I'm Chris. I'm making games and I'm writing tools for different things. Such as games ;) Also, this is my personal private account thingy. I'm only officially speaking for things related to PlayBlack. Nothing else. So you know.
It's friday and a good time to write another dev rambling!
This week was a bit dev-unfriendly. I had a lot of stuff to do at RL work and managed to do only little things for Firewalker. But better little things than no things at all.
First official act this week was to change the ration of pixels to world units.
That describes how many world units to fit into the size of a pixel.
By lessening this value, pixels will grow larger, which is what I wanted. Large pixely goodness.
It also blew up all the test level arrangements. Oh well.
Other than that I finished the inventory refactoring I was about to do. It's now nice and clean like it should be. Entities can have "Inventory bags" and they will be projected on an inventory GUI when required. Previously it was ... well not like that. More ... messy.
Additionally to that, there was finally nothing left that was blocking the loot drops implementation. So I went ahead and wrote mobs dropping loot. Generally speaking it's a kind of loot dispenser that would dispense items upon certain inputs such as entity death or if something calls its Drop method.
That meant that I also had to start implementing items displayed in the world. A player can pick them up by clicking on them. Hovering over an item with the mouse will show its name. Upon collecting them they will be auto-sorted into the player inventory.
Oh also, very important: My better half started on a new character spritesheet for the main player.
That new one looks pretty good and definitely a 1000x better than the old one. Although, movement animation is still iffy and needs adjustments. She's at it.
So this is what happened this week.
Here's a snippet of the road map so far (it's ever-changing but it represents a more or less accurate plan of things) - for your reading-pleasure (does not include artist stuff, only code).
- 0000019: [Feature] Sound Manager (damagefilter) - feedback.
- 0000006: [Feature] Dashing Movement (damagefilter) - assigned.
- 0000025: [Refactoring] Refactor AI State Machine into a Behaviour Tree (damagefilter) - assigned.
- 0000023: [Menu] ConVars Editor Window (damagefilter) - assigned.
- 0000022: [Feature] Quest System (Devenias) - assigned.
- 0000015: [Feature] Status Effect Display (damagefilter) - assigned.
- 0000010: [Feature] Loot Drops (damagefilter) - resolved.
- 0000012: [Feature] Inventory System & GUI (damagefilter) - resolved.
- 0000021: [Refactoring] Inventory Rendering (damagefilter) - resolved.
- 0000011: [Feature] Player elemental immunity (damagefilter) - resolved.
- 0000017: [Feature] Save State System (damagefilter) - resolved.
- 0000024: [Menu] Item Editor (damagefilter) - resolved.
- 0000013: [Feature] Items & Item Stacks System (damagefilter) - resolved.
- 0000020: [Feature] Monies! (damagefilter) - resolved.
- 0000016: [Feature] Game Logic System (damagefilter) - resolved.
- 0000009: [Refactoring] Move Player Movement into separate script (damagefilter) - resolved.
- 0000008: [Feature] ConVars & Global States (damagefilter) - resolved.
- 0000007: [Feature] Chat Display System (damagefilter) - resolved.
- 0000005: [General] Sprinting needs stamina (damagefilter) - resolved.
- 0000004: [Feature] Direct callbacks to state on state switch in FSM (damagefilter) - resolved.
- 0000003: [Feature] XML Dialog Flow System (damagefilter) - resolved.
- 0000002: [Feature] Day and Night Cycle and global clock (damagefilter) - resolved.
- 0000001: [Feature] Entity Attribute System (damagefilter) - resolved.
Next week I'm doing the status display and AI refactoring, which will likely take a lot of time as a behaviour tree is not exactly a trivial thing to implement.
Additionally, what is not in the roadmap yet, I need to re-implement the dialogue system. And maybe, while I'm at it, I can come up with something more fashionable.
That's it for this week,
thanks a lot for reading!
It's time for another Dev Ramble because a lot of stuff has been done since the last blog.
I have been working on various editors as well as game components and with the recent release of the Unity 4.6 beta, I was able to start throwing out NGUI from my project.
So that's cool.
So, what did happen?
First of all, there has been put more work into the city spritesheet. The grass was changed, new trees were added and the overall tone was adjusted to be slightly gloomier.
Here's a quick screen grab.
