Sunday, 26 April 2020

Viewports & Cameras

AGS v3.5 brought some new functionality, including dedicated mechanisms for handling Viewports and Cameras.  Put simply, this allows you to control which parts of the room to display on the screen, and allows you to do things like split-screens and simple zooms, and stuff like this:


Implementing this took longer than I thought, as I had to rework XAGE's rendering flow several times to get it right.  There's a slight overhead as we're now performing two rendering passes - one to project the game onto a room-sized rendertarget, and another to project the cameras onto the viewports on the final rendertarget, which gets displayed on the screen.  Having said that, Last & Furious still only consumes under 5% GPU on my old HD4400, so the overhead is minimal.

Next up is working on a port of Rellax which, among other things, will help me finish up some of the missing GUI controls like Sliders and Listboxes.


Monday, 20 April 2020

Official Console Support

While the port of Last 'n Furious from AGS had been completed last August, it was a good candidate for getting the first XAGE game out Xbox One.  It needed a bit of work, but not much:

  • Controller support had to be exposed to the game scripts and incorporated into the menus and car handling.  This turned out to be pretty straightforward as the decision was made to simply expose the GamePadState via the scripting interface, as well as a new OnButtonPress event for convenience.
  • Basic Xbox Live functionality (sign in) had to be incorporated in order to pass certification.  This turned out to be slightly fiddly, but from a developer point of view is pretty simple to incorporate into a game.  Under the hood, XAGE has a new basic PlatformService interface that - in theory - can be injected with various common services (e.g. Xbox Live, SteamWorks).  This may be padded out in future to support other common functionality like presence, achievements, leaderboards etc. in a general way, so as not to overly complicate the core game script.

With these changes in place, Last 'n Furious was approved for release on Xbox One (as well as the Windows 10 Store):  https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/p/last-n-furious/9p3c8dq7qfsh


While the desktop platforms support one-click publish, the UWP equivalent is a bit more involved (Microsoft makes you jump through a few hoops - creating developer accounts, Xbox Live sandboxes etc).  It it all documented on their own site, but I'll work on putting the hooks in place so that XAGE does as much of this for you as it can.  Once this process has been trialled on some of the other ported games, I'll push out an update to XAGE Editor for alpha users.

Friday, 10 April 2020

Space Pool Alpha

Another AGS port has been completed - this time Steve McCrea's Space Pool Alpha, which isn't an adventure game at all but rather a vector-based pool game with spaceships.



The XAGE CoreRT build can be played on itch.io.  The source code is available on github (with thanks to Steve).  An update has been pushed for XAGE alpha users so they can clone/download within XAGE itself, and tinker with it that way. 

Like Last & Furious, this was again a more technical port, where the challenge was getting the DynamicSprite and DrawingSurface performance up to an acceptable level.  The results are similar - lower CPU usage than the AGS version, and higher GPU to reflect the work being offloaded onto the graphics card.

I especially like these sorts of ports - smaller and not narrative driven - as I can iterate quickly and they allow me to tackle some of the more complicated items on the outstanding list.