Site Prep

In preparation for hosting (extremely) early builds of the game, I’d like to pair down the login requirements for this site. As a result I will be removing the forums and locking the devlog.

There are a couple of advantages to doing so. First, if people are going to discuss the game, I think having those discussions on gaming and development sites will automatically create exposure to other people who may not have heard of it. If I “hog” all of that discussion then I will be limiting exposure.

Second, download of early release builds will be gated by login. I don’t want people to have to manage a WordPress user account and a game user account separately, and I don’t want to merge those two user databases. The game account is definitely more important. In addition, I maintain a TIGSource devlog and that may be a better place for development discussion.

Once the trimming is finished I’ll post links to the other media sources.


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A Launcher Launches

I wrestled MFC into submission. The launcher’s UI is set and the launching functionality is working. Auto update is not.

It’s a start though. The main focus is a browser window that loads a placeholder news page for the game. Next I need to set up one that has nice formatting. Pressing the launch button does what one would expect. Kinda cool.

So next is a news page and a local and remote version number.

Regardless, even without auto update, users will be able to see that a new version exists, and click a download URL, so that seems like a reasonable first step.


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State of the Game

I’m thinking about preparing to make public pre-alpha releases in order to begin building a community. To do this I’d like to create a game launcher with auto-update. A user will register to download the launcher and then upon running it have an option to automatically download the latest updates. Before I start on that project though I thought I would spend a few words updating on the current state, including a video below.

I’ve made a lot of smaller updates over the last week or so and I’m not sure I will remember all of them. One very nice change is the addition of 60fps vsync and mouse smoothing. These two changes are a huge improvement to presentation.

I added a “fire” near the tent, which is just a little cube that I need to model out.

I created a simple menu system and used it to add a title menu with New Game and Continue options. Continue does not function yet.

I overhauled my game-state management system. Now at the start of the game I create the “play” state and “title menu” state. The title menu has an “overlay” flag which allows it to run but draw over the play state’s render output. The play state detects that it is 2nd in the game state stack and so limits input and rendering. When the play state is created now only loads the world with no story elements or characters, and also includes a “drifter” target that moves slowly over the landscape. The camera targets this and it creates a sort of ambient environment for the title menu. Once new game is selected the title menu state loses focus and exits. It also registers the user selection with a singleton “session” class. the play state detects this, pulls the game selection from the session singleton and loads the rest of the world. At that point player control starts.

For the longest time I’ve been hard-coding the working directory for my little projects. I finally looked up a standard library function that gets the working directory, and I added a post build step that moves the new EXE to the correct location. I tested the EXE from windows explorer and it worked for the first time…

Finally I added an exit menu state but in the video below I accidentally stopped capture before showing it.

So now that everything is up to date and in a decent spot I think it’s time to start the launcher and updater. I have no idea how big of a project this will be though so I’m not sure if I’ll commit to it or not. Stay tuned.

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Pitching the Tent

I wanted to be able to take the packed tent out of my Pack and place it in my Quick inventory, and then place it in the world and use it from there. Mission accomplished.

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Time to replace these guys

Guess what, the game supports 3rd person, and has for quite some time. I don’t know if it’ll keep it though.

But, I usually screencap in 1st person because I generally try to hide this bit of prototype art.


A while back, when it was time to get skeletal animation into the engine, I started hunting around for a Blender tutorial about character modeling, rigging, and texturing. Well, it turns out that Steve from Minecraft is just about as basic as you can get, so that’s what I picked.

So I made these guys entirely from scratch, but yeah, they’re obviously Steve. If I can work these guys out of the game and replace them with something that doesn’t look terrible, I’ll be rid of all of the 3rd party prototype art that I’ve used.

So that’s what’s next, unless I give up in frustration :)

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Minor site tweaks

Forums have been reset, and header image no longer references the older block engine.

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Let there be SHADERS! (that simulate light)

I have the lighting issues worked out, and re-implemented a Phong lighting model that is currently only applied to the tent and dungeon entrance.


I want to give the dungeon activation script a position and orientation within the dungeon entrance scene so that it can only be activated from near the doorway.

I’m learning to texture, and I don’t know what it’ll take to be successful at it :D The dungeon entrance currently has a set of base colors. I was going roughly for an Egyptian style of painted limestone using bright vibrant colors that will be worn away by time. But now I’m asking if I shouldn’t take the opportunity to do some painterly interpretation of Shadow of the Colossus environment – basically old world stuff with lots of limestone blocks.

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Custom Shaders

My shader pipline has been a little bit lacking since I implemented it a year or so ago. Each time I’ve wanted to go in and experiment with a new shader I’ve had to write it directly in engine data, and add support for setting its parameters in the rendering system. Yuck.

In preparation of fixing the dungeon entrance lighting artifacts I decided to address this. Last night I shoved the shader manager a little closer to something resembling complete.

Here is my first application specific shader:


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The last two or three days have been focused on Blender. I’m learning a little more about modeling, UV unwrapping, and texture painting by working on a dungeon entrance.

I’ve also learned a bit about Blender shaders and used them to make a nice looking sand texture.

The in-engine lighting is pretty horrible looking, so this screenshot of the new sand and dungeon are from nighttime where there are less lighting artifacts.



I also spent about three hours today working on story and character development and made some great progress there. I’m excited to talk about the story elements, but there’s a lot of hidden information that I don’t want to spoil.

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State of the Game

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a new video as I’ve been laying some new groundwork. The game has gone from being based on a a Minecraft style block engine to a system more akin to Skyrim.

So now that things are properly rearranged, here is a new video showing prototype overworld and dungeon traversal, along with an introductory quest scenario.

My next focus then will be to make things look a little more representative and smooth over some rough edges functionally, such as making save / load work with dungeon locations and quest scenario status.

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