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Wed, Dec 31st 2008, 18:45
Marble Massacre  

I would like to draw your attention to the games portion of wundermint. That is what we make here, after all. A few days ago, a shiny new game was released here, before its official announcement (though it was made pretty obvious in last week's post). The entire internet did, in fact, have the chance to play it days early.

To the best of my knowledge, no one has.

Well, you have no excuse now. Go forth and play!


Thu, Dec 25th 2008, 00:50

My track record recently has been a might weak, but I'm cooking something up for this "How about M" business. Two things, actually, provided McGrue doesn't throw me off his team for making a second entry. Or for not really getting much done on his game. Yet.

So get ready for something new and quirky from the wundermint as we approach the new year!


Wed, Nov 26th 2008, 21:07
Humming Along  

Tired and short on time, so this will be an decidedly short post. A quick review of this week's accomplishments:

* Outfitting screen is complete; just needs proper linkage to the combat system and server.
* Reworked the defense setup screen to be more intuitive / informative.

That doesn't sound like much, but it was actually a pretty grueling week, particularly the outfitting screen. It was definitely more work than I had anticipated.

The pending holiday weekend will probably limit my productivity in the coming week, so don't expect too much (which is a rather grim statement, considering how light on content this post is).


Wed, Nov 19th 2008, 16:20

Ever had a trusty pair of shoes that took you everywhere? And then ended up by the wayside after a sexy new pair comes along offering a renewed sense of freedom as you dash about in them?

When you finally switch back to the old pair, it's just not the same. Sure, it's familiar, but as you squeeze your foot back in, it pinches your toes, chafes your heel, and you could swear that a sharp, intangible little rock had taken up residence inside.

This has more or less been my experience with my current project. The seemingly endless period of prototyping, feeling out the combat system, has finally come full circle. Coming back to the core game, I find myself entrenched in an almost hostile environment, my jilted base game bitter, and slow to forgive.

But, in spite of how grim that sounds, hopes are high.

The attributes are implemented (even if the numbers do need extensive work) for all of the enemies that made the cut. The combat engine is in the main game and is properly linked to it.

Rejoice, for the entire skeleton of the game is in place! Ship building, art and number balancing are the only major hurdles remaining, all of which are being tended to.

After that, it's simply a matter of getting some early testing in before this reaches an "open beta" state. Everyone is invited and encouraged (in some cases, begged) to participate at that point. I expect to be there in 1-2 weeks.

If you would like to participate in the earliest phase of testing, leave a comment here or contact me directly and I'll get you onboard.

I'm also breaking my promise of screenshots. Again. The sad truth is that you'll probably be playing it before I bother to post another screen. We've reached the final push, so don't lose hope!


Wed, Nov 12th 2008, 21:10
Oh Great Woe  

I'm short on time; I hope you like bulleted lists. Now, prepare for a letdown. This week's update is pretty sad. Let's look at what there isn't:

* There are no delicious screenshots to be had.
* The combat engine has not been added to the main project.

That said, I have a mixed bag of news.

* Bad: My Xbox 360 ate it hard (E74).
* Good: This means I'll have more free time for gamedev!
* Bad: It's out of warranty and I can't afford to fix it.
* Good: I'll have that extra free time for a while!
* Bad: My clever 360 dev plans have been quashed.
* Good: ..I can't really see how this is good. I am sad.

It's not all bad news, though. The enemy implementations are complete, as projected. And, part of the reason why the combat engine hasn't been fused with the core game is because I decided to add the adjustable attribute stuff to the engine *before* I move it instead of afterward. This makes initial testing significantly easier and will ultimately result in an earlier completion date.

Look forward to next week when I more-than-likely post overdue screenshots and the attribute system is fully integrated.


Wed, Nov 5th 2008, 15:01
Tiny Update  

I spent the better part of a day adding the improved collision system to the combat engine. It was quite boring, but the transition was smooth (like butter), so I have no complaints.

Next week's goals: finish the enemy implementations and add the combat engine to the project trunk. Also, I'd like to put up some screens to keep McGrue's jaw flapping in check.


Tue, Oct 28th 2008, 17:57
Minor Breakthrough  

Okay, so it's a little behind schedule and quite short, but here it is at last. Accomplishments since last time:

* Added recaptcha to wundermint's comments out of dire necessity
* Purged the copious spam (and hopefully nothing else) plaguing my beloved website
* Decided what enemies to use after serendipitous inspiration from a photosensitive seizure warning

With all that out of the way, it's time to start linking all of this stuff together and refining it into a proper game. Expect gritty details next week.


