Monday, January 11, 2010

Pilgrimage to Derby

Between the snow, powercuts and personal injury I managed to make it to my appointed weekend meeting with Keith, the writer on Level Up and now my full partner in crime on Gather Up (2D Art, Concept Art, Design and Writing). He's been drawing up some awesome gun concepts that I'm dying to put up here.

I've added a new enemy type and worked on some persuit AI so I can continue to put the combat through it's paces. Got a few more enviromental bits to make so that the level is fully playable. Finger is still kinda puffy, but it's bearing up.

Monday, January 4, 2010


I got this going, and then promptly shut my finger in a car door. It's going to put a but of a damper on my coding activities for the next few days.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The 'Black Triangle' of Gather Up

Or at least, one black triangle of Gather Up.

I remember reading a story a little while back (it might have been on Gamasutra) about programming achievements that are vital to a projects success but underwhelming to outside observers. This was placed in context of the team spending weeks of effort to get a single black triangle on screen and the ensuing confusion of everyone else who just couldn't figure what was so great about it. It certainly doesn't sound or look very impressive.

It's the sort of thing that isn't very good for moral. It certainly hasn't done mine any good. Which is what makes middlewear more attractive because it makes it easier to achieve things quickly and get tangible results.

Anyway, I hit on of those black triangle achievements when I wrote the first part of my tile import/refresh code for Mappy (the level editor I use). I had already written the refresh code, which basically added a one button option to re-load the png of the current tileset. Now I'm expanding on it to append all the 'Marker Tiles' for placing enemies and objects in the level on the end of the tile list whenever I refresh.

This means that I no longer have to waste precious tilesheet space for marker tiles. Level Up only had a single tile sheet and no huge number of objects to add (Level Up had about 30 marker tiles. Gather up already has 20 marker tiles and is looking to total up to about 120 all together). It also means I can ensure that I don't accidentally place the market tiles as physical parts of the tileset. It also means I can use code to fill out a bunch of tile values so I don't have to spend quite as much time manually adding NPC's/enemies ect to a tileset.

To an outsider though, it's pretty boring. It doesn't make the game do anything cool. In fact it's existence won't even be noted by people playing the game aside from hopefully giving me more time to focus on level layouts and detailing areas. In that sense I'm busy punching the air but can't quite explain to anyone else why.