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It's been just about ten years since I created the Ravuya account on GDNet. There's been so many things that have happened since then, and so many friends I've made that it's actually kind of hard to sum it all up in one journal post. I'll keep it brief, but I wanted just to say thank you to everyone, past and present, for making this site great.
Also, I'd like to invite people to come and reminisce in the comments about the old Lounge and, of course, the Bus and Trash Monster.
I'm testing out the new journal software by doing a small update: I've implemented the NPC editor in the Afterglow editor, so you can now place enemies on the map and have them get angry and try to murder you. It's shaping up into a real game.
I'll be doing more work later, but in the meantime you may be interested in checking out this incredible (and probably not that safe for work) Photoshop rap.
I wanted to hypocritically point people at this excellent Derek Yu article, complete with adorable cartoons.
I'll just leave ">this here.
I'm trying to end a lot of my inactivity by taking Afterglow improvements a little at a time. Last night, I improved the game by changing how it draws levels to try and make it look like levels are "cut out" of a solid block (I will be adding some textures or something later to improve this look) and make the walls not look cheap and paperlike like in this old screenshot:
I'm looking forward to making some improvements on the editor so it's fun to make levels in it.
I'm also trying to figure out how to make the game prettier since it looks, uh, a little dated. Having textures that are similar colours might also help.
I also got a Nexus One. I like writing code for Android but I really hate working in Java, especially since my day job is primarily C#. I'll get over it, probably just in time to do a port to iOS.
So I sat down tonight and decided to finish off the view for the Afterglow conversation layer, and here's how I started prototyping:
Just starting out. Not a lot of stuff here that you could call useful.
A little more information but it's missing some visual pop.
Now we're talking. Using the text alignment as a visual clue will hopefully prevent people from being confused about who is talking. I might also experiment with growing/shrinking the avatar boxes as they are talking. Also check out how sweet my new right aligned word wrap code in my font class is. It's sweet.
So I'd say that stuff is still getting done - just rather slowly.
It was the fifth anniversary of my journal yesterday. I can't believe I've been posting to this thing for five years.
I've mostly figured out how the Afterglow conversation UI is going to work; now I just have to go for it. Hopefully we'll see some screenshots of conversations before the end of the week.
Here's to the 10th and 15th anniversaries.
I got the Afterglow collision fixed a few days after I made the previous journal post, but I haven't had much news to report at all.
I'm also prototyping out some interfaces for conversation, as apparently the old conversation window was really awkward to read for some people.
I've been oddly productive recently (especially despite Mass Effect 2) - trying to get rid of a nasty collision issue in Afterglow that keeps me from enjoying the game.
Here's a screenshot of the collision test program I banged out to experiment with it:
More on this later, hopefully.
I'm starting my new job tomorrow - I'm a bit anxious. Even though I've worked at this company on my internship, I don't know much about what project I'm doing and I'm still wary of the secret intentions of employers after my disastrous job this past summer - once bitten, twice shy.
In Afterglow news, I've finally gotten around to fixing the dirt-stupid zombie AI into something that is a bit more dangerous, and tonight I'm also going to fiddle around with the controls until I get something that feels better - it has always felt really limp and mechanical to me compared to how Glow felt. This large period of downtime from Afterglow is really bad for the project (in that it's bad for my motivation) so my New Years' resolution (how cliche) is to work on the game more frequently in 2010.
In car news, today I bought a Hot Wheels Delorean DMC-12 to put on my desk at work (increases my "80s Cred"). My WRX wagon still eludes me, as all but the destroyed rice rockets on Craigslist have been pulled from listing now that the snow has hit. [crying]
Afterglow now has support for corpses, and as a side effect of hooking into the existing Afterglow sprite setup you can have animated corpses. This means, effectively, that I will have death animations and need to find someone to make them.
That's pretty cool, I think. Haven't tried it out yet.
edit: Hypothesis confirmed, it is very cool.
I just wanted to pop my head in here and say that my finals are over and they seem to have gone well. I have (unofficially) graduated with a BSc in CS.
I'm surprisingly deluged with a combination of schoolwork and vidjagames so I've been quite lazy on doing new stuff.
New stuff (according to my bug tracker):
Afterglow: AI disables when it gets far enough away from you properly now, randomly shuffling zombies appear more natural, actor stereotypes can be instantiated which allows me to load an entire gamestate from disk - this means save games work for the first time. Once I get these papers done, I'll probably work on entity placement/editing in the editor.
iPhone: Fiddling around with parallax layers and event handling. I think I might have something cool coming up, but I haven't had much of a chance to work on it.
Getting slightly closer to being able to package up a Mono/OpenTK application so I can finally make the transition to writing my cross-platform games in C#/F#.
You might also have seen me running around in the Lounge editing vague thread titles to more accurately reflect the thread, and arbitrarily closing threads on a whim. I'll talk more about Lounge moderation soon as well - I want to try and cut down on the number of megathreads relating to religion or politics, because they're rather boring and make everyone quite upset.
I'm not really dead, but I might as well be for all the progress I've been making over the last few weeks. I started my last semester, and although it's not terribly hard, I'm not feeling the motivation. Hopefully that will return soon, since all I've done recently is make the test map for Afterglow longer to test NPC deactivation.
I've been working a bit on the entity functionality of the Afterglow editor; my dream objective is to spend a lot less time in TextMate tweaking text files and keying off coordinates by hand like I've done in previous games.
I've budgeted only a few weeks for these changes, though, as it's really important that I actually get back to implementing real gameplay so my motivation doesn't falter.
More in a bit - I also just got my iPhone developer cert so I'm going to be playing around with trying to get something running on the iPhone that's not the default OpenGL ES application.
