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That is a rough idea of what my game will look like once I'm finished. And yes, that is in-game (i.e. not a mockup.)

I'm hoping that my sprite style can be better than that. I'm going for something less cartoony/old-school.

The GUI will also not be anything like that lol. I just stuck it in there to test out my rendering function (I can make the camera any size and I wanted to make sure it worked right.)

So, now all I have to do is chop everything apart and port it to my DFT code, which SHOULD be pretty easy. And then I need to modify it so that it's frame-rate independant.

I also modified my pathfinding algorithm. Before I was doing (abs(StartX - EndX) * abs(StartY - EndY)) which worked pretty good, but (max(StartX - EndX, StartY - EndY)) seems to work better.

Oh yea, I also need to implement correct walking code. For some reason, with my current code, if you're not directly on a tile, it won't move no matter what (it finds the path and all, but it won't move.)

Now I'm off to do some stress tests (randomly moving a bunch of the entities) and then to finish up most of Bongo Beach. I'm aiming for an 8am bedtime (that seems to be pretty common for me over the last week and a half.)
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Apologies if you already know this, but the heuristic (abs(StartX - EndX) * abs(StartY - EndY)) is inadmissible which is why your path finder doesn't always find the best path and may be the reason it expands too many nodes. (max(StartX - EndX, StartY - EndY)) is admissible but will underestimate the cost by quite a lot for many paths.

From the images you posted previously it looks like you're using 8-way movement. Check this page on Heuristics and A* Pathfinding - the second algorithm is a very good heuristic for 8-way movement on regular grids. I'd also recommend checking out the link to Amit's Info on that page, it has information on reducing the number of nodes searched, making the path look more natural and things like that.

I learned a lot from this page. The bit in section 7 on binary heaps especially. I haven't got to the point in the development of my project that speed is an issue in the pathfinder, but it's definitely something I'll implement later as an optimisation.

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