Saturday, May 19, 2007

Mission Accomplished

This week I made good progress on Watcher. Bombs are now part of the standard weapon framework, which means you have to buy a bomb launcher, then equip the launcher on your ship to drop bombs. Bomb explosions now have a radius that diminishes in power as it gets farther from the center of the explosion. Buildings and decorations on the ground now have hitpoints, so one standard bomb isn't enough to destroy them... the guard tower currently takes 6 direct hits to destroy (a fairly difficult task!) although those kinds of statistics will change lots through the course of development.

The most exciting new feature to me this week is the missions (quests) system. Only one mission is available so far, but I think the system is flexible enough to add new mission types with fairly small effort. The one mission is to take 10 units of wheat cargo from the southwest city to the northwest city. When you accept the mission, you first have to fly to the first city to pick up the cargo (it's automatically loaded onto your ship, if you have space). Then you fly to the destination where the cargo is automatically dropped off and you are automatically paid. The system will allow multiple-stage cargo missions too... you could have to deliver cargo to multiple cities or pick up cargo from multiple cities. Right now I don't know if such a cargo mission would be fun or a good idea, but the point is that I can have such a mission if I want.

This morning I made some in-game menus. Now when you land at a landing pad, a city menu pops up so you can choose what you want to do at that city. When you choose the "missions" option, the missions dialog pops up where you can look at available missions and choose from them. Take a look at the new menus:

Free Image Hosting at

Yeah yeah, I know the game looks like more of a business application right now, but I'm forcing myself not to do any real artwork until more of the basis is put together. The game is getting to be fun... I need to add a few more cities and then the missions will be more exciting. Fun First! Pretty Later!

In other news, I decided earlier this week to learn a new keyboard layout. It's called Colemak, and it was invented just over a year ago. Check the website: and here's an image:

Free Image Hosting at

Several years ago, I learned the Dvorak layout, and I liked it for typing emails and general text, but it was an absolute nightmare for programming and any sort of non-text development. The important shortcut keys just moved around too much, and the symbol locations just didn't make sense for programming. Colemak, in my opinion, fixes quite a few of those problems. It leaves many keys in the same place as Qwerty, but moves the most common English letters to saner places on the keyboard. So far the learning is a little slow, but faster than learning Dvorak. I'm up to probably 20-25 wpm. Unfortunately, I'm a sinner because I didn't type this whole blog post using the layout... I'm just in too much of a hurry. Speaking of... I'm taking off.

No comments: