Monday, 7 September 2009

Six Months' Work

Okay, so it doesn't look like much, but (like Transformers) there's more than meets the eye here. Or rather, exactly as much as meets the eye. Click to embiggen (a bit), should you so desire.

This neatly (if unimpressively) shows what's been going on in the Lemon Scented Shed since the video we did in March. It's the same old test level layout, but with a few differences:

  • More particles. 10,000 of them, to be precise (compared to the meagre 3,000 in the video). And they're an awful lot more efficient, and an awful lot more stable and less prone to "explode" than they were before. Fluid physics is always a balancing act between looking cool and behaving stably, but there were broken parts of the underlying maths which have now been fixed.
  • A sensible framerate. We "fudged" the framerate a bit in the last video - in reality the game was struggling to make 20FPS. Now, with more than 3 times the amount of paint, we rock a steady 30FPS as a minimum.
  • Paint-coloured paint. What you're seeing there is a mix of blue and yellow paint, which mixes to make green, which is what you'd expect from a subtractive substance like paint. Previously we were working with a "light based" RGB colour system in which you got yellow by mixing red and green, and if you mixed yellow and blue you got white, which is clearly not intuitive for paint. Now we're using a pixel shader to convert to an RYB colour wheel like they probably taught you in school, and also gave the paint a nice cartoony black outline.
  • The beginnings of a GUI system. The "Hello World" in the top left corner shows that the GUI library (Guichan - we tried using CEGUI but it was far too cumbersome and not at all friendly to add to the project) is in and working. The next step is to expand that into a rudimentary level editor so that we can start building interesting toys and combining them into new test levels in order to prototype and "find the fun". We're quite excited about the prospect of doing that part.
This, hopefully, represents the end of the first really difficult stage. Building toys and levels and gameplay is something which should happen a lot more quickly, relatively speaking, so this should start actually looking like a game (albeit one with horrible programmer art for a while) before too long. Exciting times!

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