Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Monkey Versus Robot

This is a picture of what I'm looking at as I'm programming, that junk at the top of the screen is monitoring all the different systems as they pass variables around.

I get to see exactly how much floating point error I'm accumulating on a constant basis and then I know where I gotta get in there with the duct tape and the plunger and pull some cheap-ass tricks heh.

I'm starting to get kinda slap happy from donking around with this thing.

I've got the animated icon thingie working, where you click somewhere on the map and your icon moves there and the camera follows him, the DK arrow-key-looking control stuff on the bottom right still works in a weird "leap one degree around" way but the game doesn't really use it anymore.

Well, the icon isn't actually animated right now, its just a hockey puck I made in Gimp, but it could be an animated icon, I have the direction you are facing and all that crap you need ('cause you need it to make characters move across the earth at a certain rate) and I've already got the code working for it, I just didn't feel like drawing heh.

I've got the animation set to whatever your browser can handle 'cause of its timers (something like 50 frames a sec on a good machine) to make the movement look as smooth as possible when you are zipping along at like two hundred miles an hour or something at street-level in google maps (which ticks along really slow when you zoom out to the altitude in the pictures in the last post, but that's way the hell higher than what I've usually seen in airplanes heh).

And I have to pan the camera after your guy as he zooms ahead of you because the camera couldn't handle loading google maps at ground level that fast if I tracked at the same speed your toon does (I tried it that way first but all I usually got to see was map stuff loading behind me), so if you are traveling long distances your guy flies to the edge of the screen and then the next load of pictures from google maps loads and he whips through that if you are going full blast on your way to somewhere and you just zoom down to see what it looks like (and the more zoomed out you are, or the shorter the distances you travel, the smoother it gets and the more the camera recenters on your character).

But its not out-of-control crazy or anything if you are actually playing around down at street level and moving short distances-at-a-click on your screen, then it works like a normal game.

I've got it set up so that you can't pan the camera and look around the map ahead of your guy, although you can zoom out to the moon and tell him to walk to Australia from Cleveland with a single click if you wanted to.

I'll probably get rid of that amount of zoom-out too eventually, though, once I'm done screwing with the thing, 'cause it kills something of the "adventure" of the thing when you can see that far around, even if I make it so that you can only see "towns" and things that are within a certain distance of your guy (which I'm working out how I'm gonna do now, there's opacity settings and everything, so I can have far away things "fade in" as you get closer).

Mmm, maybe I'll slow you character down to the point where I can keep up with him at a speed that the google map stuff can handle, and then make the zoom out speed faster for long distance travel, I dunno, I prefer that "keeping the guy in the center of the screen" junk but this stuff wasn't really designed to be used like this ahaha.

I also gotta figure out how often I should save your character's position to the database when you are out exploring around, there ain't nothing else to save besides your position, 'cause that's all that's changing with your character, I mean, the game saves your dude whenever you fight and loot and whatever stuff, but when you are exploring, the game is running at six thousand miles an hour, and I don't want all these clients trying to save their character's position at the speed of the animation, 'cause that's impossible with regular ghetto equipment heh.

I'll probably cheese out on that "saving your position" thing pretty bad, I mean, as much as I think I can get away with.

And the game still has all that instant-travel teleportation stuff in it (you can instantly beam back to Chicago for free any time you want, 'cause that's the "starter town").

Hmm, what else.

Uh, oh yah, that "saving the game" thingie might as well be tied in to how I load the "towns" and "people" that you can see around you too.

I don't have monsters on the map, everything with that is still the DK-style where you get pulled into "random encounters" sometimes as you explore the map (and you can "try to run away" or "stand and fight").

I'm gonna leave it like that until I get to play with the combat stuff some, I like that Diablo-Syndicate-Fallout type stuff but I wanna see what I can do with the old-school crpg Bard's Tale-DK-style thingie first, I wanna at least see how that'd look with multiplayer grouping and stuff before I turn the thing into a Fallout clone or something with little monster icons that you mash.

I like the idea of trying an encounter system like AD&D had, with "surprise" and distances and all that kinda tactical stuff.

And I kinda have this picture in my head of a thing where you and your buddies just sorta sit back and drink beer and let the game do all the work, like, whenever its your turn, you just throw down some crazy "special" that everybody else in your gang can see (that are made by players, so you could "craft" your own to make your buddies laugh), sorta like an evil magic power card game or something.

I've never been big on Magic the Gathering or any of those kinda thingies, but I did play the hell out of a card-game NWN mod, and I like UNO, so I know that shit is fun heh.

And then you collect all the weirdo random loot that the other players made and either use it or sell it, y'know, easy peasy.

Maybe, if I do the card-game thingie good, I could have "specials" be part of the loot or something.

Or the bare-bones mechanical thing that you build-your-own specials with.

Mmm, I dunno.

Gawd I wanna work on something else besides this animated map crap already, that might be really cool to people who didn't have to dig all the irrigation ditches to make it work but the new toy smell has totally worn off of that part of it for me BIG time heh.

It's like having X-ray vision on the beach and seeing everybody's skulls-n-guts insteada the good stuff ahaha.

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