I just finished out my summer work term last week, and so I've been taking it fairly easy this week.
Some notable updates, though:
Afterglow can now fully deserialize from disk; I'm now playing the game entirely from datafiles instead of my hybrid datafile/"HACK HACK HACK HACK" method.
The editor can now place entities in the game world, which took a lot of UI tweaking to pull off properly. It's pretty cool now though!
General bugfixing and tweaking to the movement code.
Screenshots will be coming when I have more stuff to update - I also seem to have introduced a really miserable AI bug that I'll now have to correct.
I'm working on some more stuff for Afterglow.
Explosions look way better.
Went out and looked for musicians; found one, and will start looking for artists as well soon. If you can draw sprites or know someone who can, let me know about it.
So far this week I've been concentrating on trying to get the player to 'feel' less mathy; after that, I have a bunch more gameplay elements to implement (conversation screen, shop screen, etc).
Some busy updates to Afterglow, but nothing immediately visible, I fear.
The player can die and respawn; when you get killed it goes to a "mission failed" screen similar to the original game. Still working on this to make it pop more and be less awful.
The AI will stop shooting at you once you are dead,
Dinked around with my website. You can now do ravuya.com/games/glow instead of doing the long-form URL. HTTP rewrite is a lot easier and more intuitive than I thought it would be given my past experience with the Apache project. If I ever update my website I'll have to make better use of rewrites, because this is pretty slick.
What's on my plate this week? Besides enjoying a well-deserved long weekend on Monday, I will probably be trying to diversify the AI and see if I can create some enemies which are fun to fight.
While you're waiting for me to make more updates, check out this car I see every so often on my commute:
I have succeeded Oluseyi as GDNet Lounge Moderator/Fascist, fulfilling the prophecy handed down by the Rhino to nes8bit two thousand years ago today.
As the new Lounge moderator, I will be enacting sweeping reforms, which I shall post about in the Lounge as time goes on. These reforms include:
Political Penance - If I catch you making a rhetorical argument in a politics thread, I will ban you until I have sufficient evidence that you have whipped/been whipped until you are sorry. GDNet-branded whips will be available soon at our Cafepress store.
Parody Threads - I love these little bastards. Posters of good parody threads will receive admiration and a chance to evade the...
Ban Lottery - Every week, I will ban a random Lounge lizard. Note that my random number generator is highly defective and accepts PayPal.
Car Threads - We should have more of these.
I feel that those of you who survive my initial Stalinist purges will become happy and productive members of the GDNet Lounge.
PS: Check it out, Afterglow has bullet holes in the walls now.
I think my decal code is a bit buggy (see how grouped the holes are?) so I will have to take another look at it down the road to make sure everything is peachy keen.
Sorry I haven't made an update in the last little while, but I have been working on Afterglow.
Rotation of decals - blood, etc is rotated slightly in order to 'change up' the visuals. Thanks, Scott.
Transitions between layers - fade in/fade out is currently the only one implemented, but it adds a whole lot to the menu system and is cool.
Explosive bullets leave behind scorch marks on the ground (see below). They should probably leave them on the wall too, but it looks pretty good as is.
A lot of refactoring of the nastier bits of the decal system. It's still very slow, though.
I still have to get respawning working completely.
In Afterglow, I got the homing bullet implant working after harassing SHilbert with math so simple I have literally solved it before. [crying]
On the plus side, you can now use a heat seeking shotgun. Yeah.
edit: I also did a test release build in order to break in AnonymousPosterChild's new Macbook Pro; unfortunately it looks like the PPC build won't link for some reason. I will investigate; it would be too bad if PPC players couldn't also play (though I doubt there are really many left [sad]).
You can compare this to my previous Afterglow video to see just how far the game has come. I will be working tonight on adding more 'flair' such as scorch marks from explosions, better blood effects and bullet holes in the walls.
There is some progress coming; I've fixed a bunch of hinky bugs with the blood spraying and I'm adding UI tooltips to the inventory panel as well as "implant effects" to visually inform the player of what's going on with their implant loadout.
Nothing is pretty enough yet to show pictures of, but we'll see how it turns out. One thing I did do that makes the game awesome is crank up the bullet speed in air; now it feels more like Glow and is actually pretty fun to shoot at dudes in.
I still have to implement player death/respawn and then I can get started tuning actual gameplay instead of nonvisible features.
As an apology for being a complete goober as far as updating goes, I present to you
As promised, I'm starting to implement blood. This means I've done a bunch of hacking to my decal manager and actually have some pretty clever stuff going on in blood decal creation.
This blood spraying might be a bit too vigorous.
I worked on a bit of user-interface tweaking; you can hover over stuff like the implant bar and the character statistics panel, and I'm working on finalizing the last few implants.
It's actually pretty cool; I realized last night that I actually have most of the game implemented and I just need some content. I'm going to go try and make a test level and populate it with enemies to start working on the 'feel' of gameplay and make sure it feels good like the original. Expect some gameplay videos of me shooting people in the mouth.
Also, since I have decals working now I should probably work on blood spray. Which would my journal denizens prefer - blood-drenched screenshots or more test videos of me shooting zombies? I guess I could do both.
Yeah, I lied to you about wall decals. I implemented them tonight.
They're implemented using the stencil buffer because clipping made my head hurt. Hopefully this does the trick!
There are also floor decals, but I didn't think to show those off.
You can also see the implant bar in the top right, with my (awful) placeholder implant art in there. SHilbert has promised to help me work on UI consistency. This is a good idea because I rikey rikey the full-intensity RGB colours, and I'm told that isn't what artists actually do.