Ninja Ninja

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Still ankle deep in AI code, and I’m procrastinating a little bit. Once again I’m finding that once I have the solution, solved the puzzle, that I find myself dragging to implement sometimes. The AI code is no exception. It’s also tinged by the fact that it is going to be big. I mean, it’ll have 2 different tables that it references, dozens and dozens of assets, several (more) functions and a new image loading algorithm. So, I feel a little overwhelmed by it in some way. “Yep, got that bridge designed and we’re ready to start work. Only 5 miles of bridge to go…”
So, in an effort to get over it and start getting to it, today I’m just going to set up the Attack Table without animations. I’ll just have the system display what the numbers are and then we can work from there. The other thing is that the Lazarus Saga set me back at a month. I started the AI system in early March and now it’s April. The whole system, while designed in my head, is a little more vague than it once was. I’ll get back into my notes and look for clues that will get me back to where I am supposed to be.

In totally non-Thief news I’m finding that the next game I’m wanting to do will be Knight, the oft mentioned next project. The engine is taking shape in my brain and I’m getting very excited by the concepts coming forth, mostly because it’s so unlike Thief. In TTT the platforming is the focus, with occasional combat. In Knight the combat is the focus and the platforming a way to break that up. So, different joy. Instead of solving a platforming puzzle and feeling smart, you’re going to rip through 2 dozen enemies both large and small and feel like a badass.
Once again, when given a puzzle (in this case the new engine) I find myself doing it. So the next engine will feature scrolling, multiple (scores? legions?) enemies (using the Thief AI algorithms – on steroids) and now, destructible environments.
Where Thief is about making a platforming game in the style of a mid-90’s game, Knight is going to be very modern in it’s concepts while being quite retro in it’s presentation. I’m wanting to create a term to describe it and its ridiculous combat and number of onscreen enemies (I’m shooting for 20+) and I’m thinking “Brawler Bullet Hell.” Something far less cerebral and a lot more visceral. Ninja Gaiden II is influencing my design on that one. I’m okay with it since none of the Knight design is anything like it. The way it plays though, slick, brutal, reflexive, where everything you do just looks cool. Give the player the tools and enough things to use them on and they can make (or un-make in this case) great things and feel awesome doing it.
Oh, and hard. Make it wicked, wicked hard.