3 Jul 2000 dancer   » (Journeyer)


Still necessarily silent on this front.


Still minimalist here, with some variations:

  • Picked up Planescape: Torment. The price finally dropped low enough to fall into my comfort-zone. Enjoying it. Gameplay is simplistic, but the text is well-written and copious. Tried a daily WINE build on it for fun. I was impressed. All the intro movies and the main game menu ran flawlessly, without jumps or jitters and at the same subjective speed as under windows. Loading a game almost worked, but it died when it tried to actually go into play mode. Much progress.
  • Python coding continues apace. I've been able to condense hundred-line perl scripts into 10 and 20 line python scripts that are trivial to read and maintain. Still getting to grips with some of the ideosyncracies of the lingo, but I'm no less impressed by the whole methodology that the language brings with it.
  • I note with some delight that XFree86 v4.0.1 is out. I slaver and drool and salivate in anticipation of it being debianised. I wants it, my precious. What d'you say, Branden?


Did a brain-dump of a subsumption architecture for AI in the game. Quite long and quite rambling, and I think it will have a few issues in implementation, but I also think it will work. Had a critical look at game AI in a number of games and was surprised at just how weak they were. 'Barely adequate within the environmental framework' was the phrase that came to mind. Which gives you some clues about the very scary ways that my mind works in.

No feedback on the braindump yet, but with the length of it and the timezone differentials, that's hardly surprising. Note that I don't allow that some of the recipients may not fully grasp the whole concept more or less instantly. That's another way my mind works. Not understand something? Good lord! That would only be because you haven't been given the information yet.

Rule 1: Nothing is hard to learn, unless you think it is

On the downside, in exult, it appears a number of constants may have been hard-coded into the engine. Bad, naughty, wicked Zoot! Must create a framework where we can abstract those into a separate data file, so Jeff can stop hard-coding them into our engine.

Talked with jeff about using multiple image buffers for display. Terrain and characters rendered onto buffer 1. Weather effects onto buffer 2 (we have clouds and rain and lightning now). Gumps (a term that refers to all the dialogs, books, signs, inventory screens and so forth) in the third. Then blit them all together for the final output. As it stands, when you're (for example) travelling northwards, all the rain ends up crowding to the southern edge of the screen. An odd effect, I must say.

Our Mac port appears to be minimally functional at the moment. I believe that now makes it: Win32, Linux, BeOS, and Mac. Max (our appropriately named Mac porter) is bouncing around the SDL newsgroup addressing all manner of things. We're so proud :)


Thinking about the next thing I want to do, after Exult. I want to do an open-source X-Com style game. I've got some hefty revisions and additions I want to cram in, including scriptable, branching stories, expanded strategy, and a new 'treeless' tech-tree concept that I'm still nutting out.

Just for fun, I wrote a basic engine that can display tiles from XcomIII: Apocalypse, and can mix and play the sound samples. It's crap, but it was just a proof-of-concept for the doing of it.

Feedback if you dare...

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