Gauntlet mode: Free repair time

Gauntlet tasks to do before initial release

Get local games fully working
Object for holding game state in Gauntlet mode
Auto-repair system + vehicle swap ability
– Gauntlet game flow from menu to end
– Score system
– Level generation tweaks
– Update scrap drop system
– Item unlock system
– Update How To Play screens
– Test and balance gameplay
– Music?

Free repairs

At the end of each Gauntlet level I’m giving the player some amount of free repair and rebuild time.

This is measured in “minutes” because I don’t want people to think it’s using up some of their scrap, but there’s a straight conversion between “minutes” and “scrap”. For instance one minute might give 50 scrap worth of repairs. The implementation of all of this could change, but at the moment I’m giving the player some amount of free repairs (which can include rebuilding lost parts) at the end of each Gauntlet level, and each level gives a bit more time than the last (covering the fact that that player’s vehicle is probably getting bigger).

The free repairs are currently automatic, but they’ll try to be not too dumb, and always repair cockpit and chassis first.

Why

The thing is, Gauntlet mode will be a series of levels where you keep the same vehicle, so if I don’t provide any free repair time then there’ll be a huge spread in potential vehicle value once the player has completed a few levels, which becomes hard to manage.

Say I want to have the player be able to, on average, increase their vehicle value by 3000 at the end of a certain level, and I also decide that I’d like to let them recover from about 50% damage. I calculate what I think their vehicle will be worth at that point following the formula – say it comes out that their vehicle might be worth 4000 scrap. 50% damage = 2000… So I’d put 5000 scrap in the level to cover 2000 repair/rebuild + 3000 upgrade. But of course they might take more or less damage than that, and compounded across several levels you have potentially HUGE ranges in vehicle value. Someone who takes no damage can increase their vehicle’s value by 5000. Eventually, just by dropping enough scrap for an “average” player to repair 50% damage, the player who cleverly takes no damage could have a vehicle worth even more than I really want to allow for performance reasons. Or just totally streamroll through levels that are balanced for lesser vehicles.

The more free repairs I give, the more levelled the playing field becomes. With unlimited free repairs, all scrap collected could go to vehicle upgrades. I’m still experimenting with how much free repair time I actually provide. I don’t want everything to be totally balanced and boring either.

How

That big repair/rebuild button that you see on the Build screen in Melee mode, I’ve actually updated that (in my dev version, not live) to use a GUI more like the above screenshot except with scrap showing instead of minutes. Then the end-of-level repairs are actually a special case of the same system. Internally instead of repairing using the player’s banked scrap, a special temporary wallet is created with some scrap in it, and that’s used to do the repairs. So the code path is exactly the same except the “money” for it comes from a different place. Keeps things simple vs. having two different systems to maintain.

Vehicle Swap

This just means you can swap your vehicle out somehow, so if you start with e.g. a Small chassis you can upgrade to a Medium or Large. I won’t say much about this now because how I handle it might change.

Game Flow

The next task on the list is the flow between levels. I’ve already been working on that as well, with a major issue being level loading times. Loadnig a Gauntlet map was taking about 15 seconds on my relatively decent PC, but I’ve now got it down to around 5½ seconds. I’ll talk about that next time.


I know there’s been a bit of a gap between the last update and this one. I’ve actually been fixing a few other issues around the game as well. Nothing really worth talking about, although if you’ve ever done a repair/rebuild on a vehicle and had it error out saying a part can’t be attached, I discovered that issue too and it’ll be fixed when Gauntlet releases.

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8 Comments

  1. Bruce
    Posted July 31, 2017 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Music? Is it possible for SCRAPS to select the players own music files, sync it to the tempo of the game ? a bit like how WINAMP synced the Visualization screen savers did. Would be hilarious. You could contract Teksyndicates Logan to compose something, Hes into composing gaming music.

    • bill
      Posted August 1, 2017 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      You can always mute the music in the game options and play your own music in the background outside of Scraps, but of course that won’t synchronise the game to your music.

      WINAMP’s AVS was amazing at the time. It had a whole custom scripting language. Remember the Whacko AVS packs? https://acko.net/blog/avs

      Justin Frankel, the guy who created Winamp and AVS, later created an audio editor called REAPER that’s pretty much an industry standard now. Insanely smart guy.

      The best game I know of that actually syncs the game to your music is Audiosurf: http://store.steampowered.com/app/12900/AudioSurf/

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