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Amazing Progress in March!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 3:19pm
jeff
Lead Developer
It's a good thing I posted a mini-update mid-way through the month, or this would end up being one ridiculously long post! To understand the scope of improvements I've made in the past month - take another look at the month-end post for February... a month ago I had just gotten the client working, with players walking around on an empty terrain. Just one month later, and playing with the client feels nearly like a whole different game!

Ever since January, I've been alternating each month between focusing on developing Toi - the game engine behind Antilia, or focusing on Antilia itself. In March, my focus was on Toi. My primary objective was to add scenery to the world and scene editing to the world editor. To get there, I would need to take a few detours and implement some other smaller additional tools that have been lacking since picking Toi up again last year. Before I could add scenery to the game, I first needed a way to describe just what an individual piece of scenery was exactly.

But wait - didn't we already have a mesh editor for that? Well - partly, yes. But more goes into a scenery object than just a mesh. Toi's new "GameObjects" are "smart objects" - objects that combine a visual representation with audio, physics, and behavioral information. Some GameObjects don't render at all - such as accent lights, while others are a combination of behaviors. One could create a "campfire" GameObject so that it combines a mesh, particle system, sound emitter, light source, and NPC repeller, which can then be dropped into the game world as a single entity.

To make that magic happen, I needed an editor for constructing and describing GameObjects:

The GameObject Editor
This is a development screenshot, and should not be taken for how the game will appear at launch.
Thanks go to Yatra for the nice sword textures.


The GameObject editor was a good start toward scenery - but early into it's development I discovered I needed another tool within it: The Material Editor. The material editor is quite simple, and therefore I won't include a picture of it, but it allows world builders to customize the look of meshes while creating GameObjects.

As I moved into making the scene editing tools - one thing was still bothering me, however. Being able to add bushes and rocks to the scene was good, but what our 'sandbox' scene really needed was some trees. So on Sunday I decided to do something about it - and created a new tree editor. In the morning I decided on an extremely simple way of creating it, and by the end of the day, the tree editor was 100% functional and producing trees:

The Tree Editor
This is a development screenshot, and should not be taken for how the game will appear at launch.

With the Tree Editor, world builders can create nice looking trees in minutes, instead of the hours it could take to create similar-looking trees in the Mesh Editor.

With the addition of the Tree Editor, things were really taking shape. All that remained was adding the scenery tools for the World Editor, and a bit of core engine house-cleaning to render the scenery efficiency.

The World Editor
This is a development screenshot, and should not be taken for how the game will appear at launch.

By the end of March, I had added: An animated sky, static clutter, the GameObject Editor, the Tree Editor, the Material Editor, the scene system, and the scenery tools in the World Editor.

So where does all that take us?

This is a development screenshot, and should not be taken for how the game will appear at launch.

This is a development screenshot, and should not be taken for how the game will appear at launch.

In April, I'll be focusing on Antilia itself again - starting with enhancements to the server that will allow players to start interacting with the game-world beyond just walking and chatting. I also plan to spend at least a week creating new content for the game. Finally, we will have male character bodies as well, and hopefully the addition of the next Taipii breed.
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