## Tuesday, September 13, 2011

### Drawing for fun

Over at the Bay 12 Games Forum we have a little "Let's Dev" going on:

Let's Dev (again)

Here is some sprites I drew, based on an idea that inspired me:

It is about a moustachioed astronaut knight that is too afraid to fight the space dragon, so he will use his digging ray to rescue the princess, which is also an insane A.I. He saves her to a disk, by the way.

## Friday, April 29, 2011

### GameMaker, it makes games

I have really gotten into GameMaker and created a Tetris clone during the easter weekend.

I have also started work on a rogue-like game (i.e. a turn-based combat game with randomly generated levels and where you have to start over if you die. This makes it extra exciting.) It is called 'Quest for the Oathring', or QftOr for short.

## Monday, March 21, 2011

### Progress and Decisions

The mouse-look is now working entirely correctly.

I have added Newton's first and second laws of motion. I need to handle collision detection before I can add the third law.

To keep things running fast and to make the programming simpler, I will handle free-moving objects as non-rotating 'fuzzy' cylinders. What I mean by 'fuzzy', is that the radius of the cylinder is not constant, but rather depends on the kind of check one is doing. Horizontal checks will use the full radius, but for vertical checks round objects will have a radius of zero. This will allow flat objects to stack, round objects to stand on flat objects, and round objects to form piles. Most objects will be round, but I can definitely see some use for flat objects.

I have not decided how the map itself will be handled yet, because I first have to decide whether I should stick to cubes. I have read up on a technique called 'dual-contouring', which would allow me to use both smooth and angular shapes as I see fit.

Whether or not to use OpenCL is also a big decision to make.

## Sunday, March 6, 2011

### Look around in wonder

Got the mouse-look working, more-or-less. I can now fly around in Cyclopean.

I had to lock the mouse to the center of the window somehow. I could not find any advice on how to do this in Java, but fortunately it does have the functionality.

I used a MouseListener to catch the mouse movement events as usual, a ComponentListener to discover when the window was moved, and a Robot to move the mouse cursor to the center of the GLCanvas each time the mouse moved. The amount that the mouse moved is just the difference between its position and the center of the GLCanvas.

These mouse movements are accumulated over the gameplay/physics frame and the total used to rotate the player's viewpoint when the gameplay frame is processed. This is necessary since the gameplay and mouse are handled in separate threads. Each keyboard event also has its own thread and the graphics renderer as well. When I implement streamed loading of the world, this will also have its own thread.

I considered making this game multiplayer-capable, but real-time games aren't really suited to this; both latency and lag have always been significant in my experience.

## Wednesday, March 2, 2011

### Going Faster

I have been working on Cyclopean again.

I have modified the texture loader to be compatible with OpenGL 1.1, and to use direct buffers for sending the texture data to OpenGL. The compatibility issues were caused by my use of GL_UNSIGNED_INT_8_8_8_8_REV as the data type parameter. GL_UNSIGNED_BYTE works just as well, even though the buffer is an IntBuffer.

The process for creating a Vertex Buffer Object from map data now also uses a direct buffer, and I fixed a problem in the calculation of the size of the buffer, so there are no weird gigantic intermittent polygons anymore.

The rendering speed has increased dramatically now that everything is working right, so I am considering using a variant of this renderer for Nation Builder, instead of my shader-heavy normal-mapped high-detail 2-D renderer. The problem with the 2-D renderer is that it will take a lot of time to create good images for all the objects and creatures, and I just don't have the resources for that. Even if I decide to still use the 2-D renderer, I will have to downgrade the images to pixel-art level for practicality and remove the then-no-longer-needed shader programs.

## Friday, February 4, 2011

### Debuggy Spaceships

The game now loads spaceship designs and images from files and can construct such spaceships in the combat space. The files are entirely human-readable, so people will be able to mod in their own spaceships.

If you zoom in on the picture above, you will notice that each spaceship has a blue triangle, and some red dots near the edges. These are debugging tools. The blue triangle shows where the computer thinks the spaceship is, and the red dots show the collision hull. This allows me to line them up properly. I made the spaceship entirely white for clarity; the actual game will have beautifully drawn pixel-art spaceships, asteroids, beams, particles and so forth.

The collision hull, mass, rotational inertia, center of mass and all other physical properties are calculated from the spaceship image to make sure that they match. This has the consequence that, if you make a spaceship with only one opaque pixel in its texture, that it will be very light and quick, but also very fragile and having very small energy reserves. There is also no hard limit on how big a ship may be; it just depends on what your computer can handle.

## Friday, January 7, 2011

### Fun System

During the Christmas season, I have finally gotten around to doing some top-down design for Galactic Throne. I have gotten a good overview of how to make the combat, science and espionage into fun activities, but I still need to do more work on exploration and economics.

I have started developing again, hoping to focus on getting moving fleets and working planets in, but that has to wait until those last two parts of the top-down design are done.

So, I am experimenting with the map generator a bit. I have managed to make it arrange the stars such that the names no longer overlap the other stars or their names. In the process of testing it, I discovered the Fun system (pictured.) Clearly the name was generated by the random generator.

Hopefully with some more design I can make the game as fun as that solar system. :^)