I got the template editor mostly working and then dropped it because it was boring and obnoxious to work on. If I need it to be nicer then I’ll make it nicer later, in the meanwhile it’s just a nuisance.
So with that being, uh, done enough, I’ve moved on to laying the groundwork for the secondary attack. The secondary attack will require a bit of procedural animation, and I realized that that procedural animation would require some changes to the way entity drawing works, so I’ve been figuring out those two things. I now have it set up so that entity drawing is handled by queuing a bunch of commands, which means that regardless of where a behavior is in the order of operations it can draw behind the main animation, in front of it, or both. I’ve also added the capability for animations to store registration points, so I can track where, say, the player character’s left hand is, or the back of her head.
Finally, I’ve constructed a rudimentary ‘tendrils’ behavior, which creates an arbitrary number of small physics ropes. This serves a dual purpose of simultaneously being a test-ground for the kind of procedural animation I need for the secondary attack, and also potentially being a nice little special effect I can add to parts of the character, like hair or clothing. The current effect is a bit lightweight and springy, but I think with a bit of playing around I should be able to give it the right kind of heft, and I think a subtle touch of procedural animation on top of the work I do hand-drawing frames could add a nice bit of character.
Unfortunately, in order to finish implementing this effect, I’ll need to manually go through every frame of animation adding registration points for where a specific part of the character’s head is in each frame. That’s not so bad, if somewhat tedious, but If where I want to put that registration point ends up changing then that will be reflected in every frame… so I don’t want to finish doing that until I’m pretty darn certain that’s what I want. Probably, the next couple days are going to be adding a bit more flexibility and interest to the tendrils behavior, making it so it can draw differently based on whether the character’s facing left or right, making it so it can add impulse to the tendrils as necessary (such as for animations of a character turning suddenly). Dunno, this is an exploration as much as it is a construction, so I’ll see how it goes. After I finish this behavior, I’ll probably table the specific problem of the second attack for a little bit so I can spend some time constructing a full-fledged test enemy so I can get systems like receiving damage, damage reactions, and other combat behavior figured out. Once that’s working, I can add the last remaining prototype animations and start considering drawing the final frames.