These screenshots were put together using a “mish-mash” of old concept art, some of which can be found on this blog. Throng was a prototype game that was worked on before Square Off. This is an attempt at resurrecting some of the original elements of the game while redesigning it for the mobile devices. Throng isn’t dead yet!
Archive for the ‘Throng’ Category
Well it’s actually the Character Animation editor, but it will soon be the Animation-and-Level editor. Lets just call it ThrongEdit for now. Oh yeah, welcome aboard Adam.
Finished planing the tutorial level, now it’s time to build it. It will be interesting to see how close the final level is to these plans.
Throng is written in C# with XNA Game Studio. This was the only choice as we intend to release the game for XBox Live Community Games. Whilst this may seem limiting, C# and XNA truly enable rapid game development. Sometimes progress on the game seems to be rather slow, but it’s rapid considering the amount of time I can put into it as a hobby.
Currently, the only confirmed external library is the Farseer physics engine and I’m extremely happy with it. I initially tried writing my own 2D physics system which was used in Balls Unleashed. It worked reasonably well and I learned a lot, but eventually I realised that I was reinventing the wheel and wasting precious time that could be better spent on gameplay features. Farseer has opened up the possibilities of the game with support for polygons, joints and springs. I can’t say enough good things about the Farseer team.
At the moment, I’m using the stock standard XNA BasicEffect to draw the 2.5D models and the 3D sprites. This may well change if we get time and deem it worth the effort. Thanks to Scott’s cool 2D and 3D art, I think we may be able to get away without a lot of special effects. They are always a Nice To Have, but I think I’ll concentrate my coding time on the essential gameplay features before worrying about the polish.
Pipeline – X2Model
One piece of in-house code I’m quite proud of is the way we load models. Some of you might be surprised to hear that XNA doesn’t include any API for directly loading models at runtime. If you have Game Studio installed, you can compile X and FBX files at runtime to be loaded and rendered with the Model class. If you don’t want to install Visual Studio and Game Studio, currently the only option is write your own model loading and drawing code. I managed to craftily avoid this problem by using SlimDX to parse and load the X files. That’s the simple bit. Wanting to reuse the built in XNA Model class, I used reflection to create and populate it with the vertex, index and material information. The benefit is that the artist(s) on the project won’t need to install VS and GS and even if they had installed them, they wouldn’t need to recompile the models each time they altered them. The drawback is that any custom content pipeline features are not available. I’m intending to release X2Model on codeplex once I get the time.
This is my current task and the path finding is based on the A* algorithm. Once it’s closer to complete, I’ll post more info about it.
Before I sign off, here’s a quick screeny. The Necromancer on the top right is fleeing along an AI path.
Just about to start animating a run cycle for this little guy above. I’ve recently been re-reading a book called The Animator’s Survival Kit by Richard Williams, and it’s proven to be invaluable.
I will be animating his legs in the traditional hand drawn approach, with the rest of his body in a cut-out style. The helmet and backpack should make for some good looking secondary animation, giving a bouncy cartoon look and feel to it.
Unfortunately, I wont be animating the gun, as this is controlled by the player. It wont look too bad, it just means the character will be running with really steady hands. If I were up against a throng of the undead, I’d want him on my side!
Welcome to the Gnomic Studios development blog.
We’ve set this blog up to show off progress in our first title, code named Throng. It’s going to be entered into this years Dream Build Play contest before being released on Xbox Live Community Games.
You can expect to see some teaser images soon, courtesy of Scott and eventually some videos.