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Post news Report RSS Turnover - Progress Report for 1/6 - Sprite & Engine Work

Sprite improvements, cut scene improvements, and engine work are detailed in this progress update for Turnover.

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Back from New Year break. I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday. Let’s get 2015 started!

More Sprite Improvements

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I’ve been adding shading to the character sprites to add some depth, so that their palette isn’t as flat. Look at the shading on the Sentinel’s hat above.

I also added some lighting to each sprite, taking into account for gun fire. Here’s a muzzle flash light effect on the Sentinel’s body:

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I think the Security Turret may be a better example. Here is the previously turret animation when firing:

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Here’s the new animation, below. Notice the proper flash on the body when it fires. Lately, I’ve been reworking a number of sprites to cover details like this.

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So you can see it in comparison with the old one, here is the new muzzle flash sprite. Not as square now.

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Cut Scenes

I’ve been putting some time into smoothing out cut scenes in game. I’ve coded in much better support for animations and transitions.

To keep with the sprite improvements, I added a little shading to Clea’s cut scene sprite, just to give a better sense of lighting. Here’s a before and after.

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New Collision System

I recently rewrote Turnover’s collision system to use a proper QuadTree approach.

The system I previously wrote used a spatial hashing system. It did lower the amount of collision calculations each tick, but it was still pretty inefficient. Collision was the biggest time eater in my game loop. I knew that I would eventually have to replace it with something better.

When I wrote the first version of the QuadTree system, everything worked alright. I was disappointed to notice that tick time was not markedly reduced. Since I just “plugged” the QuadTree work it into my engine, I knew it wasn’t very tailored for the specifics.

The first problem I encountered was that large entities were not checking collision with the entities in every leaf they inhabited. In a QuadTree, you usually determine which “leaf” an entity is in by their general position. This caused a problem when a large entity encompassed many leaves, not just snuggled in single point position within a tiny leaf.

So, instead of using an entity’s position to drill down which sub-tree he would check collision in, I made the entity check all the sub-leaves they collide with, not just position into. It is a little more expensive, but it is more accurate. This fixed the problem with large entities.

The next thing I did was separated static entities from moving entities within the tree. When I initially loaded entities each tick into the tree, I was pulling and pushing ones whose position never changed, which was just wasting time. So, I rewrote my manager system to load static entities (walls) into the tree at level load and to leave them there. From there, I only update the moving entities (characters, bullets, etc…) in the tree each tick. This had a huge impact in improving performance.

So, what was the end effect? About a 20%+ performance gain. The system still needs some fine tuning, but for a few days work, I’m very happy.

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