One Step Back, Two Forward
A strange sort of day, with some progress being made, only to be countered by breaking enough stuff to spend the second part of the day repairing it. That is not to say a wasted day as we now have good terrain loading and saving, all terrain, physics and combat prototypes load and run with the same media set and my personal favorite, our resident TGC Store administrator took charge of the entity library for Reloaded and created placeholders for them all. That meant I could drop the whole library into the main IDE and start browsing.
And That's Not All
After seeing all my new lovely entities, I could not resist continuing the integration work (despite some distractions I shall not mention here) to get entity ground detection and stacking. Now when you select and place an entity, it follows the terrain perfectly as you move it around and places it on the floor as you might expect. Also it has the smarts that when you get for example a crate, and press RETURN to find the new height at that point, the second crate stacks perfectly on the first.
I really don't want to show you the raw screenshot yet, not without shadows, some bloom and a few other nice touches, but the above is a sneak peek and totally blurred up view of my prototype as it is today. As you can see I have been adding pallets, barrels and even palm trees to my terrain scene, and you cannot see it now but I am using a night sky effect. You might also make out the dumpster from the old Alley Level content which will probably make it's way to the final Reloaded asset collection!
I have a decision now whether to work on Windows 8 compatibility for the IDE and prototype executable partly as we need this anyway for release, but mainly because it allows team members running Win8 to be able to see what is going on. The other direction is to complete the weapon and combat prototypes to include all the weapons we have so far, which will allow us to refine them and ensure all animations are in place and to get the sounds tailor made for each weapon. Both are critical, though I have yet to decide which path to take for Thursday.
I must say, once I added terrain ground detection to the entity placer, it became a real pleasure carving out terrain shapes and adding things like trees in clumps. Not a clue what the long term performance hit might be for such a proliferation of per-entity vegetation, but it really opened the floodgates for a more diverse level design from what we used to have with FPSC Classic.
Still, plenty progress being made as we march closer to October, and both the IDE and the slow unification of all the prototype modules are getting stronger every day. It's also great to know the pledger community (and our beloved investor), and the team in general, are happy for us to continue aiming high, sacrificing a few arbitrary deadlines for a top quality result. I don't want to tease you needlessly, but I should be able to put something playable in the hands of all pledgers within the next 4 weeks if all goes smoothly. You have shown extraordinary patience, and a sign you really understand the development process by allowing me the time to get it 'just so'.
Now I'm bouncing in and out of the IDE, it's starting to feel like one piece of software rather than 15 separate prototypes. More to come!