Friday, September 16, 2011

From Bear to Phoenix - release 0.0.2

I released v0.0.2 of From Bear to Phoenix about a week ago. It can be downloaded from its SourceForge project page here. These are the changes since v0.0.1:
  • Added Augmenter, who can cast the following Augment spells:
  • Heart of Buffalo,
  • Skin of Bear,
  • Strength of Bear,
  • Strength of Mouse (intended for use on opponents).
  • Can now have multiple allies, fighting against common opponents.
  • Added an initial screen to choose which allies and opponents for a battle.  There are currently no restrictions on how many allies or opponents to choose (OK, actually there's a limit of 9 for each type of being, and starting with 0 allies may crash the game); if your first choice of combatants makes for a battle that's too easy, try again with more opponents and/or less allies.
  • Added Firebugs and Polar Bears, both available as opponents.
  • Shapeshifters can now change into Wolves and Trees as well as Bears.  Wolves are faster and can be sustained longer; Trees regenerate MP quickly.
  • Added summary of current ally (HP and MP) to the map screen.  (This can help clarify which ally is currently active.)
  • Added a character viewer which shows spells available, cast by and cast on, that mage, if the player clicks on the summary of the current ally on the map screen.
  • Added A* pathfinding algorithm, used by opponents to find the shortest path to the allies.  (This algorithm follows the Wikipedia definition closely.)
 Screenshots of this release:

Choosing sides at the start of the game.

Just before first contact with the enemy - Augmenter hanging back, Shapeshifter (in the form of a Bear) braced.

Augmenter character sheet showing available spells, spells cast so far, and spells cast on this mage.  Note that an Augmenter can cast one spell multiple times on different beings.  Augment spells cost MP to maintain as well as cast.

Again, see the original From Bear to Phoenix post for image credits.

It was 5 months from v0.0.1 to v0.0.2, which felt like too long.  I was too ambitious in what I wanted to fit in before releasing; for the next version, I'm scaling back the list of features to include.  I definitely want to include saving and loading games and new monster types (naturally).  And of course a new type of mage, but I haven't yet decided between Lifegiver (healer) or Architect (stone mage).  Anything after that is a bonus.

From Bear to Phoenix is beginning to feel more like a game now.  It's possible to easily experiment with the number and type of good guys and bad guys, which is necessary for balancing, and the potential of the magic system and the variety of spells and mages is starting to become clear.  With the next release, even more pieces will be added to the puzzle.

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