So, now that I’ve actually had a couple days to sit down uninterrupted on the programming of the game, I have a few thoughts. XNA 3.1 is incredibly easy to use; in fact, I’d say it’s almost too easy. I realize that without a publisher to help promote or even sell the game, I don’t have a lot of room to talk, but the abstraction layer that prohibits would-be game designers is all but gone. Note I did not say that this is a good or bad thing, but I do acknowledge that there are some pitfalls to this approach as well as amazing benefits. I for one am glad I don’t have to spend as much time re-researching things I’ve done a hundred times before – all of it is in one easy to use system that handles literally everything with an ease of use that puts DirectX to shame. I almost feel like I’m back on the Commodore 64 programming BASIC again, with the handy VIC-II chip to do all the graphics for me.
As you can see from the screenshot, I am not really focusing on art assets just yet. For now the priority was developing a map reader and file format so I can edit the various levels without having to hardcode the data like I’ve done in several projects in the past. To put it simply, it means I can make maps with a simple number sequence now, with each number telling the engine to display a 64×64 map graphic (in this case, my default Grass texture). I should also note that unlike in my past programs, I am thinking ahead and have each tile set contained in one file specifically crafted to the map, so I don’t have 500 grass graphic files floating around. The black squares on the screenshot are the 64×64 pixel space immediately to the right of the grass tile; all I have to do is draw whatever I want in that square because the program is already drawing it as is (the current graphic is an empty black).
Something you can’t tell from this screenshot, I also have keyboard and Xbox 360 controller input handlers, so Arashi can move around that map (and the camera moves with her, drawing the map to all 4 edges before stopping further movement). And one more thing, I have some post processing going on, in a full screen image you could see a little sunlight “bloom” on the grass. The number one thing I’ve always wanted in a 2d RPG engine was lighting effects, and I finally got them. They are very easy to use!
I still have a floating point to integer correction problem; for some reason when I move down or up every once in awhile the map will jump back a row before correcting itself. I’ve had this problem before in OpenGL but I don’t see why it’s happening now. I hope to have that solved shortly after I submit this blog.
That’s all for now, ’til my next update! Please don’t be afraid to comment, I am more than happy to talk!