Exilian

Game Design and Project Resources: The Workshops Quarter => Computer Game Development - The Indie Alley => Pangolin Games => Topic started by: Jubal on January 10, 2019, 10:58:23 PM

Title: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on January 10, 2019, 10:58:23 PM
OK, I'm going to tentatively start punting copies of this to a small group of testers. Please report bugs here, and also shout here if you want in on the betas but don't have a copy yet.

Open Bug Reports
> Apparently cities can vanish in some circumstances. Not been able to replicate this yet.
> Factions can declare war on each other multiple times for some reason.
> Saving in the tutorial doesn't work
> Staying at taverns when there's an end week and a quest trigger shouldn't avoid the quest trigger

Open Feature Requests/Plans
> Maybe make "you caught them unawares" more explicit when you fight unarmed fugitive
> Clarify search boost somehow
> Make last message clearer in log?
> High taxes needs a penalty for the AI

Closed Reports/Requests
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Versions and Changelog
Current version: 011

Changelogs
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Tusky on January 12, 2019, 05:47:52 PM
I'd be happy to test.

I don't have heaps of spare time but I'm sure I can make a bit.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Tusky on January 13, 2019, 09:52:18 PM
Few initial things, this is me trawling around the tutorial map

Observations

- You really can spam listen for rumors and search city
- I wanted to check my army menu within the city but didn't see a way so had to leave a few times, (accidentally ran a load of turns without realising in the process)
- I fought many times after searching the city - do you only get coin? I was expecting a district to like me more or some such. If they did there was no notification about it
- Hired swords appear to be op here, and destroying anything I encounter (ended up with an xp of 395). I'm no longer bothering with any citizens because I don't need to

Questions

- Is there a way to combine troops of the same type? I had a few citizens one with 2 one with 4 or so. Didn't matter too much since they seem to be cannon fodder but I did wonder

Bug

In the tutorial when I clicked on the bandits the information given was "clicked"

(https://i.imgur.com/UYfqNdk.png)

Nice...

(https://i.imgur.com/vCGIOzN.png)
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on January 13, 2019, 10:58:37 PM
Thankyou!

You shouldn't be able to totally spam search city - after about five searches it should require you to either leave & re-enter or stay in a tavern before you can use it again (it may later drop to 1 attempt before having to do that, but I don't want to go there until I've got more possible results for the searches). The search city feature still doesn't have that many possibilities - eventually I'm hoping to put more sidequests there etc. What you get on that very much depends on what's in the city to start with, it sounds like Harionasis just has one of the combat missions (tunnels or ruins); in other cities, Search City can give you a couple of sidequests, weapon upgrades, or some hiring options. I might accelerate improvements to City Search up the to do list. OTOH I'm OK with rumours being spammable, I think most players will get bored with them fast anyway and info-gathering (especially if you're running up to an election and want detail on all the districts of a five district city) can already be a drag so I didn't want to make it harder on people.

I'm really not sure where I'd put a button that allows you to check army menu whilst in the city - would a hotkey to do it be sufficient? You can check your army easily enough in cities you own (by going Castle -> Garrison -> Your Army) but I just don't know where to put the extra button to allow it in other cities.

Noted on hired swords being OP. They should be pretty decent line infantry that can take on e.g. kinklades, wibulnibs, and be about even to most garrison troops like pikemen, shield guards, etc - maybe they're just too easy to get as an upgrade at the moment and I need the boost to cost more XP. You can't get them straight off as a first tier unit except in the tutorial, they're usually an upgrade for Hired Ruffians.

There isn't a troop combine option, as I don't know how I'd do that without allowing the player to make huge OP super-units (and what I'd do with combining XP tallies, any other bonuses, etc).

Thanks for the tutorial bug, that's easily fixable.

And yep, there's a goodly number of Exilian references in there :)
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: HemingwayGames on January 21, 2019, 01:31:27 PM
Nice work with this game, Jubal.  A few things came to mind while playing the game:

I missed a number of blue messages while travelling. I would often move quickly accross the terrain, and once I noticed the message, it was too late to determine where it occurred. Would it be possible to highlight these events on the map? Leaving behind a question mark icon on the square would allow the player to go back if missed. Another option would be to interrupt the game and showing the quote (with possibly an image). Example: "You hear tell of local rumours that suggest that interesting things may be searched for in this place"

I found I needed to use a number of moves to determine where the end of the map was. I would move over to the edge and test whether I could move across. Even if I couldn't move across, it wasn't clear whether I was blocked by the end or a obstacle on the adjacent page. To confirm, I would then test each cell on the edge. I think it's possible to determine this by the message; for example, "The terrain is impassable" means end of map, whereas "The terrain is high and impassable mountains that way" means otherwise. Is there a way to make the edge of the map more clear, so that the player doesn't need to use up turns?

I ended up failing a quest because I needed to deliver a letter to another city. I didn't know where the city was, so I ended up randomly searching and arriving late. It would have been a nice touch if I received the direction of the city (e.g. East) while listening to rumours in the city.

Also, is it possible to highlight the last message in the text? When doing the tutorial, I found myself skimming backwards through the lines of text to find the start of the message.

A couple of typos in the text:
- In the factions section: They have 1 cities.
- In the tutorial: Now, move away from the city anduse the X key...

Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on January 21, 2019, 01:58:52 PM
Thanks, that's all really useful!

The blue messages aren't super important, and they have an area/time effect so actually last for 2-3 moves rather than being locked to a specific tile - it's basically a search success chance boost. You can get interesting searches regardless (especially if playing as scholars), you just get a much increased chance to do so when the blue message shows. Given that, I can't mark them on the map and I don't want to interrupt for them (I think there'd be too many interruptions). Maybe I could highlight the search button whilst the search boost lasts?

I've been wondering whether to properly mark map edges. I'll have a go at implementing something for that - possibly some differently coloured mountain/sea tiles that are impassable.

City directions are a good point, will look into that.

Highlighting last message sounds difficult but I'll see if there's anything I can do.

