Saturday, June 9, 2012

Progress update for 6/2/2012 - 6/8/2012

This week:

  1. Worked hard to get the level editor to a level where it can edit levels properly (Picture below)! I still need to add support for transitions in levels and enemies and any other scripted event stuff, but plopping down tiles, saving, loading, changing tilesets and a few other nice features are all implemented and working. There's still a lot to do before it's complete, but I'm at a point where I can create some levels in my map editor for use in my game. Now then, I just need to get my game loading these levels...
  2. I've given a lot of thought to the content pipeline in XNA and how or whether I should be using it. I've already got an XML schama that works with my level editor, but it seems like if I want to use the content pipeline I'll need to rewrite my schema to be XNA serializable. Here's a good tutorial about how to serialize XML for XNA. If I bypass the content pipeline, then I can make my life a bit easier even and just save levels as binary blobs, but I lose the ability to run my engine on the Xbox 360. In the end, I decided on using the content pipeline because I don't lose anything by conforming to it and I don't want to close doors I might want to use later (Xbox 360 compatibility).
  3. Powered through getting levels to load through the content pipeline in game. I also converted the current level assets I've created by hand from the editor format to the XNA format. It was tedious, but informative. The whole thing turned out to be slightly simpler than expected in some places, so that was a nice surprise. I conferred with my roommate and we isolated the render resolution and the window resolution so now everything looks much more properly to scale like the original Mega Man game. Below you'll find an image of the game running the first bit of Cutman's level in game.
  4. Found another good article about the component design pattern. It's pretty obvious that this pattern is better for larger games, but I guess I'm  not sure where the line between "small" and "large" lies. It seems like the sort of thing that requires experience to determine.
  5. Levels now properly export to a format that can be put directly into the Xna project, compiled and read into the engine. Before I had converted the files from the editor by hand and boy did I not want to do that more than the once. 
  6. I'm still fiddling with collision detection, but that should be fixed for a while in a little bit here. I eventually ended up defining hit boxes by hand for the player character since doing it automatically turned out to be quite a bit of trouble. Everything works a little better because of it though, so it was worth it.
  7. Enemy spawns now work properly in the game and can be set in the level editor. Currently the options are limited to exactly one specific case (BunbyHeli, spawn on sight, infinite spawn) and the enemies don't have any AI, but they deal damage just fine when you run into them and they're plenty killable. Overall, I'm happy with them. I included a youtube video I recorded of everything up to this point using fraps. I would've made a gif, but I don't have a good program to do so. If you know of one that's free, let me know in the comments. Thanks.
It's been a busy week, but I really wanted to push myself to get to this point. Looking back at last week's progress report, it feels like forever ago. I'm much happier with the state that the game is in now, but I really haven't spent much time unwinding from work, so I think I'm going to take it a bit easier next week.
Here is my level editor with a carefully reconstructed first bit of Cutman's level from Mega Man 1
So chic!

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