First blog post! My name is Pieter Albers and I’ve been at Xform since… forever. In these blog post I will discuss and/or nag about a lot of things! This time I will nag about programming. I’ve been programming a lot and most of it, if not all, is done in Adobe Director. I wasn’t schooled as a programmer and had to learn along the way. Thankfully, we now have a couple of real programmers helping me out.
Currently I am working on the same project Matthew mentioned a couple of posts ago. It is unannounced and just like Matt I can’t discuss or tell a lot about it, but I can tell a little bit of the technical hurdles we need to take. The game has a lot of water in it and our vehicles need to have a decent behavior when floating and racing on it. As we simply don’t have time to build this into the extremely realistic behavior that you see in some console games we try and aim for the nearest approximation of it. I also think most type of games don’t benefit from such a realistic behavior as it is simply not fun to control when sitting behind your computer or on your couch. I’m always much more in favor of an ‘arcade’-like control scheme and feeling. Something that is actually fun to do! This can also be enhanced by having a decent visual effect on the vehicle (or object) you control. For example a car that banks when taking corners. It is not always necessary to have this physically correct. You can do all calculations on a simpler base object and have the car follow and do all the smaller things that can enhance the feeling of control.
This was my starting point for our new game as well. Funnily enough, I took the AI car code of Burnin’ Rubber 4 to start developing a boat like behavior. I did this because this code is very simple and will allow me to have more AI controlled characters instead of opting for the more complex and CPU intensive player car (as seen in Burnin’ Rubber 4). Furthermore, behind the scenes this code almost already acts like something that is floating above the ground. Quickly I ran into issues. The waviness of the water, either static or animated, would cause my vehicle to jitter and bounce all over the place. It is a bit different than actually use it to drive around on a ‘flat’ ground. So after throwing almost everything away I ended up with some new code using a base object that’ll follow the water model perfectly, either static or animated. It still jitters a bit, but it is good enough. I am now up to creating the visual ‘layer’. The actual visual vehicle that’ll bank and turn in the corners, move up and down while floating, etc. My guess is this will enhance the feeling of control even more, while it doesn’t actually ‘do’ anything. We’ll see how that will turn out in a couple of weeks. Fingers crossed…