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Gameplay issues

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With a solid engine core completed (or, at least drafted out), I've started work on the new design's various game play mechanics and issues--the 'guts' of the game. I've roughed out a system of tags, whereby various bones in the Blender animation of a character model are tracked, and their extrapolated positions and quaternions are stored frame-by-frame as 'hooks' for various in-game mechanics. For example, in true Zelda style it is possible to pick up various rocks and pots and heave them at enemies or against the wall. The Pick-up animation needs to know how to attach the rock or pot to the character as it animates, so I attach a tag bone to the skeleton at the appropriate appendage, and track it as the model animates. In-game, the rock is attached to this bone, ensuring that it is drawn at the proper location and orientation relative to the character picking it up.

Basic functionality for the various game actions is being placed. Walking, running, attacking, blocking, picking up, throwing, sliding, pushing, pressing switches, etc... I'm also fleshing out the design details of how these actions and events interact, where they can be scripted, and so forth.

I've also roughed in the interface for random level generation scripting. Mostly, it is modelled after the interface created for the initial Golem, but many of the things that vexed me so badly are fixed or re-implemented. The simple switch to 3D has removed a lot of the complexity regarding translation of levels into a displayable format. I find myself with a lot more flexibility, where level construction is concerned, and with the ability to rotate the camera, having objects or items spawn behind a wall is not such a troublesome issue as it was with the true isometric engine. In the initial Golem, I implemented a series of hacks to prevent certain things from spawning or dropping in the unseen spaces behind walls, even though I implemented alpha transparency of obscuring walls.

I've been spending a lot of time lately on something that is likely going to take me awhile: texturing and skinning. When Golem was a pre-rendered environment, I could do a great deal of cheating on creating my characters--high polys, poor texturing, etc... Now, though, every poly counts and a bad texture can kill a character. So, I've been spending at least an hour every day practicing my modeling and texture creation skills. I don't need to become a master (nor do I have the time) but I do need to attain a certain level of competency. Thank God for high school art classes!
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