Tag Archives: graphics

To Do: Still Lots

click to enlarge

Development continues steadily on Free Company here in the Shed. I’ve been doing a lot of fiddly bits that don’t particularly lend themselves well to individual highlighting. So here’s a little sampling of my recent to do list:

  • I’ve fixed up the shadow mapping a lot better so it now works properly when you scroll about the world and interacts better with the point lights (orthographic projection, once I figured out not to divide by the far clip anymore, was the key).
  • I’ve added little notification numbers that float up above enemies and the player’s mercs when they take damage or are healed.
  • I’ve started to build up the enemy variety by adding three differently armed variants of the bare-chested barbarian you can see above.
  • Improved the tooltips for all the items so they give details on the item’s stats.
  • Changed the font to a smaller variant and tweaked all the font colours to be less garish.
  • Boosted the light level on all the interactive objects to make them stand out a bit more from the background.
  • Properly cleaned up render targets when the fancy effects are disabled.
  • Added a modular system for useable items, like health potions and made the health potion drinkable as an example.
  • Added chainmail armour and made body armour variants visually swappable and have an impact on the player’s stats.
  • Added the capability for head variants and beheading to humanoid enemies.
  • Tweaked enemy stats and added more scope for variance in stats generally, hopefully to increase difficulty and tactical variety.
  • Now possible to edit mercenary nick names and compare their stats in the campaign screens.
  • Fixed some loading state bugs.
Outside of working on the game, I went to London Indies for the first time this week and slightly nervously introduced myself to some lovely people while sipping on a beer. Other braver (crazier?) people apparently made out like ninjas in the street outside. It was fun and I’m sure I’ll go again.
I also succeeded in repairing my long serving monitor in true hardcore indie developer style, using nothing but a soldering iron and some capacitors I ordered off the internet. Total cost £18. I was pretty pleased with myself when it actually worked. This is not the kind of madcap thing I usually have any success with.

If I had a hammer…

Free Company with highlight lights

Click to enlarge

The development of Free Company continues this week with the addition of  lighting themes to the procedural tactical battle generator. In the shot above you can see my first stab at the ubiquitous ‘orange & teal’ theme that has become so popular in Hollywood. The basic principle is to help increase the variation that players see between levels in a simple, asset cheap, way. As the generator progresses I’m intending to tie the lighting colour theme to other aspects of the contract to help enhance whatever mood suits that particular contract. Right now though it’s just a completely random pick.

I grabbed a couple more shots of it in action so you can better see to what I am referring:

More light theme examples

I call them "Sandy" and "Red-ish"

I also spent some time since the last update finishing the first pass on the ‘overgame’ campaign code and UI. A player can now successfully navigate between the overgame layer and a series of tactical battles while retaining the same set of mercenaries. Right now the main tie between the two layers is whether the mercenaries died, whether they completed the contract and what weapons they bought from the campaign shop. As development progresses I’m going to try and increase the amount of interdependency between the two game states to help keep them feeling like a cohesive whole. Exactly how is going to depend on playtesting.

Finally I added a really big hammer.

Hammer time

Thor would be proud

Rugs, doors and better options

A rug and a door in a Free Company Level

It’s the Easter holidays here at the Robotic Shed, a time for doing some gardening & pondering the chocolatey eggs to come. However amidst the shocking indolence some forward progress has been made, which, if you squint a bit you might be able to find some proof of in the screenshot above.

Mainly, I’ve had another pass over the game’s options menu and finally made sure that everything in there can be toggled on and off during the game as well as before it. I also added a couple of new options; 1) to change the texture quality 2) to toggle v-synch on or off and 3) to rebind the game’s control keys. Usually this kind of thing is fiddled about with at the last-minute in a game’s development but I decided to get it out of the way now as their broken-ness had eventually cracked the deep buried QA tester in me.

I’ve also added normal maps to most of the models since the last update and fixed up their shading code. They have to be quite pronounced to be actually visible at the game’s camera distance but I think it improves the look of things like the stone walls and tiled floor quite a lot from some angles. Normal maps were the last significant piece of the game’s graphics ‘tech’ that weren’t working so it’s nice to have them finished and therefore the last steps in the asset creation pipeline nailed down.

Finally, I’ve added a couple of new object types to the level furnishing mix; a new fancy rug at floor level and a door. The door is animated but is still awaiting a bit of man-door interaction code before it’s a finished thing. I suspect doors are probably going to be the main thing other than enemies that the player’s mercenaries will interact with as they complete a level’s objectives. I’m not sure I’ll match Deus Ex’s impressive number of ways to interact with a door but I’ll at least manage opening and closing.