Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Apocalyse Whenever

I have a keg of beer.

 These things do not keep once opened so I've been doing my level best to chug through it. So at least I've some sort of excuse for lack of productivity - at least for the last quarter of this month. The rest is a bit ... meh ...

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics has been cancelled - as was foretold in 1982.

I remember chortling to myself when it was announced back in 2013, that the 2020 Olympics would be held in Tokyo.

And my own little OC long before any of this kicked off ...

So, no state sponsored psychokinetic experiments let loose amongst gangs of roaming Bōsōzoku ... but it's still not happening ... this year anyway.

Apparently the great toilet paper shortage is over and the supermarkets are now overflowing ... mostly due to people buying 5 years worth in one go. That's a lot of devil chili vindaloos to munch through to use up all that soft, soft papel d'hygenico ...

So everything has ended, and my foot2ball team may be saved from the danger of relegation. Surely global armageddon is a small price to pay for this luxurious reprieve from the third tier of English sportsball?

So ... maybe back to work next month.

Then again, maybe not ...

In the meantime here is what the 1980s looked like in France according to The Old Grey Whistle Test of the same era ...

And here is a picture of a cat ...

Saturday, 29 February 2020

Leap Year Because Time Is Not Constant Enough

It's a Leap Year, which is a thing that happens every FOUR years, apart from every FOUR HUNDRED years, when it doesn't.

Can I get a quick rundown of the month?
I continued to hike at least one half marathon a week but the bit between my ribcage and stomach still has the consistency of a water balloon.

Everything is flooded and there is a constant gale coming off the Atlantic Ocean.

My Valentine's date could have gone better.

I wrote some code to automate the currently selected boss to display health on the player's HUD and made it network safe. Then someone told me a method which did the same thing whilst using 90% less code lines so I used that instead.

I redid my "terror tower" special item to now look like a pile of skulls because feedback said it was hard to tell what it was before.

I started work on level 5, which is going to be  an ruined and overgrown industrial complex. So far I have the level layout, textures of mud and the foliage, whilst still working on the actual industrial ruins, expect lots of pipes.

I have previously finalized the enemies for this level, who will be plasma rifle wielding "Hive Warriors" and their "Genetically Modified Brute" slaves. However after running through a live fire test of the half finished level, I thought that the colour difference between the monsters did not make them look distinct enough, so I boosted the colour saturation and contrast somewhat.

Before and After ...

Apparently some other things happened too but I can't remember them all - save Valve introduced another Steamworks SDK update just 2 weeks after I installed the previous one for Airship Dragoon. I took this opportunity to try out their new announcement system which now allows small patches for changelogs.

So that was the month that was and it is still blowing a gale and the fire brigade are still pumping out floodwater downtown.

Friday, 31 January 2020

Space Year 2020 And CO-OP Mode Works

The first month of Space Year 2020 is over. Which is kind of annoying as I always bemoan a month passing in the face of my meagre endeavours. However January has been rather productive.

I created muzzle flashes for the stock player character's weapons. Apparently there is a way to do this in Max using mesh visibility animations ... but Blender3D doesn't appear to have that so I had to fake it with the good old "make it really small and hide it inside the gun when not in use" approach.

 The gifts that keep on giving ... but not this much ...

I also went back and restructured a lot of the power ups. There is a rare power up which drops other temporary power ups - however I found this to be very overpowered, so I changed it to drop a small gift box which contains a 20 second buff to a single attribute - "buff" apparently being the correct terminology for this sort of thing. I also swapped a common single attack damage multiplier for a temporary damage booster that lasts 60 seconds.

The '80s called to remind everyone that it was the greatest decade in history ...

I also channelled my 1980s childhood for an Aliens themed range finder. This finds the nearest unopened swag parcel or node and informs the player of the distance. Originally I tried to get this information via the GUI itself before common sense prevailed that I should be getting it from the player object on the server and then send the result to the GUI so it was networkable.

 Me, myself and I ... and me again ...

Speaking of networkable, I finally tested 4 player co-op mode and it worked quite nicely ... until it all broke but then I fixed it and now it really does seem to work quite nicely. I created a little leader board so all the players can see how they did at the end of the level relative to each other. I had to rewrite how levels are loaded as my previous level loading was very much based around single player mode, but at least I have had the foresight to make all aspects of individual player progression networkable so has been no hitches in spawning clients in a new level with all their old swag.

I have made various other tweaks and additions too numerous to mention, though refractoring the difficulty curve was one. It now works much better in co-op and endless mode, when the player has finished the game but continues to replay through the original 10 levels.

One thing I finally got around to finishing was the model for the Terror Tower item, which creates a zone of protection that the player can hide in. It's a tower of gibbets with severed heads that scares monsters away.

Too Spooky - even for monsters!

After putting on half a stone over Christmas, all of which seemed to congregate in a band around my waist I went for a good 70 miles worth of hiking this month. I am still the same weight but the middle tyre has gone so I guess it's turned into muscle somewhere and now my leg really hurts. More hiking tomorrow but it's only 5 miles to a pub.

Anyhow, roll on 2020.