Last month I attended the Paris Game AI Conference. Now I’m back and things look awesome! Time to get back to work!
First of all, I would like to thank Alex Champandard for giving me the opportunity of having a poster of my BSc dissertation, StarPlanner, at this year’s Paris Game AI Conference. In fact, I am thankful to a number of people that helped me during and after the development of the project. Jeff Orkin who linked StarPlanner’s website on the official GOAP website, Eric Jacopin who used the source code as learning material for an internship and provided plenty of feedback, Edmund Long for his implementation of GOAP in C++ and William van der Sterren for his help in the AiGameDev forums.
Planning was a big thing this year, having a short tutorial talk from Luke Dicken and an entire panel about its pros, cons and future, which meant that my project was an awesome conversation starter ;) So I met a lot of great people in person. Can’t wait for next year’s conference.
Anyway, on with the main subject.
About ten months ago, I began working on a vertical shooter using the XNA framework. However, I had to stop for a while due to Greek’s obligatory military training. That is (finally) over and it’s time to get back to business.
Xanor (Working Title) is a vertical shooter (like Aero Fighters) with many JRPG elements such as Leveling up, Mana Power, Talent Trees and Side Quests.
Xanor is a top-down space shooter where the player assumes the role of Reik, a pilot who became an outcast as a result of a failed mission that caused his hometown to vanish. With the help of his trusted but, somewhat, clumsy engineer, Mishi, and an advanced alien technology, his mission is now to regain his identity back by reestablishing his hometown as the dominant empire it once was.
Thanks to Mishi’s talent, the player is able to upgrade his spaceship with powerful weaponry and defenses. Four types of spaceships are available to choose from:
- The Spartan
This is the most dexterous ship of all. It is able to equip a vast amount of weapons that are easily upgraded.
- The M109
This ship is able to receive an extensive amount of damage and still be able to attack.
- The Ulonar
The Ulonar becomes more powerful the more damage it receives.
- The Summoner
The agile drones that orbit around the Summoner is a great way to get the job done.
To make a living and be able to pay the upgrades he needs, Reik hunts down bounties. He has gained a reputation for being fierce and, as a consequence, he is hired by many to do their dirty work (such as escorting ships or flying spacecrafts). Among the scumbags and lowlifes that usually hire him, there is this young woman who awards him with something more valuable than money: information on how to destroy the federation and complete his mission.
However, the destruction of the federation has catastrophic consequences.
Xanor is written in C# using Microsoft’s XNA Game Studio 4.0 framework. The goal is to release it as an XBOX Live Indie Game. Here is a short video I did a while back (the art is currently placeholder sprites made – with permission – by SquirrelSquid):
Under the hood Xanor is going over massive structural changes. I fell into the classic deep hierarchy problem and, after some research, I began working on a component-based entity system.
The good news is that last week I was fortunate enough to meet SiGra, who will be creating Xanor’s characters. Thus, currently I am focusing on developing a dialogue system.
I will be posting updates of Xanor’s development as each component of the engine is stable enough for a demonstration. So stay tuned!