Nothing in game design is as easy as it seems.  I spent way longer than I expected to get this far in designing the squad-building system.  Above you see the army teleported to the squad-building level with a little popup when you mouseover a character.  Easy enough, right?  Except that the pawns kept dying on their way to the level.

At first it was a problem with “unpossessing” the pawns.  You see, UDK was built for first-person shooter games, where your character should always be controlled by you.  And because you would never want to shoot yourself in that game, any traces that you run automatically ignore any collision with yourself.  In order to mouseover my primary character, I tried to unpossess it.  But then when UDK sees that you don’t have a living character, it assumes you died and now you have to start the level again…

So I had to make a dummy pawn that you never use, and the player controller possesses that pawn, just so that the game doesn’t think that you lost.  But then after that, I ran into another problem, this time with teleporting the pawns.

When the characters “go back into the box” when not in use, they telefrag each other.  In this picture I think we see just the victors, the last pawns to get teleported on.

And just to be thorough, I test stuff out as I’m going, and one of my tests is always clicking and pressing buttons after I close or open or switch menus.  Sometimes I find that I’m able to do something I shouldn’t be able to do while the menus are changing.  You see, in order to get the fog in the background to animate, I can’t leave the game paused.  But if I don’t pause the game, then there’s the chance something could be moving around.  And I found that I had left a hole that I needed to close, where if I clicked around while the menus were changing, then I had characters moving around when they should be sitting still in the Squad menu.

I fixed that, and found some problems with how I set up some of my pawns and how I imported their clothing picture files.  And then I had to fix that.

And now that I have a Squad menu that I can go into and out of without breaking the game or killing 90% of the army, I can move on with actually organizing squads.

Also, I fixed the color on these goblins and made all of the characters slightly emissive so you can see them in the dark.

Well, that was a lot of work squeezed into every available moment for the last couple of weeks.  Progress is going slowly, but that’s probably the best I can expect while taking care of a family and working a full-time job.  With the Steam Fall Sale wrapping up, I wish I could splurge on all of the games that have been sitting on my wishlist, but I just don’t have time for it.  Himeko Sutori is my focus right now, and I’ll have time for video games and relaxation when it’s done.  If I keep working on it without wasting time, I think I can still have a demo ready early 2016.