Look at me using a term that'll be a hit with the search engines.
What's been happening in the world of X++ today then ? Very very little.
It's not for the want of trying, it's just been one of those days. Yesterday after posting I ran the game through the profiler as I wasn't happy with the performance, and I wanted to see what was being nasty.
It turned out it was the skybox. Lots and lots of calls to papervision classes, and they were taking the vast majority of the actual game's run time. I've had to remove the planet effect I really loved 'cause of performance, am I going to have to do the same with the skybox ?
Annoying as hell, but I can't let the game suffer for the background. If I've made the game good enough you shouldn't even be checking the background anyway, so losing a little bit of love isn't the end of the world. So so annoying though, what the hell can we use 3D in-game for if a couple of spheres make it gag ?
Today was meant to be the asteroids > player collisions, with the plan that you'd lose energy and therefore lose a life, and eventually lead to a game over. Once that's in, the game is a complete game, until then it's just a demo.
First step on this road was designing an energy bar. Firstly I wanted a lcd style display around the lives, where each element would "power-down" as you take a hit. Tried it, and it look toilet. Next was a plan about having some sort of arc around the lives and use a mask to show the energy being reduced. I just couldn't even face starting to design that, as I just knew I didn't have much art in me today. Next up was a simple bar effect, inspired by Wipeout Pulse's speedometer.
Looked crap. All the blend mode effects I tried on the score / lives numbers also looked crap.
Some days you could make Angelina Jolie look bad.
In desperation I ripped the energy bar out of Orbs and tinted it. Looks great. There's nothing especially creative about stealing ideas from yourself, but that's the way it goes some days.
After that, the collisions and all that goodness weren't really going to happen, my spirit has been broken. So instead, it was time to sort out the backgrounds after removing the moving skybox.
Without any movement I figured the way to go was to try and make them look as good as possible, like each one is a bitmap done in an art package, and yet make them random every time ( "Procedurally generated backgrounds" makes a much better heading than "Random backgrounds", and to be fair, I think the backgrounds are slightly more than just random ).
The 3D planet is used from the other day, it's spun on it's axis' so you're always looking at a random part of the planet texture, it's z value is also randomised for scaling, and I move the light source around slightly for the phong shader. Also another smaller planet is created, although it's not always shown.
After that, the skybox is spun around too.
We then grab that skybox and plot it into a bitmap ( ie, draw() ), on top of that is another bitmap with our planet(s) in. Depending on the size of the planet we add a blurFilter, a glowFilter and we tint it.
I really don't know what the odds of having two identical backgrounds are, they must really be vast, and aside from the odd "not as good as I would like" looking levels, for the most part I'm really pleased with how they look.
And... I think that's it til Monday, have a good weekend everyone,