Let's get this out of the way right now: Work's been slow on TFH. When you get out of the habit of working on something, it's hard to get back in to the habit again, especially when the most immediate task at hand is perhaps the largest, and most tedious hurdle in developing the game. Not to mention the Holidays are here, and with it a flurry of new games. Left4Dead and Sonic Unleashed will no doubt be given a lot of my love in the weeks to come.
The devil I speak of is Sonic's equip menu. Writing menu systems sucks, but doing an equip menu like this is something I've never even thought about attempting before and it's been an interesting experience. That's not to say I haven't done anything in the month since the previous update, it's just the majority of this update has been spent thinking about how it should be done. I think I've come up with a system that works:
- Have a series of numbered flags, both for what is currently in ownership and what is currently equipped. Let's say Ownership is a negative flag, Currently equipped is a positive flag. For example, Flag -1 is ownership of item 1, Flag 1 is equipping of item 1.
- Build a list of which negative flags are on.
- The list then references an external data file where the numbers are translated in to actual item names and descriptions.
- When it does this, it checks to see if the item is equipped already. If it is, the item text color is changed to grey.
- When trying to equip something, check to see if there are enough available slots for it to fit. If not, instantly unequip the item.
All that's really left is to put that in to action. In addition to writing that out, I've also redesigned the look of Sonic's menu. The old equip menu was a separate screen, showing a list of both gems and shoes:
It works sort of like the Xbox blade system or the PS3's XMB in that you press left and right to shuffle through the menu sections, and you press up and down to select individual items in the menu. Pressing a button will select the shoe equip section and allow you to browse the list. I'm hoping this is better organized looking; I'm not entirely confident in my ability to make readable menus.
And that... is pretty much it for this month's update. I've been further cleaning up Sonic's run animation, but I doubt you want to see that. Hopefully the December update will be more substantial; once I force my way through Sonic's equip menu the rest of the work coding the game's features should be a breeze.