Self motivation can be a big problem. When you lose your momentum or enthusiasm in any project it's hard to pick it back up again. With Corrosion, I had that when I was trying to figure out what to do with the pathfinding algorithm. It was just not performing and it was a draining and harrowing experience. It's still not the way I want it to be, but at least I got it to work to a degree that I could continue.
Then it was implementing spells in a solid way. Shadowrun spells are funny things; they don't operate in a uniform way, so there's a lot of exceptions that you have to build into the code. I've got the spells implemented for players now, but implementing it for enemies is going to be a bit of a pain still. That's where I am right now, thinking about the best way to implement them for enemies. Luckily, I was smart enough to build in several hooks when I was busy setting them up for characters, so it's definitely not going to be quite so difficult as when I would have to build it from the ground up, but still.
Surprisingly, it's also not about the reward; the reward will be a whole new mission that's just waiting to be used once spells get done. All the players are begging me for more content while I plug away at the foundation and the new mission, The Arena, is just sitting there waiting for me to get off my ass and do it. I suspect it's going to be about a week's worth of work. So about 20 hours in total, so that's not so bad, it's just the start that sucks. I'm an idiot. :)
And I can't even start to think about implementing spells into the PvP engine, because that requires a level of sophistication that I don't know how to tackle yet. The PvP engine requires a lot of sophistication it's lacking right now. The combat for characters is all automated, so ideally you'd make a few smart decisions for characters, like when to reload their weapon, when to switch to unarmed combat when their bullets run out, when to apply a slap patch or cast a Heal spell, how long to keep casting spells and at what wound level do you not risk any further drain? And ideally, all these things should be lightly customisable for a player.
Anyway, I'm just ranting a little bit. Talking (or writing) about this project usually gets me motivated. I should do it more often. :)
One of the nicest things about having a project of the magnitude that Shadowrun: Corrosion has is that, if done right, ideas spawn and ignite new ideas. We always held the idea that Player vs Player (PvP) combat should be a large part of the game, not only in order to keep the game competitive, but also because we needed a reason to play Corrosion in a browser and being exposed to other players. If there was no PvP element, the game would be a single-player game with chat options, and that wasn't good enough. The idea of PvP spawned the idea of organised PvP, which is what our end-game is going to be about. (That and resource management.) So we started on PvP, single combat first in order to set the stage for the multi-player combat and in order to give players something more to do to make money, to earn karma and to tweak their character.
We've got a rough outline for ranged PvP combat finished and it's looking good and fast, which is good since the path-finding algorithms we're using in missions leave a lot to be desired, unfortunately. Having use for pathfinding, it's fast. Immediately, we came up with another idea; ambushing. Ambushing (or surprise) is already a part of the SR3 game system, where, before the combat starts, the ambusher and ambushee both roll a reaction roll, ambusher against target number (TN) 2 and the ambushee against TN 4, to determine if the ambushee could respond. If not, then the ambusher got a free combat pass to do his worst, which, when you've got enhanced reflexes, can be lethal.
Of course, this lethality of ambushing lead us to another idea; how about we drop the TN for the surprise rolls by one for a middle lifestyle, and two for a high lifestyles, and drop the ambush all together for a luxury lifestyle? That way, there are more reasons to aim for a higher lifestyle, which in turn demands a higher daily upkeep price, which in turn keeps the economy stable and flowing.
Right now, if you're victorious, you get 1 karma if your opponent had a higher reputation than you, another karma if your opponent had a higher rank than you, your rank increases, and you get between 5-10% of the opponent's nuyen. If you weren't victorious, you get one karma if either the opponent's reputation or rank was higher, but you lose 5-10% of your nuyen to your opponent. Also, your rank will most likely go down. This concept of earning karma and making nuyen through PvP introduces some new ideas; you could self sustain on PvP, never having to do one mission if you don't want to. This means mission rewards need to be competitive in order to keep a steady influx of nuyen into the economy, otherwise players would constantly fight each other and the same nuyen would exchange hands over and over. Nuyen still needs to be spent on increasing skills, attributes and gear, so the need for missions will remain, but to keep the economy healthy we'll need to keep an eye on things.
What if you want to safeguard your money? Couldn't you put it in an offshore bank account instead of walking around with it in certified credsticks waiting for some other player to come along and rob you? Wouldn't that be a great addition to customisable lifestyles? You start out with a small bank account where you can keep money stored for a lower level lifestyle and increase the size as the quality of your lifestyle increases? Perhaps you can buy expansions to a lifestyle, increasing your bank account, increasing your security or something to that effect.
Ideas aplenty, and more and more popping up as we go along. It's a great feeling, creating something and being infused with ideas. It sure beats sitting around being lead along by someone else's idea and never having any of your own. I like it!