Monday, June 27, 2016

Sea Trading Game- Biomes, Bitmasking, Clouds, and more!

I know that I said last week that I wasn't going to have much time for game development for the week, and to not expect many updates. The truth is, I found more time than I thought I would have, and ended up doing quite a bit with that time. This is the latest version of what I have.

I'm still playing with the clouds in particular, I have a few things in mind, will see how they work out. This is still an early test, so let me know what you think!

I also changed the way the wind is shown on the graph. It's still slower than I would like, I'm trying to figure out how to improve that, but it is much more visible, and I'm happy with the direction it is going. Along with that, I started using more realistic wind patterns, basically I set up the trade winds, with a bit of noise.

It can be seen on both of the previous images, but I've been working on bitmasking, basically making the land not look so smooth. Here's a closer up picture to show how it looks. I totally scrapped the system from last week, and went with a shader based approach, which I document exactly how I did it on the Game Development Stack Exchange.

Movement is no longer easy to do diagonally if both primary directions have land. As there isn't a visible gap between them, it seemed the appropriate thing to do.

I also fixed a bunch of small things, too many and small to enumerate them all. Sufficeth to say the game is better than before.

The way I generated the biomes allows for a slight seasonal variation, although I don't think the seasonal variation is quite what it should be. I'm working on how to make it work best still, but it should be cool when I can get it worked out. It's a task for this week, but lower priority.

This week I'm planning to get the other half of biome creation figured out, namely getting the moisture part done. When I'm finished, we should have something like deserts being formed, which should look really cool if I can get it all figured out! Beyond that will be numerous speed improvements, the game doesn't work as well as I'd like when fully zoomed out. I'm also trying to work out a more seamless noise, there are still visible seams if you know where to look.

Thanks to Jon Gallant, BTW, for his tutorial on world creation, which I used in some part to complete. He's got some great games, including one in the work called GORB that I'll highly recommend when complete.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Sea Trading Game- Continuing to move to an XML file, and bitmasking.

Most of this week was spent converting a bunch of hard coded numbers in to an XML file, so after much work I ended up with essentially the same thing that I started out with, but considerably more robust. In the process, I was able to fix the old tutorial mode, improve the noise model usage to use the cylindrical noise model across all of the various parameters that are used, and others. Bottom line, it will make my life a lot easier for testing, future development, and could allow for modding in the future, all of which should be helpful!

After that was complete, I had a bit of extra time, which allowed me to start bitmasking. Bitmasking is the process to take square looking tiles and make them look more natural. I've only barely started the process, and I'm still working to make it look prettier, but here's my first attempt at bitmasking:

I'm going to play with the colors quite a bit, as well as the designs, but it's a start at least. I hope to have quite a bit more in the short term future. I'm still trying to decide exactly what I want to do with it, and how I want it to look, but it's coming along, slowly, and I'm happy for now that I have the capacity to add this in the first place!

This next week will likely be a slower week than has been typical recently, I've got a number of personal things to manage this week. I'm hoping to continue with the bitmasking, and then start on adding other biomes.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Sea Trading Game- Improving the lay of the land

This week as promised I've been working to improve the way the procedural generation works, and how it looks. This is the result.

I'm going to still be playing with the textures, and one thing that I'm going to do is to add in some different types of biomes, to add more variety than I currently have. I'm also planning on smoothing out the map so it doesn't look so pixelated, even though fundementally everything will still be tile based, there will be some smoothing factors.

I did also make some improvements to speed up the rendering process quite a bit. The end result is the map can be quite a bit larger than it was before, without difficulties!

Aside from that, I'm now moving all of the world generation in to the configuration file I recently set up. It's taking a bit of time to get right, but it will make things easier once it is all done.

Also, you might notice there are a few different types of land. I have islands, lakes, land, and ocean tile types currently. They each show up a little different, and will have different characteristics. Island ports will act very differently than land based ones, they will have different wants and provide different items than a typical port.

