One of the biggest new features that I haven’t mentioned in plain text earlier is the addition of online accounts. This is something I am very excited about myself, as it will allow for some rather advanced statistics tracking, which in the end can in some ways help game balancing issues later on.
The account system itself is fairly simple – all you need is a username, a password, and an e-mail address – and you’re ready to go. This account you create for yourself will then be required to use whenever you want to play the game, and it’ll also serve to identify you to other players, as well. Only players using a valid account are allowed to play – so sorry, playing offline will not work. And yes, you need to have access to the Internet in order to play over a LAN, too – there’s no plans of having an ‘offline mode’ for the time being.
On a positive note however, this will allow very extensive tracking of game statistics. Every single kill you make, every weapon you buy – it’ll all be logged for your own amusement later. The games you complete will automatically be submitted and listed online to receive the public envy of the Seal Hunter community – any other person will be able to see exactly when you bought this and that weapon, when that bastard seal slipped by your defences, and just how much experience you gained during the whole ordeal.
… Hold up. Experience? Yep, you will gain experience for pretty much everything you achieve (read: kill) in the game. Experience will allow your player to level up (the maximum level will be 60, and I hope to release the expansion pack The Burning Seal in late 2010), and as you progress, it will also grant you unlockable weapons to equip and use. The idea is to have each player decide on a limited supply of weapons – right now I call this the ‘armory’ – which is a set of weapons that the player is allowed to buy. This is partly in order to avoid cluttering up the buy menu, but mainly my thought with this is to specialize players and the various roles they assume further. (In an indie 2D shoot’em up, too! Tsk, as if.) And just for the hell of it, I’m currently pondering to leave a newbie player with the measly pistol as their single weapon until they level up – but this is a headache that there’s still loads of time to consider in the future. There is actually no experience system implemented into Seal Hunter yet; the backbone is there, but you can’t currently gain any.
This is where development is currently, and please do note that everything in the screenshots above is still in work in progress. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy them. See you next time!