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BlackWingedGames Blog

I have added a menu screen. I used a starfield+skybpox code that I already had, slapped in a title and some buttons, and voila, instant menu screen. Actually, I still have to do a lot of work, but its good to get placeholders in there.
There will be a skirmish mode and campaign mode. I will concentrate on skirmish mode first, so that I will have something people can playtest as soon as possible. The ultimate plan is to have online multiplayer, but I dont know much about that stuff so that will come much later. I will concentrate on challenging AI for a great single player experience first.


BlackWingedGames Blog

I have been working very hard on a pathfinding system. I am quite pleased with the results. It uses an A* algorith with a few tweaks. Then the generated path is smoothed a bit. Finally, as the agent follows the path, it is using local sensory data for reactive bahaviours, so even though the path is still a bit wobbly, the resulting motion is smooth and believable.

I've also been working on a task management system, which priorities the tasks that needs to be done and dispatches them when appropriate.


BlackWingedGames Blog

My terrain system uses a scalar field and marching cubes to create polygons. It is very fast so I do it often. I implemented a 'painting system' to carve out levels, but then I thought, hey, this should be part of the gameplay. So I made a digger unit who can make tunnels.

So you see, I have only a rough idea of where I am headed with this game. I like it like that. It allows me to find happy accidents to grab, test and then keep or throw out. I have made a few games by designing it thoroughly beforehand and trying not to deviate too much from it. But I think a looser approach is needed.

I remember the anecdote of Mr Baum as he was writing the wizard of oz. He was so grumpy for ages until one day his demeanor just changed and he was so happy and smiley. When asked the reason for this abrupt change, he simply said: "I just let my characters do what they want to."

Something like that anyway. And that's how I feel about this game. I will let the game lead me. I will also seek lots of feedback from others, and really listen to their suggestions. It's hard being a lone developer. Sometimes its hard to see the wood for the trees, or in this case, the rocky substrate for the pebbles.

Feeling great

BlackWingedGames Blog

I am in heaven. I love programming, when it's like this. There is a concept in psychology called 'flow' (hehe). It's when you are so into something that you lose all track of time. It's the greatest type of happiness. It happens when you are doing something that is quite challenging, but it is within your skillset. If it's too hard it's frustrating. If it's too easy it's boring. There is a sweet spot in the middle and that's where I am when I am coding this game.

Since the last time, I have added quite a lot. It now has a clickable minimap, which can teleport you anywhere on the map. There is terrain, which comes from a tesselated scalar field, loaded from a channel in a texture for easy level creation. The agents collide with the terrain and some will even steer to avoid it. It also has accelerating edge scrolling, and mousewheel zooming.

So all in all, a very good day of programming.

Tomorrow, I will be looking into waypoints. Let's hope they are yaypoints rather than naypoints!

Making a start

BlackWingedGames Blog

Well, I've made a good start. You know how it is at the beginning: Setting it up the project, linking libraries, creating directories, copying source files and reusable assets like fonts, renaming stuff, etc. It's such a pain but now it's all pretty much there.

Now I'm getting into the part of the project which is the most fun. The 10% to 50% part where it's about prototyping, testing, tweaking and throwing out bad ideas, replacing them with better ones. I love this part, when I can just forget the world and concentrate on the game. When code spurts out of my fingertips, bypassing conscious thought. When the structure forms and grows before my eyes.

I've uploaded a short video showing a base, and two types of units. There is a forager, whose role is just to go out and bring back the green orbs, to get resources for building. And then there are the weak, skittish darts, that are looking for something to do.

I spent most time on the forager code, and they do their job pretty well. They just head towards the closest unclaimed orb, grab it and take it back to the base. Nothing too complex but it took a few redesigns of the logic. But anyway, I'm pretty happy with it.

Next on the list: more unit types and a bit more beautification.


BlackWingedGames Blog

Welcome to this dark corner of the world.
I am starting a new development direction and a brand new game. I got to the point where I had too many half finished works, vastly outweighing the finished ones. So I thought f**k it, and I moved them all to an 'in limbo' folder and decided to concentrate on a single game, and polish it until it gleams.
So, I will be posting fairly regular updates about my progress, and hoping to get lots of feedback to make it as bum-spankingly fun as I possibly can.
Cheers, my good friends.

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