Monday, 26 November 2012

Project "Lead" Update #4

Update #3:

What features have you added since the last blogpost?

My focus after the last update has been to get more content into the project. As such, I've begun to design some very basic art assets for the HUD and characters, as well as taking some time recently to add in placeholder sounds.

My favourite addition so far has been that of the health bar, which I feel looks great and has good gameplay implications (namely that you won't be able to tell exactly how close you are to dying). In addition, the smaller changes like the "mannequin" sprites and weapon sound effects have added a lot to the game's feel without taking too long to implement.

What technical aspects have you explored for these features?

The health bar was a good experience for me because it allowed me to briefly dip my toes into pixel shaders, a subject which I respect but haven't attempted to look into before. I was able to get a very basic idea of what shaders are capable of and it may influence some of my later design decisions (i.e. a Monaco-style line of sight system.

In creating the health bar, I also briefly experimented with stencil buffers. However, I had to abandon this approach because it was limited to 100% or 0% visibility for pixels, as such it was not able to create the gradual fades that I wanted for the health bar.

What features are you planning on working on next?

At this point, I want to continue refining the overall appearance of the project. I feel that a lot of the core mechanics are in place currently and as such I want to get the project as close as possible to a releasable state in order to get a better idea of what areas need to be improved or expanded.

I have some ideas about borders for the HUD assets so they blend in better, such as a S.T.A.L.K.E.R. style metal border. I also want to look into sprite animations, specifically for actor walking and weapon reloading. There's also more sounds that could be added such as actor pain, background music, environmental sounds, etc. Finally, I want to continue adding to the arena level with more objects like cars, traffic lights, bins, benches, etc.

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