Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hooray for objects!

The level editor finally lets you place objects on the map!  (It's a hobby project, I have to settle for the little victories).  This actually provides for a lot of added value, because anything that's not the raw terrain mesh is an object (or "prop" as the engine refers to them), which means the code side of having everything from little rocks and trees to giant canyon-spanning rock bridges and piles of ammo boxes is now done!

Of course this also means I need to pick up the slack on the art side of the house and put together a collection of resources...

In other news, I'm paralleling work on the editor with an overhaul of the game engine to use SlimDX instead of XNA.  XNA is a great tool, and has let me make a lot of headway in short order, but I'm starting to get frustrated with the limitations of the "profile" concept (XNA projects let you either target a "reach" profile which limits all kinds of values and ranges in your code so that more low-end systems will be able to run it, or a "hi-def" profile which is pretty self explanatory).  Working much closer to DirectX with the SlimDX library will give me access to DirectX 10 and 11 features, and with the DirectX10 tools that down-level to DirectX9 feature sets, my game could be much more flexible in its contents while still being available on Windows XP machines with older hardware.

Right now I'm working in SlimDX's Direct3D10 libraries, as 11 really changed the game in terms of available classes and structs (I'm a sucker for meshes, I'd rather not have to roll my own everything just yet).  Some stuff ports from XNA very smoothly, for instance I can keep all my shaders exactly as they are, but the lack of a fancy Content Pipeline and the need to overhaul my deferred rendering chain are certainly slowing progress in that department.

Thankfully all my graphics code is pretty separated from the rest of the engine (as things mostly refer to camera objects if they need to be drawn) so once I get the main graphics classes converted I should be all set to continue all work in a SlimDX environment.  In the meantime, I'm building all new features (everything else I update about) in the same XNA framework until the graphics conversion is complete.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Editor moving along

Just a quick progress update with screenshot.  I have the 4-texture painting/blending working, a modifiable brush and opacity that raises/lowers/smooths/planes/balances terrain, a more cohesive button theme (for the buttons that have icons so far...) and an undo stack.  Major hurdles left include prop and trigger additions, and it's irking me that I can't see the brush radius by default, so I need to add a brush-perimeter indicator.  Otherwise it's close to "done enough" for more game development!

(Click to enlarge)

I do need to add: the textures seen here are placeholder and belong to their respective artists (thanks google images).  Now that I have them painting properly I can work on my own assets to replace them.