Okay, so the debugging has started again… and it is a pain. If there was one major downside to vintage programming, it’s that the debugging tools are either absent or lousy.
But, I’ll report more on that when I have something to report. In the mean while, not surprisingly, I’m finding that I have a great deal of dissatisfaction with the combat engine.
I had originally designed it to operate much like the idealistic version of 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons did… with players deciding their moves, and their initiative roll and speed factors playing into the order of actions afterwards. It wasn’t something I’d ever seen happen in a CRPG before, so I thought it would make my game unique.
And so it does. But it also makes it boring and slow. A lot of code and data space is sacrificed to track actions ahead of time, and process them in one giant workflow. As part of my debugging efforts, I’ve had to move one of the characters up close to a monster to try and make a hit. So I’ve quickly become frustrated with the system. After playing Ultima IV for awhile, which had much quicker and easier tactical combat, I’d like to step back and re-think this system.
Another factor is the design of the classes themselves. I had originally omitted the idea of a “hit roll” separated from a “damage roll”. But now I’m thinking I’d like to re-add that. Maybe even put attributes back in the game? Mulling that one over… I have no interest in adding levels to the game again; I hate level and XP grinding. My plan is to have the game’s story advance your characters, not the number of bogeymen you slaughter on the way.
To be honest, what I should do is just take out ANY complicated combat engine stuff for the moment, and incrementally add new features as I go along. Re-tooling the engine (yet again) will take awhile though, and I really want to solve the FX problems first.