There Will Be Ink – Beta 8 – Procedural Campaigns

Hello!

Snowy Pine

This appears once again to be the biggest update yet for There Will Be Ink*. The standout feature this time around, aside, of course, from the snowy pine pictured above, is the new procedural campaign generator, which I’ll get into in more detail below. Other notable features include reworked menu and campaign page layouts, the ability to pick up wounded comrades & crates, aim assist, additional menu gamepad support, a new campaign mission, new abilities, and much rebalance and smaller enhancements and fixes.

Procedural Campaigns

Procedural Campaign Generator

How do they work? As pictured above, there are several sliders to bump around and checkboxes to click, and the generator will then string together a series of progressively more difficult missions for the player(s) to run through. Unit abilities are tracked per-campaign, so players can enhance their troops in whichever way best lines up with the current challenge. This also opens up the opportunity to play as the “Alt” faction instead of the “Base” units found in the other campaigns. For now, though Alt units differ slightly from their Base counterparts, the unlockable abilities are the same for both factions. I’ve reworked how abilities work so that they’re not as tied to specific units, which opens up the option to much more easily assign unique abilities (or even randomize them) in the future. The Forest and Desert biomes are present, and another is on the way. There are also three types of missions names the player can choose from: Boring (eg. “Mission 3”), “Descriptive” (eg. “Stormy Desert River”), and “Creative” (eg. “Lark by the Furious Waste”). “Boring” is pretty boring, “Descriptive” takes into account weather and terrain, and “Creative” does the same wile also considering difficulty and taking some further creative liberties.

The map generator itself has been improved since the last update, and I plan to improve it further and add greater variation and terrain types. The campaign generator will also see further updates to give the player more control over what kind of campaign they will play. I think its full potential will be reached when more factions are added, though that will probbbbably be after the 1.0 release.

There are quite a few other notable changes and improvements to be found in this update, all of which can be found in the full change log below.

There Will Be Ink is also on sale all week long, and be sure to stop by the Discord server to say hello! I welcome any feedback or questions you may have. The game also plays alright on Steam Remote Play, if anyone would like to get a game together (coop or vs.)


*Going forward, as we near the finish line, I’d like to do smaller but more frequent updates.

There Will Be Ink - Beta 8 - Procedural Campaign Generator

Changelog

New Features & Content

  • Procedural Campaign Generator introduced
    • Includes checkboxes and sliders for mission count, difficulty, starting tech level, biomes, factions, and mission names
  • Can now pick up comrades who are bleeding out (‘F’ on keyboard, ‘Y’ on gamepad, same as weapon swap)
  • Engineers can now pick up and move crates
  • Added Aim Assist (3 settings, set per-player)
  • Added campaign mission: “Scram”
  • Added option to display player names below units on the battlefield (on by default, can customize names)
  • Added “Virtual Keyboard” for entering text with gamepad – same system used for keyboard input in most cases
  • Added Zaponeer ability: Reinforced Armour Plating – increases armour from 30% to 60% (legs/head/body)
  • Added HQ ability: First Aid Post (Creates an area around the HQ that revives and heals units)
  • Added Squad Ability: Invigorate (renamed old “Invigorate” to “Encourage”): grants life regen bonus
  • Units now gain base boosts to speed, stamina regen, health regen (new), and armour based on rank (1 and up)
  • Added new tree, “Tree 5” – an evergreen with a dusting of snow (The snow disappears if the tree catches fire)
  • Campaign stats are now displayed on new “Campaign” menu (added some missing stats as well)