That player sprite there is also a subject to change (a lot). It's supposed to be a battle monk. Only, as you can see, the proportions relative to the environment are waaaay off. We're constantly iterating on it. There will probably also be a second set of larger houses soon.
Additionally to some art improvements, I was working on the save-game system, which is done by now. It's as simple as streaming all entities in a scene into a bunch of bytes and put them into a zip file. When loading scene data it will wipe the entire "default" scene clear and restore what was saved to that zip file. That is it - simply speaking. In reality it does a whole lot more than that.
I have also been working on implementing items in a fashionable way. That is to say, I am mimicking the behaviour of the RPG Maker. You get to define a set of items by names and values. That's what makes up an item. Like this:
Attributes as shown in the editor picture will assume random values (if values apply) between the minimum and maximum value definitions. It's also possible that an attribute is not attached to the item when spawned. So an item may have a super effective or useful attribute but it can only be occasionally found.
This makes for interesting item mechanics in my imagination. I hope it'll come out as good as I think it will, in the end.
Now that items are ready and a framework is layed out, I can start re-doing the whole inventory GUI.
Right now it works via NGUI (the free 2.7 version) but since Unity 4.6 comes with its own GUI system, I'll switch to that instead. This way I can use the same sprite data for inventory display and for displaying items in the world. No fuzzing about with different sprite atlases.
On a related note, the "Tech Foundation" release, which includes all the framework code to be functional, is due in december this year. But I'm through by 59% with all the scheduled tasks. Taking into account fluctuation in plans and requirements, I make it a 47% done.
Serious work started about 3 months ago so I'm about in-time with that planned release.
In december I will make a games page on indiedb too so, if you feel like it, you'll have something to track.
The next big thing I have planned is changing from a state machine to behaviour trees with my AI. It will allow me to make the enemies behave in all sorts of complex or simple ways depending on their defined tree of behaviours and decision making.
For now, that's about it. Thanks for reading!
Here's a gif that shows lamps reacting on time of day.
It looks a bit crude but for real, this looks really cool. Couldn't resist showing it off :P
Just a little fun thing, an example of entities reacting with the world time.
This entity in particular is a Func_Lamplight. Hehe.
Work on a quest system has been started so that will be a thing soon.
Is this thing on?
So here I am again. Today, I would like to introduce you to my "Project-30" which is not my 30st project but a thing where the deadline is the day I turn 30.
Which is about 3.5 years from now on.
I'm working on this mostly on my own. I had enough of large teams as you might imagine.
So that is realistic, no?
I did not make a game page for it yet for there is really not so much to show off so far as I've been busy working on the "core systems" to get the game running.
I want to talk about this progress but not today.
Today I'll simply want to introduce you to the game and where I'm heading with it.
Here's a picture of the earliest prototype (which I posted here)
Today, Firewalker looks significantly different. For once I dropped the 3D aspect and went with 2D 16-bit optics. It's also not a sidescroller anymore but top-down. There is not much representative material yet but here's an old part of a screengrab from my testpark map.
This decision came mostly from me wanting to do something retro-looking, yet a bit modern. I also knew that I have a serious lack of resources when it comes to 3D. I'm not exactly a bad-ass 3D artist.
So what is Firewalker all about?
It is a mixture of diablo-esque hack & slay gameplay and Zelda-style RPG puzzle solving, dungeons and questing. There will be a lot of bloody pixels and dark humour while the story evolves to its bitter bitter end.
That's where I want to take it but that is not everything.
My personal favourite feature is the day and night cycle. It's a very organic thing.
For instance, certain enemies will only spawn at night. Certain shops may also only be open the hour after midnight. Also traveling around the world in the dark is much more dangerous.
I think there's a lot of dynamic gameplay to gain from this.
So that is that.
During further development I'll provide builds up until a certain stage for everybody to try out if they so want.
Thanks for reading, folks.
It's me again to inform you that I'm moving my "blog" to playblackstudios.net
Not that I don't like it here on ModDB anymore.
It's more the fact that we made a bradn new website and we ought to use it over there ;)
Check out the latest blog:
That's about it, folks! ;)
The second update to our website has been deployed.
Check the changelist/bugfixes/etc here
Next will be soe technical updates to harden the security on our site.
have you checked out our shiney Minecraft Server already?
It's cool, it's pure and it runs on our mighty root server.