Typos I'll get on and have a look at pretty soon! :)
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: justatoady on January 21, 2019, 09:49:43 PM
very fun so far^^
the battles go very quick, which i like, and the old timey designs feel very consistent

random things i noticed:
- when you try and move on a tile with a city's army on it, it gives you the "impossible high terrain" message from mountains

- when the travelling armourer offers you stuff, they always say "an" (see pic)

- when you start a new game you can spawn on a mountain

- i noticed i just ignored the rumors and city searches after a while and focused on the quests for one city,
so far i don't see much progress in our relationship, i did around 10 quests for them, and the leader still nods curtly, but maybe that's just him,
 
- possibly a spoiler, depending on how randomised this stuff is:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

-yes, marking the map borders in some way sounds like a good idea

- semi-related: is there a way to get more chickens (faction related units) other than random overworld encounters?
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: justatoady on January 21, 2019, 09:51:55 PM
oops here are the other pics
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on January 21, 2019, 09:58:08 PM
- when you try and move on a tile with a city's army on it, it gives you the "impossible high terrain" message from mountains
Noted, will look into that.

- when the travelling armourer offers you stuff, they always say "an" (see pic)
Ooh, noted, will look into that.

- when you start a new game you can spawn on a mountain
Yeah, that's a thing. I decided it didn't seem like it was worth changing?

- i noticed i just ignored the rumors and city searches after a while and focused on the quests for one city,
so far i don't see much progress in our relationship, i did around 10 quests for them, and the leader still nods curtly, but maybe that's just him,
Yeah, the leader's attitude to you is always static and based on their personality - your relationship is built up with the city as a whole, not with any one leader. This is currently even true for leaders who are your faction - I may add more depth to this at some point, but it'd be a relatively large task I think.

I think city searches should get more valuable when I add more options/possibilities - or do you think something else is needed there?
 
- possibly a spoiler, depending on how randomised this stuff is:
The idea is that sometimes you catch them unawares for an easy fight. Should I make that more explicit?

-yes, marking the map borders in some way sounds like a good idea
Noted!

- semi-related: is there a way to get more chickens (faction related units) other than random overworld encounters?
Not currently - Scholars and Phoenixes get their faction units by random encounters, Generals and Dragons get theirs via special adventure point upgrade events. Do you think there need to be more ways?
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: justatoady on January 22, 2019, 11:24:00 PM
Yeah, the leader's attitude to you is always static and based on their personality - your relationship is built up with the city as a whole, not with any one leader. This is currently even true for leaders who are your faction - I may add more depth to this at some point, but it'd be a relatively large task I think.
fair, i'm not sure it's necessary. they started doing elections now, and leader/rival personalities might actually distract from the whole city running simulation thing...

think city searches should get more valuable when I add more options/possibilities - or do you think something else is needed there?
i like having options in the city, but at the moment, there doesn't seem to be much incentive for searching, maybe if some quests required you to search or use hints from the rumors

The idea is that sometimes you catch them unawares for an easy fight. Should I make that more explicit?
i don't think you need to. it does explain what's going on, and i like ambushing the murderers, because searching and then fighting very weak enemies feels like a change of pace from normal encounters. there is also always the possibility they'll be serious and tough.
my point was just meant to be that zhia's sprite change felt a bit jarring.

Not currently - Scholars and Phoenixes get their faction units by random encounters, Generals and Dragons get theirs via special adventure point upgrade events. Do you think there need to be more ways?
i guess if the phoenixes are meant to be more like elite units, it's fine not to have too many,
maybe make sure players always have access to some low rank chickens to replace the dead ones or would that be too much of an avantage for the phoenix house. also depends on how common the random encounter is.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on January 22, 2019, 11:52:36 PM
> Leader/rival traits are already factored into elections: most leaders have some sort of viewpoint on society and how it should be run, and that's factored into election results (for example, a wealthy aristocratic ruler will likely do better in a wealthy city).

> Having some quests with city search incentives is definitely a good idea - I made the fugitive quest to do that for the main map searches a bit.

> Yeah, the sprites are a bit random - but since I'm not drawing any of them off my own bat really it makes it hard to get perfect ones.

> The random encounter for chickens is a moderately common search result any time you're in open/plains terrain (pangolins for the scholars are less common and in forest terrain, but pangolins are straight-out decent melee units whereas chickens need training).

I have now got a version of map edge marking working, though I'm not sure it looks right/it may be too obtrusive - I'll try and get screenshots sometime in the next 2-3 days.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on January 31, 2019, 11:41:36 PM
Quite a lot of updates and changes!

A big change to the way the game handles companion characters (that is, named characters who aren't the hero, enemies, or quest NPCs): they now can get wounded much like the hero, and can also gain stat upgrades over time. Also, hero upgrades will now get more expensive in adventuring points if your stats get above a certain level.

Plus - bugfixes, one new city quest, one new companion character type (the sergeant). Plenty more to do, but the 005 update will definitely have some decent additional content in it :)
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: comrade_general on January 31, 2019, 11:46:18 PM
Sounds great you'll have to give me the updated version at some point.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on February 08, 2019, 10:14:59 PM
Updated to show 005 as latest version.

New feature today - the map now has named regions which cover 1-3 screens. I'm not sure how useful this is but thought it might be kinda cool. There are also now deep forest screens which never spawn cities.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Rovine on March 09, 2019, 06:33:10 AM
Hey Jubal, thanks for letting me in on the closed beta test! I just playtested version 006 and collected some problems to report:

1. Things got very weird after my hero went down to 1 hp, after I got the message that I'll die in 10 days if I don't get help. First I was unable to move, then when I press ESC (which triggers the exit message), the screen goes to a seemingly random area on the map without me and my troops in it. If I press N to stay in game, I still can't move.

2. The tutorial doesn't seem to work. I just get this:
(https://i.imgur.com/OvnAi4j.png)

Loving the concept of this game. Reminds me of something like Wasteland where you never know what you'd end up in every step. The discovery is quite addictive.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on March 09, 2019, 04:20:03 PM
Oh dear :/ I've had bugs like that before but I'd thought I fixed them - it's caused by a bug in some major map-level calculation, so the game got stuck doing something in the seemingly random area, and then couldn't move your troops around because it was still looking at the area it'd had a hang-up in. The diplomacy and city warfare scripts are pretty common culprits there. You didn't happen to get a screenshot of the random area by any chance?

