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Update – April 29th, 2013

So it’s been a little while since the last Shining Online development diary. As usual, there’s been no activity for a long time, but recently things have picked up so it seemed like a good idea to make an update whilst I’m in the mood.

Engine-wise things are shaping up nicely. As I’ve mentioned in the Shining Online update thread, the engine data is extremely flexible right now. Weapons, armour and items are all loaded from template files rather than being hard-coded. Since then, things have been updated so all resources (graphics, sounds, maps etc) are all loaded from resource files as well.

This has added some overhead (and probably explains why things have been so slow), but it’s made modifying the game much easier. Adding a new weapon is now a matter of updating the weapons file and adding a sprite resource. All of this fits in nicely with the new kernel-based game loop, so resources and content can be loaded during gameplay, either when a file changes or manually through the debug console.

Along with the new resource and content setup, there’s also a new render pipeline and entity management system.

The rendering system isn’t particularly complex, but it handles stuff like rendering tilemaps and sprite animations. And yes, animations are handled by the resource system so they can be tweaked in realtime 🙂

The entity system is a topic for another day. Right now it’s still a little early, so the details haven’t been nailed down, but there’s already support for player movement as well as NPC’s. The NPC’s don’t do anything yet, but with a bit of luck they’ll be walking around soon.

The game isn’t the only thing that’s been receiving attention lately – the website will be getting an overhaul as well. The design probably won’t change (I still suck at that), but the backend is being re-written to handle the online features and tie everything together.

Until next time!

Back in the Saddle

It’s been a while since the last dev diary, and it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Lots of things have changed, but there’s not really much to show. At the moment I’m writing a pretty hefty set of articles on the technical side of the game. There’s a lot of notes to go through so I’m not really sure when it will be ready, but it seemed like a waste to do so much work behind the scenes without sharing it.

The biggest change was the switch to a kernel based engine. It’s added a bit of overhead, and it’s probably over-engineering things, but it makes adding new functionality to the main loop a lot easier. Services can be added and removed dynamically, and can either be called every loop (like the screen renderer) or just sit in the background (like the resource database).

Once example of how useful this can be is with the debug listener. A DebugListener service object can be created and added, and it watches for changes to certain directories. Once a change is detected, it send an event so the resource manager can reload things. Because it’s added dynamically, it can be left out of non-debug releases, or even added via the debug console during runtime.

About progress on BABS

Hi all, even though the worklog is empty BABS 3 development is progressing at full speed. Just head over to the Shiny Sword/BABS forum to find out about the latest advancements. These include vast improvements to the tile editor and the introduction of arbitrary tile sizes, among many many other things 😉

Popup battle screen

Here’s a screen shot of the pop-up battle sequence. Right not I just have the map fade to black, and the battle background appears. I still need to create the artwork for the attack and defend sequences for the guards, hero, and imps.

Also, my idea for the right column is to show a min-map and info on current character. Kind of like how you could access that in Shining Force, but in this case it’s always visible.

Sketches (Imp, Gaurd, and background)

Here are some sketches of some of the first things to appear in the game. The background will be used in the first battle of the game which will be between the hero with a couple of gaurds, verus a few imps. The gaurd and imp are also show in the sketches.

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