Archive for December, 2006

New display design

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

I have been working hard on creating the new display design.  I want my next game to be much more immersive.  To that end, I decided on the major changes needed to improve the visuals.

I just finished improving the terrain blending.  It is much smoother now and the edges are more crisp.  I accomplished this goal through many tweaks, including a change to the way I generate my blend textures.  This improvement was especially important since I increased the size of the terrain by 50 percent.  I want to show a lot more detail this time.  I also want a lot more variety.

In order to allow for greater variety, I am adding a new scenery layer that is walk-able.  This layer will contain things like flowers and other subtle details.  The pieces will be scattered around the terrain and should create a much more immersive experience.

The scenery that can not be traversed (e.g. trees) will be increased in size.  I want the player to feel more connected with the environment.  I don’t think this is possible if the player is the same size as the trees.  It works fine with RTS games, but not with an RPG.

I’m also modifying my code to allow for depth that is not tied to each tile.  In other words, I want mobile entities and projectiles to be rendered in proper order while moving between tiles.  Otherwise, the objects will look very strange while moving between them.  This is very important since I am adding movement animations for all mobile entities.

Finally, I am adding a particle effects class.  The combat effects will be done using this new class.  I want the effects to be more dynamic, possibly affected by the relative strength of abilities during combat.  For example, a really powerful ability might have a greater number of particles to signify its strength.  Having a particle trail for the projectiles would be cool too.

I have many more improvements planned, but those are the major ones.  I really want the game to feel polished, so the display design is a priority.  Improving the terrain blending was a major step in the right direction.  It is basically the foundation for the display.  I wasn’t sure if I could meet my goals without making a lot of changes to the code.  It was a relief to finally get it looking as intended.

Now, I’ll try to ride the motivation and get Drew the first test release so she can start adding the new art :)