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Current Projects: Americana Engine (Game Engine Development)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Goleman Library + Quad

Just another day this semester where I do tutoring sessions three days a week in the morning related to Computer Science. It's 8am and it's about to open... except it's cloudy, I see this view, and took this image after giving it a second thought.

(The original Goleman Library's entrace was in this direction, the new one seen here is on the left side)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Americana Dawn: Macrobattles and a Dynamic World

Foster's team defends against a infantry rush.*

The distinguishing feature of Americana Dawn is the focus on large scale battles, also known as macrobattles. These battles are similar to most turn-based tactical games, such as Advance Wars and army battles in Suikoden 2. Although most large battles are based on historical battles, there are some minor skirmishes using this system that can take place during the game during missions and side quests.

Players control a variety of units, historical figures and officers known as 'Elites', who are both customizable and have a diverse set of skills to handle various situations on the battlefield. Units fall under eight general unit classes, each with their own strengths and weaknesses:

  • Brave: Melee warriors that can deal additional damage when flanking an enemy
  • Infantry: Ranged gunman that can control cannons and utilize buildings and towers to their fullest
  • Cannoneer: Artillery with large area of effect attacks and is best used for taking out fortifications
  • Calvary: High movement/evade and excels in hit and run tactics
  • Ranger: High sight range, and can detect units in cover or in buildings
  • Rifleman: Sniper units that can pick off calvary and lone units with ease.
  • Sapper: Can construct defensive structures on the field
  • Commander: Can boost nearby soldiers' morale.

The key element in these large wars is using the environment or the enemy's weaknesses to your advantage, whether it is ambushing cannoneers and using infantry to steal their artillery, or using cover to recon and find a weak spot in the enemy's defenses. There is no 'right' way to win a battle, but you have a limited number of troops at your disposal.

All skirmishes take place on the world map, and decisions from battles are persistent; Your choices on the field determines how the story unfolds. Any elite character killed in battle is permanent and may affect dialogue and future missions. Similarly, collateral damage can directly harm towns and establishments for the duration of the game, so if a shop is destroyed when retaking a city, you deny yourself the goods and any sidequests it has to offer.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


The animation loop generated in Americana Dawn while trying to script the Braddock Scene. It's done with a custom scripting system in the game, particularly since I didn't want to put the effort into using another preset scripting language (such as lua) and getting it to work properly with what's already in the game, including how it's stored when the script is saved into a map file.

I've decided to change the way things are displayed on the blog; sometimes a picture isn't enough to describe things, so a short video clip (without sound) might be used instead if the browser supports HTML5. If not, it will load a still image instead.

Cutscene Update: The finished cutscene was rebuilt a month later with a slightly different tileset and is viewable here.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Lunar New Year 2014

The sign celebrating Chinese New Year at Red Hawk. I'm a day late on saying this, since it occurred yesterday, but I couldn't make it to the Thunder Valley one, which occurred on a Friday. The lion dance was quite short but there were three performances that day (with some slight differences between each of them).

Also, there was no greeter at the entrance, contrary to what it said online.

Note: The lion dance group is different from the one that performs in Thunder Valley / Cache Creek this year.