I would say I had a pretty solid week with my ever continuing work on the ability system. One major thing was worked out, another minor, but glaring omission was also addressed.
What are these, you ask? Well hell, I’m not even sure what I want to call them. Charged abilities? Abilities with charge times? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I think everyone gets my point though. Whatever I end up calling them, they’re abilities that take more than a single turn to execute. The benefit is that they tend to do more damage than normal abilities, at the cost of taking time, where a potential target could end up attacking before the ability is cast.
I’m sure most people will think back to Final Fantasy Tactics and their notorious system for spell casting times. I loved it, and honestly looked at it as a way of balancing the powerful magic in the game. Though, as you can read in this Kotaku article, they were not in the game for the reason you would expect. Either way, I’ve always been a fan of these things, going all the way back to the Final Fantasy Adventure/Secret of Mana days. Hell, I even used them in Rose of Eternity – Family & Country.
Anyway, these types of abilities will be in the game, I’ve already had that thought in my head since the very beginning, so here we are.
One of the most important bits of this system is the player making use of the turn order UI, and more specifically, making sure it shows as much information as possible, so that players can make the most accurate decision. Are you going to charge an ability? Is it going to land before the target will launch their own attack? If not, maybe pick another target, or better yet, another ability.
One thing that I have done is mark a unit with a clock icon on their turn order image(obviously still in prototype phase). When you hover over said unit, a tool tip will show the ability it is charging, as well as some other important things, including who the targets are. Also, the attacker/target images will be highlighted and enlarged a bit, for more of a visual cue. So in the case that the enemy is charging an ability, it’s always great to know who the target is, and how long you have before the attack is executed.
One thing I’d like to do in the future is when your at an action confirmation page for a deferred ability, modify the turn order UI to show what it will look like after you confirm it. Just a little touch of convenience for the player.
Ability Tool Tips
Nothing too crazy here, but something I should have had in for a while now. The above GIF should speak for itself. Luckily for me, implementing it was not an issue. I’ve already had these details stored within my ability.json file for a while, so it was just a bunch of UI/controller work. As with everything else, it was a quick and dirty implementation, as, because, everyone say it with me: I’m still in a prototype phase.
Next up might be a bunch of smaller tasks, such as when you’re using an AOE ability, actually showing all the targets in the action confirmation UI, versus just the first in the list. From there, I’m not sure. One thing I do know is that I’d like to put a nice bow on abilities in general in the next few weeks, because one thing is coming up, the one thing that I know for certain will pull me away from this game: