Saturday, June 12, 2010

Mistakes Equal Learning

Unfortunately it hasn't been a terribly productive day. I'm constantly learning new things about the toolset, which is both good and bad.  This typically results in me making mistakes and taking longer to do something than it should. On the positive side, it does mean that I know the toolset better and in some cases can avoid making the same mistake in the future.

I did a reasonable amount of experimentation with ambient behaviour and animations to work out what could and could not be done. I'll be doing a follow up post covering using animations within ambient behaviour in the next day or so.

The mistake I made was to do with stages and cutscenes.  If you're using a stage for a conversation and then you make a cutscene from a line of dialogue, do not under any circumstance move the stage. Doing so will completely invalidate your cutscene as will no longer map properly to the stage's position the area.  The problem is particularly troublesome because it won't show up if the view the cutscene itself, as the cutscene still has the old stage position data.  The error will only appear in a preview via the conversation or in the game itself.

The other thing was that I went back and did some more touching up on one of my areas. "Why?" I hear you ask. Because I noticed this:

You may (or may not) be able to identify that the grass and shrubberies are floating slightly. I imagine many players might not notice this, but unfortunately (or fortunately, depending upon how you look at it), I do. This means that I had to go through and check the level for floating vegetation, and I also did a double check of the lighting of vegetation, and noted that there were a few issues on shadow boundaries where adjacent plants had greatly varying brightness due to one being in shadow and the other not. This doesn't look good so I had to fix it. Such is my perfectionist streak. I'll know to be mindful of shadowed areas in the future and either not place plants across the boundary, or fix it with a static light.

Finally, regular readers (I'm not sure how many of those I have?) might have noticed the little slideshow widget I've placed into the left pane of the site.  This contains screenshots from various mods and levels that I've produced - I'll be looking to add more eye candy to it as production continues for The Shattered War.

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