Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Wednesday Waypoint Zones

Another Bottle Please

Yes indeed, thanks to your combined eyeballs we pushed past 1500 daily views and got to 1599!  My thanks for your interest and all them double visits ;)  My goal was to hit this number, but I did not realize I would get there so soon, so I am setting a truly high goal now of 2000 daily views.  It's a fun little game!

The Progress

Today was trigger zones, but not just any old boxes this time.  As the terrain and entity placement presented a whole bunch of new challenges, we had to make sure the trigger zones could cope with the new non-grid world.


As you can see, the new trigger zones (also called waypoint zones) can be contoured to any shape to allow any kind of perimeter to be defined for your game.  We removed the hurt and heal zones which we felt where a little silly, leaving Win Zone, Trigger Zone, Story Zone and Sound Zone.  Even though a single zone could handle all functionality through scripting, color coding general concepts will help when your levels get larger.

The white circle in the middle of the zone is a handle you can use to drag the whole region around, and right clicking will enter a properties menu where you can specify the particulars of what that zone will do.  The little yellow stars, which might be under the graphical axe, allows you to move the edge of the contour, add more control nodes and delete nodes.

Next Things

Now I can create, delete, save and load these new trigger zones, and the whole markers menu has been cleaned up, Thursday will be about making these zones functional within the engine itself.  The biggest of them of course will be triggering an AI character to respond to your entry into the zone. I think I will have some fun with that!

I also did some other things like change all the assets in the markers folder so new graphics and geometry are used to give it a Reloaded feel.  You don't really want to see any throwbacks from the classic version hanging around.

Signing Off

It's just gone midnight now, and right on cue my eye efficiency has dropped. Before I clock off though, I want to quickly try a few night mode lighting changes. I think the dynamic lights will really pop if the day night cycle really brought in the darkness.  It won't be anything new or magic, just some changes to things like ambient color, fog distance, sky details, and anything else hanging out the edges of the current shader.  With some luck it should look pretty good as the night comes in and gradually changes the whole scene. I like to think you could get two different looking games from the same set of assets, simply by adding night elements.  Shots on this to follow soon.

40 comments:

  1. Nice one! :) I was wondering what would happen to zones now the segments are gone.

    Will the user be able to adjust the height of the zone at point basis - for example to fill a valley to a zone, and not just a set height above the terrain in the valley.

    If you don't understand what I'm getting at (I haven't worded it well) I'll attempt to clarify further!

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  3. The new zones and concept looks all good though I have no idea why Hurt or Heal zones would be silly. Presumably there will still be other ways to achieve the same results as these anyway as I see no need to loose the functionality for hurt and heal.

    Glad to see the Blog numbers continuing to grow. Yes it must be all my re-visits :-)

    Looking forward to following all of this forward for some time to come.

    I applaude both the effort and the vision going into the product development.

    Performance is my greatest concern and it may be a long time before that can be put fully to the test in heavy use. I would like to be there now but 31st October and beyond will do for now when a wide range of pledgers get their hands on the First Beta.

    Right now I am just enjoying the moment and following the Blog.

    :-)

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  4. Best thing to do for nighttime scenes is to add take the dark coloures, add a blue tint and desaturate them, while increasing saturation on lighter colours.

    I've said it before (3 times... count 'em - it's getting annoying), but a system of sliders to set things like brightness, contrast, saturation, exposure and tint (with targets for different times of day) would be VERY, VERY useful.

    Good work, though!

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  5. Wow, cool! Immediately loving those new trigger zones! I'm glad you thought of non-square zones because I certainly hadn't.

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  6. Lee this is so incredibly awesome!

    I must ask... as I've always wanted this for FPSC but... is it possible to make a Waypoint Zone? Like where enemies will randomly walk around within a zone rather then just a straight line? I'd love to have both options. If you can do that I'm going to be so pleased (also for randomly walking within an area it be nice if he didnt straff or run).

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  7. Tyrone that is an AWESOME suggestion. I support that idea.

    Also Lee the new zone system looks AMAZING! So glad to see Reloaded will be free of the old block method of zones.

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  8. Thanks for the transition of n and day. QUESTION
    When in the old fpsc if you have an entity that animated and moved from the ceiling to the floor and was 2 segments in animation. Ie a slow crushing ceiling trap.
    The trigger zone below would set it off Great. But the problem I had was due to the models animation path it created an invisible force field so I could not reach the trigger zone in the middle to trigger the trap in the first place. Well this was in x10 but can you stop the animation path being an invisible force. So only the actual model registers as collision. Not sure if I explained very well

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  9. Definitely like the new zone method but wondered if the following would be feasible..

