Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Minor update

I've been laid up in bed for a few days with a touch of flu, so progress has been slow in the last week. I've implemented a few new features for the creation tool, including the ability to import your own non-compiled graphics. For animation frames I had previously been manually entering the pixel co-ordinates, which is easy enough, but I think most people would prefer being able to select the frames directly from the spritesheet using the mouse, so I'll put that in for the alpha.

The following outstanding features will NOT be in the alpha, as they'll take a while to code and I'm eager to get some feedback as soon as possible:
  • Conversation Trees
  • Global Variables
  • Compression of save files
  • Importing of SOME non-compiled assets (fonts & sounds)
  • Full UI scalability
To answer a question in the comments, XAGE uses a system reminiscent of the SCUMM games in that there is a single executable which essentially interprets a gamecontent file (currently "Game.xml", but an option will be added to use a binary file instead). The gamecontent file is created and updated by the creation tool - you'll never need to touch or worry about the executable.

I'll post again when the Alpha's ready. Note that documentation will be light (read: non-existent), but I'll put in some tooltips so you can at least figure out what each field does. I'm hoping that the majority of the functionality will be self-explanatory.


Ben304 said...

I look forward to seeing the alpha :)

One other, small question - is the room size for this build the same as in Lechuck's Revenge (320x144)?

I'm doing up a few test graphics so I can dig right in and put something together, but I don't want to draw up backgrounds if they're completely wrong in size when the GUI is added :P.

Clarvalon said...

320*144 is correct. For the Alpha these values are hardcoded into the engine, and the GUI is fixed. This will change for later releases.

Ben304 said...

By the GUI being 'fixed', are you referring to just size and location or also the graphics? I wouldn't really expect a customizable GUI in terms of size or graphics for the alpha build, but it would be nice to be able to draw one's own gui in later builds of the engine.

Either way, I'm pretty keen to try this engine out!

Clarvalon said...


Essentially, a gamescreen size of 320*200 is hardcoded into the engine. The 320*144 background display size is also hardcoded.

This gamescreen size is independant from actual screen size (i.e. window size or full screen resolution) and can be scaled up as required.

For instance, the xbox has a universal resolution of 1280*720. Therefore the gamescreen size is scaled up three times to 960*600, which is centred in the display. This works out fairly nicely as there are certain safe display area constraints with the xbox (due to overscanning on various TVs).

Currently the windows version uses a window 2x the gamescreen size (so 640*400). In the future the gamescreen size will be set using the game creation tool, and the resolution will be a preference setting as part of a user config file.

Apologies if any of the above is poorly explained - my brain's a little bit fuzzy at the moment, and having Balamory in the background isn't helping.

In short, stick with having 320*144 backgrounds for now, as XAGE won't support different sizes for a little while yet.

Eriq Chang said...

This is really great stuff. Your talents will help a lot of starry-eyed adventure game developers bring their dreams to life!

Don't give up and keep us all posted. Everything looks really amazing - great work here.