The Final Mile
Well not quite, and very probably far from it, but it's interesting to look at the next two weeks as a sort of ultimatum. Plenty of lose threads, each as vital as the others and all needing attention.
Today I worked on the 'obvious' missing elements from the IDE, starting with the way point system. Currently these are the last toolbar icons with no functionality so I focused on this. As part of the work, I first ensured the character AI entities retained their position and rotation state between test games so that when I eventually assign them paths via way points, they will start in the right direction and animate as they mean to go on.
You would think this feature should be a simple cut and paste, considering the outward functionality already existed in classic, but for all the clever and creative lines of code, I could not coax the waypoint objects from appearing. It was as though a mighty void swallowed their geometry the moment it was created. Turned out waypoint objects are based at 0,0,0 and their mesh coordinates are absolute, and also still based in the negative Z space. The bottom line is that I finally managed to get them to appear, and subsequently had them following the height of the terrain.
Now I have the waypoints being created, edited and deleted as normal, the next step is to tie them into the AI system which will require some new AI code to assign waypoints to DarkAI paths. From there, it should be a simple matter of assigning paths to entities and we should see characters patrolling custom waypoint routes for the first time.
Other incomplete features include adding dynamic lights, contour marker zones and checkpoint marker zones. All very exciting and will bring the front-end to almost full functionality (from a buttons point of view).
Beyond the IDE aesthetics, I also need to add weapon, ammo and health pickups pretty promptish as launching test game for the first time loads ALL the guns which is a little needless during these early test runs.
I also have a small mountain of new art and asset pieces to integrate, which is also exciting. One asset set includes brand new water splashes, ripples, decals and other material to create a truly lovely triple A water effect for when the player walks through the water, shoots into it or throws something in. Having studied a few YouTube moments of what happens when game meets water, I think we have the graphics required to pull off something similar.
I spent two hours digging a rather large hole in the garden and after some food and a small snooze, I am pretty zonked. I am going to make myself a brew and perhaps put another hour in and then call it a day. At only 8:30PM it's the earliest I've stopped work in many moons but I think it will put in squarely in the day shift for the next slew of days and allow me to work in TGC normal hours during this critical crunch month.
You will notice the lack of a screenshot today. I think we all know the visual level we are at right now, and rather than throw another Christian into the ring, I'll save my next visual for something more in line with the feedback received so far. You may be pleased to know I've knocked the bloom level down from 0.4 to 0.6 threshold and reduced the light ray value by half, so the next shot should be a little easier on the eye when it comes to the phenomena of 'Oblivion Bloom'.