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Moonpod Homepage Starscape Information Mr. Robot Information Free Game Downloads Starscape Highscore Table
Oct/Nov/Dec-05: Development HEL
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Hamish
Pod Developer
Pod Developer


Joined: 15 Mar 2005
Posts: 570
Location: Auckland, NZ



PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unfortunately no, the process I used to light the levels described in the post is pretty slow, it can take an hour to generate maps for a whole level. Destroying backgrounds would also require relighting the area to remove shadows generated by the destoryed tree/building. It might be possible to program a fast algorithm for changing the lightmap during gameplay, but this would take me alot of time to figure out. Probably months.
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The Dark Bunny



Joined: 07 Dec 2005
Posts: 24
Location: Abilene, TX



PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So it's all software T&L? Considered switching to Ogre?
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Hamish
Pod Developer
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Joined: 15 Mar 2005
Posts: 570
Location: Auckland, NZ



PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know what suggests that I'm using software T&L so I'm not sure what you're getting at there. Switching to Ogre would require learning C++, learning to use Ogre and reprogramming the whole game. I have no big problems with my current tool so that would be a huge waste of time.
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fartron



Joined: 08 May 2005
Posts: 11



PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh Hamish.. I love you. What format are the maps in? Any chance of 3d party expansion to the game? What about multiplayer/coop? Mein Gott in Himmel, I can retire the old video now.
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Hamish
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Joined: 15 Mar 2005
Posts: 570
Location: Auckland, NZ



PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maps are in the B3D format, which is a format made for Blitz Basic 3D. Anybody who isn't me is going to have a hell of a time trying to work on the game so I wont release any editing tools or support it in any way. That means no third party expansions either. I'd like to do some multiplayer, co-op or player vs player, but it's going to bring up alot of complications so I can't say for certain that it will be in.
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The Dark Bunny



Joined: 07 Dec 2005
Posts: 24
Location: Abilene, TX



PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 7:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My mistake. You said the lighting had to be pre-compiled for the entire map, so I assumed you were letting the program do all the light-heavy work instead of the end-user hardware. As for the Ogre suggestion, I wasn't aware you were using prebuilt tools to that extent.
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Hamish
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Joined: 15 Mar 2005
Posts: 570
Location: Auckland, NZ



PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Dark Bunny wrote:
so I assumed you were letting the program do all the light-heavy work instead of the end-user hardware


I am. There's lots of different ways of doing lighting - vertex lighting like Mr Robot uses is very fast, but not very detailed. Lightmaps, which I'm using, can provide a very realistic, detailed looking scene but isn't fast enough to be calculated at runtime.
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fartron



Joined: 08 May 2005
Posts: 11



PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't tell if your response is more "no way I'm going to help anyone because it'll be a huge headache" or "no way you're going to be able to mod this." If someone were to output some B3Ds (milkshape), write some scripts (notepad), would it be possible to make an addon level? Or is too much stuff hardcoded? Jumping through hoops is a modding tradition.
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Hamish
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Joined: 15 Mar 2005
Posts: 570
Location: Auckland, NZ



PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well it's not IMPOSSIBLE, if I leave map editing functionality in the game then you could make your own maps with no new enemies or game objects, but I don't know if I want to do that.

If people can mod if they're inevitably going to ask for help even if I don't officially 'support' it. I don't mind helping people with a few simple inquiries but modders might decide that after a while they would absolutely love feature X in their map and could I PLEEEEASE program it in it'll only take five minutes... and so on. It's a slippery slope and I have to draw the line somewhere. Perhaps it's best not to let people start doing it at all. I'll talk it over with the rest of the guys but don't get your hopes up.
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fartron



Joined: 08 May 2005
Posts: 11



PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No worries... I was just struck by the replay possibilities of the gameplay, which are expanded greatly by multi and mods. Also by how visually similar the game is to a project that I set aside some time ago to pursue other things.

On the other topic, what about the shadow of the heli in the opening of the vid? It looks dynamic, is it just a sprite? No way of tweaking that trick to get the trees/lampposts to blow up?
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Hamish
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Joined: 15 Mar 2005
Posts: 570
Location: Auckland, NZ



PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2005 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can, but making 3D objects blow up and fall over and look good while doing so brings up a whole lot more complications. I don't think it's worth doing at this point in the games development.

Replay is an issue I need to think about at the moment. A custom-tailored single player campaign is very impressive and probably makes alot of sales, but the developer work to playtime ratio is very very low. An extreme example, Half Life 2 took 5 years to make and was 10 hours long. That's nearly two work weeks per MINUTE of gameplay.

What I'm thinking of doing is finishing the campaign mode first, then moving onto "high score" mode. When you pick high score mode in the menu, you can select from a bunch of singular maps to play, and submit your high score and other statstics for the map when you beat it/die. This should satisfy the hardcore players who've finished the campaign and want more to do or a harder challenge. I can continue to develop high score maps when the game has been released and put them in further patches. The thing I like most about this idea is I have alot of freedom when I make these maps - I could draw some zombies and make a freeroaming Dawn of the Dead style map, or have a mech arena were you can customise your mech loadout. Things that would be very fun to play and easy to make, but don't have a place in the normal story campaign.
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Beanstalk



Joined: 29 Aug 2004
Posts: 8
Location: Vienna



PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2005 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I suspected that it might be to much effort. Thought it couldn´t hurt to ask, though. After all, War Angels is all about blowing stuff up, the kind of game you play when you need to scratch that "if it moves, shoot it. If it doesn´t shoot it anyway" spot.
Also, assorted landscape objects are a traditional place to hide pickups in shoot´em´ups Wink.
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MarcC



Joined: 25 Apr 2005
Posts: 46
Location: Auckland, New Zealand



PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2005 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GEORGE BUSH CAMEO!
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Hamish
Pod Developer
Pod Developer


Joined: 15 Mar 2005
Posts: 570
Location: Auckland, NZ



PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2005 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can blow up small bits of landscape like boxes, crates, bins, barrels, fire hydrants, etc.
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Flumpaphone



Joined: 18 Sep 2003
Posts: 86



PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2005 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding editors (for both War Angels, and Mr. Robot), what I've gathered before (there's quite a handful of posts on this subject and how it might have applied to Starscape) is that the Moonpod team seem into the idea of really comprehensive and easy to use editing tools and that they won't release them if that's not the case. If time does not make this a possibility, then they will conecentrate on the game instead.

This seems backed up by Fost's post above where he states that the editor is not in a releaseable state presently (although previous pictures and information in the developer diaries seem to indicate it is a big possibility).

For my part, I am in the 'release what you have' crowd, but I really respect your opinions. I can see where truly 'useable' (by that, I mean useable by idiots like myself Smile ) editing tools have helped games in the past. With the small communities that independent games have, it would make sense to make the tools as widely accessible as you can. I just happen to think that if you can get one person to make a good mod for your game, then that is a huge gift to all of us.

One of the Moonpod opinions I am completely on board with though, is not spending time on things that won;t affect the game directly. If editing tools are going to soak up time that could make War Angels or Mr. Robot any better as games, then it's certainly not worth spending time on them. A really nice thing about independent games (at least, with Starscape anyway) is how they can be updated much longer after release. Hopefully, given time, we'll see all singing, all dancing editors for both games.


PS, Games look great! Hope we don't have another 2 month wait until the next diary!
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