Sunday, July 8, 2012

Goings On

Not much to post about of late, but the adventure gradually continues.  I'm trying out a new health system; a prototype health bar GUI is visible in the screenshot.  Most of my current work, though, is about reviving my proof-of-concept code for narrative generation, untouched for some months, and using the generated plots to drive environment creation.  Everything is still incredibly basic at this point, but the plumbing is beginning to come together.  Here we see our hero entering the (unelaborated) lair of a spiked mummy (Z) who has kidnapped Princess Damsel (p):

Right now I'm finishing up the actual rescue portion of this scenario, after which I'll go to work on the other simple plots I've got so far, taking advantage of commonalities wherever I can.  Reuse of functionality for similar story elements is fundamental to my approach for narrative generation, so I'm eager to generate enough working content to let the concept prove itself out a bit.

Behind the scenes, I've used the quest stuff as an opportunity to start introducing a much-needed event system that will untangle my data flow appreciably.  Since quest goals could be anything, I needed something sufficiently general to handle event notifications without passing listeners around everywhere, so a central registry is an obvious choice.  In a similar way, implementing NPC behavior is providing tools that will also be needed for monster AI.

I'm playing with some fun possibilities for the medium term.  I think I may delve a bit into pixel shaders to try and get more of a neon glow look than the current flat line graphics.  I want to keep things simple and avoid spending a lot of time in a graphics hole, but I'd like to achieve the look I've got in my head.  In terms of game mechanics, I've come up with a fun idea where you change color by picking up a power-up, and different colors give you different abilities.  I'm still pondering ideas for what abilities would be good, how they could be used for puzzles, etc., but I like the number of gameplay possibilities that could arise out of this scheme.  Also, the color-change thing goes along with a general emphasis on color that I want to keep working for.

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