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I spent today moving the level-specific configuration options from the text configuration file into the level editor itself. It involved changing the level editor saving & loading code, the game saving & loading code, the game rendering & culling code, as well as all of the GUI work in setting up the new tabs. Also, I had to convert the existing levels to the new format, and test them out.

The GUI part was made harder than it should be by VS.Net2k3's quirky, buggy, managed C++ windows forms implementation. I only lost some of my GUI work 3 times today, so it could have been worse... :p

Here is a shot of the new tab :

Also, I added the global sounds to the sound tab, and removed them from the text file as well.

Originally, the entire level was created from the text file, geometry and all. Over time, I moved more and more to the level editor, now the last few items are finally converted. Should speed up workflow and make it easier to use.

Also made a few stability improvements, including deleting half-loaded objects from the factory upon load, so the same mesh loading error doesn't keep coming up.

Perhaps tomorrow I will work on some gameplay stuff again. One thing that's been bugging me is the bubble shield.

Right now it's too powerful - it takes very little energy to use ( the same energy your gun takes ), and always reflects any shot it receives so you take no damage. The one downside is that it slows your character to use it, and prevents him from firing while it's on. This isn't bad, though, if you just turn it on as the bullet is coming in, but it makes you invincible.

Originally, it took a lot of energy to invoke, which prevented you from firing, which had somewhat of a good balance to it, but if you got surrounded, you couldn't defend yourself or fight back effectively.

Instead, I'm considering making the bubble shield either something you must aim ( so it only protects your character's front ), or making it a rare, sort of 'use it and run away' item. Perhaps invoking the bubble shield turns it on & keeps you from attacking, and it won't turn off till your energy is expended. That way it's not something you would use unless you were being seriously overwhelmed and needed to escape. You could even invoke the shield, then run right past the enemy to a
better escape route. If I did this, I would remove the speed reduction when you had the shield on.
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I vote for aiming. I think that would be a lot of fun -- though, I would need to experience the current game play and see if it fits.

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if you just turn it on as the bullet is coming in, but it makes you invincible.

Make it have a "charge up" time - even just a couple of seconds. That way you're likely to take a couple of hits unless you're playing defensive...

I don't like the idea of an "aimed" shield or it just protecting the front of the character - I don't think that would work with the 3rd-person perspective you have.

Strikes me that it'd take too much skill/effort to use it effectively.

I would say that you could make it a valuable "run away" tool in the game without changing much... if the player can't inflict their own attacks, and can't move very fast then they have very limited possibilities to use it as an aggressive tool...


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I just want to say that some of the screenshots you've posted lately are sweeeet! The one screenshot of the crypt level with the skeleton 2 posts ago looks awesome.

The fog in the screenshot you posted in this entry looks great as well.

Keep up the good work!

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One thing you could do is have an initial energy cost to invoke the bubble shield, and then make it drain energy. This would discourage turning it on and off rapidly. Also, you could not make it a perfect deflection, maybe some damage leaks through, or it costs you mana to have a deflection occur.

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