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« Livio's Blog

Tile Design

Since the last update, I've been trying to figure out the best way to code Tiles. In the past I would've just gotten a basic crate working with a few options :build up from there, but that's a terrible way to design something because it's really just leaving all the hard decisions until later. Solving those problems might end up in me having to throw away a ton of code if that's how I approached it. So lately I've been trying to gather all the ideas and plans we have and trying to figure out how it's all going to fit together before diving into the code.

Unfortunately, this is turning out to be harder than I thought. The rules that make up the HATPC mechanics aren't very elegant; they seem to just be one special case on top of another. Furthermore, when building the past demos, I completely ignored anything about animation, which adds another dimension of demands.

I previously mentioned an idea in which every object in the game (player, crate, other tiles...) could be instances of some kind of super malleable class, which through only changing its options around, you can make it into anything we need. While that idea seemed reasonable back when the only thing tiles could do was move around and have their borders react differently to collisions, it's pretty impractical when you start to notice how inelegantly all of our game's rules and restrictions tie together.

My designs are still not done, but I know that the Player will definitely have to be its own structure, with Crates being another, and some more for non-crate tiles. I'm feel as though I'm about half way done with fully designing how the Player will have to be coded, but that's a complete guess, really. Crates are almost done, but the fuel cell idea could complicate things now that we're officially adding it.

Fortunately, once these designs are complete, coding it all will mostly be smooth sailing and will be able to progress much more quickly compared to if I hadn't taken the time to plan all of this out first.

Flashy Menus

Today I got tired of all this planning and felt like doing some real work. So I opened up my files to see where I had left off last time. I was in the middle of moving all of my code into a new project after my previous one had mysteriously become corrupted. When I opened the project today, all it could do was resize the flash file according to the window size. After today, I had added the Home Menu, Credits Page, and User Levels Page.

The Home and Credits pages were basically copy-pasted from the previous Aeon build, but the way the game handles pages is much more efficient and programmer-friendly. The main difference is that now all menus are initialized at the very beginning, rather than each time the screen needs to appear.

Needing something else to do, I decided to finally make the User Levels Page, which gives you a list of all the levels in the database and lets you load it right away. I heard a game developer say once that the vast majority of your time will be spent not on the game itself but on making your menus look right and feel easy to use. Knowing myself, I knew that if I ever made a first attempt of the User Levels page, it would be a long time before I ever redid it, so I made sure to make it good.


The line highlighted in red is where the cursor is currently located at.

And for a day's worth of work, I'm surprised how much stuff I managed to put into it. First, the page uses a ScrollPane, which is a component only available in the Flash IDE. It took me a while to find how I could get that into my project without having to attach an FLA, which grossly slows down how long the project takes to compile. Next, I had to make a page on the interguild where the game could connect to and easily load all of the data necessary for showing that list of levels. I even went as far as to include a search bar AND pagination. And all of this took quite some time to test and stamp out all its bugs. My workflow has clearly improved since last time, since I probably would've stopped once I got the list of levels displayed.

Next time, when I'm not continuing on the tile designs, I'll probably start the Level Editor, which should be fun to make.
[?] Karma: +3
User Comments (2)
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Isa
[?] Karma: 0 | Quote - Link
Thursday, June 16 2011, 5:15 am EST
No. I'm an octopus.

Age: 27
Karma: 686
Posts: 7833
Gender: Male
Location: Uppsala, Sweden - GMT +1
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Whoo, progress!
Silver
[?] Karma: 0 | Quote - Link
Thursday, June 16 2011, 5:39 am EST

Karma: 121
Posts: 3581
Gender: Female
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Oh my god that new level database looks spiffy! This is awesome!

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