“And now, for something completely different… It’s….” ;)
…the latest video. In keeping with the previous milestone vids I kept the length to two minutes–basically just enough to show that the latest work actually functions and does what it’s supposed to. I would have had this up over the weekend, but I ended up ripping the old carpet out of the house. I couldn’t stand all the dust any more….
So, along with the COMMS and STC work that I’ve previously mentioned, there was a lot of underlying functionality that had to be added to support these. For example, when a station is under AI control it has to not only keep track of the ships under its authority, it has to know where they are and what they’re currently doing. Are they docked? Have they checked in with ST Approach and stated their intentions? If they have un-docked are they still in the station, and if so then where? Etc., etc., etc…. Again they key here, just like with the sending and receiving of COMMS signals, is that the AI is completely oblivious as to who or what is flying the ships in question so that later on it will play nice with multi-player.
I also had to do a lot of work on art (which I mentioned) and lighting management. Shadow-casting lights are always costly, so you only want to render the ones that are relevant at any given time. Does star light need to cast shadows on exterior geometry (or even project light) if the player is deep within a station? Since I was already reworking the art management code I decided to knock some of this work out, too. The good news from all this is that we picked up a few more FPS (which, thanks to FRAPS, is not obvious from the Vid), and that a lot of collision-related crashes I had have gone away. RogSys is much more stable now than it was two weeks ago…
With regard to UI, the whole subtitle system was actually more complicated than you might think; and it’s not done yet. The biggest ticket item for it though, which is to allow all the subtitle text to be easily localized, is working; as is the general message queue. I still want to add color coding so you’ll have a better idea of the message’s content and sender.
TrackIR, as I might have mentioned, is actually working now in that it is detected and initialized, and that I can receive data from the tracker. I still need to affect the camera with the data, which I WANTED to have done for the video; but the art manager had to take priority.
Finally, I’ve done more work on the save game file. While I have a very clear picture of what it needs I didn’t incorporate support for all the information it has to track all at once. I prefer to add new things as I go so that it’s easier to debug when something doesn’t get loaded right. It also makes it very easy to tell when this or that data structure won’t work as I’d hoped it would. In this case, I began adding support to load a ship’s system in the state it was in when the game was saved. This was done so that the station knew that it had power, that its core ship systems and COMMS system were active, etc, etc.
Otherwise, that’s about it for now. I’m going to change gears for a week or so and work on the enemy carrier art. This needs to be done so the enemy fighters have some place to launch from, obviously. I also need to set up the XAML code to support the navigation display, too. As always, I’ll post new bits of info or art whenever possible….
Also, a side note–R.I.P. Robin Williams. Thanks for all the laughs….