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Bagne
ALL YOUR NUDIBRANCH ARE BELONG TO GASTROPODA




Joined: 19 Feb 2003
Posts: 518
Location: Halifax

PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, now that I've finally admitted that I'm not working on the game, I started working on my game again ... for the moment anyway.

Once again, I'm revising plans for Saminaster's cloud interactions.

The plan so far is that, he can blow clouds around, make them rain, and make them zap lightning. This is cool, but I've decided to "nerf" the magic somewhat.
I think it would be fun if Sam caused the clouds to rain, in a more "manual" way: Sam hops from the ground into a cloud via lightning, causing the cloud to rain. In a similar way, Sam could arc between clouds. In order to zap something with lightning, he needs to position the cloud over his target, arc his way into the overhead cloud, and then hit the target himself by zapping back to the ground.

I think this is cool. Sam is still a powerful wizard, and can do nifty things, but it's not always a straight forward task, and requires some thinking on the player's part. Also, it prevents the player from triggering events that happen offscreen— the player sees everything first hand— and it is always clear what they're targeting with the rain and lightning.

Oh, I also decided to restrict myself to two sizes of trees. Short ones (which clouds float over top) and tall ones (which block/redirect the wind, and prevent clouds from passing through).

I need to try this of course. But I like the sound of it, and have already thought of a few puzzles that might crop up.
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Bagne
ALL YOUR NUDIBRANCH ARE BELONG TO GASTROPODA




Joined: 19 Feb 2003
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Location: Halifax

PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2010 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been doing some scripting lately.
I developed a system of arrays to use for my game.

I'm also getting fairly confident about a certain game design decision:
Although I have made it possible to switch control between independent groups of heros, I no longer think it is wise to be able to switch to heros that are not on the current map.

This kind of sucks because I spent a bit of time scripting this feature, and it's kind of a neat trick.
Anyways, here's why I decided to do this.

Technical reason:
On almost every single map the player will be on, I will be doing simulations. So far, I only have plans for clouds, but I'm fairly sure that other state variables will be added for other wizards.
The state of these clouds are important to gameplay, and should be stored. For example, if Saminaster spent a lot of time gathering together a large cumulonimbus, and then I switch to controlling Kloddwick on another map, I don't want the cloud to be gone when the player switches back to Sam.
I'll wager that the game speed will begin to suffer if I need to track the state of several hundred clouds (and other state variables) on multiple maps all at once.
[Edit] Ok. I did a test. On my MacBook, we begin to see some slowdown as soon as I'm tracking ~ 150 clouds.
* Another possible solution: track clouds only on Sam's map.

Design Reason:
I'm a little uncomfortable allowing the player to split the team into 7-8 different groups, and moving them to 7-8 different maps and still expecting myself to present a linear storyline. If I force the player to regroup the team every time ve exits a map, I have the freedom to include small plot-progression scripts during these times.
Also, I think that a shared inventory makes more sense when all the active heros are on the same map. If each hero had ver own inventory, that would be more confusing for me, and for the player.

Feedback?

Edit:
Also, there isn't a "map width" or "map height" command that returns a map's size for maps that aren't currently active. I need to know these values if I will be running simulations on other maps.
There's workarounds, but it's a hassle.
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TMC
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2010 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But did you really have to run simulations on maps other than the current one? Or would just preserving the state be enough? Also, depending on your simulations, you could maybe fast forward them when switching map.

However, I think your design reasons for not splitting the party across maps are quite reasonable.

Quote:
Also, there isn't a "map width" or "map height" command that returns a map's size for maps that aren't currently active.


Well it just so happens that I wrote a function to do this while working on zones; previous to that it would have been quite a nuisance. So I just went ahead and added a 'map' argument to mapwidth/height, since it was easy to do so.
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Bagne
ALL YOUR NUDIBRANCH ARE BELONG TO GASTROPODA




Joined: 19 Feb 2003
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Location: Halifax

PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2010 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Mad Cacti wrote:
preserving the state be enough?

