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Day One

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To summarize what I'm working on, I have three main projects currently sitting on the stove. Screenshots and all that other assorted self-pimping, self-congratulatory nonsense can be found on my 'official' website.

Golem is a Diablo-style 2D isometric hack-and-slash, and represents my largest headache. I am currently in the process of what amounts to a second-draft re-write of the game. The game features randomly generated dungeons and treasures, in the style of Diablo and the various games in the genre called 'roguelike'. Currently, characters and enemies are sprite-based, but I am exploring the idea of implementing 3D characters on the isometric 2D background, as a means for saving video memory (32-bit character animations can eat vid mem alive) and taking advantage of the smoother animation provided by mathematical interpolation of character frame poses.

Golem3D is an experimental 3D engine using a semi-fixed camera approach (that is, the camera is fixed at a certain height above the terrain and angle relative to the terrain, but can be rotated around the vertical axis) intended for creating a game similar to Golem, but with the advantages of 3D techniques and animation. Given the lessons I learned from Golem, this engine has been designed far more elegantly. While Golem 1 is an isometric hack-and-slash with randomly generated dungeons, my ideas for Golem3D tend more toward a Zelda-style gameplay, with puzzle-based quests the focus rather than mass slaughter and level building.

Finally, I am also working on a collection of asset creation tools for Golem3D, including a heightmap editor and various Blender-based Python scripts for exporting 3D animation data for effects, characters, and static objects.

As I work in phases on each project, they sort of progress in a leapfrog fashion. Currently, I am working on exporting the Golem3D heightmap editor to Windows, and performing some refinements. The editor allows a sort of tier-based editing of heightmaps, where the level designer can select brushes representing 5 different elevation heights, combined with a brush representing the size of the terrain area affected and the 'hardness' of the terrain edge. Terrain is raised up as the brush is applied, built up in an additive fashion until the brush's terrain tier height is reached. This allows the designer to construct levels with lots of various sharp cliffs and ledges, in a very Zelda-ish manner. Using softer edge brushes also allows the designer to raise hills and bumpy terrain as well.

I have also implemented a smoothing brush, using adjustable Gaussian blur, to flatten and smooth down terrain, facilitating the construction of gradual ramps and inclines where the character can walk.

Right now, I'm working on switching the editor from the Fast Light Toolkit (FLTK) to the FOX Toolkit. The FOX toolkit is significantly more powerful and easier to use than FLTK, and I honestly don't know what possessed me to use FLTK in the first place. I had troubles building the FLTK kit for MinGW (incidentally, the event that prompted my transition back to FOX). Turns out the troubles were with some conflicting libraries rather than FLTK itself; I got the conflicts sorted out, but I'd already begun the transition so I might as well finish it. FOX is just an easier toolkit for me--probably because I've used it for far longer than FLTK.

I've also got some few tutorials sitting on the back burner, things I started work on before I moved to Arizona, and which I haven't seemed to find the time to get back to. Perhaps here in the real near future I'll work on 'em again, now that the dust is starting to settle.
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