Changes & Enhancements

  • Trees now have “armour” and take less damage from bullets (take longer to topple)
  • Fallen trees are destroyed over time (stumps are not)
  • Medics now go prone when healing patients
  • Reorganized unit and weapon abilities to not be tied to specific units (makes things easier to scale for future factions)
  • Reduced cover penalty when exposed (ie shooting/crouching) from behind cover
  • Friendly fire check now takes into account weapon error (helps AI avoid FF, affects when aim cone turns red)
  • Unit reassign on death will prioritize units with ammo
  • When trying to fire while out of ammo, a line is now drawn to all ammo crates
  • Resized unit banner on top of screen; now shows life & stamina regen rates
  • Units get kill credit for shots that cause explosions (eg jetpacks, flame tanks) that kill other units
  • Added powertext for each kill when kill streak >= 10
  • Added vertical sway to trees
  • Tree shadows now match sway
  • Per-rank speed bonus adjusted (slightly reduced)
  • Athletics ability now costs 1 point instead of 2 and grants +20% stamina regen instead of +30%
  • Reorganized main menu items into “Options” (Player/Gameplay/Display Options, Tips, Controls) and “Campaign” (Missions, Barracks, Select, Generate)  subgroups
  • Squads (Rifle & Assault) now deploy once they reach a size of 5 (was 3)
  • End-of-battle controls/stats are now disabled/semi-transparent when zoomed in
  • Decoupled Alt/Base unit stats, so each is tracked separately
  • EOB stat pages are now separated into killed and killed-as
  • EOB stats now omit rows where stat is 0
  • Units now cast shadows in the colour of their squad
  • Added drop shadow to all powertext
  • Grenade Satchel bonus is now for +2 grenades instead of +3
  • Disabled friendly fire for RPG (explosions are still FF, but RPG itself will not hit comrades)
  • Removed hole punches from white lined background and made it slightly brighter
  • Map Gen will now create sandbags next to buildings
  • Map Gen will now prioritize lower tiered units when generating starting units
  • Map Gen/Quick Battle: HQ is more likely to spawn at lower “buildings” levels
  • Reduced cost of all HMG abilities
  • Flamethrower flames on death are now based on the amount of fuel (ie ammo & tanks) left
  • Jetpack units can now go prone
  • Zaponeer/Zapperhead no longer explode on death if they don’t have a jetpack
  • Zaponeer/Zapperhead ground movement slowed when they have jetpack; in-air speed increased slightly
  • Jetpack units can once again become exhaused from jetpacking
  • Units killed by jetpack explosions now follow same physics as eg grenade explosions
  • Removed pistol sidearm from Zaponeer
  • Longevity powerup now grants 1hp every 15s intead of 10s; boosted cost from 5 to 10pts
  • Magazine Hyperexpansion powerup now grants 2% clip size per kill instead of 3%; boosted cost from 5 to 10pts
  • Boosted cost of Ammo Regen from 5 to 10pts as well
  • Added gamepad support to Quick Battle & Campaign Gen (analog moves cursor, A to select, works on sliders etc)
  • Added custom cursor for Main Menu
  • Added Tank to units list on mission tags
  • Swapped EOB gamepad buttons to “B” for Barracks, “Y” to restart
  • Bullets now spark when hitting rocks
  • Reformatted some end-of-battle text and other UI elements
  • HMG now always shows sight
  • Boss kills are now tracked and count towards streaks
  • Separated Options into 3 pages: Player Options, Display Options, Gameplay Options
  • Ammo/magazine count below sights are now displayed on separate lines
  • Weapon heat/cooldown is now displayed below sight line as well
  • Increased minimum thresholds for some badges
  • Revamped Campaign save system to save progress in separate file from campaign parameters (added backwards compatibility)
  • Added debug command to unlock all missions: Ctrl+Alt+U

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed crash bug when Stick Man fires rockets
  • MapGen: Fixed issue where Beach maps always included beach invasions
  • MapGen: Fixed issue where Barracks would sometimes default to Rifle production even if unit was disabled in QB
  • MapGen: Fixed issue in Quick Battle where team2 colour in Factions section did not match
  • MapGen: Fixed issue where units would sometimes be available when tech level should just barely cut them off
  • MapGen: Possibly fixed bug where buildings occasionally spawn on river
  • Fixed issue where team colours were often wrong (ie black for all teams) in Map Editor
  • Fixed issue where unit unlocks/stats sometimes didn’t work in campaigns
  • Fixed bug where mouse/gp clicks sometimes didn’t work on QuickBattle buttons
  • Fixed bug where unit progress for custom campaigns was not being tracked
  • Fixed bug where player could sometimes get vengeance bonus on killing self
  • Fixed crash bug when scrolling Map Editor items
  • Fixed issue where blood pools kept growing for bleedouts where a comrade is stopping the bleeding
  • Incapacitated units can no longer stop comrades from bleeding
  • Survival streak is now properly tracked when a unit bleeds out
  • Fixed non-exclusive checkbox groups not working

