Devlog #62: The tactical layer

The winter holiday season in my area is almost over. I have been away for most of it, so I also did not have any spare time to spend on Shardpunk. But that's cool, having a break is also important.

My main focus right now is making sure that the tactical layer of the game is fleshed out. So let's talk about it.



Note: all the screenshots are in a very early phase (I'm still experimenting with the layout) and are missing most of the graphics.

Player characters will spend their time between missions on a prototype airship, which is floating above the Capitol (the city overrun by the Rat Swarm). So the airship is the home base. It contains different facilities that allow the characters to perform various activities.

But first things first. The tactical layer will also be turn-based, so it'll be closer to Darkest Dungeon than to XCOM games, where it was real-time, with the ability to advance time. During each turn, the player will be able to assign characters to different activity slots on the ship.

Also, the player needs to select a team of characters that will perform a mission in the current location (assuming that there's a mission available).

Then the combat starts. The first tech demo covered this.

After the combat, the player sees its summary and the summary of all other activities that have taken place on the ship - which could be about new items being manufactured, people getting healed, etc.


Next is the food distribution phase. Each character needs to get their daily ration of food supplies, or they will start receiving negative traits ("Hungry", then "Very Hungry"). If no food is being provided for a character three turns in a row, they die from starvation.

After the food is distributed, sanity checks for characters are being made. If a character is low on sanity, they can acquire a negative trait. I will write more about the sanity mechanics in future entries for sure.

At the end of the day, the player chooses the next destination from a set of possibilities. Each location might hold a different mission type or at least a slightly different set of loot available.

Then the turn ends. And that's the core gameplay loop, described in a very rough way.

The main focus for the player will be to keep the characters alive (by providing them food and taking care of their sanity levels), gather resources and follow the major questline (which will be about getting out of the Capitol).

There are a few other mechanics I want to be present in the game, like taking care of the ship's generator or maintaining/upgrading the weapon cores. However, these won't be present in the second tech demo. I want the demo to have the main gameplay loop present in its minimal form, and allow the player to play through at least two missions.

What's next?

There's a lot of stuff to do with this tactical part. I am trying out different approaches to presenting stuff on the screen, to make sure it is readable and looks nice. I am pretty sure that I will be working on the tactical UI for at least a month, if not longer.

Take care!

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