I spent a few days prototyping a turn-based tactical role-playing game. This is a genre that I’ve grown to love as I get older. While XCOM: Terror From the Deep had me hooked when I was young, it wasn’t until later that I started to appreciate them. It’s neat to see them making a come back with great titles such as The Banner Saga and XCOM: Enemy Unknown!
Don’t mind the placeholder graphics, my initial prototype was pretty rough.
As a true turn-based tactical game, players can carefully decide their actions during their turn, such as moving around or attacking enemies. During the AI turn, it will determine which of its enemies are closest and move in to attack. The battle is won if all your enemies are defeated.
The tried and true design method is often grid-based, so that’s where I started. Roughly making some terrain in Blender with tiles; the actual grid used for visualization and pathfinding is determined at runtime while loading the level. By calculating the bounds of the map we have an area that we can divide into a grid. Each node on the grid is initialized at the top of the map bounds, high up in the sky. From there we cast a ray downwards, when we hit a surface on the map, we’ve found where to place the node.
I had updated the character art here too, with walk and attack animations.
The grid provides a large foundation for the rest of the game logic. Finding which path to traverse on the grid using the A* pathfinding algorithm, or determining whether you can attack by checking occupied grid nodes around you.
If I have some time next week, I’d love to create some graphics and add more features. For now, this is just a prototype.