Sun, Oct 19th 2008, 17:50
Brief Brief  

This is a short, no-nonsense update. The collision system has been improved to fully support heterogeneous collisions between points, circles, and polygons. Some early optimizations have removed a couple bottlenecks and bumped performance by about 50% in "worst case" scenarios. Four of six enemies are more or less complete. The other two are still being debated. It's surprisingly hard to have six different simple enemy types that each offer something unique to the experience. The goal for next week? Have alll six types hammered down and start hooking this all together.


Sat, Oct 11th 2008, 16:27
Worthwhile Delays  

Not one person bothered to render an opinion about last week's post. I am truly saddened. No, seriously. Honest.

True to my word, the core combat is done. Everything works. However, I've decided that the enemies are a little to plain and uninteresting, so I'm taking the next week to: a) swap in some slightly more creative baddies, b) optimize, optimize, optimize.

Here's a screen showcasing some of the newer enemies:

Sadly, when the screen gets very busy, the framerate drops to about 25-30 fps. VERGE really struggles with pushing all the pixels at 640x480, even if there isn't anything going on. So, if I can get it up to 30 fps at maximum busy-ness after the full art is dropped in (I'm just using primitive drawing at present), then I'll be happy enough.

That'll wrap up this week's (brief) coverage. By next week, the whole of combat should work and I'll proceed to link the battle up to the main game.


Sat, Oct 4th 2008, 10:31
Polling Place  

Visually, there's virtually no difference, so no screens this week. Most of the changes are on the AI behavior and improving the class hierarchy.

I'd like to request some community feedback. Assume a classic space shmup setup where the player is a lone ship avoiding / destroying hordes of incoming stuff. Now, to defend your planets from this cruel and merciless attacker, you can upgrade your defenses.

This is currently set up such that there are six different unit types, each with three adjustable "primary attributes". As a primary attribute is adjusted, it affects several derived "secondary attributes".

So, my questions to you, dear viewers are:
* Will six different enemy types provide enough variety?
* Do three different primary attributes offer enough flexibility?
* This makes for a total of 18 adjustments that must be made for each planet. Is this too many to comfortably manage?

My thoughts regarding variety and flexibility:
Consider each attribute as being a strictly on or off proposition. This means there would be seven different states for each enemy type, yielding 42 distinct enemy varieties. (Note: the attributes will not be a simple on/off; I'm just using this simplification to help frame it.)

My thoughts regarding the complexity issue:
I originally had each and every independent attribute adjustable. This offered a lot of opportunity for experimentation and creative combinations. That that meant setting several dozen independent attributes every time you won a 2-5 minute battle, or when wanted to tinker with your existing defenses. So it has since been distilled down to three. I've considered the consequences of taking it further. It would be hard to break it down into two logical attributes, so I think if it were to go any lower, it would have to be taken to a single attribute per enemy and just call it "level". This seems incredibly unexciting, though.

I think that's a fair summation of how things stand. Provided there are no last minute sweeping changes, the core combat should be done next week. Comments of any variety will be very much appreciated.


Fri, Sep 26th 2008, 16:00
A Liar is Me  

I am now in the process of putting together the combat engine. There have been a few interesting quirks, but so far everything has been going pretty smoothly. I am starting to feel just how much play balancing this is going to need (a ton), so that's a little discouraging, I guess.

I know I promised details of how this all actually works, but I've decided to put that off until at least next week.

Here's a screen of the WIP combat as a consolation prize:


Fri, Sep 19th 2008, 13:01
Past and Present  

I'd like to start by addressing a small addition right here at W√ľndermint. Two new flavors (Berrymint and Chocomint) have been added for your pleasure. Try them out and see which you like best!

In other webdev news, the Gruedorf Aggregator has new and improved icons for dead feeds and lame updates. There's also a brand spanking new Stats page. Be sure to check it out and tell me what you think!

Now, to the good stuff. The defense design is finally ironed out. I really like the way it's ended up, even if it did take significantly longer than I originally wanted to get to this point. Next week will be all about moving forward with the implementation of the combat and related systems. Actually, that's pretty much what every week will be until release.

Last week I mentioned the ridiculous amount of time I spent messing with slider styles. Today, I present to you what I've settled on (with old style for comparison). I think it looks a lot better (for not being wildly different) and there is only a very slight performance hit. Well worth the trouble, in the end.

