Devblog 1

Well there has been a lot going on behind the scenes and I thought now was a good time to start a devblog. Over the past few months there has been some big developments to the game including:

  • Gate Travel (Thats right, you can now travel between worlds)
  • Procedurally generated worlds – well over 100,000,000 worlds
  • Load/Save worlds and buildings
  • New trees (with Level of Detail for optimisation)
  • New hands
  • A few graphic tweaks

Gate Travel

gateThis has got to be the biggest and most exciting addition to the game. This has been the hidden element driving the game. If you remember back the minecraft style terrain, it was always planned to have a gate. In fact the model currently used was created at the very start. I wanted to keep it as a suprise but once I coded the procedural elements of the game I needed a way to test if it all work. And it does. At the moment there is a simple UI which pops up when you press ‘g’ (for gate) and you type in a number. When you hit dial a portal appears in the game and as soon as you touch it the new level loads. As shown, I dialed 987,654,321 which is a real world you can visit!

gate-dial

One of the main tests was to check if the same worlds are generated on different computers so we tested it on both Windows and Mac OS X. Both are identical.

Procedurally Generated Worlds

I’ve kind of mention this with the gate travel, but yeah you can visit well over 100,000,000 worlds. As said, I’ve already visited world 987,654,321, I just don’t want to go boasting that it has 10 billion worlds without some more testing. But at the moment it does look like you can go to roughly 10 billion worlds.

3-world-exampleAt the moment all the worlds look the same, i.e. same trees, same rocks and same terrrain texture. I’ve already for the code working for different world types, now I just need to make the assets for them. So if you hear anyone saying ‘yeah but it looks all the same’ please point them to this where I admit that..!

In the image above you can see World 1 which is pretty much just water, behind me in the distance there is an island of some sort (trees missing because of LOD). World 2 is more hilly and so is World 987,654,321 however world World 987,654,321 has a lovely little stream on it.

Load/Save

You can now load and save worlds. At the moment F5 saves, and also when you go through the gate. The save files are too big for me, I want to reduce the file size. They are currently compressed and still range between 1KB and 950KB. This is far too big considering I’d like people to explore atleast 1,000 worlds before they got bored.

Plus, if you build anything on a world it will be there when you come back (providing you saved it, or went through a gate).

I have some plans to optimise this.

 

New trees

I think the new trees look pretty awesome. The reason for the redesign was simple, you could see too far. This mean you could arrive on a world and see everything, so there was no need to explore. With the new trees this is more difficult, I literately have got lost on the worlds and not been able to find the gate.

The trees use Level of Detail (LOD) for optimisation, it seems to work pretty well. I try a few different settings.

New hands

The sporks have gone, yes I admit the old hands did look like sporks. The new ones are cool and have 2 basic animations. I plan to extend the animations as I go.

A few graphic tweaks

Just before I started taking the screenshots I added Boom and Flares, which seem to make the visuals look impressive. I’ve always had sun shafts on, which look awesome through the gaps in the trees and through the windows.

Next?

There is still lots to do, to be honest it’s an endless project. Some obvious things which are needed quickly are…

  • Resources gathering – I’ve got an interesting idea for this and how to implement it.
  • Inventory – I’ve been looking into this for a while and different ways to code this, plus another UI for the inventory
  • Crafting – once you’ve gathered your stuff you’re going to need to use it. I guess I’ll create a rough version and then keep coming back to it. Once you have resources and crafting you need to start thinking about the economics of it all – how much wood would it take to build a wall, etc?
  • Assets – this is the most time consuming aspect for me but it has the biggest impact. This ranges from wildlife, weapons/tools, different styles trees/rocks.
  • Biomes/World Types – with this type of game there is no limit on what can be done, I need to make the assets
  • Day/Night cycle – I’d like to implement a day/night cycle to each world. So if its dark on your home world simply travel to another world and work there for a while.