As a whole, the game progresses on, and the next few weeks should be very exciting in continuing that trend!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Sea Trading Game- More realistic worlds!

At long last, I'm starting to have more realistic looking worlds. I tried a number of techniques to generate the worlds, I ultimately settled on something similar to Jon Gallant's procedural generation in his blog. Here's an example of one such world created:

I still have a few kinks to work out, but I'm happy overall with the design! The ship is now randomly placed. The world is now cylindrically mapped, meaning you can move almost seamlessly from the left hand side to the right hand site. I've made quite a few other changes as well, it's starting to look like a real world!

On tap for this week is to continue to make the land more realistic. I'm planning on adding texture to the land, make islands unique. I might add in costal land, which might have some hazards associated with it, I'm not sure yet. I will add in a lakes feature, which will cause them to look different than other locations. I'm also planning on tweaking how the land masses are created. Another large problem is the city distribution, which has way too many at the poles, for instance. As you can see, the current pattern shows some promise, but it isn't quite what I had in mind. There's also a whole host of performance issues that I'm planning on working through. Stay tuned for more!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Sea Trading Game- Internal workings

This week has featured a number of internal working updates that don't really show, but make the game easier to maintain, and will eventually lead to a number of cool updates, including the ability to extend the game. What I've done is put the configuration of the in to a config file. A separate config file is used for the tutorial as compared to the main game, and I'll likely add one for debugging to make that easier as well. Bottom line, this should add quite a bit of flexibility to the game development, and hopefully save me some time going forward.

One interesting thing I did as a result is to make the cost of goods to be more realistic. There are a number of factors that go in to the cost, but it's much more realistic now. No more will gold be half the price in cities a few squares apart! Also, the difference in the buy/sell price within a city for different goods is related, and regional as well. I'm not quite sure how it will all play out, but it seems to be working well.

I've also started to make more realistic randomly generated maps. This is still very much a work in progress, but things are starting to come together. I'm looking in to two different methods for map generation, I'm working on getting the prototypes together to see how these look before I move on to incorporating them further. I don't have anything to show yet, but hopefully by next week I will have something.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Sea Trading Game- Slow march of progress

So this week added a few features that don't at first glance seem huge, but definitely make the game feel nicer. The most noticeable thing is that the graphics have changed for pathfinding to be something more curvy, as seen below. I had quite a bit of help from this article, thanks Catlike Coding!

The other changes are more minor, mostly in trying to load things easier, with one notable exception. Resources can now be seen via the map. Right now it only works for Fish, but the same thing should apply to other areas as well.

I've also been tracing through some Unity issues.

On the plate for this week is continuing to improve the look and feel of the world. I'm going to do a bit of behind the scenes work to make my testing easier, and then start making the world feel more realistic with things like labor costs, regional resource costs, and maybe even a more realistic map.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Sea Trading Game- New right panels, smoother dragging near the edge of the map, wake

This week I've made a lot of progress! I started out by making the ships easier to manage, which allowed me to add some fun features, such as a wake moving behind the ship.

 I also updated the right panel considerably. The goal that I'm working towards is to have it include more information in a way that is easier to digest. Here's an example of a city (Note that I'll eventually include images for the various items, instead of the blank white boxes currently included)

Here's what it looks like for a ship:
The last thing I've done is to make the edges a bit easier to notice when dragging

I also started a menu system, which is very rough for now, but it will bring me in to the desired game mode.  I've also released a new preview of the game, as I'm getting to a transition phase, I want to get some more feedback from the public to see what you all think of it. Check it out at this link. I suggest you choose the tutorial mode, the game mode is still under very active development, and doesn't really do much so far!

Overall it's starting to come along, I'm finally getting beyond the proof of concept stage, and in to the real meat of the game!

Goals for this week are to improve some of the graphics, and to have a way to show resources on the map like fish densities. Maybe I'll even get to my long desired name for the game, which still eludes me.