The tutorial thing was me being an idiot - I'd made some changes to how cities are stored, and not updated the load file for the tutorial to match. That'll be fixed in the next patch :)
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Rovine on March 10, 2019, 12:51:35 AM
Oh dear :/ I've had bugs like that before but I'd thought I fixed them - it's caused by a bug in some major map-level calculation, so the game got stuck doing something in the seemingly random area, and then couldn't move your troops around because it was still looking at the area it'd had a hang-up in. The diplomacy and city warfare scripts are pretty common culprits there. You didn't happen to get a screenshot of the random area by any chance?

The tutorial thing was me being an idiot - I'd made some changes to how cities are stored, and not updated the load file for the tutorial to match. That'll be fixed in the next patch :)
I'll do another playthrough and try to reproduce it (gave up that bugged playthrough because I was dying anyway lul). If it helps, it was a 5x5 map, and had several inter-city wars happening that I wasn't involved with.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on March 10, 2019, 11:41:27 PM
Yeah, probably triggered by some niche problem with an army placing script. I'll have another look at it, though replicating bugs on that thing is horrible.

I'm glad you're enjoying the discovery aspect, it's something I definitely want to double down on in future improvements - let me know if you think there are particular areas that could do with more depth too, I have improvement idea lists on most bits of the game but help prioritising is very valuable!
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on April 27, 2019, 10:42:09 PM
Finally got a rather pathetic but nonetheless functional amount of work done - adding hotkeys to the city menu and battle screens, and Help (by pressing H) to say what the hotkeys are. I'm not sure if either screen needs a more developed help section than the hotkey overview, advice appreciated.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on April 28, 2019, 11:13:29 PM
Further things today:

> There's now a minimum number of cities equal to the map size - so a 2x2 map has min 2 cities, a 3x3 has min 3, and so on.
> I've started working on character permanence - basically a log of where characters go when they're not "active" (in a party or ruling a city), so you can get the same character back for a different quest later etc. So far this has only been implemented with nobles who you escort between cities - you can now find the same nobles again for escort missions later in the game - but this system will be expanded to various other parts of the game over time.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on April 30, 2019, 11:14:34 PM
The game now limits the number of scholar escort missions you can have at any one time, because it was getting super lucrative to just load up and have about twenty of them following you and run between cities.

I've got two and two half major planned pathways and I don't know what to focus more on:

> Path 1 is character development: making it more possible for characters to switch between roles so you can build up rivalries and watch other characters rise and fall in their fortunes, adding more life and sidequests to companions, etc.
> Path 2 is quest development: adding more and more varied quests as you go through the game, making your storylines more interesting. This would also go with adding more search results and enemy types.
> Path Kinda-3 (because it's a much smaller area) is trade, and getting trading working properly as a bit of a minigame for the player so if you're smart you can make money shuttling stuff around.
> Path Kinda-4 is going back to the manuscripts more and redoubling my efforts to milk stuff out of those, mostly adding extra enemy types, more graphical variation, etc.

I'm not sure which the game is lacking more - feedback very appreciated on which you guys think would be more important!
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on May 08, 2019, 11:01:38 PM
New encounter added - finding a ruined cart in grasslands. There are various possibilities if you search the wreckage. One of these is a new quest, where you find a mysterious parchment and have to go and find someone to decipher it, which may in turn lead to other opportunities...
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on May 09, 2019, 10:58:50 PM
Today's been all about morale - more possibilities to both lose and gain it. You can now get caught in storms which damage morale, and unit wipeouts in battle give specific further morale hits. On the other hand tavern stays can boost morale and can also produce a new "buy the men a drink?" events which can further improve morale. There's now a cap on the morale stat, and if you hit it then all your troops can get an XP bonus or may vote to give you some extra money. :)
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on May 12, 2019, 05:15:04 PM
So, big overhaul this weekend: I implemented most of the character permanence stuff. This doesn't make a huuuuge initial visible difference to the game, but does have several important results:


I'm a bit worried this has been a lot of work for minimal gain, but I'm hoping this will also give me a better basis for any other added complexity in character interactions that I want to give.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Manic Arts on July 29, 2019, 09:28:00 PM
I request a copy of this bad boi PLZ sir!

Don't have much free time, but when I'll do, I'll make sure to put your project through its paces ;)
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on August 10, 2019, 10:56:09 PM
Great - I should fiiiinally be getting a new version out shortly :)

Today I managed the first decent block of work the game has had in a while, mostly on graphics (ironically for a game with so little graphical content) the three different types of companion NPC and two main escort mission units (scholar and noble) now all have a small variety of visual options to make things look a little less samey.

Also, scholars now have character permanence like nobles, the mysterious parchment quest now has an ending, and I've started on putting in some dialogue and things triggered by characters' opinions and traits.  :)
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Ierne on August 17, 2019, 01:19:46 AM
I really like all of these ideas, especially allowing NPCs to change role. I feel that's going to give a good sense of the world developing, and having its own internal logic.

The cart-and-mysterious-parchnent quest sounds really interesting, and trading could be fun too, especially if there's an element of risk, ie to loose more than you make.
There could even be trading based quests, eg to travel to get rare commodities, with the possibility to make city rulers into enemies by getting resources they want (or into allies by trading on their behalf).
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on August 17, 2019, 11:32:23 PM
Today's been a fairly solid day of work on this - lots of small things added/fixed, especially adding more practical effects that result from companion traits. Eventually there will probably be tons of these, but having a few as a start is good. Also a whole new quest has been added, an assassination mission that only gets given to you by city leaders with ruthless, iron fisted, or conniving character traits. :)
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on August 18, 2019, 09:40:29 PM
Another solid day of work and 007 is compiled and ready!

There's now some alternative battle background graphics for different terrains, character traits affect elections, more flavour text added, more character-related boosts, etc.

007 has mostly been a very character heavy update: 008 will either focus on quests primarily, or on adding new unit types, abilities and search results. Not sure which the game needs more. I'm sort of interested in adding a trade sub-game as mentioned above, and in adding a load more options for holding court (allowing you to e.g. invest money in a city), but I'm not sure if the latter would be interesting enough that I should prioritise it. Expect more terrain related effects/tweaks, and a change to the siege system so the game requires you to wait a certain number of weeks before attacking a city, as a way to slow the lategame and force the player to not take on tons more troops than they can manage and just blitz the map before desertions set in.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Tusky on August 22, 2019, 01:46:07 AM
Hey! Could I get a James Bond version too? I have little bits of time so can have a poke around for you if poss.

