By Hugo Scott-Slade, Technical Director
Added bots, updated game flow and improved combat experience.
In the past two weeks or so I’ve been working on adding AI players to Cone Wars, which has been challenging but very rewarding. By recording myself play and watching others play I have started to break down human gameplay characteristics into a set of rules. Using these rules I have created a bot persona that mimics how a human plays the game. These bots base their decisions on the same data that is available to human players, using line of sight and information displayed on the UI. They do not use the server’s data to gain advantages such as knowing the exact position of all players.
I’ve added a ‘personality’ component to the AI which helps differentiate the players and controls how they make human-like decisions. The factors are matched against playtesting the game and asking testers why they make certain decisions during gameplay. Currently there are only four variable factors, but more continue to surface through playtesting.
I’ve updated the flow into the game from the splash screen, to finding a game and getting into a lobby. Players can setup games to play 2v2, 3v3 etc and the server can fill in the missing spots with bots. Next week I’ll be working on updating the design and will be able to share something based on what Matt has worked on.
We have now added a lot more feedback to the user around shooting, being hit and losing health. Players now have recoil when they shoot on their trucks and camera knockback as well as shake.
When a player gets hit, their camera gets knocked by the projectile and they are shown a directional damage indicator common on first-person shooters. Additionally a spurt of cream will shoot out the truck from where they were hit. This has been very effective in helping players understand what’s happening in combat, especially during intense multi-player battles.
Players also now have much more feedback around their health. Previously it was a health bar and a temporary red damage effect around the edges of the screen. I’ve now updated the screen effects to new ones Max has designed, which are much more inline with the style of the game. Additionally, I’ve added controls over the post-processing effects and audio filters so as you become weaker you lose colour in the world, the bloom increases and sounds become muffled as they’re put through a low pass filter. There needs to be some balancing to ensure the effect isn’t too intense but it’s certainly doing the job of conveying the player’s low health.