Tuesday, September 7, 2010

03 - Let there be... graphics?

While I may have not implemented everything that I've bragged about in my last post due to reasons that I'll get into later, I managed to get a basic game screen working. And it has graphics. The ugliest graphics you have ever seen! Please do not click on the image bellow. I even made it small so you won't be tempted to click on it:

Wait, wait! I'm only joking. Please do not run away. Actually, I looks quite good considering that I've spent a maximum of 30 minutes searching on Google for random tiles that resembled what I was looking for and added them to the tile list. I can foresee a bright future for the graphics in this game. Right now you can notice the grass that forms quite a pleasant and not overly repetitive pattern. A lot to improve on it, but I can imagine dozens of such pattern for grass, soil, ice, etc.. And variations based on climate. And you can see a few tiles for the plants that right now are placed randomly. I don't have enough tiles right now, but imagine that every game will look different (if the starting climate and conditions are different) and you can instantly tell by the graphics what is a pig tail plant and what is an angry lion. Great for your enjoyment and survivability and great for new players. New players might not know that it is a pig tail, but they will still know that it is a plant like thing and not an overly friendly and useful cat.

And you can see your seven starting dwarves. The tile is obviously a poor fit. The dwarf is to small and the shadow is not needed or at least is darker than it should be. With larger and color-coded-for-your-convenience dwarves and a rich tileset maybe it is possible to convey the inherent life and atmosphere of a dwarven fortress set inside an inhospitable mountain in a more visually compelling way. It sure gives me a lot to rant about.

As you can probably tell by reading the above paragraphs, I am not going to include support (at least for the foreseeable future) for "legacy" systems, i.e. console character based display. It is 2010 and we have cheap smart phones more powerful than anything that is implied by ASCII displays. Cheap netbooks should and will be powerful enough to run this thing, but that is as low as it will go. If you look at this game and say "1996" then a machine from "1996" should run it. More or less.

As for the "look at thing" mechanism, I haven't gotten around to it yet because all the other stuff I had to implement first. But I have a new and better idea so I would have ended up scratching the old way anyway. But you can click on stuff to get an awesome highlighting effect (this time with full size picture):

So let's talk trees. And plants. The first draft of the plant editor is here:

It is strong enough to assign most of the properties for the plants and it is easy to use. I have covered the plants I wanted for now. And here is a similar window, this time allowing you to define your trees:

Meanwhile, I've become unhappy with the design of these dialogs. They are good enough, but lack overview capabilities. I'll use a new design for future such dialogs which will be a lot better.

In the biome sections you have a button labeled "Choose" which brings up this atrocity:

Ohhhh God!!! What was I thinking? I must have been drunk when I thought that this would be a good design for a biome configuration window. Or for anything with so many items. I promise to never let it happen again.

Every editor you just saw is fully functional. They load and save data, and the game uses this data to populate the world. Right now it ignores biome information and there is nothing really to this "populate world" nonsense because for now I will only be placing plants. Without trees. I need to find some unique placeholder graphics for every plant and add options to the game so you can choose the environment. And then simulate plant growth.

See you next time!

Statistics S006:

2132 lines of code in 22 files (including data editor)

67.5 KiB (including 14.5 KiB image data)

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