I'm going to make a start on the new game tonight. I'm working on a sprite editor at the moment since I want far more complicated sprites in this game than Orc and find it really hard to do animations with Paint Shop, but I'll be writing tools till next Christmas if I don't crack on.
I just want to get the basic physics for a Mario-ish platformer working with just any old blocks for now.
I'm slightly concerned by the implications for frame-rate independant movement and jumping. In Orc, everything was velocity based, so velocity increased over time up to a ceiling, as well as actual movement, plus it really didn't matter if an object moved very slightly slower or faster dependant on the frame rate as long as it wasn't noticable to the player.
However, with something like Mario jumping, all the upward velocity has to be applied to the character in one instant as far as I can see, regardless of the frame rate. It is very important though for a platformer that the sprite jumps exactly the same height and across the same horizontal distance regardless of frame rate, otherwise you could make certain jumps at one frame rate but not at another.
It may be that the simple velocity model is not sufficient here and this is my first job - to find out exactly how this is going to have to be handled. At least when I have that working I'll have the bare bones of the game and should be able to start making some progress.
I've been playing some Abe's Exodus on the Playstation recently and was quite excited to realise that I could now implement the hiding-in-shadows effect using the diffuse colours in D3D so expect a kind of stealth-Mario thing to happen. I'd love to combine the high-speed Mario/Sonic style 2D scroller with the flexiblity and puzzle-based elements of the Oddworld games.
Obviously complex animations are a problem for a one-man hobbyist developer which is why I'm so taken with the "free" effects like using the diffuse colour thing to do shadow effects. The D3D wrapper will probably need a rewrite so I'm going to create a new one based on the one I used for Orc so I can mess about with it without leaving Orc in an uncompilable state.
There is no escaping the fact that I'm going to have to do quite a lot of animations for the game I have in mind though so I'd expect progress on this one to be a lot slower than Orc. I'd also like to have a much longer game finished before it gets released this time.
At least I have a level editor ready this time though.