Vara de Mara
Team members: Helen Õunapuu, Rain Eric Haamer, Ott Adermann
Vara De Mara is a non-stop-action card-based RPG with tons of combinations. It is rapid, unpredictable and tactical.
A grid-, turn-, party-, and card-based RPG taking place all on a single battle board. Choose between different characters with different initial decks for your party, covering thematic and difficulty options.
The rest of the game is spent on the combat grid where you must defeat wave after wave of enemies while sustaining your party and advancing them by looting your fallen foes. Shape the terrain to your advantage and experiment with various character and deck combinations by picking different character advancement options or simply due to the randomness-influenced nature of the game.
For the first milestone we have put together a project plan, decided our color scheme and started developing.
We decided that Helen will be working on art and Ott on animations. Eric will create most of units system. Ott will create the hex grid and effects. Helen will work on playing cards.
The first two colors (1 & 2) are the player's and AI's main colors (used on units to tell them apart, some player/AI specific effects would use their base color, etc). Background would be using colors 5 and 6 as base, and cards are using colors 3 & 4 as base.
- UI Mockups + Scheme
We still imagine the UI the same way as we did a few weeks ago - the available cards and deck are featured on the bottom, the turn order bar on the left side, and the other buttons (menu, help) will be in the top-right corner.
Quick menu in game
- Game Loop implementation
Right now we have a very basic game loop that consists of players and enemies being able to move and attack.
My turn - I move/attack - AI turn - AI moves/attacks *repeat*
- Win and Lose conditions implementation
At first we thought that our game is like life (or Tetris) - you play it until you die. No winning. That seemed a bit depressing though and thus we have created a win condition - the player must defeat all enemies in all rounds. If the player manages that, they will win. The losing condition is very simple - once all your heroes have died, you lose.
Our first build consists of players and enemies being able to move and attack.
Most of the time was spent getting background systems to work, i.e. the hex grid, having turns, and making it possible to play cards. Thus, there was little time to get much done on the gameplay side. We decided as a group that our game requires the backbone to work and we didn't feel it adequate to have a tacked on gameplay mechanic at this early stage.
But after a strong backbone is created, further development should be a lot easier.
Right now our game looks like this
For our second milestone we have managed to create some custom art and a few animations. We have improved the AI and UI, and added additional cards and unit types.
Milestone 2 Build
- 5 gameplay elements
- Playable characters (3 different)
- Playable cards (9 different cards)
- Units stats (10 different stats)
- Enemy AI (pathfinding and playing cards)
- Different enemies (4 different)
- 2 units of scalable content (upgrades, items, enemies...)
- Player characters
- First UI implemented (3 views)
We used free stock photos and a free custom font
Turn order and Hand view
Unit information view
- First sounds implemented (5 sounds)
- Background music
- Attack sound
- Death sound
- Walking sound
- Card draw sound
- First character partially animated
We partially animated the first character - a bard ogre.
- Pick a team to peer review
We will review Dungeon Raider
- What went wrong
Our game at some point of development. I would like to bring attention to the bear's head, that is far away from the bear, the dancing (idle animation) bard ogre (which happens to be randomly rotated) and the three missing pikemen
- Our game idea turned out to be a lot harder than we initially thought it would be.
- Anima2D is not very easy to use. Also making good animations is very tricky.
Trying to duplicate limbs - didn't work out
Attach:bad3.mp4 Random leg spin - result of accidental bone movement
- What went well
- We improved AI. It's not just basic path-finding algorithm. Now it is able to play using the cards it has, just like the player.
- We have created some basic UI (Main menu, turn order, cards UI and unit information)
- We created some custom art and the first animations (using Anima2D)
Pikeman and Swordsman
''Knight rider (Knight dwarf riding a bear)
- Planned changes
- More animations
- Less bugs
- Better UI
- Nice background
- Working wave system
- Save system
Things we got done
- We got a wave system working, meaning that once all the enemies are defeated, the next ones will automatically spawn.
- We also added a lot more cards and built the decks to be larger.
- We balanced player and enemy units for more manageable difficulty.
- We added idle animations for all units.
- Cards got backgrounds.
- Main menu music.
What did not go so well
- It turns out content is not exactly difficult to add, but it takes a lot of time, even if all the features to support that content are already in place. What this means is that we did not get as much content into the game as we would have liked.
- Overall, the project was more ambitious than we had the time and dedication for, even if we did work the expected amount of hours. Thus some of the planned features were not implemented after all.
Link to our build
We chose to peer review DungeonRaider
Jumping on ladders to climb up feels weird, but is mostly fine, but some mechanic to go back down would be nice. This is generally bound to holding the down key and then pressing jump.
The spear, when thrown, can touch objects behind you, interrupting the throw. There is then no way to reclaim the spear from on top of your head. Maybe it could start from inside you, with the back of the spear being around your center point. For the first little while, you could disable the spear's collision with the player to accomplish this. The spear feels slow, especially near the beginning of the throw. Perhaps it could be sped up? The spear can slide along surfaces on its tip. Maybe it should attach to the first surface it touches this way? Enemies dying to this slow, sliding spear also feels wrong. Further, enemies can die to a spear that has already completely stopped in the ground.
Dying with a usable item should maybe drop that item instead of leaving it in my inventory and allowing me to take it to the start of the level.
Running off an edge before making your jump feels so dissatisfying. A lot of platformers use a mechanic where instead of allowing to jump while grounded, being grounded instead refreshes your jumps. In the case that you don't wish for blatant mid-air jumping, another option is that the character is still allowed to jump for a fraction of a second after no longer being grounded, meaning people will no longer feel like they were still kind of on the platform when they tried to jump, but couldn't.
The character sometimes weirdly gets stuck on corners without falling down, but being unable to get up. This should be resolved by, for all slopes, allowing the character to either walk up it, or forcibly slide them down?
The character keeps running for a short while after releasing a directional key. Possibly intended, but I personally feel like sharper movements would feel better.
I think that a problem with the usable system overall is that the usables fire when the mouse is released, not when it's pressed down, making them feel sluggish and unresponsive.
The level with the 4 red dinosaurs is really difficult. I feel that if it were split into smaller segments, it might be better. For example, you're first teaching use of the jump stone, but then there's this difficult enemy obstacle in the middle, and then a difficult jump obstacle. Maybe the jump obstacle could be brought to be before the dinosaurs, and the dinosaurs split into a different level. (For the purpose of adding a checkpoint between the two areas.)
I die right as soon as I run on top of the spikes, even if I'm still mostly on the ground. As the spikes are not protruding out of the ground, but are rather below ground level, it would make sense to die only once I am no longer touching solid ground.
I gave up on the rest of the levels though. They really are quite difficult. Perhaps some of the aforementioned changes could alleviate this without requiring remaking them.
The background in the start menu is a nice touch, but could use a bit more contrast.
Sounds could be a lot, lot louder. In contrast to other games/media, it's not audible, and even when my volume is turned up, I can barely hear some sounds. Maybe take it to a program like Audacity, and amplify all sounds, so the peak volume would be at -0.0dB? Could also use some music perhaps? I understand the cavern ambience is also sort of thematic, but still.
I can only assume the Y on the jump stone is for the controller's jump button. As a person who doesn't use a controller, this visual cue is entirely lost on me. And up arrow would do better, since that's less ambiguous.
I jumped really high somehow in one of the first levels. Never happened again though.
The rest of the levels in the level select should be connected to the otherwise last level.