It’s been a little while since my last update, I’ll grant you that.
Seriously, I know it’s been a while since I last posted an update here and that’s mostly because I’ve been having some difficulty finding the time to work on Samurai Showdown thanks to capitalism *shakes fist*. However, for the past couple of weeks, I’ve managed to find some time here and there which I could spend on further developing the game and so I’ve been chipping away at it. In any case, I’m slowly but surely getting towards the point where I will no longer be adding new features and will instead be focussed on refining Samurai Showdown and making it pretty (by hiring artists because I can barely draw stick figures).
So, without further ado, let’s talk about the work I’ve done since October!
Since I got back from PAX Australia (a great convention, by the way), I’ve been working on the problem of character selection. While it’s nothing too fancy at the moment and is lacking some useful UI elements, players now have the ability to select which character they wish to play as prior to beginning a round of Samurai Showdown. To scroll through the list of available characters, players can use the left and right buttons on the D-pad or push the left analogue stick of their controller to the left or right. To select a character, players must press the A or X button of their controller (for Xbox controllers and DualShock controllers, respectively). Once a player has made their selection they can no longer scroll through the list of available characters, and once both players have made their choice they are taken to the difficulty menu.
So far, this feature is populated with test characters made using test assets such as the Standard Samurai (or Luke Skywalker from 1994’s Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi), but the way I’ve implemented it means that adding new characters is incredibly easy and so players of the final game can expect to unlock and play as many different characters with their own unique animation set.
Another feature that I’ve been working on since PAX Aus is level selection. This feature operates in a manner similar to that of the character selector and allows players to pick which map they would like to duel on. As with characters, making new levels and adding them to the list is incredibly easy, so players can expect a diverse range of levels to duel to the death in.
Okay, this one is a little weird since I supposedly finished it a while back, but I suppose I should explain what’s up. Partway through the development of the level selection feature I realised that using a single script to control the various menus was a very dumb way of handling things. To skip past a whole lot of boring talking, I realised that if I wanted to keep using a single script to handle menu navigation I’d be forced to make it either a massively bloated monster, or I’d be forced to design menus such as those used for level and character selection in such a way that they would work with this script. As I didn’t want to make a monster of a script and because I think that scroll views and lists are the best way to handle character and level selection, I instead opted to completely revamp menu navigation.
To that end, I replaced the existing menu navigation script with a set of more specialised scripts which are customised to one specific menu. While this is less efficient in terms of memory as I’m using upwards of 6 scripts in the main menu, it offers me a great deal more freedom when designing menus as I can create a menu and its navigation script simultaneously.
While the level selection feature itself is working perfectly fine, there are some rather obvious problems with the UI that I need to fix before I can consider it ready to go. While nothing too special in terms of what needs to be done, I imagine that this will take me longer than you’d expect thanks to requiring both maths and visual design skills, two things I’m approximately okay at. :v
Unlike the level selection feature which has errors in its existing UI, the character selection feature is merely lacking some UI elements to tell the player that they have/haven’t selected a character. Adding this to the game won’t be too difficult and I expect that it’ll take me about 15-30 minutes to code it up, make it decent looking, and animate it to give it some visual flair.
As mentioned in previous updates, I’m looking to add dance mat support to Samurai Showdown. While my dance mats have since arrived, I ran into some irritating difficulties setting them up to work with Rewired. While I can’t promise that I’ll get them implemented soon, I can say that it’s likely only a matter of time before they’re ready as Rewired is an absurdly powerful tool that lets you make new gamepad profiles as needed and its creator is very responsive to questions.
To facilitate some future plans which will be discussed below, I am planning to add levelling system to Samurai Showdown which will grant various rewards to players as they duel their friends. This feature shouldn’t take too long to add in, but I plan for it to be integrated into Steam and I expect that I will help extend the lifespan of the game by giving players a goal to work toward and a reward when they attain it.
As I have the skeleton of a user profile system in place already and I’m looking to add a levelling system, I’m planning to reward players for levelling up by granting them access to more levels to play on. As with the levelling system itself, I don’t imagine that this feature will take too long to implement, and the sheer number of levels we’ll be able to develop should ensure that there are ample rewards available for players.
Essentially, I plan to adjust the character selection system to allow for additional characters to be unlocked as players level up their profiles. While the exact way it’ll operate is unknown, it’ll likely be similar to the way ships are unlocked in FTL.
As you can probably tell, a lot of the stuff I’m planning to work on in the future is stuff related to features which are already implemented. While there’s still a fair amount of work left, Samurai Showdown is slowly getting there and I can see the final version of the game on the horizon.