Thursday, June 30, 2011

Adventure Log 1 - Travelling to Leuven Belgium

A little while back I got an internship over at the IMEC Institute in Belgium.  There was a lot of work with regards to visas and figuring out flights between then and now, but it has all paid off and now I'm in a small guesthouse room in Leuven Belgium across from a pizza place I may hit up later.

The flight took me accross nothern Canada and over Greenland.  Any time you opened a window, it was super bright out.  It litterally have not seen darkness in over a day.  Between time zones and long flights I've lost over 21 hours(I think).  I haven't slept in quite awhile.  It reminds me of when I first discovered Oblivion (zing).

The first thing that really stuck out was the insane Condor safety video:

I watched the video both times they showed it.  Condor also seems to be running with a Charlie Brown motif.  You can find snoopy on the side of the plane, your coffee cup and the pillow

They fed me on the plane - twice! - which was pretty good.  Near the end they started selling a bunch of duty free stuff - cigarretts mostly - which I thought was kinda strange for a flight.

Airports themselves weren't bad at all.  Even as someone who only speaks english both Frankfurt and Brussels weren't hard to navigate.   Both were pretty big and it took me a fairly long while to get between gates.  The airports themselves had smoking areas which unlike in Canda, appear to be sponsored as opposed to tucked away:

Anyway, so far so good.  I'm not sure what to do now, but I'll think of something.   Work starts on monday, so I have a couple days to sleep, adjust to the time change and explore.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Foxlike: Scenery, a Fancy Camera, Intros and Outros

I added a bunch of little things in the past couple days.

The coolest is a slightly more cinematic camera that can be put at any point in the level.  This works pretty well for any beginning exposition or ending recap.   This can be seen in the first couple screen shots.

Also of note, things don't have to be in space anymore and the sky can be colored and ground can be generated.

The other cool thing is the edition of scenery.  I added some code to allow the drawing of anything you can model.  They don't have much - if any - game logic or collision detection attached to them, but they can work pretty well for beefing up the environment.  Usually they'll be to the side of the level adding ambiance or in a place that doesn't matter too much.

Finally a found a pretty large collection of creative commons music I like as well as a large collection of creative commons character portraits, so those are in there now.  The portraits can be seen in the screens, the music cannot.

Anyway it's very game like now and you can even string levels together one after another.  That's pretty cool in my books.  There is no transition between them or anything, but it works.  Right now the first 'level' loops forever.

The next big thing is to come up with a boss for the first level and a few more enemy types.  Then I can start thinking about asteroids for the obligatory asteroid level.

I'm also ruminating on a potential plot.  Honestly there doesn't need to be one, but it was suggested to me once that the characters literally always talk and I like that idea a fair bit.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Foxlike: Many Changes, One Video, One Release

Kinda neat.  I couldn't record it at speed, so I sped it up using a video editing program. This probably is a bit different than what it's actually like to play.  You can grab it from here: Release

The big things shown off here are:

  • "Particle" effects
  • Improved collision logic
  • Increased collision accuracy on the player ship, The Vendetta
  • Pillars added as deadly obstacles.
  • Speed changes allowed during levels.  The level can crank up the intensity or slow things down.

I hope you like it.


Trigonometry and Why I'm Glad I Learned that Stuff

If you ever decide to go into games and more specifically programming or designing them, you should know that math is a pretty big part of what goes on there.  Specifically trig and linear algebra and how to move between them.  Vector seems to come up a lot, as do angles and all your favourite trig functions: sin cos and tan.

When I added my exhaust particles, I had to write a fair bit of math to get them behaving properly.  Check out what's required to make one particle:

((std::vector *) g->debris)->push_back(new Exhaust(X + width*cos(roll_*M_PI/180.0)- height*sin(yaw_*M_PI/180.0), Y - width*sin(roll_*M_PI/180.0) - height*sin(pitch_*M_PI/180.0), Z+.02, 0.02,-height*sin(yaw_*M_PI/180.0)/2 ,-height*sin(pitch_*M_PI/180.0)/2,-0.005,g,"spark.png", 30));

Sin and cos and a firm understanding of radians vs degrees are used pretty heavily in order to make them both appear in the right place and then move in the right direction. 

 It call comes together to make this:
Math at Work!



Foxlike now has obstacles.  Pillars to be precise.  Why they are in space, I can't really tell you, but getting them in there was relatively quick and painless.

I also implemented some functionality which allows the level to control the speed of the ship.

Twas a good day for development.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Added Some "Particle" Effects

Particle in quotes because I'm pretty sure there are better ways to make this happen. I'm sure full blown particle system would use some textures to great effect, but I kinda wanted to see what I could do with some triangles alone and this was the result:

Now you have an engine trails which looks pretty cool and when you destroy enemies they explode in a cloud of debris.  Some larger enemies will shed debris as you hit them.

Kinda cool. Not sure what the next step is, but it was fun to get back the game for a bit and make it better.  I like it.  There is a beautiful simplicity with only using colored triangles as particles.

It also fits with the old-school motif that I might be going for?