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Current Projects: Americana Engine (Game Engine Development)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Americana Engine: Beta 4 Updates

My gear setup on Foster when running the battle simulator.

Americana Dawn has since switched over to Unity and is moving right along on their builds; on my side I have focused on engine development since I need my version working as proof of coding and game development experience. The portfolio maps still occur within the same universe, however, and will share the game's continuity, but I'll have to find or make some assets first. I am dedicated to providing a detailed development process, and will include any major changes and commentary behind them.

(In the month since the engine project page was put up, the number of people visiting it was a lot lower than expected. I may have to break the convention of not actively promoting material and reappear on social media sites to get this noticed and get further up search engine rankings, as well as relying on chance that someone relevant will find it.)


The following main features were updated in Engine Beta 4 (Released 7/21/15), emphasizing more on character customization rather than straight-on gameplay:

  • The status page has been slightly retweaked compared to the original concept image on the Kickstarter; tabbed interface will now display inventory items (to equip gear) as well as skills and passives on the character instead of using separate menus
  • Navigation in Status screen now completely functional; See notes below
  • Passives are now displayed when selecting an accessory, and Skills when a weapon is selected.
  • Carrying capacity was moved up to main statistics
  • Caps on maximum inventory greatly increased.
  • Mastery gains readjusted

Simulator Changes

In order to test all of the above features out, The simulator has been expanded to include the following:

  • You can now access the menu and change your gear via the Status Page in between battles. Your inventory contains a large amount of items to setup your characters however you so choose, and to experiment with various combinations and statuses. Around a dozen different weapons, accessories, and consumables are available in the simulator. I do not know how much variety AD has in terms of accessories, but I can tell you that this place has plenty of stuff.
    • libcurl will be used to automatically update the items/skill database for the simulator as needed; this should keep game engine re-downloads to a minimum (at least until a major update occurs) and keeps everyone on the same version level, but overall don't expect any of the weapons here to be fairly balanced at all.
  • Lucille has her own portrait in the menu when available, based off of the concept piece of her. There was no official vertical portrait for Lucille, and she's too far down, so there were two options for this, to recreate it myself, or to find an artist to do this. I picked the former for now, but only as a placeholder. The configuration for non-human type characters hasn't been fully defined yet, so Lucille cannot equip weapons, but can hold 4 accessories and twice as many items.
  • Some new enemies are planned to be made based on those in AD that were still work in progress.
  • The help file has been moved to the Journal in order to explain most concepts.

Other Notes:

Despite this post taking into account updates from July 10th, this post was originally created on June 28 and will be dated as such.

Navigation between tabs are used with left/right keys. (X) on any item in your inventory will transfer it to the character if possible; (X) on any item on your character will send it back to your inventory.

Skills are attached to weapons (along with a limited number of character skills) and what you equip for each character determines what attacks you can use. You can slot up to two (or more) weapons and accessories, so you'll have a variety of skills at your disposal, and you can get more variety over the course of the game. I'm still trying to think of three/four skills unique to each weapon, complete with descriptions and such.

Weight is represented on an item as 'Wg' (using the same abbreviation as in Fallout games, where the idea for this came from) until I can think of an icon for this. It's not related to lbs or volume, they are instead weighted solely for balance purposes in a battle.

Mastery also works a bit differently in this version. You get mastery for weapon types used in battle, and when you level up it increases your stats depending on the weapon, which may allow you to use more advanced skills. The only difference in this game is that at high mastery levels it also gives an overall percent bonus towards those stat(s), so you can either focus towards skill variety or strong stats in one area.

I did not add status effect support in the initial release of this version, as I am currently working on a way to add them as needed instead of hardcoding them in the game engine (as well as Journal support).