seven day project – day three

Day three, otherwise known as Wednesday, or the day I fall hideously off schedule, is complete.
I certainly have some work ahead of me if I wish to have this project finished by Monday, and sleep deprivation is beginning to take its toll. I’m weak, I know.Today I have focused on completing the code for unit generation, and have written the code for generating art for Unit Attachments utilising a system similar to that used to change unit component dimensions in relation to a unit’s specifications.

Unit Attachments

To recap, a Unit Attachment is basically the weapon attached to the unit. The attachment defines the abilities of the unit (allowing the unit to attack with, for example, rockets or machine gun fire), as well as specifies a number of rules which the unit must respect.
Attachments play a major role determining the way units interact with each other. The number of different attachment types has been limited to four, ensuring the player can easily learn the function of each attachment, retain this knowledge, and be able to use this information during gameplay to determine and predict how units will interact.
The following is a breakdown of each attachment, with an image displaying a typical unit with attachment.
The units shown have values of 3 for the speed, armour and range Unit Specifications. For those just joining us, Unit Specifications were discussed in yesterday’s post.

Rocket Launcher

The rocket launcher attachment allows a unit to fire volleys of rockets at an enemy. The rocket launcher is the most powerful weapon attachment available and allows the unit to deal heavy damage to a target.
Despite being the strongest direct attack, units with the rocket launcher attachment are prone to becoming “committed” to a target. If a unit with a rocket launcher engages an enemy, the unit becomes unable to take additional commands or resume pathing until either itself, or the enemy is destroyed. This has strategic implications and players must be careful how they deploy their rocket launcher units, or risk having them become unwillingly committed to a target, unable to pursue other goals.
While a rocket launcher unit is committed to a target it will remain stationary and unable to attack another target, making it extremely vulnerable.
A rocket launcher unit will automatically engage enemies within range, and will automatically counter-attack an enemy (moving within range, if required).
Increasing the unit types attachment level improves the rocket launcher’s rate of fire.

Machine Gun

The machine gun attachment is less powerful than the rocket launcher attachment, but has the advantage of allowing the unit the freedom to continue pathing while attacking. If a machine gun unit were to, for example, attack a unit with a rocket launcher attachment, it would retain it’s ability to move – allowing strategic options such as forcing the committed rocket launcher unit to path within range of additional powerful units (by attempting to remain within attack range of the machine gun unit).
As the attachment level of the unit is increased, the machine gun attachment deals a higher level of damage.


Don’t let the uncreative title fool you – the Zapper attachment is a versatile and useful unit attachment.
The zapper is the only attachment capable of attacking multiple enemies simultaneously. While an enemy is within range, the zapper will target it with a sustained attack inflicting damage over time. If additional enemies enter the units range, the zapper will also engage those, spreading it’s damage load evenly between the targets.
The zapper attachment excels at defensive roles, and can be used by a player to engage and commit multiple enemies. When the zapper engages enemies, it is also committed, unable to path.
By improving the unit’s attachment level, the zapper is able to direct a higher percentage of the original damage amount to each targeted unit, making it a fearsome weapon.


The shield attachment is a defensive attachment, serving to deflect attacks launched against the unit. When a unit with the shield attachment is engaged, the unit becomes committed to deflecting fire from the attacking unit. The unit deploys a shield, blocking projectiles and attacks from the attacking unit’s direction. If the unit is attacked from a direction it is not shielding it will receive damage as per usual. Shield units are great for soaking enemy damage and committing dangerous enemies.

By upgrading the unit’s attachment level, the shield is projected further from the unit and wider, deflecting weapon fire from a wider range.

As each attachment has it’s own sets of rules, units with different attachments can be used to handle a situation in various ways, allowing the player to experiment with and develop their own strategies. Coupled with the Unit Specification system, the player (and enemy formations) will have freedom in creating and deploying units with varied abilities, while maintaining a core understanding of the rules dictating unit interaction.

Unit Demonstration Application

The following link will download a vary simple application that I have been using to develop and test the unit visual design system. The application will allow you to adjust a unit’s specifications and view the affect they have on the unit’s visual profile.

Download UnitDemonstrationWIN for windows – Unzip the files and run the executable.
Download UnitDemonstrationMAC for OSX – Unzip and run the file.


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Playing on Playstation 3

Red Dead Revolver - I paid about $1000 for my launch model PS3, so I guess it's time I get some use out of that emotion chip crammed inside. I remember Red Dead Revolver looking rather good when it was released, and despite the low resolution and odd blurring (that I attribute to playing on a HD set) the game holds up well. It looks good despite these graphical limitations because the art direction is so precise and awesome. And it isn't just the art direction, the music, dialogue and set design (for some reason, set seems a more fitting word than level) all work in tandem to recreate an iconic Wild West atmosphere. Red Dead Revolver doesn’t aim to recreate life in the Wild West, it allows our imagination to take over and populates the locale with legendary men and their legendary stories.

Playing on iPhone

edge - Well I never thought I'd consider playing a game on iPhone as actually gaming, but edge has turned me around. The game is built for the iPhone. Sure, it could be ported, but the elegance of what has been created is astounding, it boggles the mind and makes me wonder what amazing gems we'd receive if current gen consoles weren't clones of eachother.

Playing on PC

Sins of a Solar Empire, Demigod, Generals - Zero Hour - It may be a temporary effect as I slowly reintroduce the PC into my gaming diet, but it seems every title I’m excited to play on the platform is either a strategy game, or a cheap indie game. PC gaming isn’t dead, it’s just restricted to titles that require complex input or a pointing device, and games that couldn't be developed or distributed on other platforms. I guess that’s part of the reason the AppStore is so far a success, there were a lot of indie devs stuck on PC for lack of a better alternative.


June 2011
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