Minimum Viable Blog Post

In the startup and web development world which I hail terms like "fake it till you make it" and minimum viable product often heard reverberating off exposed brick and across ping pong tables. When you work at a small company there is only so much you can accomplish so you need to make it count. I think this goes doubly if you have a side project that you want to actually get anywhere. I simply don't have the time and reserve of motivation to go chasing down rabbit holes.

Another thing I have found when you are slogging along on a long project alone you need inspiration. Besides this blog there is no forcing function to make me work on this besides my own imagination and itch to build. When working I try to keep a bank of work I know can easily keep me going either due to it being satisfying to do or has satisfying results. Since I last updated I have worked on a mix of this and trying to get a the core combat gameplay working right.

The biggest reward/cost was doing a small graphics update. I made a couple of sci-fi tiles and stole an image of space in lieu of writing a star field generator. I think in total the work probably took an hour at most and most of that was me trying to do pixel art.

I also have added a number of long needed technical improvements:

  • Line of sight matters for shooting and the AI attacking you. Though now it is obvious that I am going to need some sort of system for the AI being able to hear commotion and footsteps (which also means a system for player knowing this is happening).
  • Infinite worlds sizes (sort of). The map now can expand as much as needed. I added a hashtable in front of the bitmap/tile chunks. The sort of is because there is no path for unloading yet so it is effectively a memory leak :)
  • Fog of war! You no longer can see the entire map just your ship and whatever you explore. This system needs some tweaks. Probably going to have two concepts here: explored vs currently visible.
  • TMX loading for ships. Instead of trying to start out with a ship generator I think it would be better to get gameplay working the way I want then focus on that.

A lot of this has been in service of trying to get the core gameplay of the turn based combat fun. I think I have a ways to go still and will probably need improve the AI further as well as add things like cover, overwatch and reloading. I am thinking I wont actually need equipment as part of this effort. I am going to focus on that once I am done with this.

As a side note there is an episode of the podcast tone control interviewing the creator of the new x-com game.