On a mild and balmy August day in the year 1742, two workmen building a bench in a butter market discovered a millstone buried just beneath them.
"What the feck is that, Jim!?"
"Dunno Seth, 'tis round and made of stone ..."
"Look, it's one of them there millstones things ..."
"Well feck it, it can't stay there, we've a bench for the sale of butter to build!"
So swearing mightily they set upon moving the stone. After many minutes of toil they succeeded and slowly the stone shifted revealing a shaft, round and dark, beckoning mysteriously as it sank down into the Stygian gloom
"Go on Seth, get in there and have a look, might be treasure we could be rich!"
"Not on your nelly Jim, it's as dark as a fox's arsehole, probably leads straight to the depths of Hades!"
So a young boy was hastily 'volunteered' and sent down, clambering down ancient toeholds cut shallowly into the rock. And lo the Royston Cave* was discovered and an enigma to its purpose born.
While only dirt and old bones were discovered in Royston ( and some strange carvings thought to date back to the Knights Templar) we all love discovering hidden things ... which brings me neatly onto this article's first topic, almost as if I had planned it all along.
So, having a game with a fully destructible level really lends itself to hiding stuff and that's exactly what we've done, below you can see the player discover a portal to a hidden section of the map.
I'm not going to reveal too much here but we've had a lot of fun hiding stuff. The tricky part is giving a clue to the player about something being hidden without making it too obvious
Next up we've added in a new sky box texture, It was quite hard to disguise the fact we use a cube as our skybox (especially the corners) but on the other hand with a fixed camera I don't have to worry about a couple of the views, such as above and behind the camera. Still needs a little more work but I think it does help to disguise the sky box's geometry ( I was told later that we can have any shape for the sky object and for cut scenes we would need all the directions so it'll probably all change). I am pretty happy with how the clouds turned out though
Last up there's the navigation and pathing we're implementing for the AI, its a pretty big job especially the bit that gets the enemies to follow a path natually.
'One of the complaints we got from our early testers was the the AI was a bit dumb. Fair enough it is a bit dumb so we added navigation grids, A-star, some steering code and now the little robot crab/spider things chase you around'
Here's us painting the navigation mesh for our AI enemies pathing, red for stop and green for go, all done in our fancy editor, hopefully this should stop them falling of the edge, which is quite frankly quite rather embarrassing Ai behavior
I think I've got the easy bit as Dazza ( the programmer) described the experience of writing the steering code being a bit like repeatedly punching yourself in the genitals, moderately painful and very confusing as to why the heck you started doing it in the first place.
* some further information on Royston cave if you're interested, Royston Cave: A Medieval Enigma
Anyway comment below if you feel inclined, my girlfriend thinks I might gone a bit over the top with this articles intro so i'd interested to know your opinion especially as you've managed to read this far :)
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