Sunday, 29 August 2010

Engine Update: New Features & Tools!

It's been a while since my last post. That means I had a lot of time to add new features and spend more time on existing features as well. I'd like to include them in a video soon, for now I'll do a quick rundown of the most important new additions to the engine.

Preloading of Assets
Load Models, Textures, Video, SoundEffects in the background (Separate Thread) before the complete level is setup. The engine reads part of the level file and pulls out all the required assets for the upcoming level and load them before the game initiates a level transition.

Undo/Redo system
I Finally took the time to integrate this into the editor. For now it works primarily on SceneEntities (anything part of the level) and can undo translation/rotation/scale.

System messages
The system will "ping" important messages and warnings to the top-left corner of the screen, warning you of possible errors. (See above)

Game Properties Window
Allows you to set Engine properties as well as user-defined game properties, very useful when debugging.

3D Text Buttons
Selectable by mouse, useful for either ingame activators or 3D menus. Text is baked into a texture at runtime and stored on disk.

Improved Object placement
It's now possible to add objects using the Quick-menu (right-click popup) objects will be placed on the position the mouse is pointing in 3D.

Maya style navigation/orbit camera
Holding down "L"-key will orbit the currently selected object, scroll-wheel will zoom in/out.

VisualScript & AnimationEditor improvements
Added a lot of new Node-types and added the ability to directly add an animation to a new script.

Material editing inside VisualScript
All (Sunburn) material effects are stored and can be accessed using Script Nodes. Useful to dynamically set textures and other shader properties etc.

File browsing inside VisualScript
to easily attach files (Textures, Models, Levels etc.) to a Script Node.

I consider these the most significant changes/additions to the engine. Other things will show up in the next video.

Soon a new project will launch, lasting 4 months in total (instead of the previous 8 weeks we were given when building OverNight & Needle Juice) It's targeted towards XBLIG (Xbox Live Indie) and should be the first game to be fully developed (previous projects were prototypes, not full games) and released on that channel. I'm looking forward to get started, and will of course update on the progression of the game...