3 Replies to “There Will Be Ink – Beta 8 – Procedural Campaigns”

  1. Beta 8.0.1!

    Misc:
    CamGen: Added new CamGen options: x2 unit health and x5 unit health (affects both teams)
    Updated “Tips” text, added section on Squads, and corrected page heading
    MapGen: Moved ammo crate range slightly closer to front
    Enemy faction now (once again) gets same unlocks as player during campaigns

    Fixes:
    Fixed crash bug when accessing Tips or Controls page
    Fixed crash bug when team 3 units try to take cover
    Fixed Map Editor sometimes loading in error state when Tanks are present or when loading from Quick Battle
    CamGen: Fixed sandbag colour on map preview during generation

  2. Beta 8.0.2

    Oh hey! While working on (upcoming) night missions I added a lighting system for such things as explosions, muzzle flash, and flames. Maybe it’s pushing the bounds of the art style a little, but it spruces things up a bit. I also made some adjustments to how explosions and altitude works. I may yet do the same for regular projectiles (ie bullets), if it makes sense to do so. This more or less makes it so that you can shoot at eg a jetpacker with an RPG, and a midair explosion will not hit nearby units on the ground. There are a lot of other QoL tweaks and fixes, which are listed below.

    Next I’ll be balancing out the Campaign Generator, as it generates some pretty dang hard (yes, perhaps sometimes impossible) missions at times as well as moving forward with more campaign missions. Cheerio!

    General:
    First aid post only draws heal radius if HQ is not destroyed (or under construction)
    RPG will now aim at high units (eg jetpack, paratroopers – AI does this automatically, and for players it will do so if your aim is on point)
    Explosions now have height attribute, so high explosions can’t damage ground-level units and vice versa
    Units moving to aid the player will stop and retaliate if attacked and hit
    Snow density is now varied (and randomized) at the start of a snow level
    Added arrow icon (and fading line plus “!”) to indicate units who are coming to support a player (via call for backup)
    Calling for backup ignores any immediately adjacent (<16px) units
    Calling a medic draws a quick (red) line and exclamation as well
    Mouse now becomes immediately inactive and invisible if a gamepad is used to navigate menus (except quick battle & camgen)
    Mouse becomes immediately active and visible if moved
    Esc/Select when zoomed in after end of battle will zoom out

    Art:
    Added lighting system for such things as explosions, muzzle flash, and RPGs
    Added variation in shading and opacity of snow to make it more visible
    Added projectile and smoke shadows to RPG (helps indicate height)
    Reduced the amount of flame that comes from burning units and corpses
    Added sprite to indicate whether a unit is fully hidden (ie camouflage 100%)
    Reduced opacity of line to ammo crate when out of ammo
    Redid art for ammo and medical crate
    New "Retaliate" behaviour icon

    Fixes:
    Fixed bug where buildings that are destroyed and then repaired could not be destroyed again
    Possibly fixed bug where player is sometimes assigned to an incapacitated unit
    Fixed issue where units waiting for squad wouldn't come to the aid of a player when backup was called
    Set RPG projectile sprite to draw itself (oops!)
    Fixed crash when HQ is destroyed while aiming powerup and then repaired
    Fixed issue where CamGen randomize buttons were appearing on Quick Battle page

  3. Beta 8.0.3
    Hey there! Spooky Season is upon us! In addition to being 20% for Steam’s Halloween Sale, there is a new update now live. The most notable change here is that each time a unit spawns from a barracks, it will take 5% longer for the next unit of that type to spawn. Conversely, each time a player-controlled unit gets a kill, that unit type’s spawn time will be reduced by 2%. It feels like an interesting change so far, making things a bit more dynamic and rewarding the player for doing well. I’ve also rebalanced the Campaign Generator some, so now it is only slightly wildly unbalanced. Full list of changes below. Cheerio!

    Changelist:
    Each time a unit spawns from a barracks, that unit type’s training time increases by 5%
    Player-controlled kills reduce the unit spawn time of that unit type by 2%
    Rebalanced suppression mechanic – easier for units to become suppressed, but generally quicker recovery
    Units will go prone if suppressed
    Reduced cost of HMG ability points by 25%
    CamGen: Player is less likely to be severely outnumbered in earlier missions
    CamGen: Player will no longer start with no buildings when enemy does unless mission difficulty is above 90% threshold
    CamGen/Quick Battle: Barracks should now produce at least one combat unit
    Fixed issue where cactus stumps were wrong colour in Spooky mode

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