AI, Sensors and Swords

One of the things I really want from Exoloper is the player to feel like they're properly out gunned and outnumbered. You're running guerrilla warfare against a dug in colonial force, mobility and hit+run tactics are the name of the game here. Stand still too long and you're toast. At the start of the week I play-tested the game a bit, and there was something sorely not fun about having the entire map of enemies aggro'd against you from the moment the game loaded. To combat this I tweaked the AI's awareness systems and the UnitPart systems to build a radar signature for each unit, I then applied the same approach to a visual signature. All of this leads to rudimentary stealth mechanics for the game, do you take the most powerful weapons and risk letting every enemy know you're here, or do you go quietly taking out patrols around the map one by one?

I'm honestly super happy with the simplicity of how this all works, both from an implementation perspective, and what'll eventually be a user facing mechanics perspective. The larger your Exo's power draw + mass, the bigger it's radar signature. Making noise via firing simply adds to both your visual and radar contact range, and the same goes for enemy units. This means that if you're running rubbish sensors, enemy artillery should be a briefly visible target each time they fire.

Of course, if you've got stealth mechanics, you need some way of going completely silent, so that was a nice segue into implementing Melee weapons. Functionally they're just super short range projectile weapons firing invisible bullets with giant colliders. It works. So much of good melee though is selling that feeling of a hit, so a vast majority of the time I spent working on the system involved animation, knockback systems, impact sounds and sparks. The system that exists is fine, if a little rudimentary, but has scope to be expanded quite easily. Still, it feels excellent to crush a tank with a gigantic pneumatic hammer or slice an enemy exo with a crudely shaped sword. I also spent a bunch of time this week on AI behaviours, setting up their abilities to flank, to decide if they go toe to toe or back off when engaging enemies. All of this works independent of the player, so the option exists to setup firefights between multiple AIs that the player can take advantage of. As someone who's avoided doing much in the way of AI behaviours so far, it's gratifying to see them both a. doing the thing they're expected to do and b. doing so relatively performantly!

All in all a solid week. From here it's work on designing the specifics for the campaign and combat scenario types.

Exoloper Tasks completed: