Sunday, August 21, 2011

Progress snippet

Ludum Dare 21 has started yesterday. Unfortunately I'm not participating but that doesn't mean I won't be doing anything this weekend!

For the last month or two I've been working on my game engine. My little baby Litterbox has it's third rewrite from scratch ever since I've started making it. This time the key word is "Components"!

Now, components are a very, very good thing, but the classical component-based engine design has it's flaws like component communication overhead, the lack of centralized control, and many more than would normally keep me away from it. However I couldn't just go back to using the traditional deep hierarchy design as it constraints the flexibility of the engine, and many times you have to use a super-complex base-object that I really don't want to have.

So.. What's the sollution?

My engine architecture is a hybrid one, having always a centralized  game entity to which the components are linked. In most cases this means that I have a command center for my objects, but I can also add and new components easily. So if I have a 2D game engine where I suddenly would want one of my bosses to be fully 3D there wouldn't be a problem! I just add a lb3DModelComponent to my boss object, and handle all the special 3D code in the entity.

So far I've moved from 2D animated sprites to 3D models (with Horde3D) without any problems, and if I want a 2D game on top of my 3D game then there's absolutely no problem!

So, here's my progress so far:
-I have a fully functional Entity system with attachable components.
-2D box-based collision system (with various iterations per frame)
-2D graphic system, leftover from earlier engine testing, with support for animated sprites loaded from a sprite sheet.

My Game
I also started thinking about the game I want to make. In my earlier days as a wannabe game dev I created a small demo in gamemaker, where you controlled a fiery guy, you had a selection of fire-based weapons and you were left in a small town full of squishy pink dudes and buildings to use your abilities on.
Recently I showed it to a couple of guys at LudumDare IRC channel and the feedback they gave me really pumped me up so I decided to give that game another try.

The basic idea of the game was that you were a Poyo, a little pink dude kinda resembling a Poring from Ragnarok Online. You would then acquire special powers that would let you transform into a version wielding 1 of 3 natural elements, namely: Fire, Water and Flora.

The game setting was mostly based in a fantasy land with traces of advanced tech.

Now I'm reworking the Idea. I'm planning for keeping the feature of 3 elemental transformations, and as planned before the game would be an Action-Adventure, though I might throw in some RPG elements in there too since it seems to be a good blend considering the fantasy setting.
Anyway, here's the screenshot of how things are so far:

This also was a good excuse to go back to modelling in Blender.
Importing these models to Horde3D was a real pain in the ass as the colladaConverter crashed when converting them, but the people on Horde3D forum had a nice workaround which works good so far.

For comparison here's how the old PoyoAdventure demo looked:

That's quite a sight there in all its 2D glory, however 2D constraints when it comes to depth and having object on top of one another really threw me away from it, that's why I decided to remake this game with 3D graphics (though with the same 3/4 view). I still plan on using 2D collisions though, just to work faster and have something done in less time.

I won't finish this game but I want to have a fun to play prototype. If it's fun enough then I'll work on it more adding fully 3D collisions, proper story, and I'll invest more time into it. (Basically this version will be the proof that I can make a game, as well as a proof of concept for my engine).

I'll be working on this most of the weekend, in a few hours I should have the little pink dude walking around with a basic animation and colliding with stuff. No idea what I'll do tomorrow but lately I've found out that striding back and forth around my house, brainstorming, gave me lots of good ideas as well as will/inspirations to implement them.

Edit: For those interested, no I didn't get the animations playing. I have no idea how I export animations from blender to use in Horde. I'll ask on Horde forums but that place is pretty much a ghost town. I'm kind of starting to regret using Horde instead of Ogre3D. If I don't find anything reasonable soon I'll try making my own converter with the help of AssImp.

That's all for now!


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