    Do away with the different zones as is and to be able to create single zone, choose it's colour (from a huge array of colours so we can differentiate different triggers from each other) and choose what the zone would do from a drop-down?

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    1. That's actually a pretty cool idea.

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  10. +1! That's a brilliant idea, Andy! Lee, take note of these excellent suggestions :D

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  11. It's a nice change to see some work on game-making features rather than graphics. There are some nice suggestions here in the comments too.

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  12. "You don't really want to see any throwbacks from the classic version hanging around"

    Maybe, if possible, reskin the editor itself? There could be a classy cool-white and a pro dark skin. I believe many would appreciate that.

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  13. Interesting blog this one,some interesting suggestions here to.

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  14. I don´t either understand why you remove hurt and heal zones. You should keep them.

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    1. They both can be done with Trigger Zones whereas you would just select the scripts either Hurt or Heal. Its as simple as that.

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  15. It was Rick's suggestion, any appeals should be directed Rickwards ;) He must have had a reason to suggesting their removal as it was extra work on my part to do it.

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  16. Hi Lee

    I think the heal zone can go but the hurt zone can be kind of useful for things like fires or areas of the map such as radiation zones etc.

    I love the new waypoint system and this is going to be another wonderful feature in Reloaded. I really don't know how you are able to code all of this up so quickly.

    If the new zones are scriptable that should suit everyones needs. I think its really important you make as much functionality scriptable as possible because this is what kept FPSC classic alive for so long with all the innovation etc.

    I agree it should be possible to make a great game without doing lots of custom scripting but its also quite important to give advanced users the ability to do this.

    Are you planning to make any changes to the FPSC scripting language for Reloaded or how is this going to work?

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    1. I too want to see better scripting for reloaded. Yes, the FPI is a simple, and moderately powerful method but I think scripting needs to become sophisticated if reloaded is to cater for the true techies of production. Giving us the power to script features will pretty much cover all grounds that Lee might not be able to cover himself.

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  17. Hey Lee. Are you going to create a scripting editor, so we don't have to go into a bunch of folders and files to edit the scripts in for example Notepad.

    - Mads.

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  18. First up, sorry if I don't answer all questions. Given the hard choice, I am sure you would want me coding rather than responding to every message posted. A waypoint zone is a nice idea, keep mentioning it. I have another wild suggestion for you. Would you all accept the idea of COMPLETELY throwing away FPI in favor of LUA scripts? I am not sure of the workload involved, and it means no FPI in the beta if we all agree, but it would introduce an established language in place of one I 'just made up'. Thoughts welcome.

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    1. Yes agree. 100%. Do it. DO IT. I'll love your forever. We'll love you forever.

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    2. If it gives us the ability to interface with the game well, like, for example, creating our own GUI and interface systems, as is something I am desperate for in reloaded, then most definitely so. Though I'm not quite sure what LUA means for reloaded in terms of capability asides from a more readable language. (No offence to your FPI.)

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    3. I vote LUA. Better to use common known languages.

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    4. Removing FPI will make all entity models non-functional from FPSC-x9. They would then all require re-scripting if we do move to a new language.

      I'm big on scripting as I love the control, but FPI is a bit limiting at times.

      For anyone curious about LUA check out this link:

      http://lua.gts-stolberg.de/en/index.php

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  19. No idea about lua. Took me ages to suss out your language. A basic language that can be easy and at same time complex. So it would be ok for all

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  20. No need to apologize.
    I don't think we need to throw the FPI away. The only thing I would like to get regarding scripting is an editor inside the engine, where we can write and edit scripts without having to go into notepad. I know I have said it before but. One question: what advantages are there with LUA?
    I apologize for my bad grammar. English isn't my native language.

    - Mads.

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    1. AND there are some great FPI scripts and tutorials out there, that we will not be able to use if you switch to LUA

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  21. This is indeed the question!! Also, just to be clear, I ain't doing BOTH :)

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    1. Very curious how we would determine variables like player location and entity location in a new programming language. Would it simply be variables that Reloaded would assign on its own? And we could then easily read from them?

      I could see it getting quite complex to determine such condition as if the player is in view of an entity in a new language.

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  22. I've always been told LUA is a very powerful language.

    My limited experience of using it in Tekkit (the Minecraft mod) left me impressed.

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  23. Maybe powerful but if more complex than fpi I will be having a walk around maker. Until I get to grips with lua and its rules. Main attraction to fpsc was simple to script language. And I thought reloaded was going to be even more simple to use with better scripts. I say no to lua but everyone has a voice but it may put new people off too reason I never touched udk unityis it is not that easy to script

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  24. LUA? Never used it but if it brings back a structured language then definitely yes!

