Saturday, February 18, 2012

Spikes Quest TDemo#5 Release Date - 3/17/12

A bit sudden, I know, but I just wanted to throw this out there.

Due to the new episode announcement of MLP:FiM called 'Dragon Quest' (an episode involving our beloved baby dragon, Spike) I've decided to set the official release date for Demo #5 to that exact air date of March 17th!

That gives me exactly a month to get this baby ready!

(boy, am I in for a ride, huh?)

Friday, February 17, 2012

2/17/12 - Updates are now Weekly

I may not be posting much but that doesn't mean I haven't been busy!

Still working on the map editor (installing the new 3D functions as well as adding new objects and other things to the palette ..) I know I've been at it for several weeks now but I'm sure that the majority of those following this project understands that good things take time :) Once I feel satisfied with the editing software I'll proceed to revamp the game's engine, and that's when you'll get to see the real beauty of my hard work!

I also realize that I haven't been submitting images or videos of the project like you'd probably expect me to... but really... who would want to watch a video of the map and tile data editor? :P I'll post an actual video when the game's revamped engine is fully functioning!

I've also given some thought to the Pinkie's Mini Game series for this project and I've considered doing a mini ponified spoof of Wolfenstien 3D (did I spell that right?) where Spike wonders around a nostalgic 3D dos-like setting collecting cupcakes and fending off Pinkie Pie clones with a pie launcher.

And I did announce in another thread that I've considered a bronified version of Chips Challenge... but I'm considering making that into another mini game for SQ.

On to other news...

As the topic of this post suggests, I'll be posting updates weekly now, as apposed to the old daily update method like I was doing before. This gives me more than enough time to put together something that might be of interest to you readers out there (heaven knows I've been boring you guys with my talk of coding this and coding that... :P you want actual game content, dont you? )

Also, when I post up that video I may actually ditch the old Ponychan thread and make a new one (I hate to do it... its been fun, but I'm getting the vibe that the old thread is a dead horse. A new thread could possibly spark new interests in favor of the project!)

And that's all I have for news for now. Stick around! :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

2-9-12 - 3D in BlitzMax!

So I finally figured out how to get 3D to work in Blitz Max! (a handy little module called MiniB3D)

If you remember in Demo #3 I had y'all test a 3D background. That was done using Blitz 3D. And long since then I've upgraded the IDE to Blitz Max which from the very start does not actually support 3D in any way, shape or form (unless you create your own engine to do so...)

MiniB3D is a handy little module created and distributed freely amongst the Blitz community. It shares some of the simple functions that the original Blitz 3D IDE has, which is really nice! :)

So you may ask: why would I need 3D for Spikes Quest?

Simply because I'd like to enhance the background scenery. Much like what you see in some recent 2D Castlevania games!

Using a 3D mesh for the background would give me some additional features such as animated textures and a more realistic looking depth than your standard multilayered paralax background.

The 3D uses openGL (Direct X is optional, but is only available for Windows OS's. So I'll be using the first option here...)

Aside from the 3D tests (I've been setting up the module and testing it out on Linux and Mac as well as Windows) I'm still tinkering and adding things to the map editor. As of today I've got quiet a bit done but there's still much more to do!

Look at it this way: the more I get done with the editing software, the more advanced the game becomes! There will be thrice more features in Demo#5 than there was in Demo#4!

So be patient and stay tuned! :D

Thursday, February 2, 2012

2-2-12 - Shading System a Success!

The test map is a bit rushed, but its still effective for this showcase.

Now tell me that doesn't look cool! :D

A Quick Q&A for the Map and Tile System

In the Ponychan thread for Spikes Quest, Sind!.noTamoDY2 wrote:
This is getting more and more epic by the update :3

But since there is a level editor, do you think there is a possibility for allowing custom graphics?
I'm looking forward to seeing what everypony makes :3

Also, I'd really like to know how the level format works, and how you set it up. Currently, for my own game, I've planned to put all the level date for each level on a separate XML file. But I'm wondering how you made it ^-^

My response:

the level editor is made entirely from scratch code in Blitz Max (everything from memory from several years of personal experience)

the level reads a .tdat file which returns the tile image file and then the data of each individual tile for that image.

and then the level reads a .prlx file which tells the game which parallax background to use (first reading back the flag that tells the game if the background is a 3D mesh, or a set of images)

After that the level (a .gmap file) reads back the map width and height (measured by screens), creates the tiles accordingly (applying the tdat tile data to each individual tile) and then the data for the tile's shading and misc in-game entities (enemies, npc's, items, etc)

If I do publish these editors alongside (or after) the final game is published, then yes, you will be able to load your own customizable tilesets. In fact, that's one of the major improvements that the new map editor has! (in the recent demos, I've kept myself limited to just the one tileset)

In order to use your own custom tiles, you would first separate the tiles into the three groups (main layer, background layer, foreground layer.) The main layer is the tile layer that Spike interacts with and it has two sublayers (background and foreground) for a more manageable effect. Once you have your tiles sorted on a simple image template you would then have to run it through the tile data editor, where you'd set each of the main layer's tile attributes (type of obstacle, surface and then the tile's sub layer)

Once you've done that, then you would have to run a prlx editor to create your own customizable parallax background (unless you just want a blank background in your level)

when your done creating both the tdat and prlx files you can then run them through the map editor where you'd build your own map. You set the map's width and height (again, measured by screens) and select your tdat file. the prlx file is selected in the main editor.

So while your in the editor you can draw out your map with all three tile layers, the parallax background, misc entities such as enemies, NPCs, items, etc and set the shade properties of each tile.

Also for things like signs and doors you would have to manually set their properties. For signs, you would have to select a dlg file which gives each sign their dialog text. and as for the doors you'd have to tell the program which map each door leads to (currently I'm debating about whether I should just stick to setting that property manually in the code)

Once finished, you simply just save the gmap file and load it into the game!

currently I have to load the gmap files through the code. But maybe eventually I'll figure out a more advance and easier way of doing it.

I have been considering making a special map editor for the community and a map player to go along with it which would enable you to make your maps and run them through the player, like a mini game where you could challenge other players to get from point a to point b on your map :)

that's all I can tell you for the moment. the rest will be revealed in future updates.

So stick around!