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EDI

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So last night I implemented a feature which checks your windows version (and logs it for debugging purposes) and won't let you run the game unless you've got a version major 5 or higher (win2k,XP or greater), since we've got some 2K and XP specific functionality now (at least without having to make the user do some upgrading) and given that win98SE is no longer supported by Microsoft i think it's okay to do this. We've also not seen any indaction via our research polls that anyone is using anything under 2K or XP.

I then added code to allow only one instance of the S3Engine to run, this will take care of the unfortunet accident of an un-savvy user double clicking a single click icon and getting two instances of the game (causing performance issues).

I also took off the CS_NOCLOSE style and handle WM_CLOSE, which now makes the 'confirm quit' radial menu pop up when you try to close.

Also, for any of you who've ever been angered by a game that continues to chomp your CPU even after you've tasked away you'll be happy to know that we handle this, and when the window becomes inactive we drop the CPU consumption down to about zero, where the application pauses and queries the state at once a second. Perfect if you need to answer an Instant Message while playing :D

The next big fish to fry is getting the save and load interface to work, while at face value it's not a very complex problem, our target audience (via polls has decided they want the best feature we offered, that is:

Save game using Time and Date, allow a name input, and save a screen capture.
They also want an erase function. This is all going to be handled within the radial menu system, though I may find it needs a separate system.

the structure will go somthing like this:


Main
Save
Choose Everyone or Me(say user name?)
Choose empty save slot
Type save name
[date-time is sampled, screen is captured, name is applied]
[save is attempted and validated, potentially returning an error with details]
Choose existing Save Game
Overwrite
Type save name[original name entered]
Confirm overwrite
[date-time is sampled, screen is captured, name is applied]
[save is attempted and validated, potentially returning an error with details]

Erase
Confirm
[file is erased and slot is freed]
Load
Choose Everyone or Me(say user name?)
Choose existing save
Confirm
[discard current state and load game]






This process will be boiled down to a single function which does the work of saving and loading (and validating) the save games, so that it can be used programmatically. This will be used for the quicksave system where by pressing F5 it will save to the reserved 'quicksave' slot and F9 will reload that slot (if filled)
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Will you have a auto-save too? When you're about to enter keypoints (like points of no return) it saves for you? Alot of games has this. Like Half-Life 2 and Planescape: Torment.

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We wanted that, but there is an issue with that and the current save system. Mainly there are a limited number of save slots (only so many radial items can be viewed on-screen), so it is currently a feature I am weighing.

Even if we segmented it into a system of 'pages'

page1->save slots

it wouldnt allow for infinite saves (technically hardware doesnt allow that either but this is a more extreme example)

so there is a chance it wouldnt always be able to save, and this complicates the save flow even more for the user.

A way to solve this problem and a few other problems is to make a dedicated 'save screen' and 'load screen' instead of integrating it with the radial menu, of course this is more development work, and doesn't integrate as nicely with the use of the radial menus.

im interested to hear what people think.

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Hmm. Sounds like you could still implement this functionality, radially. Why not just make one dedicated auto-save spot? The biggest reason I think about this is that I never find myself reverting back anymore than 3 spots.

The autosave has got to be thought of as a safety net for the area that you are about to walk into. If something goes wrong, I can load that autosave (IF I forgot to save the game myself). OR, I can load a prior save game that I saved before the autosave kicked in.

As long as you hold a ticker of Saved games: 3 out of 12 slots available.

The users will adjust.

Just my two cents,
-Dave

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Hmm. Sounds like you could still implement this functionality, radially. Why not just make one dedicated auto-save spot? The biggest reason I think about this is that I never find myself reverting back anymore than 3 spots.

The autosave has got to be thought of as a saftey net for the area that you are about to walk into. If something goes wrong, I can load that autosave (IF I forgot to save the game myself). OR, I can load a prior save game that I saved before the autosave kicked in.

As long as you hold a ticker of Saved games: 3 out of 12 slots available.

The users will adjust.

Just my two cents,
-Dave

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Making the user have an OS higher than WIN98SE might be a mistake. I think there are quite a few people still using it. I was ready to buy the 'Morning's Wrath'game but the demo had problems with WIN98SE. I was told it might be fixed in a patch but never was. I need to upgrade but I wonder how many people would buy the games if they worked under WIN98SE. Maybe not that many and I'm just way behind the times. :) Maybe you should do a poll.

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Indeed, Microsoft itself has stopped supporting Win98SE, also we don't know of any specific Win98SE problems for Morning's Wrath, it could have been other mitigating problems with your configuration.

But to be more specific, there are features we are implementing in S3Engine (and thus Malathedra) which only work reliably on Win2k and XP.

Will we be alienating some potential customers? probably, but I don't it will be that many. Droping core features to support a seven year old OS version doesn't paint a very good picture of progress.

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