Dev Blog 16: World Stitching

We're already a couple weeks into the new year, so I figure I better give an update of my latest developments.  I had a couple days off of work and was able to sit down and concentrate for more than a couple hours, the only downside was that I didn't have any major complex systems that I needed to write.  But instead of wasting it playing games, I spent the time on design and artwork instead.  My first goal was to plan out the entire game at a very high level.  I finally drew out the world map, basic key points of interest, and determined the path the player will take when navigating the game.  As expected, there will be a lot of work ahead of me.  I'm hoping to accomplish what I've designed, but as always things rarely are final.  

I made use of the map loading and unloading that I've talked about in the past couple posts.  Now that I have my world fleshed out, I started making official map sections (map chunks). Up until this point I had been making temporary playtest worlds.  Now I'm actually at the point of making solid permanent content.  Sure I'll go back to them from time to time, adding new features or sprites as I make them for other areas, but at this point in time, you can flow through six different map chunks that are stitched together by my loading algorithm.  I have noticed a hiccup when loading a couple, despite the fact that it is supposed to be asynchronous, so there is a bit of technical work that I'll have to do, to hopefully improve the performance.  I'm fairly happy with what I've got though and it is starting to feel like a real game world. I've got my Buffalo character walking around eating grass, birds flying overhead, and the large map that you can walk through.  So the visual progress I made makes me happy.

I've been working on various art requirements that are necessary for these map chunks as I add them into the game.  So I've added some new plants, tall grasses, and even a new building with many more things still to go. The building, which I'm calling the Tavern, is going to be a hangout place for npcs that the player will come across early in the game.  It'll be a nice isolated location to hand out quests for the player to do.  It has taken me multiple days to draw and overall I'm happy enough with how it turned out, but I wish I could draw better.  I'm going to spend just a little more time reworking the roof and hopefully it'll turn out.  Having this new building in the world is going to lead me into coding up some particle effects for things like the chimney and I have plans on making some glowing light in the windows that is emitting from the fireplace.  So I'm looking forward to that.  It'll be a fun transition from strict art back into code. I find that I have a desire to flow back and forth between coding and artwork, but if I spend too much time in one I feel that it starts to become a burden, so it's probably best to not spend too much time doing the same thing otherwise the quality lowers (in terms of art) or I lack the desire to work (in terms of code).

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