The Dink Network

IPD's Armour Demonstration

The Equipment menu
June 22nd, 2012
Score : 6.9 fair
Bard He/Him Netherlands
I object 
IPD's Armour Demonstration illustrates a distinct difference between a demonstration and a development file. A demonstration is intended to awe people and to show things that can be done while a development file is intended to be used by other people in actual DMODs. This file clearly works better as a demonstration as it lacks the final polishing to make it work in more advanced DMODs.

Armour is something many people have wanted to add to Dink. By itself the Dink engine does not support armour and the inventory system only allows you to select one item at a time. This makes armour quite a difficult thing to script and most attempts have been simple menu-based attempts that lack user friendliness. iplaydink decided to jump into this gap and make a good looking graphical user interface for adding armour to DMODs.

This armour demonstration devides the armour into different parts, so you can buy pants, helmets, boots and cuirasses seperately and combine them to get your own unique armour. You can set the bonusses for each different part of armour, so you could have boots that increase (or decrease!) your speed and a helmet that increases your magic level if you'd want to. This system works pretty well though the abbreviations used to list all these things when buying your armour are pretty hard to understand.

The graphical user interface works pretty well too, you actually get images of armour appearing on top of a black silhouette when you add armour to Dink which looks very nice, especially if you've been used to crappy menu-based item lists in the past. The lay-out of the menus is very clear except the "Armor" tab which is confusing as it only lists your cuirasses, not all your armour.

Unfortunately all this graphical goodness comes at a price: It is very hard to expand or edit. There is totally no guide on how to add armour to your own DMOD and nearly all the workings of the armour is put into a single script making it pretty daunting to look at. I really feel that this is a missed opportunity. In my opinion the system would have been much more easy to manipulate if every item had it's own script which lists it's properties so a developer could easily add a new item. As it is right now I think most users won't be able to figure out how to add their own items which really reduces this file's usability.

There are some minor technical issues too. I had a couple of times when a sprite dissappeared after closing the menu and the script uses a command to stop the game that doesn't stop scripts. So while it looks like a normal inventory screen it in fact doesn't fully pause the game, for some DMODs using advanced scripts such as timers this could potentially create bugs. This file also uses a lot of global variables to get the job done. For 11 pieces of armour and 1 sword it uses 22 global variables, which are quite a few variables.

So from a developers point of view I found this file a bit disappointing, especially as it was voted as best non-DMOD file of 2010. But the lack of documentation on how to implement or edit this file as well as the difficult structure of the scripts makes this not an attractive file from a developer's point of view. Of course it is still a nice demonstration on how armour could be accomplished, but I had hoped for something that would actually be easy to use and expand in my own DMOD...

So the final verdict is: Great demonstration, mediocre development file.