Not sure which the game needs more. I'm sort of interested in adding a trade sub-game as mentioned above, and in adding a load more options for holding court (allowing you to e.g. invest money in a city), but I'm not sure if the latter would be interesting enough that I should prioritise it.

My 2 cents are that something like quests will give people something to keep them busy - which is better for people that are starting with the game or more of an idle player.
The holding court mechanic/s sounds like it will add loads of depth but perhaps once the player has played for a little bit and is invested in various things... But trading will definitely be a fun addition, and you can probably tie in the odd quest with it?
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on August 22, 2019, 09:00:21 PM
Hey! Could I get a James Bond version too? I have little bits of time so can have a poke around for you if poss.

Not sure which the game needs more. I'm sort of interested in adding a trade sub-game as mentioned above, and in adding a load more options for holding court (allowing you to e.g. invest money in a city), but I'm not sure if the latter would be interesting enough that I should prioritise it.

My 2 cents are that something like quests will give people something to keep them busy - which is better for people that are starting with the game or more of an idle player.
The holding court mechanic/s sounds like it will add loads of depth but perhaps once the player has played for a little bit and is invested in various things... But trading will definitely be a fun addition, and you can probably tie in the odd quest with it?

Yep - holding court is already in, it's just there's a very small range of possible opportunities from it so it's currently fairly boring, and it's something you're sort of required to do as the lord of a city so just having to go back every few weeks to listen to people telling you that taxes are too high or too low is probably not much fun. Currently it's less of an issue because the late game is usually quite quick, once you're set up to capture cities you can blitz the map pretty fast. However, I'm planning to slow the late-game down a lot, so I think I'm going to need more holding court stuff to balance that out. Of course, maybe some of the holding court petitions could lead to more advanced quests...
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Tusky on August 23, 2019, 08:10:28 PM
Thanks! Things so far...

Coule of Q's


 Bugs / issues I encountered

During tutorial I ran a search on every tile going from the city to the bandit (output below). I got this error during the tutorial, and then saw it again during the normal game

 You find only a single gold coin, discarded by some previous traveller. You find nothing here. Exception in Tkinter callback Traceback (most recent call last): File "tkinter\__init__.py", line 1549, in __call__ File "mainfile.py", line 1773, in handlershipX File "mainfile.py", line 6710, in mineparse File "mainfile.py", line 12242, in searcharea IndexError: list index out of range

 -------------------------------
After doing a search in a forest I encountered a new hero and was asked if I wanted them to join. There was an error, although the only thing in the output was the word "error". I already had a cleric hero in the party, and the new hero did not join

 Nislien Wheyler joins your party.
Error!
-------------------------------
 I accepted an escort mission to take a noble from to a city that was at war with the other, but cannot complete it. This is the only thing in the output:

You are brought before the city's leader, Anna Charvalise.
"Welcome, Clive", says Anna Charvalise. "May your battles be fair and your conduct noble in them."
You set out to complete this new quest.
 Error!
You head out of town.

-------------------------------

Wanted to attack a mustering of lanfynches

UNIT NOT FOUND ERROR Exception in Tkinter callback Traceback (most recent call last): File "tkinter\__init__.py", line 1549, in __call__ File "mainfile.py", line 2158, in handleryes File "mainfile.py", line 10465, in binchoice File "mainfile.py", line 13125, in fightsetup TypeError: 'NoneType' object is not subscriptable

This also happened when I was searching some tunnels in a city

 You find old coins in the chest! You gain 80 silver aspers' worth of treasure. You explore the third level of the vast network of tunnels - and come to a cavern full of enemies! UNIT NOT FOUND ERROR Exception in Tkinter callback Traceback (most recent call last): File "tkinter\__init__.py", line 1549, in __call__ File "mainfile.py", line 2158, in handleryes File "mainfile.py", line 10899, in binchoice File "mainfile.py", line 13125, in fightsetup TypeError: 'NoneType' object is not subscriptable
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on August 23, 2019, 10:46:19 PM
Oh no, that's a lot of bugs :( And ones I never encountered myself, too... I'll start looking into them soon.

City politics events will start getting offered to you when you reach 50 relation points with a city.

Healing can be done by the Caradilis event in forests, by staying at taverns, naturally over time, or via a random upgrade event where you spend 25 adventuring points. Cara and the advp event give you an automatic heal to full health, the others are gradual. Taverns are likely your best best for healing in an emergency as they're reasonably reliable, albeit not the fastest.



Important question: how many of the above bugs did you encounter during the tutorial, and how many after starting a standard new game?
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Tusky on September 02, 2019, 03:31:33 AM
Important question: how many of the above bugs did you encounter during the tutorial, and how many after starting a standard new game?

Oops - sorry I did not notice this question!

I encountered all of them during a standard new game, I just noticed the search one at first in the tutorial, but it reocurred during normal play (a few times actually)
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on September 02, 2019, 11:53:10 AM
Next question: did you play the new game immediately after the tutorial without closing the game down first? And do you get the bugs if you start a completely new game now without playing the tutorial first?

I think I might have worked out the problem...
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Tusky on September 02, 2019, 12:03:42 PM
At first I went straight from the tutorial, yeah.

I've tried to recreate the search bug from a fresh game and can't seem to
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on September 02, 2019, 12:50:52 PM
Right, got it :)

The tutorial loaded an old (and incomplete) version of the unit bank, which wasn't being refreshed properly when you hit the "new game" button. I think that's what's triggering all your issues.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on October 09, 2019, 10:18:48 PM
Small tweak today - lots of new names and city name elements added, which should make that a bit more diverse :)
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on October 27, 2019, 10:25:07 PM
OK, finally got some time to do a bit of work.

