Thursday, June 11, 2015

Starship Troopers: Terran Ascendancy -> Hints, tips, shortcut keys

Starship Troopers: Terran Ascendancy was the first game I ever worked on in the games industry.  I joined Bluetongue Software (later Bluetongue Entertainment) in Melbourne Australia in 2000, and I was testing what we called STTA during development.

Last night, I caught up with an old friend from Bluetongue, and we got talking about the old games we'd worked on.  After he left, I dug out STTA, and fired it up.  It still plays fine on my modern quad-core Windows 7 machine, after installing the Starship Troopers 1.1 Nvidia Patch, which was nice!  It even supported 1920 x 1080 resolution (even though no such resolution existed when the game was released).

But I found I'd forgotten some crucial hotkey shortcuts, making even the first level of the game very challenging!

The player needs to destroy a bunch of bug holes, and to do so, you need to switch to your Artillery Weapons and Fire those artillery weapons!  But I couldn't find any way to do those actions through the normal onscreen GUI!  I remember this being a bit of a problem when we released the game.  And the manual didn't even have a list of hotkeys!

So I dug up the old hotkey page I made in 2000.  Here it is for your delectation.

Grab the full Starship Troopers: Terran Ascendancy Hotkeys list here!

A few special tips and notes below...

Crucial hotkeys

W - Toggle Weapon on selected troopers
F - Fire Artillery  (then click on target to fire there)
H - Heal / Repair  (Medic / Engineer)
S - Stop  (stops all troopers from doing whatever they're doing)

Selecting Troopers

I also like to be able to save custom selections for groups of troopers.  Just use CTRL and Click to select some troopers, then hold ALT and press a number key to save that selection set.  Then you can just press that number any time while playing, to select those troopers again.  (By default, "1" is row 1, and "2" is row 2, etc).  

"~" is also very handy, as it selects ALL troopers.

You can also tap SPACEBAR to shift the camera between different groups of troopers, which can be handy if faster soldiers run off ahead of slower soldiers.

Trooper Attitudes

Also, crucial, are the Z, X, C, V keys which change the "attitude" of selected soldiers (Berzerker, Aggressive, Controlled, Stealth).  It changes the way they respond to nearby enemies, how they respond to move commands, and how visible they are to the enemy. 

"Z" makes troopers berzerker, meaning they'll run off an attack nearby bugs (which can make them "disobedient" and not follow move commands very ceremoniously, but it does make them effective at killing nearby bugs without having to issue specific orders.

"V" makes your soldiers stealth (and slow), helping to get past enemies undetected.

Equipping Units

Equipping units can be confusing.  You can add the special item to troopers to let them carry a second weapon, which can be very useful, so troopers can carry a missile launcher and a laser gun, for example.  You can then toggle between those weapons as needed during play.

Tac Map

F10 cycles through the TacMap modes (full, small, off).  I'd recommend just making it the largest size.  You can also click on the map directly to issue move orders, which can be very handy.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Xbox 360 Controller mapping for Android devices (for Unity)

Here's an image I made for Xbox 360 controller mapping for Android when using Unity.

Hope it's helpful for others!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Arcad-o-moid (Breakout)

I'm learning to program with C# in Unity.  Here's an early attempt to program something from scratch, with no built-in physics.  It's a breakout game, with an over-the-top screenshake, and proper use of time.deltaTime.  :)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Anti-RPG: A silly TWINE game

I was experimenting with TWINE a while ago, and this is the only thing I really finished.  Hope to do more some day!  Perhaps in the same irreverent style.

Use the link below to play in a full window, if you die just refresh the page.

Monday, March 23, 2015

XP-Lore: Early Development Teaser

I haven't released a game in AGES!

BUT, I've also been teaching Game Design and Production full time.

And for the past year or so I've been working together with Pranee on an old-school RPG game which we're calling XP-Lore.

Here's a little teaser video we made recently to show where it's at.

We're both working on the design of the game.  Pranee has been creating the art, laying out the map, and she's also in charge of the core story and writing (while I'm not interfering too much!).

My focus is on building the programming elements, and generally being a nuisance.

People warn you not to make an RPG, because there's so many systems.  But hey, who listens to reason?  Not me.

There's a lot to do, but we're trying to keep it pretty streamlined, and focussed on the things we can do well without a lot of technical savvy, things like world building, engaging characters, rich dialog and surprises.

I've wanted to make a game like this since about 1985 when I first played Phantasie, and now, with Pranee's help, the dream is turning into reality.  Our own little crazy fantastic reality.  :)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Old School RPG - Progress Update!

"The town is being overrun by rats!  They seem to be coming from the dungeon to the south.  Bring back 10 rats teeth and we shall reward you with 500 gold!"

Heehee.  I'm working on an oldschool style RPG based around terrain tiles.  My plan is to build the basic system, then explore interesting ways of expanding on it with systemic gameplay and interesting systems.  

Check out the progress report video below!

Friday, October 18, 2013

"Lady Lomat's Flute" - A Thief 2 Fan Mission

Thief is one of my favorite game series of all time.

There's a new re-imagining of the game coming soon from Eidos Montreal, and also an unofficial patch for the original games appeared somewhat recently amongst the fan community, improving the game's compatibility with modern computers, and also improving the shadow maps and other tweaks and improvements throughout.

This prompted me to re-visit my old Thief 2 mission I made in 2001, which I'd always wanted to tweak but never found the opportunity.  

I decided to open it up again, and it's provided me much joy to present an updated version of the mission, "Lady Lomat's Flute", now with a great intro movie with illustrations and voice-over by my good friend Brendan Barnett (also a big fan of the original games).

The video below shows a play through of the mission, and contains spoilers, so if you want to play the level yourself, give it a go before watching the video!  (There's a link to the download in the video description on YouTube).

My goal was to build a relatively small level that provided a lot of different possibilities for the player to approach the goal from different angles. The mission allows for sneaking, pick-pocketing, climbing, rope arrows, lots of ways in and out of the house, sword play, chaos, and more.