This was not a good week for me.
Progress-wise, I have two tilesets that are maybe about 25% done on average, the tree wood tileset and the stone tileset. A new challenge has emerged with both of these: Due to their placement in the world, the surface lighting is going to differ from the model I established with the grass and dirt tilesets, and I’m still figuring out how. Basically, the viewing plane of the player would directly intersect with the terrain of the hills, so it made sense to have the terrain tilesets fade to darkness to represent where that intersection lay. That is to say, most terrain expands horizontally indefinitely, so for the abstraction purposes of a 2d platformer, so that the ‘camera’ doesn’t just get a face full of dirt, we just kind of fade out and imply that it keeps on going behind us. However, something like a tree is different. It doesn’t intersect the viewing plane, it’s just a free-standing object. Now, logically the player character would be able to just walk around objects like this, so the abstraction gets a bit weird at this point, but it’s still part of the gameplay language that objects like this are as solid as the ground. Either that or they’re just foreground/background objects that you can just run past, but either one or the other: You can’t switch between the two because that would be confusing, the player would no longer know what was interactive terrain and what wasn’t.
So, freestanding objects like this can’t fade to black as they approach the viewing plane the way the dirt and grass tilesets do. Thus, I now need to figure out a new lighting scheme for these freestanding world objects that looks nice, communicates the lighting model, and doesn’t feel incongruous with the existing tilesets.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that one of the tilesets I need to work on now, the stone tileset, is an ideal test case because it encompasses both scenarios: In a cave-type area, stone behaves both as terrain, intersecting the viewing plane, and as a freestanding object, comprising pillars and other formations for the player to interact with. Thus, I can make a single tileset to look consistent with itself while achieving both of these tasks, rather than trying to coordinate between two separate tilesets while I figure it out. It’s probably going to be another one like the grass tileset though, with a lot of false starts before I get something I really like. The early progress on the terrain-type stone tiles seems promising, so it’s primarily a matter of making the freestanding ones look good within that context at this point.
I’ve been cancelling a lot of work on AnxEdit both because it’s almost done, so the remaining tasks are the ones I’m most inclined to put off, and because I’m having a hard time maintaining general enthusiasm and morale so that’s the first task that gets bumped. I did a few interface improvements this week, but I’m likely going to be tabling it pending the testing paces that it will go through when it comes time to use it to start building new animations. I’ll probably be replacing that time slot with another job soon, maybe streaming or working on a small game jam game.
Aside from that it’s just been a very stressful week. I found out that due to circumstances largely beyond my control money’s going to get a lot tighter for me, so I’m probably going to start trying to make some of the work I’m doing, here on the blog and elsewhere, a bit more profitable soon. Speaking of soon, I bit the bullet and shelled out for a newer, hopefully more professional site: It’s still not quite up and running, but you can check it out now at http://problemmachine.com . I”ll probably spend a month or so double-posting blog entries between here and there before I shutter this site and start posting there exclusively. I want to ensure as many followers as possible make the transition. I should be able to get subscriptions set up for the new site soon. If you have any thoughts or suggestions regarding the new site, feel free to post them here or email me about them.