As I’ve said before, my current goal for GearHead-1 is to polish up what’s there rather than to expand the game. Here are my top priorities for things that need improvement.
- The plots and other scripts should work consistently and without too many errors. I realize that it is probably literally impossible to eliminate all errors, but at the very least I can systematically go through the contents of the Series folder and make sure some minimal standards are met. For now: make sure the combat missions use the threat function, set memos correctly, and clean up on exit.
- As far as I know the GH1 core story can’t reach a deadend state, but I want to run some tests to make sure.
- The SDL version of the game should be better looking. Everything that needs graphics should have graphics- there are still a number of things which don’t have a proper sprite. The graphics should serve their intended purpose of conveying information to the player. They should look unified and attractive. I plan to use some of the lessons I’ve learned from Dungeon Monkey Eternal here. For now: draw sprites for each of the wall types, add sprites for the props and monsters that don’t currently have one.
- The interface could use a checkup. The most commonly used interfaces- Character screen, Field HQ, Inventory, and Message browser- need to play nicely with one another. Mouse handling could be more intelligent.
- Sexuality in GH1 is really really weird. There is no such thing as homosexuality, but being bisexual is basically a superpower. This can be improved.
- Some of the improvements from GearHead-2 should be imported, such as the inventory/part browser info display and the personadex. At the same time, the improvements I’m making to GearHead-1 need to be ported into GH2.
- Speaking of GH2, the SDL mode map display should take up the entire screen just like in that game. There’s no reason for over half the screen to be filled with panels that are usually not in use. Also, the SDL screen ought to be resizable, and fullscreen mode should query the video card to start in a sensible mode. Have you ever peeked inside the sdlgfx.pp unit? I obviously had no idea what I was doing. Seriously, look at GHFlip and tell me if you can figure out what I was thinking.
Note that this list leaves out various improvements and refactorings that would maybe improve the code base but have zero impact on the user experience. For instance, did you know that it’s possible to declare objects in FPC without switching to ObjPas or Delphi mode? Turning the gear records into objects would simplify the code immensely, but it would take a long time to do and it wouldn’t improve the game in any way that would be visible to players.
I think this list of goals is quite achievable. Is there anything else you think I need to do?