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Short update about what I've been working on this week. Including a new crafting UI and some work on cranes for moving goods around the rig.

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So its been a funny old week for HOPE. I exactly can't recall how it came about, I think someone posted on twitter. Anyway, I was checking out a GUI library for Unity called Daikon Forge, or DFGUI for short. I'd been using a library called NGUI for HOPE, but I wasn't massively happy with it. While its a pretty good solution for touch-based interfaces. It leaves a hell of a lot to be desired for more complex UI as you might get in RPG's and the like.

As HOPE is quite a complicated game, it tends to have requirements similar to an RPG (Inventory and Crafting and such). So long story short, I figured I'd have a look at DFGUI because the video post I saw was interesting. It turns out that was a good plan, because DFGUI is streets ahead at the kind of accurate positioning and layout that HOPE needs.

To show you what I mean, here's a mockup of the HOPE crafting and inventory UI I made to test it out. This mirrors a lot of the existing interface (that I posted before or you can browse on youtube) but took me considerably less time and was far easier to layout. It's not functional yet, but its really just tying parts of the handler code together.

So a few days playing around with GUI has made me a convert, so over the next week or so I'll be porting all of the handler code to use DFGUI.

The other thing I started working on is the handling of goods movement around the rig. Specifically I wanted to get a medium-large crane working. So I set out to find the kind of crane I wanted. It turned out to be a marine crane (according to google image search anyway). So I started to model one of those, which turned out to be kind of interesting because I initially got the scale completely wrong and had to start again.

Here's a timelapse of the work-in-progress untextured crane in-situ on a test rig.

I'm going to try and get the crane model finished off for end of next week. I'm still trying to figure out how to texture the larger models. Might need some shader experiments too.

I've been inspired by some of the concepts for a game called Strike Vector, which while nothing like HOPE, has some really nice rig-type concept art and actually has some nice visuals (which I'm trying to understand how they're compositing them).

On another front, I'm also trying to get a web-based front end for one of my research testbeds, so hopefully will post some info on that effort soonish too. Apparently two books I've worked on are due to be released by the end of the year too ("Game AI Pro" and "The OUP Handbook of Virtuality"). Books take so damn long to get edited and published!!

Until next time, take care.


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