Friday, January 21, 2005

Focus Lesson

Ok Reader-San, it's time for a focus lesson. Breathe in, breathe out. Well, actually, the focus of the focus lesson is me. Er, I'm the student. Anyway, I've made a good amount of progress on Bulwark (that's the code name for the new game), but I spent more time that I probably had to at this stage.

Last night I polished off the piece placement code. The problem was you could overlap pieces, which isn't supposed to happen. It turns out I was using world coordinates as an index to the map instead of map coordinates. Simple enough.

Then I started tweaking the ballistic aiming code. I tried tweaking, but the problems were still huge. I searched for another method for a good 20 minutes, and I came across an article covered in AI Game Programming Wisdom. Their formula was a little different, so I implemented that. Wow. Instant improvement. It still needed tweaking, so I started tweaking. I spent about 3 hours working on the game last night, and at least 2 of those were spent tweaking. Gah! I must focus! The aiming isn't perfect at short range (it almost is at long range), but it's good enough for prototyping. In my tweaking time I also spent too much time goofing around... placing blocks, placing hordes of cannons, and letting the blocks have it. It's fun to watch, but really sort of a waste of time at this stage. So I realized at 2am that I should put it down and go to bed, then work on something better the next time.

This morning I got up early relative to my bedtime, did my English homework, and started punching away at the game. I put another 1.5 hours in or about that. This time I was more focused. I got rid of the point-and-click method, and transferred the camera movement control to the mouse. The keyboard will still be able to do this, mind you. Now the keyboard controls move around a little marker (for now just another brick) to show where the cursor is. It's rather nifty, and a pretty big change. I still need to add key bindings to rotate pieces and place objects, which shouldn't take more than 15 minutes. After that, the next step is to have the marker show the complete piece and its rotation in build mode. In combat mode, it should show some sort of aiming marker, and not snap to grid like it does now. Again, once this is done, I'm going on to the contained-area code, and the game's looking pretty good. Maybe one of these times I'll post some screenshots. Probably after the weekend.

If I decide to work on this game instead of the Game in a Day, I could very well have this all working this weekend. I really should skip the GID, simply for the momentum of this game. I have a good concept for the GID, but doing it will take time away from this one. If only I had waited to start until this weekend...

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