Adarakion Developer Diary: Issue 8

Hello again! Well, well, well, quite a bit of stuff to tell you about this week – hopefully in a diary entry that makes sense and reads correctly!  So what’s happening in the wacky world of Adarakion? Well, it’s with a heavy heart I have to tell you that my co-developer, Liam, has moved onto pastures new. Well, not really pastures new, he has been offered an opportunity by his boss that was simply too good to turn down – whilst I have thanked him personally for his input over the past few weeks I felt it only proper to publicly thank him too.

It’s strange when things like this happen to a team of people. On one hand I felt gutted that we lost a team member, and on the other hand I know and believe that what we are doing will be a success, so a bit of a mixed bag of emotions really. Coding wise, Blast! is 100% me, and has been from Day 1 due to Liam’s heavy “real life” workloads. He never really had the opportunity to chip in on the coding side of things, which I think bothered him more than it perhaps did the rest of us. Having said that, Liam was responsible for sorting out the hosting of our website as well as giving us various design input initially into Blast! so once again, thanks for your input and help – we wouldn’t be where we are at the moment without it!

Moving on, Blast! continues to evolve on a daily basis which is astonishing really considering my coding time is incredibly restricted. I guess that is my biggest concern at the moment – that in order to get Blast! to the level of polish I want, its going to take a LOT of time and effort, which effectively means the release date becomes more vague with each new feature we implement, however I don’t want to skimp on the quality, so you eager beavers our there will have to wait a while longer!

In terms of coding, the front end menu system is pretty much complete – I just want to add some more pizzazz to it but other than that, it’s done. The pizzazz factor is something that is proving difficult to nail at the moment. I’m experimenting with various visual effects and styles but none of them “feel” right. The actual menu itself is fully functional and works fine, so I can continually revisit the design and try different ideas out as and when the mood takes me.

The ship display screen is pretty much completed (complete with the ship statistics etc), and part of what I am currently working on is the actual customisation of the ships, so if you want the fastest ship in the game to take a few more hits, then you can do that, if you want the most heavily armoured ship to be a wee bit faster, then you can do that too. Once that is completed the next stage to code in is the special weapons. The idea here is that all ships come with a machine gun type weapon and you then select your special weapon from a list. The list is partially ready at this stage, but I think one of the key things about Blast! is to have a lot of special weapons to choose from, so we need to expand that list a bit! Once you have selected your special weapon you will get to select from a nano-tech augmentation. These will be special abilities your ship has – Ill keep most under wraps, but will include things like invisibility, speed boosts and the like. The ultimate idea in the ship creation process is that there are a large number of matchups to be had – and no two matches will be the same!

Another area I need to code is the customisation of the world/environment. This is where things like gravity, drag etc. come into play, further diversifying the range of match options available to the player.

The actual “fight” engine is coming along nicely too. Just a few moments ago I completed the coding of the player vs. player collisions which seem to work spot on. It is surprising how little changes in the game now make such a huge difference to how the game feels. A good example is that prior to this week, the “fight” engine was running on a plain black backdrop. Phil (our Artist) dropped my a sample background for the fights which I slotted in and it suddenly made the game look and feel a lot different to how it had been previously. He is currently working on backdrop number two, and I really can’t wait to see how that looks. The HUD also needs some work as it is a bit overpowering how it sits at the moment, I think I will totally redo that in due course, but it’s functional as it stands, so its fairly low down the list of priorities.

One final thing to report is that I’m now Windows 7 enabled and Blast! seems to work fine. That’s my coding expertise is that… well… that or pure fluke, but the former sounds better to me!

So to conclude, despite a few setbacks, Blast! is starting to come along quite nicely. I have released the early build code to the team, and despite the known issues I have, the feedback so far has been very positive which is always good to see. A problem I seem to occasionally have is that of self confidence in my ability as a coder. Having said that I do feel like this project has bought me on immensely and I can’t wait till I can show off what we have achieved to you lot!