Hey there, Architects! If I said a lot was accomplished this month, I think it’d be a little bit of an understatement. A ton was accomplished this month and I’m really pleased to share that progress with you. In addition, I put together this amazing video of (most of) the big updates. Don’t worry, the audio quality improves in the first ten seconds, after I change out my headset.
First off, Annotations finally got added, after months of me writing, “Annotations are coming…!” Well, they’re here now. You can now visually show objects on the screen as part of the UI. In the below case, you’ll see that an annotation of “text” is showing on top of the character (and yes, that’s an icon next to it — so anything you can show in a message box, you can show in an annotation). An additional annotation was included for an entity beyond the wall (the “11” in the image). This will work great for quest markers and other things, where you want to show on top of the visual, regardless of if something would otherwise normally be blocking it. In addition, sprites (animated or just plain images) can be used — so you can make characters that are interactable have icons over their sprite.
The caterpillar system is also finally working. In the example above, there are only three party members, but you “recruit” a fourth. This also has the added bonus of being capable of applying in battles — so you can theoretically summon someone as a skill! How you manage that, however, is up to you.
In addition to the caterpillar system, I finally also got vehicles in. They work pretty well so far, but have a little bit of work to eventually be done on them. They’ll get properly integrated into the 2D sample very soon. In the above example, I’ve chosen for the vehicles to create one vehicle for each party member, so Fronk gets to ride in his own airship. This isn’t a requirement — you can have a monolithic singular airship or something else for all of your party members. Vehicles allow you to also script whether you get in/out and the like — so there will be a workflow involved wherein you “try” to land, cannot, and then have to try to find another landing spot. There will be tons of flexibility in this, so I hope it will be really useful for you!
Some folks had asked for some other things, so I took up the requests! There is a new movement process that allows you to step toward a target — not just the hero. It’s not quite pathfinding (although, this is planned at some point). The orthographic projection has been updated and works much better now, as well. In addition, I added some primitives in 3D for stairs. They have the same collider (at present) as the ramp, because of physics, but they render as stairs. The tileset selector inside the editor also got an update to scale to your selected tile size accordingly — but it’ll render the shapes, regions, and heights at a higher resolution than prior — so they’ll look really clean when zoomed in.
The adventure battle system is also out the door and included in the sample. There are still a few issues and growing pains with it, but it is mostly working. A big shout out, again, to Noobk and Mondune for getting it “finished.” The included example shows a fairly simple approach — you throw a projectile at full health and hit nearby when not, similar to the original Zelda. The current plan is to eventually release a longer “game” that will be comparable to where we hope to build the 2D and 2.5D samples (each should be roughly an hour or two of gameplay, with a story), and then sell it as DLC (probably for $10 — nothing to break the bank).
In regard to DLC — a number of folks have been asking about it (in favor of it). The only thing that made sense was to create additional samples (or templates) and allow them to be distributed. My initial goal was to “never” do DLC, but many folks have been asking for it. My promise is that you will not need any DLC to maintain functionality/parity. The DLC will exist only as an extended lesson/sample and potentially have a few extra graphics or music. My goal is to use those funds to help fund additional content for the standard RPG Architect that everyone purchases, in addition to additional samples. If you don’t want it, you won’t be missing out on anything — you’ll still have enough to start working on your own adventure battle system.
This will eventually extend to other things as well. There will likely be many small samples to show off different genres and gameplay styles (platformer, strategy RPG, etc), but they will not be as built-out as the primary workflows (2D and 2.5D are planned). Most everyone has been very favorable toward this paradigm, as it helps support the engine’s development, but also the folks who work hard to build out the samples and create resources. If there is opposition, please voice it on our Discord, Steam, email, or otherwise, so we can respond accordingly.
Next month, I’ll be revisiting some of the parallax layers and sky spheres — they will gain support for animations. Tile tags will get a revisit as well in regard to executing scripts, as well as playing sound effects. Finally, there will be a new user interface element coming. That’s what I have planned as we move closer and closer to the end of the year. The following months will each have considerably large epic features getting added. They will likely feel as “big” as vehicles or caterpillar, but are computationally more complex. I’m reserving a little bit of time, as well, to build out other features that “make sense.” I’d really like to include some mathematical functions that could be run on variables, such as square-root, exponents, etc. In addition, it would be really cool if a variable could also take in a formula, parse, and evaluate it! These are just a few “small” ideas I have in store… for now.
That’s it for August!
Thank you so much for your support so far. I’m looking forward to building this community further and giving you the engine you may not have known you always wanted!