Old / New Slider:

That's a lot of information from quiet ol' me, but wait! There's more! I want to take some time to touch on the "original" design a bit, and maybe even get some feedback on it.

Disclaimer: This is an old design. The game will not work this way!

Each planet has an assigned technology. Controlling a planet allows you to utilize that technology. The technologies come in a variety of flavors (shields, weapons, etc). When preparing to attack, you pick the ones you want from those that are available to you and then engage in a space shmup sequence with an appropriately augmented ship.

The actual assault is divided into three phases: Hyperspace, Approach, and Dive.

During Hyperspace, you navigate an asteroid field without the use of your weapons. Afterward, your ship drops out of Hyperspace and the weapons systems are restored. You have reached the Approach. During the Approach, an assortment of drones and fighter ships will attempt to intercept you. Successfully destroy or avoid all of them and you will reach the planet's surface, at which point the Dive begins.

During the Dive, an opening in the planet's surface leads you down a long, roughly contoured tunnel, where you encounter mounted turrets and destructible barriers. Successfully navigate your way through the tunnel without being destroyed and you will reach the core. Destroy the core and you will assume control of the planet.

After a successful assault, you are then be able to configure the planet's autonomous defenses. Each planet has an allotted number of defense points that can be spent, with more effective defenses requiring more points. In effect, every planet has a different level of defensibility, but it is up to the player to you to find an optimal or unexpected combination of defenses. As you maintain control of a planet, it will generate wealth for you.

So, that's a rough summary of what it was. I do still like it, for the most part, but I think it it has too many complexities (despite its apparent simplicity) for the pick up and play feel I want to accomplish. Next week I'll take some time to discuss how the new model works, and maybe highlight some of the more significant differences.


Fri, Sep 12th 2008, 13:40
What's 24 Hours?  

Well, I lapsed (by a day) again. This has me posting on Fridays, though, which I think I actually prefer, so it's not a total loss.

The defense design is finally getting to being done-ish. I need to re-distill the adjustable attributes. As it stands there's just too much to manage; it's like a wall of numbers. Some of us may like things like that, but I really want this to be fairly accessible.

Have a WIP mock-up of the defense setup / editor:

I also dipped my toe back into my main codebase for the first time in a while. It was mostly uneventful. I spent no less than six hours tinkering with my slider styles. No, it isn't super-important, but when making my mock-ups, I ended up with a slider design that I really liked, so I decided to change them. Sadly, It required special handling of the ends to make it look right in all cases and, regardless, there was no way to make it look right without a serious performance hit. This game is definitely going to have an abundance of sliders and eating up that much performance for a little visual couldn't be justified. So, I'll have to come up with something else!


Thu, Sep 4th 2008, 17:13
A Slip and a Drip  

Somehow, I completely misplaced a day, so here's the latest news, a day late:

Behold, the ship designer!

Well, a mock-up of it, anyway. You'll be able to tweak various properties to create a customized weapon of death, destruction, and domination. Fun stuff!

I'm in the process of ironing out just what to do with the defensive component of the combat. By next week's post I should have that taken care of and a relevant mock-up or two to show off. Then it's time to dive back into implementation and get this thing out the door already.


Wed, Aug 27th 2008, 14:49
Small Successes  

The combat design is taking longer than expected. This is mostly because I'm trying to graft on a bunch of features from a previous combat model and there are more rough edges than I'd like to admit. It is, however, coming along and I really like where it's going.

Now, for more tangible results, let's look to the Gruedorf Aggregator. Notice anything different? Okay, I admit, it's pretty minor, but I did do some tweaking to it. First, it now defaults to the scoreboard view instead of the headlines. As near as I can tell, no one really uses the headline view anyway. Second, if you're anything like me and ever wanted a handy way to see just how badly you're doing, now you can! The scoreboard can be sorted by a number of different columns. No, it's nothing spectacular, but now you can easily see that you're in Xth place (4th at present, in my case).

Next week I hope to have the design ironed out enough to start providing details and maybe even a mock-up or two. Until then.


Wed, Aug 20th 2008, 12:12
Suddenly, Details  

I am not dead. Moreover, neither is my game. As may or may not be clear from previous posts, I have been chewing over just what to do with it. This has been a wholly frustrating task as nothing ever seems to be what I want it to, which brings me to today's announcement: I am going back to the original (albeit slightly adjusted) combat model.

