As the weekend was populated by rain and wind, and wrapping presents, I decided to give a few hours over to some coding to make up for any lost hours during the week gone. Turns out Saturday I clocked in over 12 hours and made some nice improvements.
We have been internally building a list of priority A bugs that need fixing, but performance came in at an even higher priority so these duties where postponed. Performance is still in the works, but with my recent success with shader reduction I decided to knock a few of the more undesirable issues off the list and improve the engine.
The most striking is that you now have a weapons and health HUD panel when you place down a Start Marker, fully functional with final graphics. I am not too happy with the size of them, and the font used, but otherwise it's in the ball-park. To take screen shots, simply remove the start marker from the scene (or don't start with a weapon and set health to zero).
As you have read, the start marker weapon is now respected so you can start with a weapon and ammo, the weird bar at the bottom of the test game screen has been removed (a real pig that one), foliage no longer causes collision issues or AI obstacles to be created, allowing the character to run through low grasses and shrubs. Lots of little tweaks you probably won't pick up on but had sat in the list for a good while and was starting to alloy me.
The Secret Coder
I have logged on Sunday for one purpose, which is to prepare some files for a new coder to the Reloaded camp. His mandate is simple enough, and for the moment I will keep his task secret, but he brings with him as much experience at coding as I have (which means he's an old git like me).
At the start of the year, I re-designed the new Reloaded engine to allow modules to be worked on independent of the main code. This has been used to fashion small prototypes that could quickly implement and test sub-modules of the main engine and allow super rapid development. The system now lends itself to allowing another coder to share things like the data structures and common helper subroutines, but implement a wholly separate piece of code which can drop into the main engine without resource or coding conflicts. It is this system that will be tested over the next few weeks.
The bottom line is that you now have 'potentially' two Lee's working on Reloaded, and I will be happy to report the results of this experiment.
Classic Makes Good
A bit of retro news for you. The original product FPS Creator Classic was created many (many) years ago and has been responsible for some great games. Two such examples have made it into the top 100 IndieDB charts and is now spoiling for a top award. The games need votes, and every vote is one for the FPSC brand, so I invite you to go and help the author click his way up the ladder.
My hope is that in years to come, Reloaded will be the instrument that will allow many users to create IndieDB chart topping games, showing the same level of customization as 'Into the Dark' and 'Into the Ice' reveals.
With shaders (for the moment) done, on Monday I will be returning to the subject of QUADs (True Imposters) and finishing what I started. I could readily leave this out for the next update if it was not for the fact that objects are popping in and out of existence. A handy quad will resolve this visual artifact and at the same time move us in the right direction. A substantial byproduct of this work will be the acceleration of the shadow, light-ray and reflection renderers which means high-end users are going to get even higher. I could do the work today, but I think it makes sense to have at least half a day off, maybe playing some relevant FPS game to stay tuned to the overall goals of this tool.
Steam Is Green
One of our ambitions is to get Reloaded onto Steam, which means getting a Green Light, helped along with public votes. We are off to a flier, but need to keep the momentum going. If you know anyone with Steam, invite them to check out the page and see if they would also like to see Reloaded reach millions of new FPS players (and budding creators):
Also, if you have ideas how we can improve our steam page, description, shots, videos, e.t.c do get in touch!