Archive for June, 2007


Monday, June 11th, 2007

I recently added my first new fully animated creature to “Birth of Shadows.”  Naturally, it was a zombie hungry for some brains :)  I had to change the design of my texture layout to hold the new animation.  I also needed to add the code to animate movement.  After a bit of tweaking, I got the movement animation looking very good.  It was really cool to see the creature running around in game.  In fact, I just ran around letting the zombie chase me for about 5 minutes while I admired it :)
Now that I have the first creature in place, the rest can be added without requiring any additional engine work.  I am going to send Mark a release with most of the creatures defined.  They will use placeholder animation files that can be replaced when the new ones are finished.  I’ve been getting the other art components ready for assets too.  I just finished the texture layout for the scenery today.  I am hoping to get 126 pieces of scenery into the game.  This doesn’t include the 100 terrain tiles, 25 interactive items, or any of the many animations.  I want “Birth of Shadows” to have a rich environment that draws players into the game.

I also finished my interactive items last week.  Players can now collect quest items from these interactive items.  I handle a ton of different cases to keep interactive items working as intended.  You won’t be able to just stroll up and collect an item while being mauled by an enemy.  Any agro will distract you from that task.  You can collect as many items from it until no more are needed by any quests.  If there is a required item, then you will be prevented from collecting at that time.  Players receive helpful messages to indicate if there is a potential item or if none are left.  I have a lot of cool ideas to make use of interactive items throughout the game.

In addition, my task list was starting to build up so I decided to tackle some of those issues.  I started by making the feedback from the cursor more useful.  The cursor will only change to a hand when players can interact with the entity it is over.  This entity could be an NPC, interactive item, or enemy.

I also wanted to improve the tool tips.  They were becoming cluttered and sometimes got in the way since I only displayed them near the cursor.  The game now displays most tool tips in the bottom right corner.  Some items will still display tool tips near the cursor.  For instance, entities on the game board will display extra information.  Abilities give more details too.

Finally, I made lots of tweaks throughout the game.  For example, I added “mouse wheel” support for my text output and list boxes.  I think it makes the game look more professional.  I improved the interface in several spots where I saw something that needed attention.

Overall, I made a nice dent in my task list.  Furthermore, I got a few critical, and potentially time consuming, items completed.  I’m still looking good with my schedule.  The next stuff I’m working on involves an additional layer for NPCs on top of the quest system.  Campaign games will have a discussion component to augment the story.  I think that will help make the game more immersive.  When I finish that task, I will finally get around to implementing character progression.  At that point, I will have most of the important components completed.

 Of course, I will still have a lot of work ahead of me.  Hopefully, I will be able to show some screenshots in the near future.  I want to wait until I get some terrain and scenery done along with a few GUI improvements.  Once I have those items in place, Ill begin to add screenshots to the site.  So make sure to check back again :)