Grab Bag

Just a quick update today, as I’m in the process of cleaning my old apartment, but I did find a little time this week to poke at some Gunmetal Arcadia tasks.

Building off the collision work I discussed a few weeks ago, I’ve made some improvements to how collision surfaces are generated from tiles. I now have the capability to insert “hint walls” at the edges of platforms. These are invisible surfaces which the player does not collide against, but which serve to notify enemies or NPCs that they’ve reached the end of a walkable space and should turn around. This is a huge improvement over Super Win the Game, which required me to place these invisible blockers by hand.

I’ve been prototyping some visual improvements for players who prefer to disable the CRT effects. There’s very little reason from a technical standpoint why the visible viewing area should be limited to a 4:3 aspect ratio in this mode. I’ve made a local change which extends the viewing space to fill the screen when CRT effects are disabled. It’s not shippable yet, but it’s feeling fairly promising. It does raise some interesting design questions, however. How should rooms that do not fill the complete horizontal space be displayed? Is it acceptable to leave blank space on the sides of the screen in these cases? What happens when you reach the edge of the room and transition to the next one? Does the adjacent room suddenly pop into existence? These are questions that I’ll have to answer before this can be a real shipping feature.

I made some changes to my Windows build process shortly after launching Super Win the Game to facilitate side-by-side Steam and non-Steam builds, and I’ve continued improving this process in order to automate it as much as I can. The dream would be to have a one-button process that can build and deploy all configurations on all platforms (six at this point: Steam and non-Steam builds on Windows, Mac, and Linux), but I’m not there yet, and I likely won’t put too much effort into solving that problem for Gunmetal Arcadia.

That’s all for this week. Next Monday’s entry may be another conceptual high-level design one depending on how much work I’m able to get done over the next few days. If you’re just seeing this blog for the first time, I’d encourage you to check it out from the start. I’ll have more specific development details to share once I begin working on this game in earnest, of course, but I’ll probably continue sharing abstract design thoughts throughout the duration of the project, as well. Those are fun to write, and, I suspect, often more interesting to read.