Integration Goes Well
I have started getting my prototypes to behave again after the massive step to integrate the terrain editing into the main IDE. All playing happily together again. This means I have separate AI, Terrain Edit, Physics and Combat prototypes to use for work on those specific areas, but all key work instantly feeds through the main engine automatically via the module files shared amongst them. The bottom line is that it means my compile times are vastly smaller, and I can run the prototype much more quickly than launching the entire editor each time. No sense loading in all the characters and AI stuff if I am working on the terrain editor or the main map editor core.
As part of the physics prototype, I have added the material sound system and are now able to work with this as the main testing platform with our sound guy. It's working very well and a great way to instantly test new sounds as they come in, and more importantly, for the sound guy to test his own work before announcing it to the rest of the team.
Right now we are working on weapon sounds, footfalls and experimenting with some barrel rolling sound effects though not sure if this last one will make it in as a main feature yet.
Backing Up The Lot
Since getting back I have been aware that backing up should be stepped up at this level of the project where every file counts. To that end I have spent some time cleaning up older archives and ensuring only new files for the Reloaded project are kept at the front. It's vital that should a PC decide to go on an extended holiday, I can get back up and running on a second machine. Always good advice, but especially now!
The Reloaded Library Forms
In my absence, a whole pile of lovely art was waiting for me, so I decided today was a good day to start organizing the new asset library for the Reloaded project. Here is a rather nice render to keep your visual eye candy streaming in.
If you ever wandered why enemies in games sometimes have masks, scarfs and other facial obstruction's it's that if you removed it all the faces would be exactly the same. The problem with creating a game engine is that unique faces are a drain or artist time and GPU rendering. By hiding the face, you can confidently send hundreds of them into the battle without the player knowing any better.
Fortunately we DO have more characters with different faces, but we also want you to be able to drop in a handful of soldiers without changing your entity brush each time. Maybe in the future we can add a system to randomly change the face on characters automatically so you don't have to worry about this particular scenario.
The library is small at the moment, but that is good for me as it allows everything to be tightly tested with physics, visual shader rendering, performance, back-end attribute data and how they work as a part of the whole game engine. Still, six categories and growing so we're well on our way there.
A Call TO Action
I am in need of some parallel help if anyone from the Dark Basic Pro community is reading today's blog. Take a look at the shot below:
As you can see, a typical snipe position and a few victims in the distance, but the thing I want to point out are the green boxes placed around the base of the protruding hills in the terrain. This is my very quick hack to define obstacles that the enemy characters have to navigate around to chase the player.
I am looking for someone with some experience of DarkAI to write a new very small prototype which will take 1024x1024 height data and create a series of DarkAI polygon obstacles that contour around the raised parts of the terrain. y current technique is to detect a height difference of 50 units, and if detected, slap a box there. Crude, and is a performance hog. I need a system that can do this in real-time (as the terrain height data is being modified). Does not have to be 60 fps, just something that can be fired off and the DarkAI obstacle map adjusted in less than a second, ready for real-time game play.
It's something I am getting around to, but it's a B priority while I cobble everything else together so having someone produce the goods in parallel to what I am doing would be very helpful. Just email at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment here for more information!
Well this is the end of another long day. Just going to let my PC finish off the backups, drop box and SVN uploads, then call it a day. Rick kindly ran my new IDE on Windows 8 and totally broke it, so I am also getting a Windows 8 test machine set-up to start the compatibility work sooner rather than later. I am sure it's just a few file permission related pebbles, but it's enough to prevent Windows 8 users having a good time!
Wednesday will see more Asset Library work, and a start on the entity mode in the IDE, to ensure selections are placed smartly on the new terrain instead of 'through' the terrain as the current version likes to do. I also want to clean up the IDE a little more so what little there is in there feels more polished and less half-baked. Coming together though, and with some new icons and art, will look as good as it's coded ;)