Eve DevBlog 21: Tension

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Been working really hard this week but don’t have nearly as much stuff to show for it as last week. It has largely been an exercise in frustration, both in terms of dealing with the infuriating little life things (such as unauthorized charges on my card, forcing me to suspend it and wait for a new one) and in terms of concrete difficulties with the project itself (I may have found a new and exciting bug in Adobe AIR! Oh boy!)

Very, very stressful. Also kind of feeling the lack of social contact, since I’m out here basically 400 miles from anyone I know. Oh well.

So, that’s the bad news. The good news is, despite quite a few setbacks and the fact that most of it isn’t much to look at, I’ve actually been getting a ton of behind the scenes work and improvement/polishing work done. First, the run cycle:

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(If it’s not animating, give it a click to see)

Much much closer to what I want it to be now. There’s some flickering around her waist, but it’s just about there. This has been a huge learning experience, and I can only hope that the other animations go faster than this one did, since I’ve spent like 10 days on just the guide for it. I’m thinking I may plan out all of the animations using this method before I start drawing frames, sort of on the idea that drawing them in sessions closer together will give a more consistent feel. Also, it means I’ll be able to start putting together the architecture of animation importation and implementation in-game sooner, and testing them in that context to make sure they work before I put in the hours to draw the frames out– it would suck a lot to put in that work and then find out that it didn’t work in game. Like, even more than it would suck to find out at this stage.

Programming-wise, I’ve been establishing a lot of infrastructure that will be useful throughout the entire project. I’ve developed a centralized bitmap manager which keeps track of loaded images, frees them if they get too numerous, and organizes them for fast access. I’m honestly pretty proud of this thing, it’s one of the more elegant little systems I’ve programmed.

Using this, I’ve made it so details can be loaded and saved into levels using xml files. The detail editor still isn’t very full featured, for instance it’s not yet able to create new details just modify existing ones, but it’s definitely starting to take shape.

Finally, I’ve actually been getting a fair amount of writing done on the game. I’ve started getting a bit more of a feel for how one of the characters will act– I guess for now I’ll call her The Storyteller, although that was my big insight into the character here. This character is the main exposition engine of the game, and she achieves this through telling stories, but not stories which are obviously about the world you’re going through. That is, ultimately, what (most) of them are about, but they’re never framed in that context, and if each story isn’t satisfying on its own then I will consider it a failure on my part.

I’ve also got all of the first area pretty well planned out now. I actually have enough in my notes here that constructing it is pretty feasible, though that’s so far been backburnered while I get these animations and editors constructed and implemented. Still, if I ever want a break from what I’m working on at the moment (goddamn a break sounds nice) then that will be an option.

So, that’s this week. I feel a lot better about it now that I’ve talked about all of the things I achieved with it, because it felt like a slog for a lot of it. Here’s hoping next week is at least as productive and, incidentally, perhaps a bit easier on my mood!

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  Would you like to hear a story? Of course you would, everyone loves a story– at least one story, anyway.

  This was a long long time ago. It’s the old story, the oldest: Boy meets girl, they fall in love, make some kids… and everything’s good, for a while, for a good long time. It’s just them and the kids, their beautiful and talented daughters.

  But, eventually, dad gets to thinking, “wouldn’t some grandkids be nice?” So he has a big meeting, calls all the girls in, and tell them to make some grandkids. Unfortunately, this is way out in the middle of nowhere, and there ain’t no one else around– but it’s okay, see, because dad is a great wizard, and he gives each daughter a piece of his great burning soul so they can make grandkids with his magic. However, as he gives each piece out, he warns them:

  “I am not infinite, I won’t be able to do this forever. You will have to make your kids so they can make their own kids, and on and on, forever.”

  As the daughters left, as they went back to the river to play, they thought about what he had said. Some of the girls hid the bit of fire, in tree trunks and river stones and markings in the dirt, other girls kept it deep in their hearts to warm them at night. The images of their dream children took shape within them and began to shape them in turn, and the girls who kept the fire inside began to swell as the ideas gained substance within them.

  One of those latter was named Dawn. For some reason not entirely clear to the others, she was always daddy’s favorite– Oh, she was smart, I suppose, but not as smart as she thought she was, and she wasn’t very fast or agile, and she was somewhat vain and arrogant. Worst of all, though, she was naive.

The day comes when dad brings them all together to see what they’ve been working on– a birthday celebration for all of the little works-in-progress. Dad, granddad now I guess, offered to give each child a blessing, whatever the mother wished for– wisdom, keen hearing… flight, and so forth, until finally he got to Dawn, saving the best for last I suppose.

And he asked her, “what do you wish for, child?”

What do you think she said?

“Oh, father,” she said, “I wish for my children to have the fire of creation in them, even as we your daughters do, and be free to do with it as they will.”

And even as the words left her mouth it was so, and with them a burst of fire came up as the spirit within her body magnified a thousand times and ripped her asunder. Her children tore free in an instant and spread across the world as though they had always been, as though they belonged, and left her shattered and burned body behind as her sisters watched in tears.

That was that. Dawn was gone, and granddad was forced to leave and watch from a distance in accordance with her final wishes. The remaining daughters were left there, alone, to see their children attacked and consumed by Dawn’s mad orphan offspring.

Until, eventually, they set the whole world on fire, and died as they were born.

So what’s the moral of the story? I don’t know, I think it has something to do with fire safety. Hey, I’ll talk to you later, okay? Bye.

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