New this week, shadows have finally been added to the game, and also outlines!
I’d tried to add shadows before to help anchor the characters to the world a bit better, but because I’m using separate cameras for the different layers to get Units standing on terrain features, the shadows from the characters layer wouldn’t show up on the terrain layer.
I could have always used static blob shadows directly under the characters, but before I resorted to doing that I decided to check the Asset Store for anything that could help. Much to my delight, I found a free shadow projection asset that can cast shadows across the whole level with just a single projector and texture! The max resolution of the shadow is 512×512, but since the camera isn’t that close to the ground, it looks just fine.
About the outlines, the temporary characters models that I’ve been using have them as a shell mesh. When I created the Catapult and Ballista without them, the details and different pieces didn’t read as well, and those Units didn’t stand out against the background as well as all the characters. The models are such low poly that adding a few more isn’t really going to hurt that much, especially on PC or console. Some of the outline colors are all currently consistent, but I think when I do final models, I’ll color them differently per piece. For example in this image, the flag will get a dark red outline as opposed to the same gray outline as the rest of the structure.
As I’ve been doing a bit more playtesting, I found that in the mire of combat when you’ve got a whole gob of units smacked together, you tend to lose track of what or where you are selecting. To remedy this, I’ve created a bunch of cursor models that hover above the cursor when selecting certain things or performing certain actions.
Here’s the model for selecting Units. This finger might look familiar.
For movement, a boot. The animation is kinda wonky, so I’ll probably turn it into 2 boots walking in step.
For setting Unit rotation, a little spinning arrow. I also changed the set rotation facing to be a click select, click confirm selection. I’ve also filtered out buildings as a possible rotation direction, since there’s no reason you’d ever want to face a building and expose your back.
And the model for attacking. Anyone who’s played Final Fantasy Tactics may recognize the inspiration. This gif also shows that Arrow projectiles are now finished, and also implementation for team projectiles is in.
Lastly, I added the option to show all tiles in range of all enemy Units. Fire Emblem had this, and it really stream-lines the user experience when you don’t have to go and check ranges on each unit individually and try and remember which tiles were in range. Its currently quite slow because it checks every tile in movement range of every unit, and then every tile within attack range of that movement tile, so I might run the calculations in the background during the team change animation and income gathering, or make an attempt to optimize the calculations a bit somehow.