Encounter Editor Overhaul

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Since more plot recently received a healthy surge of votes, outpacing all other features, I decided I'd spend a bit more time working on encounters. However, before I can do that, I'll need to fix-up the encounter editor I cobbled together.

Back in the early days of NEO Scavenger, there were only about 200-300 encounter nodes in the game. A node is just a single page in an encounter, with image, text, and various treasure/condition variables. Nodes are connected by possible responses, which represent items the user can choose to advance the encounter. Here's a screenshot of how it looked:

IMAGE(http://www.bluebottlegames.com/img/screenshots/screenshot-2012-05-25.png) This is also what I use to solve time-travelling murder mysteries.

The gray boxes are stages of the encounter, and the colored arrows show possible outcomes from each stage. What the user chooses as an input item determines which branch to follow. Each "island" of connected nodes is an overall encounter. The one at the center in the image above is actually an early revision of "Zom Zom's." The one below and to the right of it is the cryo encounter.

This editor made it possible to add and edit encounters much more efficiently, since I didn't have to trace encounter IDs through reams of text in a text editor. I was able to organize encounters and make sure everything hooked up ok.

However, even back when I had 200-300 of these gray boxes, the editor was already slow. Nowadays, there are over 750 of those gray boxes in there, mostly random encounter options, and Flash crumbles under the load. It just can't load it, let alone render it.

So I've started looking into rewriting the editor in Haxe NME. NME is a lot like Flash, but it allows me to generate a Windows native application, which should hopefully be much more powerful, and run faster. My hope is that it will handle the larger load, and be much faster to use.

I'm making progress, but it's still in the early stages. I have it loading just about all the data now, and I'll be working on the display tomorrow. Hopefully, I'll be able to see what I'm doing then, and really get an idea for whether performance has improved.

Right now, however, it's time for a break. Have a good night, all!


Valek's picture

I love seeing this kind of "behind the scenes" stuff! Very interesting!

Anyway you could get the entire game running on Haxe NME? Flash is really limiting, and things are only going to get worse as the game gets bigger.

heartz's picture

Bought the game Saturday and I'm impressed by how much content and mechanics that are already working. Even the updates are regular, If you ever need help making a trailer text me. I work as a professional editor. Regards from Denmark!

dcfedor's picture

Cool, glad you enjoyed the backstage info :)

Re: Haxe NME for NEO Scavenger, I'm not sure yet. I'm doing just the editor right now as a test, to see how complex it is to move things over. If it works out ok, I may consider doing NEO Scavenger too.

However, I'd like to keep NEO Scavenger working in Flash, since that's a huge advantage in getting people to try out the game. It also allows me to one day put NEO Scavenger on some Flash portals (e.g. Newgrounds, Kongregate), to raise awareness. I'd like to avoid maintaining two versions of NEO Scavenger simultaneously.

@heartz, glad to hear you're enjoying it so far! And thanks for the offer. If I get stuck on my next trailer, I'll let you know!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games