Monday, October 31, 2011

New stuff, new screenshots, better lighting, more models. More everything

It has been a while since the last post. A lot has been done and I just happen to have little time to be writing blog. Development is steadily progressing and despite the quiet blog. there's a lot going on.

Adrianne was finnished

The main female protagonist/antagonist wasn't finished at the time of writing my last post. Her gameplay mechanics of one of those I like most. She can control the wind to her advantage, making enemies hard to move freely and while throwing environmental objects to them.


Revamped animation system

Animation system was updated, took a couple of days but now works better with particle effects triggering at the right time. It's also easier to write.

Lua Hotspot and Particle FX reloading

For Lua, I created what I call the “hotspot”. Basically it consists in three Lua files the engine monitors constantly for file changes. If it finds out it has been updated, it will automatically execute it's contents. This is great for rapid prototyping, without having to restart the game for each small change while, at the same time, having the comfort of your favourite IDE. The hotspot works over a network. If you have an extra PC, you can control the game from one machine and play on the other, without having to Alt+Tab all the time.
The three files have the following behavior:
  • Const.lua: The engine will open this file, execute it's contents, then close the file.
  • New.lua: The same as Const.lua, but the contents of the file are removed before closing.
  • Old.lua: This file doesn't get executed. It gets incremented with New.lua's previous contents with each execution.

At the same time, the engine is monitoring all particle effect files (Ogre particles means it watches for *.particle files) If they're modified, the particles being executed are loaded again and restarted. This greatly improves the feedback of particle changes and their visual appeal in game.

Changed sun's position

The sun's movement was restricted to the same YZ plane. Very boring, creating very boring, horizontal and vertical shadows. The sun's movement is now more realistic and more fun, creating very dynamic, diagonal shadows in cities.
It's about perception, take a photo from a car in 45° angle and looks much more in motion, vivid and fun than the same picture being taken straight horizontally. This site explains it very well. I really recommend that website. It contains great explanations about how professionals place their cameras, lights, and edit their scenes. It's a total eye opener.

Implemented three-point-lighting setup

The default lighting setup is now a 3-point-lighting setup. It now looks a lot better, and now has this unique feeling I felt it was previously lacking. What I really like about this setup is that it solved a problem that had me worried: it was too dark and “dead”. Now the outlines are clearly highlighted, the sense of depth is much greater, and what is darkened is still dark, but you still are aware of what's there, something that was missing before and shadowed scenes could really just become frustrating.

New site layout

I knew the blog was looking very simple and without much care. I finally decided to put more on effort on it, since it's currently the visible side of my work. I was hearing a presentation where the speaker said the website is the visible face of the organization, and it affects how people perceives the quality of your work. Crappy website = crappy product/service. That struck me and urged me to do something about the site.
The mood and colour theme matches that of Distant Souls Act I.

Attack Animations

Most attack animations are done (and with it, combos). It still needs tuning, and many of them still have particle effects missing. Still that's the least effort and the coolest part. Not really an issue and it's very exciting!

New buildings

Following these tips & tricks, I've started modeling new buildings. One floor per day. I've done 4 floors in total. I could've made more, but studies started delaying me this month.

Next Focus

University is taking quite most of my time next weeks. I am now focusing on having more buildings to get a vibrant city soon. It takes little time and highly satisfying results. I'm trying to build an intro in hopes of getting the first trailer and some gameplay footage soon.
I'm going to participate in the upcoming Intel Level Up 2011 contest so wish me luck.
There's also a angel investors meeting late November, which I intend to attend. This is quite new in my Country, this year would be the second time this is made. I'm somewhat both fortunate and unfortunate that the game industry is hardly developed in my area.

Until next time!
Thanks for reading!

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