Mighty Tactical Shooter

Turn-Based Tactical Side Scrolling Shoot 'em up - In Development.

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Dev Blog 3 - Alternative Move System

Why an alternative move system?

The current move system lets you move for as much time as you want. Generally long moves don't make much sense because both the players and the tactical interfaces ability to predict movement that far ahead isn't reliable. The drawback to this system is that you have to move (because not moving would be zero time) - meaning you tend of oscillate back and forth across the screen just to stay still.

Way back when I first started the game the movement system was in fixed time chunks. I replaced it with free time because it felt less constricted, but as the game has developed the free time system is showing its weaknesses...

  • The back'n'forth movement needed just to try and stay in one place
  • Long moves are a bit pointless
  • Turns were not predictable (this'll make more sense as you read)

For this reason I decided to give fixed time another go. The supposed advantages being...

  • No more back'n'forth, it you want to stay still, you can.
  • Deterministic turn start/end points, as each play through would chunk up the level into the same equal portions.

Big Fail

So the big fail of going back to fixed sized turns is that your speed becomes variable. Fine on long moves, zip-zip-zip! But on short moves things happen v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y.

I tried a few things to balance it out. Different speeds, different sizes of turn length, banging my head on the table, praying to anyone that would listen. No dice. For all the advantages it still felt wrong.

What to do?

I'm not sure there's a happy medium between the two systems. I like the idea of fixed sized turns and being able to stay in one place, but free time just feels so much more natural but has the big drawback of back'n'forth.

In writing this I realise there is something I didn't try when re-experimenting with fixed time. Instead of scaling the ship speed over the movement distance and suffering the painfully slow short moves, maybe a quick move into position and stay there for the rest of the turn? That would give me fixed sized turns, the ability to stay in one place, and small moves would not feel painfully slow. Thank you, blogging! You've given me another path to try!

And I thought this blog post would end on a bit of a downer :)