Changelog for today:
> New quest! Trophy hunting - this will be available only at slightly higher levels, and faces you off against one unusual and powered up variant on a normal map monster. This is currently either a red-skinned quarquare or a huge albino kinklade. When you attack parties of that monster in the relevant region, you may find the more powerful variant, and when you kill it you have to take the trophy back to the ruler of the quest-giving city.
> Gameplay tweak: you now have to click the "go to castle" button to finish as well as start city quests. This may seem a pain but a) means more audiences with city rulers which is important for getting the feel of what they're like, b) stops you getting so much load of text immediately every time you enter a city, and c) will be helpful when I add quests where the ending directly sparks another quest.
> Gameplay/rules tweak: map stamina is no longer a standardly upgradeable stat, and resilience is now properly a separate stat to defence which can be upgraded in its own right.
> The quest log systems now change their text for some quests once you've completed a major element (e.g. the find person quest is different once you've found the person).
> Kinkladelets now have a different visual to kinklades
> Letter delivery quests now have more word variation.
> The message when you already have an ongoing quest now depends on the ruler's personality.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on January 28, 2020, 10:27:20 PM
Finally got to look at this again :)

> Fixed a bug that meant you could sometimes randomly take units into companion-only areas
> You now have to wait a certain number of weeks before assaulting a city - this makes a "blitz across the map" strategy harder, as you need to pay your army for longer and enemy factions have more chance to capture your cities back whilst you're at it, especially if you didn't garrison them well. Currently it's set to a flat 3 weeks, which I think will be the baseline - having siege expert units (not yet implemented) in the player army will allow them to reduce it by a week or two, but also towns with more fortifications or a defence-specialist ruler will have increased time (I'm thinking +1 week for a defence specialist, and +1 week per fortification bonus item in the city).
> Port cities can no longer get cavalry-only armies. This just felt weird to me when it happened so I decided it shouldn't do any more.
> Minor spelling and grammar fixes on some messages that had typos in.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on March 22, 2020, 06:22:12 PM
Today's work:

EDIT: And I'm calling that as 008. Hopefully time for more updates will occur in the coming days.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on April 18, 2020, 08:24:22 PM
Today's updates include some fun and quite noticeable changes:

> Quest threading! Some lords' quests, when you end them, now immediately trigger a new quest offer. Letters in particular are made less boring by this - they can turn out to be warning of a murderer or bandits in the area.
> Unit upgrades. The barracks or blacksmith can give a non-beast unit a +1 attack bonus, the blacksmith or tanneries can give +1 defence, and the tanneries can give +1 resilience. Each unit can get each upgrade type only once. Companions can be offered the upgrades too.
> Some opportunities now have semi-randomised variable costs, including weapon upgrades and bandit hunting, which may now be more or less profitable
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on May 23, 2020, 10:36:56 PM
Smol improvement for today: I added a feature to add/strip modifications to the strings used to store map tiles. This makes life quite a lot easier when it comes to e.g. storing hidden items on the map, because I can now tell the computer those are different without having to duplicate the underlying art asset, so that's an improvement and might make future quests and more hidden locations easier to sort out.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on May 24, 2020, 11:33:44 PM
Productive day on this today I think!

The major advancement is that as well as characters getting their own throwaway vignette lines, they now have a range of possible scripted interactions with other characters, which can both show off their personality traits and those of others. They can also contribute to characters becoming friends or enemies. If two of your companions are enemies, their arguments may drag down morale: conversely, friendly characters can boost it. Particular combinations of traits in different characters can make friendships more likely (and more lasting). There may well be other effects of friendship/enmity too, but those aren't implemented yet.

Game start has now been tweaked too: you get a readout which tells you more explicitly a mini-backstory for you and makes your overall aim clear, and on your first move of the game you get offered a starting quest, which will tell you the location of a city to head towards. This should make the game start easier for new players.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on May 30, 2020, 03:51:15 PM
More diversity of starting quests added: still only two options, but you now get either a letter delivery or a scholar escort, randomised.

Wondering if there's a way to make these more engaging, but not sure atm. I feel like I have tons of ideas at the moment for this but they're often poorly connected and I'm struggling to implement them well.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on May 30, 2020, 05:30:00 PM
OK, crossing the sea has changed! Now instead of searching for a ship, you just try walking onto the water and it asks you if you want to search for a ship and tells you roughly how long it will take to look for one. I don't like the feel of this as much (I quite like the feeling of having impassable areas on the map that the map actually tells you that you can't cross, it makes the map feel more physical to me), but I do have to admit that it's overall a better system as you no longer have to do a billion searches when stuck on a small island before finding a ship.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on June 07, 2020, 11:20:25 PM
I've now got the first rudimentary version of a new quest running. This is the potion making quest, which sets you three randomly selected flowers and asks you to go and get them. Once you have all of them, you make the potion and can choose whether to use it as instructed or not.

There's a lot still to do on it, both adding additional complications for finding the flowers and adding a lot more outcomes at the end of the quest (currently there's only one potion type and it always makes sense to drink it, but I'm thinking some may have more mixed effects and some of the complication moments might allow you to get some hints about what those might be).
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on July 04, 2020, 11:16:31 PM
Today's work has been fleshing out the companion ability roster. Tomorrow's will likely be the same.

New skills implemented are:

I'm struggling with three aspects of implementation for this stuff.

Aspect 1 is simply making up the skills in ways that aren't just "sacrifice a resilience point for a better attack/defence round" - it's easy for me to create skills that are technically different but which the player will just realise are the same trade-off: delivering an automatic critical hit and getting an attack score bonus, for example, technically do have different effects but as far as the player is concerned both just equate to "they hit harder". So I'm going to be experimenting with other things the player can sacrifice to get those sorts of bonuses - their level of control over their troops, and other stats than resilience, for example.

Aspect 2 is the skill lists - do I make them overlap more to make them broader? Overlapping lists mean more possibilities for each individual character, but also make each class of character less unique and make it more likely that there will be redundancy and overlap in some skills. Currently I'm treading a bit of a via media with this, but we'll see where I end up.

Finally, testing, especially in how the AI tries to use a lot of these skills - it's going to be very rare that AI units have these skills so maybe it's not a problem, but the AI process that decides when to trigger skills feels a bit random to me at the moment and I don't have a way of just booting up arbitrary longer battles that would allow better tests. I can generally test that something doesn't crash the game, but whether it works right is harder to say. Testing is easier for the player of course as I then get to trigger the skills myself as needed.

Also every skill makes the code a touch more unwieldy - I'm trying to make them concise, but because each skill has its own separate effects on the combat calculation, they pretty much all need some tweaks made to the "fight a combat round" function, plus the trigger code, etc.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on July 18, 2020, 04:33:16 PM
More skills!


