23 Samurai battle it out against 23 Ninjas. Although it's still in a raw version it's shaping up pretty good even with some animations missing. Wait till I add blood effects, different weapons, dismemberment and enemies with horses. It's gonna get so awesome. Every character is a unique entity with his own stats/skills and style familiarities. For this video everyone starts with the same stats as to be balanced so the outcome is always random. Everything you see is AI I don't do anything.
Although it is a stealth game there would be times where the above would be necessary, of course on a level you would have to take care and think where this battles would take place. Kinda like in Total War games but instead of wide open areas you will have small areas and in cities/villages and other landmarks. So let me give you an example, you have your ninja been spotted by 5 samurai, as you already know without having first observe your enemies the battles would be very difficult so what will you do then? Run inside a house where you have strategically placed some of your own characters and let the slaughter begin!!!
I had a friend come over and we placed bets everytime on who is going to win, it was so freaking awesome, kinda like multiplayer without actually playing . I'm going to make this a mode in the final game and you would unlock characters by playing the main story.
Spend the whole week restructuring most of my scripts and optimizing them. As you can see I'm pretty happy with the results, given that prior to optimization with only 5-6 enemies on screen fps dropped to 1-2 and now it can stand 80+ agents. Most of the drop it seems it happens when all of the enemies have in their sight the player because it's based upon the physics engine so it's not NavMesh's fault. Anyway i think it's pretty good results. Of course in the final build they might not be that many on screen because of draw calls and other reasons but it's nice to know that the pathfinding can handle much without killing performance.
I've also spend the week experimenting with MoCap to streamline the process and sped up things for the game. I had some good results with it but there are some tests left with it and it will be ready to go. More on that later...
In this installment of the Devlog I talk a bit about the Campaign Map and new Combat Mechanics.
Most of the stuff on the Campaign Map I have mention them before so I'll go straight to the Combat.
The Combat now is skill based, meaning that even if you hit an opponent, he has a percentage to block your hit. That percentage is actually dictated by his level of skill and how familiar he is with the style you are using and your weapon.
If your tactics are to spam the attack button you'll have a hard time dealing with enemies, for example, let's say you are facing three opponents of the most basic level, they have a level of familiarity with your style of 1, if you are using a sword they have a 15% chance of blocking your hits, BUT! Attack them with this style 3-4 times (the exact number is different for everyone, it's dictated by the stats of the enemy) and not only will the enemy you are attacking will level up his familiarity but everyone who is currently seeing you fight! So more skillful opponents would be priority targets, you don't want them to learn even more about you.
"If you know the enemy better than you know yourself,
the outcome of the battle has already been decided"
Another thing I usually don't like in other games nowadays is the constant info on your enemy, you are always treated like an infant getting to know the world but sometimes it's just right out offensive. I'm seeing a gigantic monster wielding a cleaver coming out of a furnace, duh I don't need you to tell me that he is of a higher level and has fire resistance (Any resemblance to any Butcher is coincidental). So no magic floating numbers betraying the level of the enemy.
Now you are going to ask:
"How would you know then how familiar is an enemy with each style? Or his level? "
And I'll answer:
"By observing and using lore!"
Lore you say? What is that? Well enough with toddler behaviours, let's take a deep look into the Samurai culture.