Hm, probably. I'll probably do this if I change my mind.

The Mad Cacti wrote:

I just went ahead and added a 'map' argument to mapwidth/height, since it was easy to do so.

Ok, cool!

Here's a picture. It doesn't really show anything interesting, because you can't see the movement, but I assure you, those twirly clouds in the foreground are positioned dynamically.
This means that they move according to the air current fields that are defined by zones, and Saminaster's spells.

You'll notice that there are cloud shadows over empty regions of air which is silly, but I'll be able to solve this visual problem when the map layering system becomes more slicey.

Graphically, I've found the shadows to be very important. The player needs a way of determining which tile the cloud is overlying.

I still need to mess with the colours on this map.

There will be clouds of different sizes in the game. Different sizes of cloud will have different functions, and the cloud's size will be easily recognizable by the number of stylized twirls on the cloud sprite.



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Moogle1
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2010 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why do the clouds cast a shadow on the sky?
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Bagne
ALL YOUR NUDIBRANCH ARE BELONG TO GASTROPODA




Joined: 19 Feb 2003
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Location: Halifax

PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2010 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That will be fixed when I sort out how to do layering with sprites and map layers.
[Edit:] After speaking with TMC, it would seem that this layering problem is an hspeak bug.
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Last edited by Bagne on Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:37 am; edited 1 time in total
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TMC
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2010 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bagne wrote:
Here's a picture. It doesn't really show anything interesting, because you can't see the movement, but I assure you, those twirly clouds in the foreground are positioned dynamically.
This means that they move according to the air current fields that are defined by zones, and Saminaster's spells.


Could you briefly explain how you are using zones for this? Souns quite interesting.
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Bagne
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 5:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a little bit clumsy.
I've set aside ~100 zones (number subject to change) to be responsible for defining the map wind field. Each tick, the clouds check those specific zones to see if that zone exists at their current coordinate. Depending on what zone domain the cloud has entered, a different Fx or Fy is used in updating the cloud state.

I already have map initialization scripts running for each map, and it's there that I can hard-code the wind strength and direction. Whenever I load a map, the 100 zones will have their map-specific Fx, Fy (and maybe Fz ... not sure ) values assigned (stored within another 200 globals I have set aside).

If any of these values are conditional (fans turning on or off ... whatever), I can script that into the map-init file.
Ideally, I'd like to be able to enter these field-strength values in custom somewhere ... I'm not sure how that would work ... maybe each map would have a user-defined array. Anyway, whatever. This works.

Without zones, fields would have to be defined by invisible map-tiles. I did this for the flower puzzle scripts I was working on before (maybe you didn't see those), and it sucks. I'm going to change these to zones when I have time.
Using invisible tiles to describe large fields would be quite awful, darn-near impossible without zones.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So for each cloud you check each of the 100 zones to try to find one in which it is, and grab the field value from that? I'm going to add a command to get all the zones at a tile, of course. Are your zones drawn by hand, or by the map init script? Sounds a little odd, as zones can overlap. It sounds to me that what you would want ideally would be datamaps: the ability to store an (Fx, Fy) pair at every tile on the map. But that sounds much more like invisible map layers than like zones.

Bagne wrote:
Ideally, I'd like to be able to enter these field-strength values in custom somewhere ... I'm not sure how that would work ... maybe each map would have a user-defined array. Anyway, whatever. This works.


Extra data per zone, defineable in Custom?
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Bagne
ALL YOUR NUDIBRANCH ARE BELONG TO GASTROPODA




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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Mad Cacti wrote:
Are your zones drawn by hand, or by the map init script? Sounds a little odd, as zones can overlap. It sounds to me that what you would want ideally would be datamaps: the ability to store an (Fx, Fy) pair at every tile on the map. But that sounds much more like invisible map layers than like zones.

I have been:
Drawing zones by hand.
Setting the wind strength in a script.
Yes, if numbers could be mapped out like zones, I would be jumping-out-of-my-skin-happy.

