Thursday, 22 May 2014

Update #001: Map Editor bugfixes, begun implementing resizeable entities

I ended up tackling a few really notorious bugs which plagued my map editor. The first of which was actually causing my map files to corrupt at random. It turned out the elements of the std::vector which housed my loaded worlds were needlessly swapping positions, resulting in invalid iterators being accessed.

I also went back and optimized how often entity sprites reloaded themselves. It was something I was planning on redoing for a while now. Tomorrow I plan to being implementing resizable entities. Rather than simply rescaling the size of the sprite (which resulted in a blurred/distorted final appearance), these entities will copy certain rects from a larger source texture, tiling them appropriately within the sprite itself.

I have spent the last few days reworking my worlds such that the larger ones are divided into evenly-sized segments. Here's a very simple example of what I mean:

Let's assume the following grid represents our entire world:


The simplest way of loading this world into our game would be to load it all directly into memory at once. This was what we were doing for the most part, and there is nothing inherently wrong with this technique as long as the world itself wasn't too large. However, we are projecting that our game will consist of worlds as big as 50,000 tiles by 50,000 tiles, and loading 2.5 × 109 tiles at once would be rather silly. Therefore, we have opted to divide our larger maps into several smaller, equally-sized segments.


Not quite as daunting now! With our world divided up as such, we are able to only load the relevant segments of the map; said segments being the ones that are visible by the camera. In order to guarantee a smooth transition between world segments, we would need at least 4 chunks loaded at a time assuming our camera size is smaller than the size of a segment. Consider below:


The red rectangle represents our camera position and size, and the purple area represents what is currently loaded into memory (including what the red area covers). Everything within the camera's view is being drawn every frame. We load these relevant tiles in a spiral, starting as close as possible to the camera's centre.


We can see how imperative it is that our first 6 tiles load before the game itself begins. Afterwards, we can have the spiral load the remaining purple tiles on a second execution thread and the game can begin!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Announcing the Development of Our First Title!

Introduction 

We here at Straytale Studios are proud to announce the start of development on our very first title! We are creating a 2D RPG that will feature a fully explorable world, a dynamic battle system, and a deep, intricate storyline. Though the game will feature an open world, we hope to craft a linear story that will follow the player’s natural progression through the game.

"Everybody has a Story"

This central theme of the game is that everybody is a unique person. Every NPC within the world will have their own story. What makes the old lady who sweeps her stoop every evening tick? What keeps her up at night? Why does the blacksmith spend an hour in the forest every other morning? Too often are characters created with no depth, no personality, and no real purpose. They are created simply to fill space. In our game, the player will unravel the hidden tales of the seemingly normal people within the world.

Combat

We aim to develop a unique, real-time battle system in which players can utilize magic to augment their combat capabilities. Though the player will fight with traditional medieval weapons, such as swords, spears, etc, magic will be used to enhance attacks and defensive capabilities and to manipulate the environment in the player’s favor. Utilizing magic to its fullest potential will be critical to be success in tough combat situations.


Development Progress

The background and framework for the world has already been created, and while there is still much work to be done, some excerpts from the lore of the world are expected to be released throughout development. A soundtrack is also in the process of being composed for the game. An artist will be hired or brought onto the team at a later point in development. We are developing the game engine in-house in C++, and our lead game designer/programmer will be posting updates on a regular basis. We hope to post interesting screenshots, videos, and more here soon, so stay tuned to follow development!