Sunday, January 24, 2010

Loadscr... nah, only kidding! Manticores!

Had a little departure the last couple of days to work on something slightly different but related to WPM - Manticore! Hellfire of Robinson Worshop fame had kindly got in touch and offered to give me an advance showing of the manticore model he was working on as I'd mentioned it in relation to WPM. Indeed, the manticore is an encounter inside the mountain, and it's image graces the cover of the original and second printing module itself

These images might have more to do with a misinterpretation of the first encounter which is actually listed as a gynopshinx. But the tail spikes are clear to see. So it was my hope to use the manticore model here and in the later encounter to replace the Spectator Beholder placeholder I had currently -the cover images are to iconic in relation to this module not to use it. The creature in the first encounter is described as mangy and bedraggled and sitting atop a pile of bones. So here we are:

The later encounter occurs in the Terraces of Doom (a level I'm fond of and may release as a prefab)

the terraces from above - run the gauntlet from the entrance to the exit in this inverted ziggurat!

In return for the favour, I offered to work up the creature blueprint and AI. Coding the AI was fun and I emulated Dirtywick's approach to implement the tail spike attacks without using 2da modifications (essentially spell creation) so the model is more widely usable. The script got a little cumbersome to take certain things into account such as deflect/protection from arrows, but now seems to be working fine - while it has tail spikes left, the manticore will unleash them and try to keep at range. If caught in melee, when it gets badly injured and has spikes left, it will try to flee to fire them again. Here some screenies showing the test module I used for trialing this out.

(Without resorting to bundling up more custom content and custom vfx I can't have the spikes fire from a tail node, sadly, but I think this effect works well and is less noticable in game. For scripters, I'm using the SpawnProjectile function and manually coding hit/damage in the custom AI)

This aside, I've also just made 7 stores for a hidden market to be found in the game at later levels. Store building is mind-numbingly time consuming if you want them to have flavour or a theme, so a trip tothe gym might be in order to wake me up.


Chaos Wielder said...

Does the Manticore have a node on its tail? If so, you might be able to spawn an even better looking VFX.

That said, IIRC, Bioware had the manticore spitting spikes out of its mouth, so its no big deal. :P

I gotta say, I love the old artwork on those D&D adventures. *adopts a nostalgic look*

Lance Botelle (Bard of Althéa) said...

Hi Wyrin,

New monsters and related AI is an interesting albeit complicated subject. I read with interest the way you were adding the spike attack. Personally, I have never felt comfortable delving into the user defined scripting area, but maybe I should.

Those original pictures brought back some memories. ;)


Amraphael said...

I'd do it like this: Combine some small smoke-puff-like vfx with the projectile vfx and use the XY coordinates so the are so close to the tail tip's average wiggling point (how about that English sentence?) as possible. Then it would make it hard to see if the projectile launches from the tip or slightly besides it.

Great work!