I think that's rounded out the minstrel and squire's skill lists quite nicely. I need to add one or two more ways to actually find those character types, I think, and then I've got one more quest to write and then that's my release line :)
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on July 19, 2020, 10:32:16 PM
Right, a start made on the "landmark" quest, which will be a very varied one as it basically comprises of "spawn a mysterious landmark, something will happen when you get there".

I've done some of the more complicated first half today which is spawning landmarks, though currently I have a system that will break badly if the game generates ten thousand or more of them - but I think that's pretty unlikely, I'd expect that to take about 5000 hours of playing time on a single world, in a game that is usually winnable in under five hours of playthrough time on a given run.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on October 15, 2020, 05:22:44 PM
Version 009 is out! Let me know if you'd like a copy :)
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Tusky on October 16, 2020, 08:48:19 AM
Sure! I'll take it out for a spin
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on October 16, 2020, 03:35:10 PM
In your PMs now :)
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: bigosaur on October 17, 2020, 05:30:49 PM
Hey, I played the game now and made a short video with my first impressions. It's unlisted on YouTube, but I sent you a link in e-mail.

The main takeaways:


Also, I have no idea how to progress east beyond the mountains, but I probably missed something.

Very nice concept, I can see this turning into a very good game.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: SLiV on October 18, 2020, 04:42:47 PM
I'd love to try this out if you still need more testers!
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on October 19, 2020, 11:38:39 PM
SLiV: Thanks! Have PMed you a link :)

bigosaur: Thanks, just watched through your video, that was extremely helpful and I really appreciate the feedback!

The big thing you didn't get from not doing the tutorial, I think, was the keyboard hotkeys which are really important to how I envisaged the game being played. E.g. rather than going into the menus you can just hit "Q" for a quests log or "Z" for skills and money or "R" for a quick units log. I think what I need to do there is have the game remind you at game start that you can press "H" for the hotkeys list at any time. Readouts for money etc: I'll have a think about fitting those into the UI and how do-able it is, I do see the point that it'd be useful.

It's actually really important that search area isn't an automatic thing: my idea is that it should be done either a) occasionally when the game prompts you to or you feel like it, or b) if you have something to actively search for. But some things you can find by searching in some quests are quite dangerous to the player, so you need to have the option not to search so you don't run into those things when you're wounded and need to get to a city fast. I'm thinking maybe I should highlight "search area" when there are the "now is a good time to search" events.

I see the point about making the map scroll, I'm not sure I can face rewriting that much of the code to allow that to happen, but I agree it'd be nicer and I wish I'd designed the engine to do that. Maybe someday when I'm feeling brave and want to wrestle with code a lot :)

Regarding the things you were stuck with: the east border is actually a border to the map, the dark mountains/darker sea are always the map edge tiles. I need to make that clearer when you walk into them, I guess. That's also linked to the map size decision you make at game start: a 2x2 map means 2 screens by 2 screens for 4 map areas, the size you had (and has a minimum of 2 cities in it: 3x3 has min 3 cities, 4x4 min 4 cities, etc). I need to do more work to make the 5x5 maps work, they're too big at the moment.

The things I think you needed to do next mainly were to progress with quests. I guess I should tell you what to do and then ask how that should be better flagged up (spoilered in case anyone doesn't want to know how to complete those):
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Anyway, thanks again, that was really really useful :)
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: bigosaur on October 20, 2020, 01:55:43 PM
bigosaur: keyboard hotkeys which are really important to how I envisaged the game being played. E.g. rather than going into the menus you can just hit "Q" for a quests log

Maybe underlining the Q letter in the Quests icon, etc. would be enough to figure it out for most players. Although, if the game can be played with mouse exclusively, I like to lay back and lift my left hand off the keyboard.  :)

I understand that search could be used for important stuff, so maybe give just a regular search popup on every step and keep the Search option as the deliberate one when you want to risk a more dangerous enemy or find something hidden there. As for highlighting, Civilization games have done it right IMHO. When you learn (hear a rumor, etc.) that there's something interesting on a map tile, it adds an icon to it (it's a small hut in Civ IIRC), so you know you can get there. Maybe a simple question mark symbol would be enough.

As for map scrolling, there's an alternative solution, make the map transition when the player enters any tile adjacent to the border tile. That way the player would never walk on border tiles and would always be able to see at least the adjacent ones.

As for 2x2, etc. map selection, maybe a better naming would be to use the actual number of tiles tiles, so 2x2 map would be 10x8 (or whatever it actually is, I'm on a different computer now, so I cannot launch the game to count), 3x3 would be 15x12, etc. This would make it clear that it's the world size.

Now that I realize how small the map is, I would actually give more attention to each particular tile. I was under impression that there was a whole huge world to discover, so I didn't give much weight to any single tile investigation.

Thanks for the tips.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on October 20, 2020, 02:26:30 PM
Hm, I think search could then get annoying in the later game/when you want to be trying to do a lot of escort missions and have to sift through a load of random stuff. Plus the way search works which I guess I should also clarify is that the game doesn't pre-load the results of searches, and you can search a tile a bunch of times through the game (though you can't do it multiple times in a row) - searching is more "roll the dice on the random generator for this terrain type" rather than "discover this thing I've generated here as part of the map" if that makes sense? I'll have a think anyways.

There actually are some equivalents to the Civ series hut for some quests where the game spawns a special location for you to look for :)
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: bigosaur on October 20, 2020, 02:39:11 PM
Hm, I think search could then get annoying in the later game/when you want to be trying to do a lot of escort missions and have to sift through a load of random stuff. Plus the way search works which I guess I should also clarify is that the game doesn't pre-load the results of searches, and you can search a tile a bunch of times through the game (though you can't do it multiple times in a row) - searching is more "roll the dice on the random generator for this terrain type" rather than "discover this thing I've generated here as part of the map" if that makes sense? I'll have a think anyways.

Maybe I need to play the game more to get a feel of what would be the best way to do it.

Anyway, my comments were all based on initial impressions, and I wanted to get those out before I learn more about the game. Once you understand how the game works, it's impossible to look at it from new player's perspective.

If I knew those 4 screens where the entire world, I would definitely play the game differently. So, maybe it would be enough to communicate that in more clear way?
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on October 20, 2020, 03:17:13 PM
Yeah, I think more notes on the map size screen or more clarity would definitely help there. I'll do some work on that for the next release.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: SLiV on October 25, 2020, 10:10:56 PM
Just played through the tutorial. One thing that confused me a little: the text log refers to silver aspers as a currency, but the in-game events had prices in gold: Harionasis has "Hire 5 citizens (50 gold)", and I encountered a farm that offered food for gold. Is that a naming issue or is there an exchange rate? At least I was able to pay for them, it seemed.

