This time last week I was adding detail to areas, trying to build out something that felt kind of finished and polished. This week I found out why you don’t want to do that until you’re working with at least somewhat finalized assets! Basically, after some time developing the first grass tileset, I came to understand some big limitations in the way I’d laid out the tile template. Unfortunately, since the collision system for the game is supposed to match the template, that meant I had to spend a few hours tweaking the template, then some time updating all the collision data, then update the levels to match the new tiles. Well, I didn’t actually do that last one yet, since I don’t want to make the same mistake twice: I’m not going to try to build finished levels until I’m sure I have a tileset that will work.
The good news is I think I’m getting close to one.
So there’s still a few issues, but lets look past them for a moment. The most important point with this tileset is that it’s generally separated out into light areas and dark areas. This is a way to make the playable area visually distinct from background areas – or, actually, foreground areas I guess. The tricky part is that now, rather than just making a nice grass texture for all the tiles, I need to consider how it transitions from light areas to dark areas. I’m still working on this to some extent, but certain rules start emerging: First, the two brightest shades of green are only for use on actual external collision blocks, the ones the character is likely to actually make contact with. This means that all of the internal collision blocks are either transitional blocks, partially light and partially dark, or entirely dark. These rules had to be established before I could do anything close to a finished tileset. What’s interesting is that, though I’d planned all along to have transitional tilesets for interactions between dirt and grass, grass and stone, etc, it turns out pretty much all of the tilesets are going to be transitional, just transitioning between different focus layers of the same material.
There’s still some problems. If you look closely there are sections that clearly don’t transition well here, and the solid area of non-playable grass at the bottom shows a lot of obvious tiling, but that’s all stuff that I can address by tweaking the specific tiles. It’s, honestly, probably going to be a lot of work: I expect I’ll spend most of next week working on this tileset, tweaking, improving… Not just building graphics assets, but building the rules I’m using to create the graphics assets. It may take a while, but the work I’m doing here isn’t just for grass tiles, it’s for all the tiles in the game.
Meanwhile, AnxEdit is progressing quite rapidly. The image importer is basically done, though the UI could use some improvement
The recompiler is also progressing quickly, almost complete already: Probably another day worth of tweaking and debugging will finish that part of the project. After that I just need to create the export functionality and get undo/redo functionality working and AnxEdit will be pretty much feature complete. That doesn’t mean it will be done: The UI still needs a lot of work, and there are probably still some bugs in there, but the end of the road is in sight now. I think there’s a good chance I’ll be done with this side project by the end of the month! Which is excellent news because, as mentioned last week, it’s become clear that inefficiencies in the way the game’s animations are currently saved are causing the game to start very slowly, which is taking a toll as I restart to test changes.
Anyway, I’ve got my work pretty much cut out for me here. All that’s left is, you know, actually doing that work.