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    1. That would be the only reason why I would say yes. Something that just works and if it doesn't its because of programmer error not a limitation in the scripting code.

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  25. Scripting,

    Its a little like considering what base language the Reloaded engine itself is programmed using. No one will really care what programming or scripting language is used if it delivers the goods much like the engine itself.

    Its a question of advantages and disadvantages i.e. "Benefits" as no one wants the disadvantages - they are of no use to anyone. Who will it Benefit.? Will it Benefit "Me"? is what users want. Therefore what are the "Benefits" one against the other and for whom? and how many? Some users? All Users? A few Users?

    You have to be careful you don't alienate the largest or target user base whoever they are seen to be - everyone pays equally so more users the better depending on whether you want more users or different users. If they pay it does not matter who they are as long as there's a lot of them so who are they? This largest number? What to they want your envisaged target market user base?

    What are these Benefits that are different in each scripting language that makes one better than another and will generate or encourage more users and Sales?

    What advantages does each have. Does LUA allow users to do more things than .fpi and or can .fpi be updated, extended or edited to provide the same things and or more? and importantly, is it a scripting language that all can use or just someone who wants to spend as much time mastering a scripting language as well building or learning to build their game using too a Game Maker software which largely attracts them in the first place due to its design for ease of use? whether or not they are advanced Game Makers or not. Reloaded will attract because it will save time - a lot of it potentially which is important to Indie developers.

    Will LUA be just as easy to use if it has no major benefits in practical application? Will .fpi provide the same but be easier to use or can it be made so?

    Will .fpi and LUA have the same impact on the game? Is one more efficient than the other, is there any performance penalty or benefit in speed one over the other? not for another engine which does not matter but for this one Reloaded which is what matters?

    1. What are the real Benefits if any one over the other if any at all? Can you actually make better Games with one or the other? Can you make them Faster? Is of benefit to Everyone?

    2. How many users will gain benefit. What estimated proportion or the target sales audience?

    3. What are the disadvantages? We don't need any of these at all do we?

    4. How many will be disadvantaged? We don't really need any of these either do we.

    We and Reloaded only want Benefits and not disadvantages at all.

    more.....

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  26. If one is equal to the other in Benefit and disadvantages then there are no benefits in changing or not point in not doing so either. So at the end of the day its TGC who has to decide based upon target sales audience and potential volume of sales required I guess.

    At the end of the day users as said don't care what engine or languages are used as long as it delivers what they want and need. If it does and is good then the whole world wont take long to find that out and cue up to use it and or vice versa.

    You have to decide or just gamble on who your largest and most profitable target audience is. The largest target market group for the product that's if you want the highest sales and not just some kind of prestige alone based upon competing with what other engines use. This is Reloaded and it is not other engines and never will be. Do what is right for Reloaded and not what any individuals or groups want but the majority or the whole, whoever they might be....

    The scripting language is exactly the same as the engine itself and is part of it, thus what users want and need for the scripting language is all things = features, functions, stability, power, performance and "Ease of Use" all at once. Thats Reloaded apparently "Powerful but Easy to Use" not just some of it easy to use - all of it. Why stop at world building? Then you are back with a winner are you not? If indeed it can deliver those things.

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  27. By the way I have no preference for a particular scripting language at all.

    If fact I hate .fpi and would prefer a somewhat more sophisticated one. That
    suits me but I am not concerned about my own preference but whats best for the product TGC and indie game makers in general.

    Any language within reason is OK by me as long as you don't expect users to have to script everything completely from scratch out of the box and all basic AI functions are provided for to allow users to have everything needed out of that box that will allow them to choose from a selection of default ready made scripts and apply them via drop downs or whatever so they can make a complete game (of sorts) as has always been the case only better than what has been previously the case of course. Thus providing for those that simply want to create a game by doing so. i.e. create and play.

    For those that wish to do so then a more advanced option is fine and to be welcomed so as to cater for all users needs as much as possible.

    Whatever language no reason why it should still not be as easy as is possible given a chosen language so it is important that a full manual, examples and tutorials are available if at all possible and that as much as possible is integrated to the editor and systems so as to make the whole process as efficient as easy as is possible so one can develop games as efficiently as possible.

    The best of all worlds as it were is good for indies and therefore Reloaded.

    :-)

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    1. Yeah I'm hoping we don't have to script everything from scratch. Some action commands somehow would be nice. Like run for cover, attack, shoot, etc.

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