Also I found a bug, I think: I had saved in the tutorial, and when I tried to load it, it asked for the hero's name, listing " Othko". I first tried "Othko", assuming that the space was part of the UI, but it said it couldn't find a hero with that name, so then I tried " Othko" and I saw a Python error in the command line that it wouldn't find a file.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Didn't really matter of course because the tutorial isn't that long, but thought I'd mention it.

I agree that transitioning when moving to the edge would be nice. For example now you can bump into mountains or gryphons that you can't see because they're just across the fold, so to speak. At least it's good that you can usually back away without penalty.

Found another bug:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Resilience is an interesting mechanic! Also are there ways to influence which creatures spawn? Maybe it was because I was playing on a small map, but I started with a quest to slay Qualquales which I have only found one of yet, while the map was being overrun with Wiblenibs. I'll be sure to give this another spin later.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on October 31, 2020, 10:50:02 PM
Big and hopefully useful update today: by popular demand, the map now pans along with the player :) Needs more testing but seems to work so far, it feels a bit jumpier as the game is loading a lot more images each move, but it's very subtly so, so hopefully it's worthwhile.

Re SLiV's points:

Thank you!
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Tusky on November 13, 2020, 02:46:23 PM
fyi I did play the last version for a while. Not anywhere near completion - mind. I still need to accomplish that!

Anyway I didn't find any obvious issues with that but happy to give the newer version a try if you would like
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on November 15, 2020, 09:37:05 PM
Yes, will happily send you another version sometime soon :) Spritelady and I did a discord hangout where I watched her play and took notes for a bit today, that was really useful so if you or anyone would be up for doing that sometime, it seems to be one of the most efficient ways for getting feedback for me.

This weekend I started on companion quests! They're still quite rudimentary but it's good to have gotten started:

Once you complete a character's quest, they gain the loyal flag. This means that they will never desert no matter how low morale gets, and tend to always have a high opinion of the player.

I'm not sure whether, if the quest is multi-stage, the player should get the loyalty flag for stage one or for the quest-ending stage only.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Tusky on November 27, 2020, 10:37:00 PM
Sorry didn't reply to this! I wouldn't mind, but I am busy with a top secret kickstarter project, and moving house. That's up till the 18th of Dec, then I'm meeting no more than 2 other households for a top secret religious festival until the new year.

Happy to do something on a weekend in January though?
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on November 30, 2020, 01:08:22 AM
Yeah, that sounds good, I should have another version by then :)

So today's addition is another new hero/companion type - the scholar! You've been able to escort them on missions for a while, but now they can be part of your party and may offer their services at the end of an escort quest. Scholars have the worst statline by far (literally straight 1s) of the heroes, but they have a maximum of four abilities and start with two (rather than max 3 start 1 with the other hero types), and will offer a range of party management and information bonuses via their skills.

I think I've also fixed the bug where squires could get combat stances despite already having an attack or defence skill in place.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on December 02, 2020, 12:00:44 AM
I've had some feedback that in trophy hunting it's annoying if you can't find quarquares especially. I've added some code to give them a spawn bonus if you've got a trophy hunt targeting them active - I don't know if that'll work or if I should actually force-spawn a bunch, but we'll see how it goes in testing.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on December 06, 2020, 12:06:28 AM
Added the bare bones of a loyalty quest for clerics - they have to go and find and retrieve a relic from a spawned special location. Currently they just find it and that ends the quest, but that certainly won't be the only outcome!
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on December 10, 2020, 09:54:28 PM
Finally broke through mental deadlock and did a couple of things.

Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on January 19, 2021, 08:35:16 PM
Got a tiny bit done this evening - almost all bugfixes and minor improvements based on feedback from testing to try and make information more easily available and allow hotkeys to be used in more places (so for example hitting z for stats now still works on decision screens so you can check how wealthy you are while deciding whether to buy things).
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on January 23, 2021, 11:23:03 PM
Today I did a bunch of work redesigning the taxes/spending systems. The new system is more complex and more "real" in that the AI actually has a budget number somewhere and generates taxes etc much the same way a player city does.

Ultimately this will allow me to add some more complex/interesting spending options which will be available to both the AIs and the player. Currently it still needs some balancing though I think, I'm getting too many AI players deciding to keep everything in balance by slashing taxes back to the minimum and keeping very few troops.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on January 31, 2021, 12:20:17 AM
OK, both the AI and player can now build buildings :) And when you own a city you can still get quests to go and defeat nearby bandit parties as local merchants petition you to get rid of them - this is really useful for improving your relations with your own city if they've taken a hit from you being away too much.

I think the next step is probably going back to the companion quests - there's definitely more late-game stuff to add, but the addition of building projects definitely makes the city management feel a bit more fleshed out and dynamic.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on February 11, 2021, 10:15:48 PM
Today I've finished adding an extra stage to the menu system: faction confirmation. You get a little loadout screen giving an overview of your faction's quirks before choosing what to select.

I think I'm also going to replace, eventually, the map screen with a number of options, whereby clicking the banner will cycle through the options (so e.g. map size, player gender, possibly allowing the player to change death mode for a bigger challenge). Not got the relevant stuff implemented for that yet though.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on March 12, 2021, 08:23:21 PM
I've been working a lot on improving the player's access to information: readouts now give you additional info (in particular which region you're in), city leaders provide hints for some quests if you go back to them before the quest has finished, city rumour mills often give information in more condensed ways. These changes should at least in theory improve ease for new players by exposing much more effectively what the player.

I'm thinking of further adding to this by making the hotkeys section also contain a hint which will be tailored to where the player is through the game and what quests they have active. Might that be a good plan?

