Monday, March 30, 2015

Development Log 0: The Shifty, Twisty Forest

We're starting a new game of our own! We decided that we liked our Shifty, Twisty Forest prototype enough to try fleshing it out into a full game. We're going to post regular (or irregular) updates on the development of the game so you can see how things are progressing. So, drop in every once in a while, check it out, and chime in with your opinions.

Here's a quick summary of our progress so far:

We'll get a real artist eventually.

We started development last Monday and our main task so far has been taking a quick and dirty prototype and turning it into an upstanding and respectable piece of software. The most obvious example of this is changing how our transformations (the 'Shifty, Twisty' in the title) look. In the prototype all of the rotations, mirrors, and translates were instantaneous. Instantaneous is easy to program, but it's ugly and made the gameplay confusing (particularly mirroring). So we're in the progress of turning all our instantaneous transitions into gradual ones. Here's a gif example of a horizontal flip (it's smoother in game):

See, it's working great...oh wait!
Ok, so maybe they still need some work...

We Are Liars
In process of reworking transitions, we discovered that we are liars. Some of you may have already known this, but this was a revelation to us. Seriously though, we realized that we had been lying to ourselves about how transformations affected the objects we were transforming. In the prototype, we had represented everything in 2D using position and angular orientation. As soon as we started on smooth transitions, it became obvious that we were going to need to use 3D transforms to accurately represent the transformations. (This led to another revelation...3D math hurtz my brane!). So now we're reworking the transformations with that in mind and adding all of this to our engine so that any future games will able to take advantage of it.

+1 Programmer Art of Less Terribleness
Our final big change was revisiting the art. We decided to increase the size of character and tileset so things would be playable on mobiles. In the process we took another stab at making art. Ultimately, we're going to throw away all of the art and have a real artist do it, but Derek and I both enjoy making art and I think it helps us figure out what we want the final game to look like when we get in there and try to do it first.

The old version: functional, but drab.

So yeah, that's where we are right now. Let us know what you think.