The basic rundown is this: You are a corporation seeking your fortunes across the reaches of space. You have a hangar of custom built ships at your disposal. Using these ships (in shmup-type combat), you take over planets belonging to other corporations. After you've taken over a planet, you set up autonomous defenses to protect it from other invading corporations. Controlling a planet nets you wealth and enables you to make higher quality ships which you can then, naturally, use to take over more planets.

And now, the state of things:

* The server is done.
* The client's non-combat components are done.
* The combat design is about 80% complete.
* The combat implementation is non-existent.

In effect, everything is waiting on the implementation of the combat system. Once this is done, which should be sooner than later (I fully expect to be the first 'dorfer to finish a game; yeah, I said it), we can look forward to a glorious open beta. You're all invited!


Sun, Aug 3rd 2008, 16:23
Accidental Sabbatical  

It's two weeks overdue, but here, at last, is an update. I spent the first week (before I lapsed) working on the new combat design. I hate to admit that the only reason I didn't get an update up that Sunday was because I kept (deliberately) putting off. This was followed by a number of distractions, including going out of town, getting caught up in a design for another pet project, and my internet connection is breaking. Again. It remains broken at present. I am sad.

Now, regarding the actual project. The new combat is neat, but it (like everything else, it seems) just doesn't feel right. So, I've been toying with a lot of different ideas, hoping to find something that really clicks.

A brief history of the combat system:

The original intent of this game was to have a light strategy game woven into some white-knuckle action sequences. While the original combat would have accomplished this, it was doomed to being either too hardcore to pick up, or too easy to have been worth including at all. Neither of these was acceptable and a middle-ground would've just made the whole experience feel watered-down.

A whole smorgasbord of new combat system plans followed, the more recent of which are the falling-blocks puzzle and the as-of-yet unmentioned large-scale tactical warfare. While each of these has their merits, they were all too complex, requiring a mountain of menus for the player to navigate just to get to the action.

So, I've stripped it down with simplicity and accessibility as my primary goals. As it stands right now, in combat you get one vessel. You use that vessel to destroy a single other enemy vessel. You'll have the ability to trick out your ship with a number of parts and gadgets to keep things interesting, but the essentials are all very simple and straightforward.

Provided I haven't changed my mind yet again, next week I will offer more details about the system and what progress has been made with it.


Sun, Jul 13th 2008, 13:25

Well, there was a fair chance it would happen and, though it's later than I would've preferred, it's better now than even further down the line. In short: this puzzle-for-combat thing just doesn't feel right. I am pulling a complete 180 and backing out of it.

This means a number of things. The bad news is that it will be virtually impossible to make my originally intended deadline. The good news, though, is that it will be a better, more cohesive experience. I also now have a solid foundation for a nifty puzzle game further down the line. A bit of scary news: I'm not actually going back to my original combat system either. Instead I'm going to try my hand at a sort of action / RTS fusion thing.

Considering the time spent tinkering with the puzzle stuff and the scope of the new system, I estimate to be an entire month behind. We'll see how the next week or two goes, but the odds of making the August deadline are looking pretty bleak.

This post is screenshot free, given that the project is just now changing gears and I haven't had a chance to bang anything out yet. I'm excited about the new direction and am confident that after the dust settles, this will have all been for the best. I'm going to try to be a bit more open about development now that the end is in sight. Look forward to next week when I reveal how some of this new system works!


Sun, Jul 6th 2008, 17:14
Beyond Barhopping  

This weeks festivities included:

* An epic class refactor job.
* Repairing an infuriating bug in the chain system.
* Adding proper bars for the player.
* And more!

So, I actually got quite a bit done this week. It's just not the forward-momentum productivity stuff I was hoping for. Improvements are improvements, though, and it's looking more and more like a real game with each passing day.

Current state:

The only real visual difference is the presence of those colored bars. Exciting, I know. Looking at a calendar, it seems I have just under four weeks left. This is ample time to finish, provided I don't become too distracted.


Sun, Jun 29th 2008, 17:26
Creeping Deadline  

Let's start with the longview; This week flew by and my combat prototype is less developed than I had hoped it to be by now (there will be no public release as of yet), but I'm going to go ahead and use it. This leaves me with about a month to go before my original "open beta" deadline. I fully intend to keep this timeframe, so the next two weeks will be spent getting the combat up to snuff. From there, it'll be a grind until August to integrate it with the main game and get as much "in house" playtesting done as I can. After that, it'll be a matter of evaluating player feedback and adjusting accordingly. Assuming no catastrophic occurrences, this last phase should be smooth sailing.

