Friday, January 6, 2012

Holidays Complete. Back to work :)

So let's see, what's new:

  • Many scenario editing fixes and updates. Implementation of trigger system is about half done. Regions can be used to invoke triggers, but the only thing that can respond is an enemy spawner. Regions can modify units now too; that is, provide a buff or debuff. That buff can do anything any other state can, include granting abilities or causing damage, so there's some versatility there.
  • New formation movement mechanics. We're working on a major rev to formations in general. We started overhauling the basic movement methods, since they're actually amazingly complicated for our game. We were finding that formations felt clunky more than anything, and alot of that is the lack of coherence of the group, so I took a more error-estimation based approach to maintaining formation. We also nuked the formation concept of leeway (the allowed error any unit is allowed from perfect form), and made it a per-class concept instead.
  • Once formations worked a little smoother I was starting on maneuvers (group actions), but got derailed by...
  • Rewriting the entire top level of the client program. :) The UI toolkit was severely inhibiting my style, so... it had to go. Mostly I felt like I was hacking around it instead of owning it, so I decided to take a more games-inspired approach to input/window/ui/display management. Sometimes you just have to take a plunge and do something hard in order to be happy with it.
More than that, really, but stopping there makes for a nice segue.

BACK in the day, when I started Twilight 1, I started with the main menu. Seems kind of obvious place to start, but I recall being excited to just play with the concept and do something arbitrary, visually at least. Later menus I made were more functional and fun, which is fine but boring. The existing skirmish client menus fell into that category.

So naturally I decided to be artistic again, even if it feels like wasted time. I came up with a concept and threw it together pretty quickly. It's nice to have a short term goal, especially when I'd just decided to throw away the existing toplevel module and start clean.

And since it turned out looking kinda neat, I thought I'd try and record it. Of course, that meant rewriting some graphics guts to get Fraps able to record it (in WPF, we don't display to the default swapchain in directx, and fraps only records the default swapchain), but it didn't take too long in any case.

Oh right, a link. I've never done the recording/encoding/uploading/youtube thang, so it's got some flaws, but you can't get better without tryin'. :) Enjoy.

Now to go get the client able to play again...

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