After a fun time yesterday with sliders, it was back on the main highway towards completing the main modules of the IDE and engine. The last IDE element was the trigger zones which had been mostly completed in the editor side but did very little in the engine side.
You will be pleased to hear that the trigger zones are now being monitored and as soon as the player enters one of them, they are triggered. At the moment, with no scripting in the engine, they don't trigger very much, so I have simply deactivated them when you enter one. It's a job of five minutes to connect this to something practical when the time comes. I have also made sure everything resets properly so you can do it all over again during the many test games the software will go through.
Guns N Ammo
After a few editor tweaks requested by the powers that be (well, Rick) I was full steam ahead on my next mission which was to get weapons and ammo collectible within the game and have those collections properly trigger the gun to appear and arm accordingly. This allowed me to reduce the test game loading time as only weapons actually dropped into the level should be loaded.
I then spent a few fun hours adding guns and ammo entities, and of course guessing what ammo I had. This of course led to the need for a status panel so I could see what weapon I had and the ammo and clip count for my selection. It was then I had a brain wave. What if I re-used the slider panel system for my ammo readout. It was all ready and waiting for as many panels as I wanted, so why not. So I did.
Weapons Panel Is Born
Obviously I need to provide some new graphics for the status HUD, but the upshot of this code re-use is that I had my ammo readout with the name of the weapon above, but I could also TAB to the slider screen and 'MOVE' the panel as it was in edit mode. When I returned to the game view, the ammo panel was in it's new place of course.
I occurred to me quite quickly that this ability to shuffle about the ammo panel, and eventually health panel, lives panel, radar panel, local map panel and whatever else panel we add in the future is a superb way to keep your games customizable. Gone are the days of recognizing an FPSC game because it uses the same health and lives status graphic in the top left corner of the screen. Any user will be able to shift the positions of these panels within minutes of their first exploration of the tab views! How cool is that.
We would of course have to add some more panel controls so you can change the panel box skin, fonts, gadget positions, e.t.c. but building this into the panel system as an editable function means you can not only customize your status HUDs but the debug panels used to edit your game as well. I won't go as far as to say you can edit the editor, but we're heading in that general direction.
New Reloaded Website and Newsletter Launched Today
As some of you may know, we had the official launch of our new website today and we hope you will like your new home. It is crammed with the latest web technologies, and it is geared up to provide a flow of fresh information as it happens. It's all centered around Reloaded and just like the software, we will be adding to the site as new content, features and requests come in. For those who missed the launch here is the link:
You can also first the first ever Reloaded newsletter in there as well, which will be used to reveal juicy insights into the deepest corners of the engine each month. For the first few months however we will simply be covering the gran unveiling of all these amazingly new features of the engine, and providing an overview of where it fits into the whole.
For the moment my blog will remain 'above ground' and the concept so far is that Rick and friends will mine my blog for newsworthy items and post them on the site and newsletter. This means those users who are short on time can skim through the main site and those who want ever juicy detail can return here and read about it from the horses blog.
Early Third Party Art
"It had already worked out the existence of income tax and nice pudding before anyone managed to turn it off". That's right, even before the beta got released do we see the first radical customization of Reloaded from our sound guy, who not satisfied with desert and lush terrain went away and created himself 'Iceworld'.
The more I see how a few terrain textures can completely transform the whole scene, the more I think we will be releasing terrain packs as well as model packs down the road. I also think there is much more to do with our beloved terrain system, and I am looking forward to seeing how far we can take the system in the months and years to come.
It's now the weekend, which means I can have the option of resting my tired eyes for two days, but we both know that is not going to happen. If the weather is nice I might dig a few holes, but rest assured I will be returning to the warmth of this project and cracking on with the next urgent thing.
As I survey my lists the next urgent thing is hacking in the trigger zone functionality for win, sound and story (basically, exit the game, play a sound and play a video). As I don't have a script engine yet, I will hack in the code and choose the behavior based on the hard filename of the script. I have already done this to great effect with weapon.fpi and ammo.fpi. This allows the engine to be completed to a functional level without having a script system, and then the script system can be introduced in stages and tested to ensure behavior is not affected (whether it be FPI or LUA).
Once those basic functionality items are in place, I return to character AI and to see if I can make them less 'silly'. Right now they silently fire six bullets then walk backwards before reloading, all very silly. I will begin with the basics and adding obstacle avoidance, physics for the player and infinite ammo for the enemies to get some decent combat happening. Should be even more fun!!