And now, since I'm such a swell guy, here's a screen of the (very) rough combat prototype:

I know what you're thinking. "Oh no! Blocks. On a grid. And you probably have to match them!" Well, you'd be right, but this has some quirks that can't be seen in the screenshot. It's not the pinnacle of originality, I'll admit, but accessibility counts for a lot here. In total, it should still feel like its own game, which is enough for me.


Sun, Jun 22nd 2008, 18:19
A New Era  

Here we sit at what can only be described as a milestone. The server and client have full implementations of all the non-combat systems. This is great news, of course, but brings with it an interesting dilemma.

You see, the as-of-yet undisclosed combat system is in a limbo of sorts. I have my original plan for it clearly mapped out, and am very fond of it. It should be a lot of fun to play and its integration with the rest of the game would be an interesting mix, but that's where its value ends.

So, I've decided to take a stab at creating an alternate combat system. I've got the design for it mostly hammered out already, and I intend to spend the next week putting together a prototype to evaluate it's fun-ness. If this ends in catastrophic failure (which is entirely possible as this is, get ready for it, a puzzle game) I'll probably just scrap it and go back to the old model (which is not a puzzle game). If it succeeds, however, I'll have something more approachable and with a great deal more longevity, which is more fitting with the large scale goals for this game anyway.

So stay tuned for news of the coming tinkerings. I may even publicly release the prototype for feedback. Also, there are no screens this week. Life is hard.


Sun, Jun 15th 2008, 14:18
Two For You  

In a complete reversal of my normal posting habits, I give you: minimal text and tasty new screens!

New and Improved Sector:

Brand Spanking New Market:

I'm just going to leave it at that for this week. Next update, things will probably be back to their normal, long-winded, screenshotless state.


Sun, Jun 8th 2008, 09:45
Time Slip  

Somehow, I completely lost two weeks of time. Also, it seems my updates have moved to Sunday, putting me in the company of McGrue, Kildorf, and SDHawk.

A fair amount of work went into this week's update, though it really only comes down to two improvements. A large part is some handy changes to my object management / tracking stuff for debug purposes. Not particularly exciting, but helpful. The other portion is thanks to that swell guy Overkill, who went to the trouble of adding the keybuffer stuff to the lua binding, which instantly made the game feel more complete. Well, once I got past some weird kinks and quirks with both it and v3's printstring it did.

So this is pretty light and not especially exciting, but I am back on course. Look forward to a tasty update next week.


Fri, May 23rd 2008, 11:14
Revisionist Mystery  

Let's get this out of the way: there are no screens this week.

The industry/technology system has been redesigned. Again. This time around I'm feeling that this is going to be the one that makes it to release. It's a nice balance of simplicity and sophistication. What's even better is that it's no longer directly tied to the "active" component of the game. This means I can breathe easily while tinkering with getting it just right instead of constantly making large/hacky changes to the tech system to keep everything in sync. Sadly, all of this is just in notebooks and text files right now, so I haven't got anything to show.

Wait. Did I just say "active" component? What could that possibly mean? Am I just making up this stuff up to make my game sound more awesome? Or is there something to it? Don't touch that dial!


Fri, May 16th 2008, 13:25
Half and Half  

The way things went this week (and given the nature of the project), it seems most fitting to break this week's update into two parts: client and server. As this was an overly productive week, I'm only to present an overview of the major changes.

The Client:

I spent the first part of my week absolutely tearing up the client. I rewrote giant heaps of stuff for the purpose of saner organization. Of particular note (from the would-be players' perspective), the entire "galactic heirarchy" was rewritten. It's now more "realistic", which I originally had mixed feelings about, but now that it's in place, I'm actually quite satisfied with it.

So, some UI components have been shuffled around, and it's a lot more colorful now. There's still quite a distance to go, but it's starting to really take shape visually, which always feels rewarding.

The Server:

This was definitely the most frustrating task, in spite of it not being all that complicated or challenging. You see, I went to the trouble of writing out a very specific client design, so that I wasn't just fumbling around until I ended up at the finish line. I did the same with my network protocol. For some reason, though, I completely failed to think through the design for the server and, as a result, it was a treacherous, unwieldy force-to-be-reckoned-with. So, I went in and chopped it to pieces, saving a few useful fragments. Then I pieced it all back together (this time with a cohesive vision in mind). The result? It does exactly what it did before. The important difference is that it is significantly easier to maintain.