I would only store numbers in tiles if the whole process was scripted (and if I had a map layer to spare).
But drawing invisible tiles out by hand is a terrible pain! Yes, I've tried it. Every time I want to see or change the shape and distribution of the regions, I need to go in the graphics editor, give the tile a colour, edit the map, remove the colour from the tile set, and save.
Of course, when there's 160 graphic-less tiles to chose from, sometimes I make a mistake, and really screw things up.

The Mad Cacti wrote:

Extra data per zone, defineable in Custom?

Yeah, that's what I was thinking. Zone arguments or "extra"s.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 2:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know, you could have just switched between two tilesets: a blank one and one for editing. But I forgot that tilesets only have 160 instead of 256 tiles; quite a nuisance.

Are you saying you're out of map layers as well? Pray tell, what are you using them for? Anyway, I'm going to raise the limit to 16 (real soon); a few people have complained.

Datamaps planned for some time in the future; very low priority though.
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Bagne
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 4:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't run out yet, but with what I have planned, I am wary of it. I'm at ~5.

Layer 0: Bottom-most soil, grass tiles
Layer 1: Debris layer for special effects, leaves, cracks, charring, sand, dust, (tracks?) (not implemented, subject to change)
Layer 2: Rocks, stumps, flowers. Low objects on the ground (may yet choose to swap layer 2 and layer 1)
Layer 3: Tree canopy, walls, flags etc
Layer 4: Particle effects, snow, rain (subject to change)
Layer 5: data storage for flower maze puzzles and other things.

16 Layers, eh? Maybe I shouldn't fuss so much. Maybe you're right - it could be easier if do is this: Create a tileset of symbols that look something like this:
-> --> ---> ---->
<- <-- <--- <----
^ ...
v ....
and diagonal arrows ....
I switch the tileset, paint out whatever wind pattern I like, switch the tileset back, and then just create a SWITCH lookup table to see which tile number corresponds to which value.
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Bagne
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm going to try something.

I've been thinking about what wind patterns will be like in my game, and I realized that for the most part, I'll probably just have an ambient sideways wind, and occasionally I'll have whirlwind-like patterns (i.e. the wind blows stuff in circles).
I think whirlwind patterns will remain in one place, so once I know where they are, I don't need to update the wind field.

I think it would be tedious to draw out every single vortex of wind with zones or maptiles, so I was thinking: I only really need to know where the whirlwind centers are. If I place the whirlwind "eyes" using zones, then whenever I load a map, I can scan it, and everywhere I find an eye, I print a vortex-ey wind field into a 2d array.

I've built slice arrays, it will be dead simple to implement 2d arrays.

I could dynamically determine the whirlwind strength, but I want to minimize the amount of collision detection needed to calculate the wind patterns you see. Maybe that's silly. I won't ever have more than 10-20 whilwinds.
On the other hand, if I do it dynamically, I could make whilwinds move.
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Bagne
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Must ...
resist ...
temptation ...
to ...
construct ...
animation queue ...

I know exactly how I would do it too ... I just don't want to implement it it and then need to revise all of my scripts when real multitasking is available.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

(Sigh)
Been a while since I've been able to find time to work on my video-game projects.

My apologies to anyone anticipating my game - I'm busy and I'll remain busy for a time yet. I've been working on my bloody never-quite-good-enough thesis, been getting married, developing an art portfolio for animation school (and I didn't get in, I'm just on the waiting list :-( ), and beginning to think seriously about a web comic.

I've learned a lot about modeling and rigging in Blender. It might be fun to do 3D graphics and then import some cool sprites into the OHR. You know, like Donkey Kong Country.

One of these days I'll get back to programming the winds, I promise!

BTW, enormous thumbs up to TMC for getting the OS X port up and running. We so excited for the weekend.

I'm a bit behind the times, so I'm not sure if there's multi-threading yet.
If it was available for use, I might try and get a boulder-beast battle up and running.
If I understood the whatsnew.txt correctly, the map slice bug is fixed, yeh? You can put sprites behind map layers now?
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