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"Back to SUL"

Posted: 08 September, 2022

Tuesday 06.09.2022

I’m going back to SUL this week, to tie-up the loose ends from my first pass.

Today I added a stone gate to Ytene’s side entrance. The player will be able to open this when they’ve completed the Spa mini-dungeon and then, retrieve the Wand.

I also remodelled the path to the gate with lights and some paving slabs, to make it a little more obvious.

Keith’s been part of a quest chain – Friar Startler – that was only partially playable, so I finished that off, including new pickup-items, animations, dialog, journal entry text, game state and the skeleton for the next Quest in the chain: The Bard’s Ale.

The Bard’s Ale, will give you access to the Beer Scooter, which in theory, will let you wake up in your bed from anywhere in the world.

This is the only fast-travel mechanism I have planned atm, so I might need some more. We’ll see. The player’s house is close to the two locations you’ll need to visit multiple times, so it might be enough.

Wednesday 07.09.2022

I’ve got two physical barriers in the world (maybe more to come) that unlock if you’ve collected a key. Neither has any real ceremony as they open, which feels a bit dry. This morning I put together a sequence where the player throws the key into the air, it pings over to the gate, and the gate unlocks. It’s already a big improvement. Probably needs a bit more VFX pizazz, but it’s close. Audio will help as well.

The next big job is getting the guards walking around a patrol routes, so it’s back to the Utility AI.

One thing I don’t like doing is passing information – in this case “what patrol route are you walking on” – from the NPC, to the AI Controller, to the AIAction states, but there doesn’t seem to be a way around it. At best, data goes in the black board, which means it’s passed through a couple of classes and the actions retrieve it when needed. Blackboards only containing tuples is also a pain. I’d like to be able to store an array of patrol nodes, instead I have to store a tag, which each Action uses to build an internal array of nodes.

I think, if I had infinite time, I’d write my own blackboard class, or at least, extend Unreal’s. But I don’t, so I won’t...

Thursday 08.09.2022

Was teaching this morning. First lecture of the new Semester. Was nice to meet some fresh, eager students, and talk for a few hours... And then my Steam Deck arrived, so of course, I spent the afternoon testing my wares.

Happily, Lumo seems to run well. Perfect framerate with the only obvious breakage being the online leaderboards not working. I assume this must have broken on the linux side a while ago, as it’s the native build. AFAIK leaderboards still work on Windows, but there’s not much I can do to fix it, anyway.

Cecconoid/Eugatron run like the wind. And they look great. Very happy about that.

I’m going to see if I can get Maenhir on it, next week. Now, I’m off to Wales.