If this game were to become wildly popular, I'd probably have to rewrite the server for efficiency, but as it stands now, it's reasonably swift and super easy to manage.


Fri, May 9th 2008, 14:18
Mundane Success  

I spent this past week getting the server framework in place and getting the client and server to have meaningful interactions. I am happy to report that this all went quite smoothly and that things are really starting to fall into place. Most of the foundational stuff is in and working without a hitch, so now it's really just a matter of expanding it into an actual game. No small feat, sure, but the "hard" part is out of the way now.

So, while there isn't much of a game, and the action set is pretty limited, it's fair to say that things are going swimmingly! However, all is not sunshine and rainbows. There is a dark, sinister truth yet to be told. There are two gigantic, glaring, and completely-unforgivable flaws with VERGE that are crippling my development efforts. First is that that jerk Kildorf managed to break line drawing by causing it to disinclude an entire pixel occasionally. Second is that, somehow, the keybuffer stuff has yet to be properly bound to Lua, leaving all of my text inputting capabilities in the lurch. Okay, so these aren't really stopping me from getting anything done, but I will be very happy when they're remedied.

There are no screens this week on account of there's nothing new to show. Since all the changes are to the background behavior, nothing actually looks any different. I could just post an old screen and call it a new one if I really wanted; it'd be accurate, but silly. Over the coming week, I'll be putting in more mechanics, so there should actually be some screens next time.


Fri, May 2nd 2008, 10:32
Socket To Me  

I admittedly didn't get as much done this week as I was expecting to. I did, however, finally take the plunge and merge my networking stuff in with the main game. This went surprisingly well, with only a few unexpected quirks that were easy to fix. While it doesn't really do anything useful just yet, it is in place, and the client and server play nicely with each other, which is quite satisfying.

With that out of the way, I took to the burdensome task of writing out the network protocol specification. This is quite boring and requires lots of me sketching and scribbling on paper. I think it's safe to say that the core principles are quite solid. Documenting all the different exchanges is going to take a bit more work, but the end result will be a super-handy reference manual that will make the actual implementation significantly easier.

So, where are the pictures? Well, I wasn't originally planning on doing so much network (read: not screenshot worthy) stuff, so.. here:

Just so that there is something to look at. The important thing to notice is that clump of blue in the upper left corner. That's the network activity indicator. Its purpose is shrouded in mystery, or perhaps it just indicates network activity.

And that wraps up this week's report. Tune in next time for Adventures in Getting the Client and Server to Actually do What I Want.


Fri, Apr 25th 2008, 15:30

or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love my Free Time

First, I'd like to state, out in the open, that I have now set a deadline for this project. I will have it to "open beta" status as of August 1, 2008. Can it be done? Absolutely. Can I do it? "Yes". Anyhow, this gives me a little over three months from today to get more or less everything done. After that point, the only changes should be small tweaks based on playtesting. With any luck, this aggressive timetable will get me moving and producing like never before.

Coming hot of the heels of that bold declaration, it's time to discuss this week's progress. There are no screenshots. Again. Get over it. However, after extensive tinkering, begging, pleading, and other unspeakable acts, I've gotten the socket functionality I want dropped into VERGE so that I can proceed with my diabolical plans. Yes, that's right; I said sockets. That means this does network stuff. Cool network stuff.

I promise tasty, visual-type updates next week, so stay tuned.


Fri, Apr 18th 2008, 15:28
More Design Revisions  

Despite having fought tooth and nail to get somewhere with my network code, I have basically nothing to show (or even report) in that regard.

This, however, does not mean I accomplished nothing. Even more (and more dramatic) design changes have been made. The economy system is starting to shape up and feel complete-ish. Now it's simply a matter of getting enough other things done that I can drop it in and do some field tests.

I've also decided to use a more literal representation for star systems, notably, that each actually has a star and orbital bodies now, instead of the old "representative" system. I still feel like it's a bit cluttered feeling, but it's also more intuitive to navigate, and gives me the opportunity to add more personality to each system.

The technology and defense systems have also been revised and are kind of fused together now. This is one is fairly satisfying, since it feels like a more balanced and complete set of mechanics.

All of the changes, while described vaguely here, are pretty significant in determining just what the end result will be. I'm pretty confident that these revisions are leading to a much better and more interesting game, and so I'm actually kind of glad that I put it off for as long as I have and am revisiting it now.


