Sunday, September 16, 2012

Summer ends

Back to school

Hope you had some great holidays. Besides working on Invasion Aftermath and AMA studios' project, I actually spent most of this summer working on my personal website. I've had the domain name reserved for years but never took the chance to work on it. Now it's up and running.

You can have a look at it here at

It's still work in progress, but it's coming along nicely. Hope you'll enjoy it.

Now a new academic year is about to start. New students, new classes, and the introduction of a 4th grade in videogames development. This is going to be fun...and a lot of work too !


A small update on my game project.

First, there was some bugs in the mother ship animation triggering that is now fixed.
I've also implemented a first version of turrets. Turrets are interesting because they work on two separate axis, and you have to figure out the angle for rotating the base and the angle for rotating the canon separately.


I wanted the turets to fire only when they are almost aligned with their target. The idea is they would want to 'save' amunition if they were not sure there's a chance to hit their target. That prevents continuous firing and gives more 'thinking' behind the turrets, it makes them less mechanical and more realistic.

I also added some jitter to the turrets when firing. This serves two purposes: One, it makes the firing a bit more cahotic and more realistic, and broadens a little the target range. Without that, chances to be hit are very low as the turret is always a little 'late' in targeting you (as it tries to allign with your position).

Finally, I wanted the canon vertical angle to be limited to the horizontal plane (no possibilities to shoot downward). I'm planning to have passages in some maps where you can sneak-in by flying below their shooting range.

I also did some anticipation tests. By looking at the current biplane direction, I could rotate the turret in a way that the projectile would reach the biplane if it didn't change its route. It proved to be way too precise and much difficult to play as you basically would be hit pretty much every time. So I removed it and kept it a little dumb.


As always I've made a basic model that is not visually representative of the final design, but is functionnaly the same:

I made a long base so it can be decided during the construction of the level (remember levels are stored as xml files and built at run time from a library of objects in memory) at which height to place the turret, depending on terrain altitude.

When doing the implementation, the question was: Do I want my projectiles to have a linear trajectory or fall down with gravity?

I decided to implement gravity as it is interesting to see the impacts of the projectiles on the ground. To my opinion it makes the experience more solid. It also alows to realise there's a turret offscreen if projectiles are falling nearby.

However I find it quite difficult to see the altitude of projectile and determine in advance if you'll be hit or not. It's ok when theres only one or two turrets firing, but it's quite difficult if there are three or more.

I made some tests with many turrets and it's just a mess. It's fun to watch but hard to play. I guess I need to think more about ways to make all that more playable, this is still a bit rough.

It could be quite interesting in stereoscopic 3D though.

As always, feel free to comment.