You will usually find the PlayBlack guys there, running around and buildung stuff, because that is what we can do best :P
You do not have build rights as a visitor, ask for them or type /motd in the chat ;)
That's it for today folks!
Thx for reading!
I thought I blogged a bit more by now but either all my blogs are gone or I just didn't do it for no good reason.
Funny how my brain sometimes has punctures ;)
We were working quite a bit these days, besides playing Minecraft way too much, ofc.
Most of the work was dedicated to the new playblackstudios.net website,
the secureing of our new root server and the problems it causes.
You know, like FTP Services not working properly, E-Mails beeing bounced back or
not coming to the server at all because the firewall wouldn't allow it ....
stuff like that.
But now, our emails are working properly again and you can contact us as usual.
If you like to, that is.
Lets talk a bit about the website.
Many people asked me about what that PlayBlack thing is going to be, how and why.
We already have enough platforms to advertise our mods.
Well, that's totally true.
But PlayBlack isn't going to be a platform to advertise your mod or game.
It is going to be a development framework for the whole team.
We will offer services like bugtrackers, SVN Repositories, forums and many more.
On one server, under one domain.
With one account per user. (That's the plan, I'm looking into bridging login methods in a secure way)
However, if you want to know more, look here and read the news.
It's all in alpha, if you like to call it that way, but under heavy development.
And for now I'll just use it as information site until everything runs fine and we can start
testing it with other mod teams etc.
Here I am again with a little status report.
We managed to wrap a lot of things up lately.
New arm models, a lot of coding stuff, Roy basically re-coded everything that has
to do with effects to work with the engines particle system.
We also prepared a lot of guns for importing into the game
and just today I received a mail from Benjamin Dalling, a professional modeler who
was so very kind to help us with the character models, with a progress screenshot of the first
character (a "light" guard from the prison).
You'll see soon enough but one thing's for sure.
It's absolutely stunning.
I'm still working on the scripts.
Due to a massive lack of time, this is going very slow and the level design
has stopped for the moment until everythign is layed out properly.
Ian Wiese finally got some work from us, he will be the voice of John Doe.
He's also voice acting for Visage and several other mods and is very talented.
So, you see we're pretty busy and working a lot.
The reason why there is no update yet is that the team shrinked a lot
and we're actually around 6 people left (out of 21) working on pi.
I'm sure we will find new members (especially modelers and level designers)
but since I'm not yet finished with the scripts I'm not actively searching right now.
On a sad note,
the glorious blackwater left the team for he has not enough time anymore.
That was a very grave day when he told me that ...
We'll see that we find a replacement for him asap because his services were
really valuable for us and now that he's gone development has slowed down rapidly again.
I would like him to come back some day though
(You know that you will, Jesse! >:) )
That's it for now, folks!
Have a good day!
Time for another update!
We have some Stuff coming your way ;)
Roy was working hard to improve the looks of Prison Island while the Concept Guys
were making proper concepts (scripts and the like).
So in the next updates (yes updates) we want to show you how Prison Island looks like right now.
That includes Explosions, smoke of every kind, water effects and whatnot.
Also we have some more Stuff almost ready for you and we all can't wait to show it off.
I'm not going to spoil it before it is finished though.
What is finished, however, is the gibbing system.
With proper models the player is now able, just like in l4d for example, to shoot off limbs from enemies.
It's not bug free yet but we're unable to test it without proper character models.
If you think you can help us out send me a PM ;)
Okay, that's it for now, Folks!
Have a nice sunday!
Just a quick update before I get off to work at the glorious Filmpark Babelsberg :P
Roy supplied the team with the latest builds for dlls, fixing that fuXin crash on game startup which was probably caused by valve, because they obviously like to repair their stuff to death ...
So yeah. It runs again.
That release has also the new gibbing system, which happens to work now and our particle system.
I mean... it's valve ones but Roy heavily modified it.
Next will be the ominous energy system and some HUD tweaks to add bars instead of numbers.
Thx to Jesse for he figured out how to realise that bar in a satisfactory manner.
Other than that ... it's all coming along very slowly.
We have our next update planned already but since we don't want you to look at standard hl2 weapons and arm models I'm afraid you'll have to wait until we have it done with at least one weapon in order to show you the features Roy implemented ^^
Prison is coming along nicely.
The oilrig concept (scripts etc) is done ...
Island still needs some fixing...
But that's about it, Folks!