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Oxtongue Heroes is a plot-light tactics game with several innovative features.

-Group AI: the AI processes several enemy units at once for optimum objective fulfillment
-Undo menu: deterministic ability results allow the player to try out different ideas and fix dumb mistakes
-Self-balancing difficulty: the player can deploy any number of units on a map, from just one to all of them, but to get a good score in a campaign has to keep numbers down and avoid overusing particular units

The current release is intended to garner feedback on game mechanics and the UI layout. Future releases will address aesthetic elements (prettiness of boxes/lines/fonts/animations, audio...) and add more battles.


Execute Oxtongue.jar to start; requires Java 6.

Arrow keys navigate.
SPACE and/or Z are confirm,
ESC and/or X are cancel;
context help in battles will point out a couple more usable buttons.

Latest Blog

Hiatus

A short note as I acknowledge that Oxtongue Heroes has been on hiatus for effectively a year:

From the start of real work on it, I considered the main purpose of OH to be to perform an experiment. That was around the time I found out about the field of constraint programming. It had immediately caught my interest, in part because of the math connection and in part because using it would make an entire decent-sized solver I'd once programmed for another minigame (not on RMN right now) basically unnecessary.

So, I wondered how well I could get it to work with a harder-to-define problem: what the enemy should do on a given TRPG turn. The ideal case would be to have map-designer-determined objectives, typically things like "KO as many player units as mathematically possible, and do as much total damage as possible to the rest". But I knew that was a large problem space and I'd probably have to cut down on it somehow; the experiment was to find out whether I could find tradeoffs leading to a reasonable result.

In short, I didn't. I guess for brevity's sake I won't get into depth here. Despite occasional encouraging signs, I never got things on the AI to a point I was really happy with.

If I choose to entirely or almost entirely switch to a more conventional AI strategy, it leaves the rest of the game in a curious state. I'd kept the investment in plot really low largely because the gameplay experiment was risky. That just leaves (orphaned?) gameplay elements to look at - for example, having wholly deterministic damage was forced by the choice of AI! (Insofar as I'd been making a game with symmetric mechanics, at least.)

(Though I'll spare a paragraph to say: undo and the action queue, which occurred to me mostly because I did have determinism to work with, are a really handy UI element I'd want now in any game where I have to coordinate large numbers of sequential actions on a turn. I probably undersold that feature in the alpha release.)

So, though there remain ideas here I'd like to come back to sometime, I wouldn't be continuing this game without some re-evaluation. Thanks to my testers and subscribers for your support, and if anyone has any suggestions or comments, I'm here.
  • Hiatus
  • DFalcon
  • Custom
  • Tactics Strategy RPG
  • 04/03/2010 09:49 PM
  • 07/17/2016 02:15 PM
  • N/A
  • 33739
  • 13
  • 126

Posts

Pages: 1
This looks very cool. Reminds me of Final Fantasy Tactics. I'll download it as soon as you post a download.
Interesting choice of character names for this project. It's the 2007/2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season list with some retired names (Hugo in 1989, Luis, Opal and Roxanne in 1995, Allison in 2001). Too many of them are similar for it to be a coincidence.
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
14510
That is an odd naming scheme.
Yeah, all current names are from the 1989 Atlantic hurricane list. Wasn't sure anyone would notice.

No particular reason for that year, but (particularly when I was considering doing this with a Dwarf Fortress-like interface) I figured it'd be convenient to be able to abbreviate PCs with one letter. While it does seem somewhat apt to name RPG characters after forces of destruction, if it bothers anyone I'll probably rename most of them.
Looks interesting, are you making this all from scratch?
The engine is from scratch using Java, yeah. Resources are generally publicly available stuff.
Waiting for this one, looks cool. Need more Tactials! :)
Subbed...
It seems like you have an ambitious system, but it's hard to tell because everything involved in the demo is too abrupt and simple. Abrupt as in, who is this huge army? Simple as in map design and, of course, the lack of story.
No matter how involving the system is, you'll have a hard time getting people to play if it looks like amateur hour.

Also, I need to get kills to use magic? D=
Hm, is it not okay to just string together a bunch of levels? (I actually ask this seriously, not hypothetically - it seems worth a try at some point.)
This project will never have much of a story, but it would hardly kill me to come up with a "what is this mission about" screen to show from the hub when you're about to start or load a map.

And yes, you need to get KOs to use magic! =D
Having your own (non-summon) units get KOed in range will also work, it's agnostic, but that's obviously the less preferred solution.
If you're trying to do something like MGS VR Missions or Power Dolls-esque unrelated levels, it could be a tough angle to attack from. The flaw in not having a storyline is that the game will be handicapped by lack of clear direction and a goal. Without that, the player will feel as though they may as well be playing minesweeper or solitaire. It's the difference between playing to waste time and playing to accomplish something.

All you'd really need is "Okay guys. We're going to overthrow the tyrannical emperor. Our journey begins in this remote village. Bring lunch money." Throw in a recurring villain or two.

On another topic, is there hope for an Aurora Wing 2?
You could have stories inside of stories, taking inspiration from episodic shows. Take cowboy bebop for instance, there was a back story, but those were only revealed in at most two episodes. Each episode for the most part had it's on individual goal, characters, and overall story. In this way you aren't completely limited to continuity and each "mission"is something new. Just something to think about.
Dyhalto:
Actually, some of the mechanics in this I'd originally been planning for an AW sequel; eventually I decided to try them out as a separate experiment and leave an AW sequel closer to its core mechanics. (The free move + ZOC, large ranges + movement penalties for ranged attacks, and KO-for-mana were all conceptually in place before I decided to split it off.)

I have some ideas but it's not particularly concrete or short-term (though when I do start on it I might hope to beat the 3.5 years I took to make the first one). Complicating the answer, I'd probably also be looking for some graphics/mapping help for that.

zaeran:
I don't want to require too many predetermined characters on maps, but maybe.
I've played and reviewed your game!

Completed: 4 Total fatigue: 33 Score: 98.84
Pages: 1