Hey Folks! Finished-up the first draft of the social contact list UI and returned to plots for more testing today.
The social contacts UI now has a more legible format, with each contact listing their current relationship, and past events that led to this. The event list used to be really wordy with lots of redundant info, but not it's more like "Met during: Hulk salvage." I also needed to add this data to save files for loading later.
Hey Folks! I decided to do a bit of code cleanup and performance optimizations today.
I started out fixing a few bugs, and managed to fix a pathfinding issue I introduced fixing another path bug. So far so good, but as I transitioned into testing the plot system again, I realized I was dreading loading the full game. It takes close to 13 seconds to go from the main menu to a fresh game world, and several seconds to just load a flyable ship. Furthermore, whenever AI is moving around the ship, there is a ton of hitching and stuttering.
Hey Folks! After wrapping-up a decent ATC chatter and audio for the main menu, it's time to return to the plot system.
My first task today was to finish getting the encounter screen hooked-up to data. I could spawn it based on a context menu click, but all the UI fields were placeholder text. Getting the current encounter description was pretty easy, so that was first. The choices were a bit trickier, though.
Hey Folks! The ATC is sounding much better today after some additional code and content work. Plus, a splash screen!
I decided to record an additional 4 lines to increase variety, since the original 2 lines get old fast. And Rochelle agreed to read a version of them too, so now there are both male and female speakers.
Hey Folks! Switched gears today to to some audio work, as Michael's ATC script is making progress. Once he has that ready and we record the voiceover (VO), it'll be nice to be able to just drop that into the working system to get ambiance for the main menu.
Having done some audio tinkering before when Josh and I tried procedural theme music, it wasn't too hard to get things up and running. And fortunately, that meant a lot more time spent on creative work to make the audio sound better.
Hey Folks! I managed to get two pretty significant features roughed-in today: starting an encounter via context menu, and encounter screens loading text and choices from data. Both were a bit nebulous to figure out, but I think now that they're in place, I should be able to build around them more safely.
Hey Folks! Hope everyone had a good weekend. The zombie cough is still clinging to my lungs, and the cartilage pains continue their migration around my rib cage. But I'm still of the opinion it's "getting better." If I die suddenly before finishing this game, give the source code to the devs of Qud or Cogmind :)
Hey Folks! Still struggling a bit with this encounter system. I'm not a lot further along with it than yesterday, though I've had a bit more time to explore and test ideas.
Ultimately, the problem boils down to me not knowing how to describe how this system should work. It's a really abstract idea that I can see pieces of fairly clearly, but I can't figure out how they come together. And whenever I think I've discovered a concrete rule, it seems like that rule gets broken easily by other needs.
Hey Folks! More work today on designing the encounter system. Plus some more refinement of the air-traffic control chatter system.
After mocking-up a rough mini plot about a betrayed bartender, I'm starting to get a picture about how the encounter system might work. As before, I think a lot of this can be handled with the interaction system, and maybe some pieces of the chargen system.
Hey Folks! More work on the encounter system today, as I discover encounters seem like they should do everything. And that's hard to build.
Yesterday, I managed to get the encounter UI displaying text, markup, and links in a pretty basic way. So the next step is to feed it some encounter data, test it out, and iterate. Except there's one problem: what does encounter data look like?
Hey Folks! As mentioned earlier on, I'm eventually going to have to tackle some sort of UI for delivering situational text, conversation, and mission info to the player. The message log works for smaller bits of info, but there are going to be larger chunks of text in places, and/or the player will be expected to provide input to determine what happens next.
Hey Folks! Main menu is ready to go now. All the same clickable bits as the old placeholder, but nicer-looking.
Getting the shadows to pass in both directions in the hall was almost as easy as expected. There was a minor hiccup trying to flip the shadow billboard to face the other way, as I hunted down the correct setting. And getting the shadows to pass at more random-seeming timing involved delaying one of the emitters a few seconds. But all was good in the end.
Hey Folks! Nearly got the main menu rigged-up, and it's looking pretty snazzy!
I spent the better part of the morning working out how to handle the buttons, since this layout uses world-space meshes instead of Unity's GUI system. (My thinking was that it'd be easier to use parallax tricks and particle effects for the animations in world space.) The graphics are pretty much the same either way I go, but the mouse handling is different.
Hey Folks! Hope everyone had a good week. Unfortunately, just as my parents arrived, I came down with a pretty nasty cough. And I'm still fighting the last of it off. However, we were still able to see some sights, have some nice meals, and generally visit. And I think the time off helped recharge my batteries, so to speak. I felt more refreshed, and ready to tackle some work this morning.
Hey Folks! Sorry for the meager news today. I came down with a fever last night, and have been lying down most of the day. So not much to report.
Also, my folks are flying in tomorrow to visit for a while, so I'll be taking the week off to hang out with them and catch up. Unfortunately, that means I won't be back at it until after Memorial Day (the 28th). But the good news is that I could probably use the break to reframe, reassess, and recharge. And with luck, be back and kicking butt in two weeks!