[2010-Sep-20] #3 - Getting Somewhere!
In the last dev diary, SuperSquad had been setup with 8
different meshes and it was possible to move them around with
WASD controls. Tons of enhancements followed over the
next few weeks:
Added a whole
subsystem to read "hero" files from a specific folder and use the information in
them to know what mesh to load, etc. SuperSquad's hero files are at the moment,
simple CSV files (delimited by ";" rather than ","). Still adding to this, but
here's where it stands
As you can see, the hero files are
quite familiar but not quite the same as FF's. Major differences
- Energy rating controls amount of Energy, not
energy recharge rate
- Resistance ratings allow you to
directly tweak how a char responds to different attacks like
Heat and Cold. No need to use Attributes or Materials to set
- Traits are like Attributes in FF , but a) you can
have 10 instead of 5 and b) there are no Traits to control
resistances to attacks as those are all covered elsewhere.
- There are other differences I'll get into later.
Panda's default 3d camera control is, IMO, not usable for a RTS-style game.
So code was written to make it closer to what you would expect. To be honest,
I'm still not 100% happy with it, but it's getting there. It's patterned after
FF, since I am so used to that, but with a few differences. Will continue
Panda supports collision handling of
3d objects (which is good - otherwise it would be quite the pain to
write a game like this). Added a little code at each character's
creation, so they would no longer walk through each other. Instead, they
push each other around.
It was now around
April 18, 2009 and I decided to take the plunge into
AI. The first time I had ever done anything in Python was way back in
2002 when I wrote a little mod for FF called EZ Danger Room.
Basically, it made characters chase each other and make decisions like
should I fly or not? I actually dug up my old EZ Danger Room code to
look at how I had done it and believe it or not, I was able to adapt it
to SuperSquad without too much of a hassle. (Did have to learn about
Panda intervals first).
Suddenly, things were in motion for real as the enemy characters
started running after your squad.
A few more revisions
later (we were up to SuperSquad 0.1.8 at this
point), and the foes were intelligently deciding if they should
fly (taking off and landing on their own). One simple
change later and suddenly your squad members could do
everything the foes were doing. I'm making it sound easy, but
there was plenty of hair-pulling to solve glitches and bugs
(rotation issues, animations, etc.)
One simple thing you're goanna need to do
for a game like this is to click stuff - click where you want to
go, click someone to fight, click an object to pick up, etc.
Panda fully supports this, but to do so, you start getting deep
into the collision system. There's a whole section of the Panda
manual on collision handlers that I'm only now starting to fully
understand, but by version 0.2, I had added the ability to
select a character by clicking them.
May 2, 2009, I was sick of the characters
chasing each just to say "hi", so I added basic melee. You could
now punch foes by clicking on them and eventually even knock
them out. Plenty of bugs, though:
- After 1 punch, couldn't
seem to switch back to idle mode
- Have to fix the combat
text , right now it keeps writing on top of itself until it's
- You could attack a foe just by clicking them, it
doesn't check if you're near enough or for collisions
can cheat by clicking the mouse button repeatedly (without
waiting for the animation to complete) and it still counts as an
It did use STR to calculate damage and you and
your foe's AGL to calculate % chance to hit and subtracts damage from
foe's HP correctly. So it was a major step forward. This is one
of the times (it's happened a few times before and after as
well), that Tommy famously remarked, "it's starting to feel like
an actual game!"
When I code, I really make an effort to use as little code as
possible (less code=less bugs is an old programmer's mantra).
Also, always trying to write code so it can be reused. So I was
very satisfied when just adding 1 line of code suddenly made the
foes capable of fighting back!
added basic flying melee. Tommy is hard at work as I write this
to add some new animations to this, but the basic logic is fully
BTW - our test scene, even now, is JLA vs.
Avengers as those are the sample meshes and skins that Tommy
At this point (May
23, 2009), also added the concept of "map" files. These
are plain text files that are read by a function in my code to
create the scene. Obviously, they will be created by a
still-to-be-made map editor eventually.
For now, I just created a quick map in
to point-and-click movement like a traditional RTS, which
required more collision system code. WASD controls are still in
games can be hard, so of course, a Pause feature had to be
added. Not hard to do, but like much in Panda, you have to code
it yourself. Remember, it's an SDK , not
a "game creator".
wanted for skins to work like they do in FF, where you can
choose a skin folder for a model to use. This turned out to be
quite tricky in Panda as models have multiple image files mapped
to them, etc. Eventually, got some code working that did the
trick and this is now called when loading your character, to set
the skin to the folder specified in the hero file. On this page
you can see an early test pic of the Supes model using Cap's skin.
Doesn't look bad, actually...
Throughout this, Tommy was creating tons
of new animations (remember we wanted everything in the game to
be original) and adding an occasional character to the roster.
He also did lots of great research into Physics and LOD (level
of detail). Things we may implement later.
fixing all the melee issues, I added various miscellaneous
features, usually just because I had just heard about them on
the Panda forums. The picture at the left shows an option I
added to show the scene in wireframe mode. I also added options
to remove all textures from the scene, and take screenshots.
It was now June 9, 2009, I had started to
look at adding title and menu screens (no idea how to do it :) ). But then ...
all work on SuperSquad stopped. Why?
TO BE CONTINUED...