We’re almost back to Zero, which is a good thing in this context. Some months ago I set out to finish off Paper Zeppelin, the (too) long in development video game by Star Frog. The first issue that stood in the way is that the XNA platform had been taken out back and had a bullet put into it, and although I’m am a reasonable necromancer by most estimations, there was nothing I could do to bring that back from the dead. I mean, the libraries had all gone Alexandretic. Now the successor was a set of tools called Monogame, which was great and portable.
The trick of course, was that it was portable. That is different than compilable. So I’ve spent some time getting the system back online, running smoothly, making updates where the old code was straight trash and porting in the different classes. Well, as of today almost everything is back in, now that the bombs, bomb icons and bases are all online. The last couple of objects to add are minor things like rocket explosions (which are a custom Sprite / Bullet class) and wrecks (which are functionally an exceptionally weird crasher type) that are almost a graphical flourish. So like I said, we’re almost back to where we started, only now Paper Zeppelin runs. It runs real good.
Next up from a coding perspective we’re going to start the process of building the wrappers that will go around the game itself. These are things like a Title Screen, mid-mission screens, a way to throw up some text (and dialog!) up in between missions and stuff like that.
Something that I would like to do from a UI/UX perspective is to build basically everything inside the Paper Zeppelin engine. That means that when the title screen boots up, the Player 1 zeppelin should pop up along with a “GO” button someplace on the screen (and a sound test and options buttons too) and they are selected via shooting them with the cannons or hovering over them. Players could drop in from the title screen the same way that they can drop in at any point during the game too. The mid-level parts should be a custom (slightly long) level where the different stage options pop up.
So that’s the next things to work out. The other bit to install is the background templates, but for that I need to know what the background objects are going to be for placement purposes. Which means that I need the actual art assets, and not just placeholders unless I want to do everything twice. Having already built the Paper Zeppelin engine twice, I can say from experience that I would rather not.