Thinking Out Loud

Let’s get this out of the way right now – this post doesn’t really do anything and odds are won’t make too much sense. For kicks and because I’m thinking about it, I thought I would go through the process of figuring something out here on the blog. A kind of moment to moment look inside the admittedly stupid process that I go through when working out a mechanic or how something is going to work. Hence, this is more of a stream of consciousness kind of post today, and the kind of thing I would usually scribble (text?) out into a disposable Notepad document and then trash without saving. So, lucky day for you I guess.

Next up, the Train levels. Let’s think about that for a moment. The train levels are supposed to work by having a series of train cars, each loaded up with stuff, like some kind of battle train. The Engine of the thing is the Base, and I’ll probably create a tunnel or something so I have a place to leave a bomb.

From a coding perspective I should be able to create modified versions of the ground based enemy classes, or just make a train car class that I put underneath the normal ground enemies. That could work too I suppose. Either way, that shouldn’t be too hard. Hypothetically I could create an invisible spawn box that can make the train cars move in different directions. Spawn them up with some kind of signifier that would tell a collision object what to do. Say, make the X and Y speed values something different so the train can run over terrain that isn’t all flat. Again, not too much of a problem. Would have to change the rotation though to match. Could do that without too much worry though, since I’m just passing along variables and whatnot.

Instead, how is this thing going to work mechanically? I mean, if I destroy a train car, what happens? Does only the thing riding get wiped out? Or should the whole car be removed? I like the idea of destroying the whole car, but there are issues with that plan of attack. If, I destroy a car, do the rest just drop off? How do I code that? How does that interact with the destroyed enemies percentage since the enemies that are riding the latter cars would be removed from the screen but considered “escaped” by the game system? Do I have to make a special exception for them in that function?

I suppose that the answers could be, in order, yes, make it so that when a car collides with another car they change their speed values to match, it won’t and will fail, unless yes.

The thing though is that considering it, it could create more moment to moment Wow moments, but would normally play like ass. To wit, since the front of the train is towards the end of the level, anything that was shot off would fall towards the back of the screen. By hugging the front of the screen you could always make the cars fall off, which isn’t very interesting. Add to that the fact that the crasher type enemies would devastate the train and the pieces on it if the cars could fall off, and it stops being interesting from a level standpoint. I could do more with the level designs if the train cars were more an integral part of the environment.

However, I think that destroying the base should make everything just stop (or explode…that would be cooler). I can probably code a little exception bit into the bomb and base interaction code. Something along the lines of : If destroyed && level == 41 || 43 foreach ground enemy -> explode.

Alright then. So, up next for coding is a modified version of the turrets, rockets and base, each with the ability to move slower than normal. So if the ground is moving at a 2 pixels per frame, if a foreground object is moving at 1 pixels per frame it will have a ground speed of about 1 pixel per frame relative to the ground. Kind of slow considering, but still enough to present the illusion of movement over terrain.

Also, I need a new invisible class that I can detect collision on. Something that holds a value for rotation and new direction. I’m thinking that the speed value could maybe not actually be the speed that the invisible object (let’s call it a Ghost) moves. Instead the ghost will always move at (-2,0) – like the ground. The speed value that it would have like every other sprite object would simply be used as a transfer of information to the other sprites that touch it. Might take some tweaking, but I think that it could work.

Well then. It seems like we have a plan.

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