i can't stand my map generator anymore. And then i'll review faction behaviors, individual NPC jobs to extend the array of available mission types.

    About the news system. A kind of logging system will be put on individual NPC and on factions. It will basically record kills, steals, sectors invasions, cop murders and this kind of stuff. Every X turns a "newspaper" will be generated, reviewing the most important events like "A serial killer called X killed 10 civilians", "After a long battle the gang A took over B territory in sector X". Things like that. It won't have the same level of details as DF, far from that, but it works more or less the same way.

    The missions system will use the same system to determine whatever a faction want you to do. For example, If faction X is tired of a guy killing all of its members because he bought a freaking armor and flamethrower, you'll probably get a mission to find and kill the said dude.

    My computer, oh my.
    Athlon64-3000 (1.8 -> overclocked 2ghz) single core
    1Gb RAM
    GeForce 9500GT - PCI Express 2x
    Windows XP SP3
    Around 200Gb HDD space

    Tiles/terrain are made by me. Furniture are mostly taken from the internet using Google image (90% of the time they come from RPG Maker related website). NPC are mostly taken from a 'sprite generator' found on the internet, and other are ripped from very old games and then modified by me.
    It's a temporary solution, but as I am far from being a pixel artist and because text mode causes more harm than good from a coding perspective I don't have much of a choice.

  12. Do you dislike the terrain I've made? If so, why and what can be done about it?

  13. Uh? I like it, really.

    I was a bit in a hurry when releasing the last version and as a result I forgot about putting your graphic pack in. It will be included 'officially' in the next release. Meanwhile, you can put it on the board if you want.

  14. Oh by the way, I will probably (well, surely) copy your furniture (those with a corrected aspect ratio / angle) directly into the default skin if this is okay with you.

    I am going to keep both tilesets available as some people may prefer light walls/ground to dark ones and the other way around.

  15. Wow. This looks pretty good, Serial Kicked. I understand your point of view on the animals. Thanks for your work you've been putting into the community. Did you beat the witcher? Oh and if I may ask, are you going to upgrade your computer Sir?

  16. Yeah, I beat it last week (30-35 ingame hours, most secondary quests done), definitively a great game, but not without it's flaws. Very poor inventory management, inverted difficulty curve (harder at the start than at the end), and the conclusion (without going into spoiler territory) is underwhelming, I know it's supposed to be a trilogy, but it's too abrupt compared to the previous game. But it's nitpicking, and it has a high replay value as there's apparently 30-50% of the game that differ completely based on your choices.

    I would upgrade my computer if i had the money for it, but i don't, so I deal with it. As long as the current console generation stays I am pretty safe gaming-wise: developers have to dumb down their games so they can run on those consoles (and by extension on my computer). Moreover, it forces me to optimize my code to the best of my abilities.

    When I look at the (great) ToME roguelike, using 100% of my CPU power when things get somewhat hairy (multiple spells and monsters), it has a tendency to get on my nerves as a coder :p.

  17. Glad to hear you beat it!

    Hey man, computers are expensive! So I know what you mean. What else have you been doing to fill your time?

    Good to see a new post, how has the dev been?

  18. To fill my time? Between coding, repairing computers for random people and the usual weekend nights, not much that would interest anyone. I am trying every procedural game and related websites I can find for (coding or gameplay) ideas, though.

    Development is going good and I am glad to be more or less done with this city generator. It was relatively interesting as I never did such thing before, still it's relatively far away from my area of expertise. I am more interested in what can be done next.