The front end’s all done now. It was done, from a coding perspective, but now it’s done from a “doesn’t suck and works like it was supposed to in the first place” perspective. I find it to be adorable. I can open levels, close levels, leave the game loop, hop back in and get my game on. Added to the fact that the Engine is so lean, it takes zero time to load when I do it. Toss in the page flippy into and out of the Engine via the pause menu and it legitimately feels like paging through a book, which is kind of the point.
The trick I’ve found involved the giant stick method mentioned below. If the stupid thing didn’t have a “Go” moment, then I just had to provide it a way to make good. So I built a Launch function, a single gateway into the Engine Loop that would tie all the disparate elements together, and get them dancing. Then I modified the Tutorial and all the rest of the gamemodes to use it, and now almost everything is functional and dandy. I’m very happy with it now.
I’ve also finished out the last of the Difficulty setting, um, settings. So now all of that stuff works. Perfect Mode requires perfection, Hard is wicked, Normal is doable and Easy helps you fight better and last longer. Seriously, I’m thinking Easy is too easy. Enemy attacks deal 3 damage per hit on Easy (as opposed to the Regular 7 and the Hard mode 10). With 100 HP you have to get smacked 34 times to get taken out. Add in the life gain at the end of the levels and the auto-block on high (which works great by the way) the enemies are the least threatening thing in the game.
Thinking about it though, I’m okay with that. Some skill is still needed to play, since a lethal fall is just as lethal on Easy as it is on Normal or Hard. I’m not going to force the issue and make Easy more difficult, since that defeats the entire purpose of having it.
– Since the menu works now, I found myself flipping though the levels and wound up playing the Castle (on Hard of course). It seems that the game is now large enough for me to forget stuff that’s in there. So I started just playing to see if everything was loading right, and then something funny started happening, I started to enjoy the act of play. Not enjoying the coding, or the level design or the fact that the damn thing works, but the actual actions of pushing the keys and solving the level.
It’s far too easy to get too close to something. I’ve ranted about it before where I stated that I couldn’t enjoy what I had built, that seeing all the strings destroys the magic. I still stand by that to an extent. However, I’ve found that if I’ve not looked at what I made for a while I can come back with fresh eyes and enjoy what I have constructed. That’s not quite right, I can enjoy the game, as a game, which is even better.
– I’ve got me some new engines to play with. I hate news on this blog (since I want all the news to be about TTT) but recently both the Unity Engine and the Unreal Engine have been made available for free. Not just for downloading and playing with like that rotten on the inside Maya Student Edition, but the real versions. Now they have new licenses for indies which is far better than the previous ones that involved $100,000, the blood of a virgin and a mustache ride.
So I got them installed and running and they are, let’s use the term “robust.” The Editors, which I’ll call UnitEd and UnrEd, have features layered on features.
I started thinking about all the things I could do with UnitEd, since UnrEd barely runs on my laptop. New designs, new ideas, and then it hit me – I don’t want to do any of those. All of the stuff I want to do would require me tearing into the deep guts of the software to get an approximation of what I could build from scratch with less effort. So I may open them up to have a peek from time to time, but I’ve no real wish to do a project with them. Of course, I may change my mind later.
…and I can’t do it all on my own…I’m no Superman.