As you may know or not, Samurai once upon a time were the military nobility of Japan. A Samurai literally means "to serve". Contrary to the popular belief of that every Samurai is instantly an expert with the sword, Samurai's abilities varied. For someone to become a Samurai, under the strict Confucianism cast system, he would actually have to be born in a Samurai family and carry on the tradition or prove himself through battle. Though there were always exception to the rules of course and the constant warfare helped in the survival of fittest as you can imagine. Another thing that is highly misinterpreted is that all Samurai were some kind of a high moral human beings or whatever and that every Samurai was actually following Bushido. It wasn't like that at all prior to the 12th century. Bushido is actually a modern term. Before the unification of Japan there were as good as any other veteran soldier of that era. The "peaceful" times of the Tokugawa era show the rise of the sword fencing schools and that is where the whole moral code for the Samurai started to give birth. Now of course they had a very good base to begin with, their military laws prohibited for a warrior to lose his sword in a battle, they took no prisoners and everyone had to take the head of the person who kill to instantly prove that it was him that killed him. Warlords never send assassins to kill another Warlord. It was regarded highly disrespectful if you took the life of your adversary outside of a battle, the only time it was allowed it was if he was forced to commit Seppuku, literally means "The cutting of the belly". Oh and one other thing, Seppuku is a ritual, not a suicide, if you did it alone in your room with no witnesses and no one to take your head off it's called something else, I don't remember right now and I'm not going to search 50+ books I have on the Japanese culture to find it out. So all this and the actions of Miyamoto Musashi show rise to the Bushi class of the Samurai, it wasn't long enough from there that every Samurai had to become a Bushi to be a true Samurai. The capital punishment of the goverment on those who didn't follow at least the basic lines of the "Bushido" code help the widespread of this way of living.
Now that we have all this clear.
Knowing the lore of the game (or the Samurai lore in general) would actually give you a tremendous advantage over the game. It was nice reading books in Baldur's Gate and learning everything about the world but it didn't have much to add to the game, you could take hint of were something or someone could be but that was all.
With Kagemusha now everything you see it would have a meaning. For example, it is no secret that Samurai always carried two swords, so what you will think the next time that you'll see an enemy that only has one? That he is not a Samurai, that screams low skill! But of course whatever shines is not gold, so you'll have to look for other clues, take hint in where the level you are playing is based on the Campaign map. Is it close to the city? Is it close to a village or a forest? Does he have a reason to be here? Every region it usually had it's own style, for example the Satsuma Sword Style was focused a lot on the first strike, so they had small tsubas on their Katanas (Don't get me started on the term Katana), the sword guard. The way someone is dressed, his behaviour on the level and the location of the level betrays a lot for him, you will just have to spend the time and invest on the game and it will give back
And no. enemies won't be standard, they would be semi-randomized at the start of each level but on unique levels that are story based they would be always the same.
As you can see in the video, all this things are implemented, some things of course they would be more clear with time and when they are more polished.
Keep in mind that I'm not a Historian. All my knowledge comes from personal research and years studying martial arts and common logic, so if something is not that accurate, well I don't really care.
I've added a new weapon into the game, the dreadful Naginata. A Naginata consists of a wooden shaft with a curved blade on the end, think of it as the European halberd that is as sharp as a Katana. In the right hands this weapon can be deadly, perfect against cavalry it can dismount a rider without much effort, there are even legends of a monk that reflected a hundred arrows by moving the Naginata in a helicopter fashion above his head and cutting them in half. Later during the Edo period as there were not that many battles the Naginata became a symbol of social status for women. As son's would inherit a family sword, daughters often would be granted a Naginata as a wedding gift. The most common images associated with the Naginata are those of Onna-bugeisha (Female warriors) or those of the Hojo monks but it was widely used.
I'm also thinking of changing the name of the game, I'm constantly having videos flagged by youtube's automated system because apparently it thinks that a Japanese word can be copyrighted....
Somehow the basic system of combat mechanics which I've create it, made it so easy for me to add a new weapon, it literally took me half an hour to have it set it up and running both for the player and the enemy. You know what that means right? Tons of weapons! Another cool thing I've added to the Naginata is that when it breaks instead of dropping just broken parts, the blade part of the Naginata can be used as a regular sword, which is actually a legit technique! If you look at videos of Naginatajutsu the participants would regularly grab the Naginata higher up and just under the blade and use it as you would use a Katana. I will showcase this in a later video because there's not really much to it right now.
I've also started thinking adding more the ability to change your sword style in game, after playing with the Naginata and how easy it was to add it would be pretty simple to do it. The only problem with this is that the amount of animations I need just keeps multiplies more, that's not a bad thing but it's a big weight upon our timeline.
Here's a video of the Naginata in action and it's aftermath!