Additionally I've been working on the city event model, which now does some minor things in cities as proof of concept. In particular, ruthless and ironfisted rulers will often put the heads of fugitives you bring in on pikes, which can cause rumour dialogues or be seen when you enter a city, and new building construction will also be a rumour talking point for a while after it happens. I need to add events for changes of ruler and AI elections as well ideally.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on March 25, 2021, 12:04:02 AM
I have now finished recording the initial set of tavern songs! There are eleven in the game now - four (Saint Oraphas Was A Wood Sprite, Oh Forest Tree, Princes of Exile, and I Courted A Maid) can be found anywhere, one (Balderdash the Blemmye Pirate) can be found only in taverns in port districts of cities, and the remaining six each fit to a house and only appear in that house's cities: The Howling Lay for the House of the Wolf, The Making of A Princely Man for the House of Princes, The Song of Scribes for the House of Scholars, The Old Comrade for the House of Generals, The Dragon's Mead for the House of the Dragon, and The Phoenix Knight for the House of the Phoenix. :)

Next thing I need to get back to is the companion quests, I think, and maybe also improving companion generation: I want the way you meet companions to give more hints about their personality.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on May 11, 2021, 11:45:03 PM
Companion quest work continues: tonight I finished a new enemy, the spectre, which tests the unit's spirit and can ignore attacks from insufficiently spirited enemy units. These will appear in one of the cleric companion quest options - clerics are indeed especially useful for taking them on due to their own high starting spirit score (though they may need some improved attack skills before taking on the spectres, which aren't super tough but can fight for a long time so the ideal is to have a high spirit, high damage companion to take them down quick).

One thing that goes with this is that the "bravery" (for units) and "leadership" (player only) stats are now the same and are called "spirit". This stat is now visible in battles, and determines how likely the unit is to break from combat among other things: also, as a mental trait, unlike most combat stats it doesn't drop as the unit gets fatigued.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on May 14, 2021, 12:28:30 AM
Finished the other branch of the priest's relic finding quest, where rather than the test of spirit it's a test of speed and agility as the hero's party must scramble through a ruin to reach either a small gryphon or a rostrulet's nest. These are both new enemies: the "Tower Gryphon" is weaker than its usual counterpart, more a mid-game opponent, and the Rostrulets are smaller bipedal winged creatures who attack as a group and have two dangerous special abilities, passing attack which lets them sometimes attack your attack unit rather than your defence unit, and feint which can waste your attacks.

I've also changed the recruitment for priests, so there's now a little vignette that tells you something about the personality of the companion you're recruiting.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on May 30, 2021, 11:13:34 PM
It's been a busy week or so! Version ten is now out to testers and I've been getting a lot of great feedback and not as many bugs as I'd feared which is nice.

Also, I've been starting to act on that a bit and also add some of the smaller features that will be in version 11:
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on June 14, 2021, 06:14:50 PM
Well, I've started messing with some code to add sexualities and thus the possibility of romance as a part of the game. I'm currently just working with it as a flavour thing for the NPCs: I guess player romances are likely but will be added a bit later.

Congratulations should especially go to testing character Penso Trave, who rolled the (actually really quite improbable) set up of being a nonbinary pansexual priestess, for being the first character to have an NPC relationship and then promptly starting the first and possibly only polycule to exist in this game (I could actually code for poly characters at some point in theory but it could get SUPER complex. Even sexualities involve eight different possible flag types.) This was useful as it turned out multiple places my code was broken, since I'd intended not to allow multiple relationships per character and one of Penso's partners, Vianca, shouldn't even have been interested in them according to my notes... much testing still to be done.

I also have quite a lot of notes still on balance and quality of life stuff, but also that's just not as much fun and I'm having a stressful enough time that adding silly extra features is more important right now!
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: dubsartur on June 14, 2021, 09:39:28 PM
Yay for algorithmically generated DRAMA!

I wish I could find the papers published in the early 2000s which listed all the weird and wonderful relationships on Roman funerary inscriptions. 
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on June 14, 2021, 09:58:34 PM
I am now tempted to immortalise Penso as e.g. a popular figure of ribald stories told in taverns in the world of The Exile Princes.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on June 23, 2021, 11:21:27 PM
Algorithmic drama continues!

The main new additions are work on the UI for choosing game options: the player can now select their character's gender and the game difficulty. There are three gender options (M/F/Nb as for NPCs), and five difficulty settings, named for medieval fictional exiles and wanderers: John Mandeville (Sandbox mode), Vis (Easy mode), Moriaen (Normal mode), Flea on a Drum (Roguelike Mode), and Silence (Ironman mode). I'm not working out how to implement the difficulty levels in a reasonably simple but effective way.

I'm currently focusing on the hard end. Roguelike mode will be easy - it'll be very similar to the normal game, but with slightly higher player injury chance, and most importantly no saving other than a running autosave/save on exit, with some code to delete the save if the character dies, so you get the true "one shot" feel of a roguelike.

Silence, the ironman mode, is harder to work out: the main thing here is that death will be instant, no injuries. But I'm worried that this ends up training the player to just save constantly. So I'm wondering about restricting saving in some way: I could keep the roguelike settings, but I'd like to make ironman a bit different and more about game challenge. A current musing is to actually make saves come at a cost in some way - if there's a small xp cost to saving then it stops the player just spamming it? And it's meant to be a stupidly hard mode (I think the biggest issue will be "how do I make this hard without encouraging it to be extremely boring or train massive risk aversion").
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: bigosaur on June 24, 2021, 11:35:30 AM
Vis (Easy mode)

Yeeey!  ;D
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on November 02, 2021, 11:54:33 AM
Coming close to having the new version done. Some concerns I still have: The difficulty settings still don't feel right. Silence, the hardest mode, is tricksy and a bit brutal, but I just ran a three city game with it and got through without problems playing slightly conservatively. I'm not sure about the "autosaves off, XP cost to save" mechanic, and it's hard to ramp up numerical/mechanical difficulty beyond a point or so without making the game nearly impossible to complete. I could increase difficulty by slowing/reducing progress and reward mechanics, but that just feels frustrating.

On the other hand, I'm not sure if the easy settings are different enough to the standard Moriaen mode either.

All that said - generally the basics of the difficulty settings seem to be working, and I'm now bugfixing other additions I've made.
Title: Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
Post by: Jubal on November 30, 2021, 11:43:57 AM
OK, version 11 is now finally ready for testing :) Main thing in this is the romance mode and difficulty settings. Not sure what the big pushes will be for the next version.

Possibilities include:

But I'm not yet sure what to focus most on/what's most needed. Looking forward to seeing feedback - shout as ever if you want a copy of the new version :)