Fri, Apr 11th 2008, 15:13
Screens of Screens  

Some stuff on display this week, but most of the real progress is, naturally, in the background. I made some sweeping design changes to the economic model. For the better, I think. Details? You'll just have to wait.

Apart from that, I "finished" a couple menu screens. Sadly, as awesome as I was convinced my UI system is, I've discovered that it still takes a while to put the elements together. However, it's lightning quick to make changes afterwards, so it's not a total loss. Also, the mini-map was an awful monster to wrangle with; I just want to throw that out there.

I encountered a bit of an issue with Lua when mixing "integer" and non-integer math. Fortunately, once the cause was discovered, it only took a few small fixes to get everything working again. Thanks go to Kildorf for helping me get to the root of it.

The done-for-now options screen:

The still-very-much-a-work-in-progress galaxy screen:

I'm quite satisfied with this week's work, even if I don't have a whole lot to show for it here. Here's hoping for another solid update next week!


Sat, Apr 5th 2008, 01:48
Mired in UI  

Well, I ended up reworking more of the existing UI stuff. I can't seem to leave well enough alone. Sliders (pictured below) are also included now, which I somehow forgot about before. I changed the way they look this time around; they've got a "fatter" quality, but the end result is more colorful and easier to use, so I'm satisfied.

Not quite the progress I was hoping for, but progress none the less!


Fri, Mar 28th 2008, 11:38
UI Usefulness  

I ended up rewriting a rather large chunk of the UI system, and the end result is something much more flexible and faster to work with. This is good. What is not so good is that, content-wise, the game is about where it was. That said, I'm very happy with the changes, since they'll make my life significantly easier.



Nothing spectacular at work there, but I thought I'd start throwing at least this together to show how it's coming along.


Fri, Mar 21st 2008, 12:16
Bits and Pieces  

The UI functionality is more or less done; it's now just a matter of building all of the menus, panels, and whatnots with it. Sadly this is rather uninteresting, but I've provided a screen of some non-specific objects just hanging out.

So next week is inline to have some completed interfaces to show.


Fri, Mar 14th 2008, 12:08
Points of Light  

I've started rewriting the original game in Lua; yes, it's worth the trouble. So far, I've only got some basic UI ability and the starfield done.

Provided for comparison:


Based on some preliminary tinkering, it seems like I'm looking at a 40-50% performance boost with the changes I've made so far. Not half bad, eh?


Fri, Mar 7th 2008, 10:53
The Need for Feed  

As I'm sure most, if not all of you are aware at this point, I've cobbled together an aggregator / scoreboard for Gruedorf. Does this count as non-losing Gruedorf work? Sadly, this decision rests in the hands of one man. A man so terrible, he does bad things. Really bad things. To other people. For fun. That's right ladies and gentlemen, although I did put the Gruedorf page together, our resident tyrant BFF and all around swell guy, McGrue, is actually moderating it.

You have been warned.

This is actually a double announcement, though. I've also decided to put my current game in cryostasis for a while and work on something else. The goal is to create something in a shorter amount of time and to be decidedly more open out the development. As far as what it actually is? Well, you'll just have to wait and see (I feel less secretive already!), but it has roots in several old, failed projects spanning the better part of a decade, so I'll be very glad to finally get this out the door. And for those of you concerned about the future of my old game, this is actually going to be used, in part, as a test for some concepts from it. Waste not, want not.


Wed, Feb 20th 2008, 13:29
Stop Touching Me  

Progress this week isn't substantial, but it is significant. Behold! Generic polygon collision capability.

That's right, now triangles everywhere will be inappropriately touching innocent young trapezoids when no one is looking.

I'll be the first to admit that this is not especially pretty and it still needs to be dropped into the main engine, but it is ready to roll; time to move on to more interesting things, some of which, with any luck, can be sampled in the next update.


Tue, Feb 12th 2008, 18:22
Not Dead Yet  

After an exceedingly long lapse in updates, I proudly present to you: nothing! Well, sort of. After some gentle poking and prodding by assorted individuals, it was discovered I am, in fact, still alive. Moreover, I am back in the running for the Dorf of Grue. I spent a good amount of time re-writing the existing engine more or less from scratch to be, well, better. It's cleaner, faster, more efficient, more flexible -- just all around sexier. So, from here on out you'll be treated to real, measurable progress. Honest.