So What Now?

   Fundementally, the tile editor is done. I have accomplished and debugged everything I dreamt the tile editor should be; and it is. But there’s a standstill that comes with completion: so, what now? I’ve done all this work to reach some goal, haven’t I? Well, for me, I realized that the scale of the game I want to create requires the game to be able to handle HUGE maps of more than 100 by 100 tiles. Number-wise, that’s 10,000 total y,x loops. And that’s just 1 layer. Multiply that by 9 layers and you got yourself some 90,000 code blocks to run in a fraction of a second. So as you can see, making a large map in the editor, zoomed out, will take some serious power.

   So I started making a 100*100 map, and as always, I ran into problems. Problems I had to debug, nonetheless. In the end I figured out it was a problem with a preset transparency overlay. Surprisingly, after that, I had no problems. The game was just fine with running and loading the map. No loss of frame rate seemed to occur at all; the character’s movements were fluid and swift. I marveled at how regardless of where the character was, he would always collide correctly with every rock and every tree he encountered. This fascinated me: that I had created something that can accept almost limitless tiles and run without a loss in frame rate.

   But it doesn’t stop here. In the next few months the game with be running NPCs and wardrobe changes on-the-fly. A new conversational script will be formed and integrated into a new NPC class. The editor will allow the user to add NPCs with the addition of multiple tool windows, allowing clothing mix-and-match, size, gender, name, and factional conversation editing features. A comprehensive NPC movement editor mode will use the alpha parallax layer, letting the user visualize movement paths with an arrow tileset. The user will also be able to customize movement settings such as speed, start/stop time, and looping.

   But the new features aren’t limited to just NPCs. Map files will export to XML instead of regular .txt files. More parallax tiles will be added to the tile editor. Tons of new static tilesets will be added. A basic menu will be added to the game, along with a custom GUI. The player will be able to change the player’s clothing, and that change will be reflected in the player’s sprite as he moves around the game world. The list goes on and on.

   I’ve noticed that giving a programmer a designer’s heart is a dangerous thing, but also a great one. When you’re a designer and a programmer, you know your limits, but you also know what hasn’t been done and can be. You don’t question the impossible, because it doesn’t exist.

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~ by IG on June 22, 2008.

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