October in Review (Part1)
To promote better awareness of Blockade Runner's progressing overhauls, we'd decided a few weeks ago to try and go for bi-weekly reviews instead of monthly summaries alone. October's bi-weekly ended up a tad delayed due to code renovations needing 'all hands on deck', but we'll be trying to keep up with the practice going forward just to get on that bi-weekly habit.
We've also had planned for some special bits of information to be posted today, but it ended being too much of an information dump for a single post so we decided we'll do the bi-weekly update today and roll the new info tomorrow. And no, it's not the update, and no it's not a solid release date. =P
Be sure to check back tomorrow or so, accounting for ModDB's posting delays! ^^
Tidbits from October Week 1
In Brief: We determine it's time to switch out of our custom font builder and utilize the awesome BMFont font generator by AngelCode, as well as completely rebuild the state manager to support better menu and window behavior. Old text arrays are replaced, Micah finishes a second character model face (a female this time), and Nathan gets most of BMFont integrated by the end of the week.
Tidbits from October Week 2
In Brief: Zack streamlines the clunky old entity hierarchy, Micah makes some menu 'woop' noises while Nathan completes the integration of BMFont. Gabe runs the new state manager through its paces, and while waiting for Gabe, Nathan starts work on a simplified 2D surface system to combine UI elements to reduce overhead. Micah rounds out the week by experimenting with block placement animations in 3dsmax!
Bullet Points for 1st Half of October
+ New 2D Surfaces system to bunch text into single quad
+ Loading times for BR cut in half
+ UI restored enough to be able to join a game again
+ Normals and tangents for proper lighting fixed
+ Pieces (blocks) being refactored for improved mod-ability
- All in-game UI from last May will need to be replaced (we might launch mid-replacement for supporters regardless)
- Specular (glossy shines) still being diagnosed for issues
- 3D Mesh (entity/prefabs) structure being renovated
October Synopsis (Part 1)
Almost all of September was concentrating on overhauling the 2D ends of the game, including a complete revamp of the state manager for handling in-game windows, buttons, textfields, etc. With the state manager brought to standards, it makes making menus and pop-up windows much easier, and much cleaner.
The first week of October was mostly about field testing the state manager and 2D renovations and correcting any bugs that cropped up (like that pesky 2D Surface generator that was resolved in the first week!). There was some great progress made in terms of restoring the 2D interface, although unfortunately we've concluded all of the UI we'd built back around April-May will have to be scrapped under the new system.
The second week Nathan started to look into getting the lighting angles to show up properly (a problem we've held held off since the overhaul this spring), which in re-building properly has brought some issues to our attention. Re-structuring the 3D mesh building is now scheduled for all of October to make sure its done correctly, and takes overall priority. (Zack has it nearly completed in Week 3)
Just another reminder, we've got some fairly significant information dropping tomorrow or so (ModDB sometimes takes a couple days to post), so don't forget to check out back in a few days (or subscribe to the newsletter)!
Note: The 'Summer and Autumn Upgrade" article was already posted on Oct 26th in the Blockade Runner Forums, so check the forum posting here if you don't want to wait on ModDB.
To follow the daily development resource postings, head to the forum, sign up for the newsletter, follow the Twitter, or check out the Facebook page! We're also on the Dev Chat from 9:00am-5:00pm (EST) almost every day, so if you've got a question or comment fire away!