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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Game Editor Progress - Quest Manager

I began work on the Quest Manager not too long ago. This is going to be some beast. Not only does it require a flexible graph structure (see screenshot of sketch below), but it also must be easy to use and have many different options to create a wide variety of quests. To see the entire progress of the editor click here (updated regularly). Also visit to try the free alpha.

I created a few new controls to make the Quest Manager more efficient, which are a Dropdown list and TextArea. This is definitively reinventing the wheel. But there's something about doing things from scratch. I like to think about it like LEGOs, when you have a set, you get excited about building something from scratch, it would be super lame if the set came pre-built. I think for many, more than half the fun is in building:

With those I started working on the new Quest Manager Frame:

This will allow the user to create a series of quests for the current map being built. The types are very flexible and over time I will add new types. For now I'll work with those monotone colors. Eventually I will improve the look.

Next I will work on the preview Screen. It just shows you how the quest will look before you create it. Additionally, there is also a Show Graph button. I am very excited to start working on that, since it will be a GUI representation of the Quest Graph. I have no idea how challenging this will be, but I can wait to find out.  It will have to be something that works kind of like this:

Also some doodles:

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Game Editor Progress - Entity Editor and Settings

You can track the progress of the game editor right here. You can also download the free alpha here. And please, support Dungeon Colony by pre-purchasing the game and setting your own price. Every coin you contribute is reinvested into game development.
Thank you!

The game editor is coming along very well: I finished the level settings and have completed the basics for editing game entities. The following screenshot (click to enlarge) shows these two additions:

1. Entity Editor
On the left side is the new entity editor frame. This allows the user to select any entity on the map (creatures and objects) and edit their individual attributes. You can basically make a creature extremely strong and create a boss, for example. The attributes that can be edited depend on the entity type. And each available & editable property will be shown to the user when selected.

And a special feature allows the user to edit the attributes of entities that are shown in the toolbox instead of entities that are placed on the map. This allows you to preset attributes and then place a copy of the same object in bulk on the map. This should allow creating complex maps much faster.

2. Level Settings
On the right hand side of the screenshot is the new Level Settings frame view. This allows the user to select level settings such as enemy waves, air requirements, & dungeon entrance.
  1. Enemy waves on/off: Allows the user to create a level that does/doesn't include enemy waves.
  2. Creatures need air on/off: Removes the need for Air. That is useful when creating maps that don't have the outside world. 
  3. Dungeon Entrance on/off: Doesn't require an entrance to the outside world. 
What's next:
Take a look at the current Todo-List to find out more. But at the time of this writing, I started on the Quest Manager. There is one already built into the game, and when you play the sandbox mode, quests are currently being displayed in the upper left corner. I will extend this existing Quest Manager to include a way for the user to create quests and assign them to a quest tree. The tree itself will not be a simple tree structure, but a directed acyclical graph with nodes that represent quests and edges that define quest relationships. This task is already quite big on paper; so I'm expecting this to take a few days of work to complete...

Here's a sketch of the quest tree manager:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Game Editor Progress

Here's a screenshot of the improved ToolBox I just finished. This shot shows some of the tiles that can be drawn onto the canvas

New improvements...
  1. Allow moving the frame around making it easier to work with. 
  2. Increase the height and add an additional row of content in the table.
  3. Add the logic to the light switch button. That turns on/off the shadows so that working in a dark dungeon is easier. 

I updated the ToDoList to reflect those changes.

... on to the next item... 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Task List for new Editor

The following is the list of tasks needed to complete the Game Editor (somewhat in order & some subtasks removed). Note: during development of the game editor, no new updates are being pushed to the alpha version available online. Alpha development will resume once the editor is complete.
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The Task List (Last Updated 11/17/2013):
I'll update this blog entry every time I make progress to the editor marking red items as pending and green strike through as completed:
  1. Fix all special editor entity placement rules that require map validation . (i.e. torches, doors, etc.) (9/9 Rules Completed + 3/3 SubTasks Completed)
  2. Create new image button sprites for Side Menu options.
  3. Create logic for UI Buttons on Side Menu.
  4. Allow placing of entities in containers.
  5. Allow dragging of entities to other places.
  6. Allow rotating of entities on map.
  7. Add button to show tile types & grid.
  8. Allow placing granite inside dungeon.
  9. Allow user to set specific features on/off.
  10. Map Validator:(Multiple validation items)
    • DØNE: Validate air on map (source, spread, ...)
    • Deferred: Dungeon Validation
    • Deferred: Enemy Waves (can reach dungeon)
  11. WIP: Build Level Class & Manager
    1. Build Level Chains
    2. Store Levels on Server
    3. Load Levels from Server
  12. Create Entity Editor to edit specific entity attributes.
    • DØNE: Build Frame to Display Entity Information.
    • DØNE: Extend Entity classes to manually edit entity fields.
    • DØNE: Allow editing of Entities already on map or the entity in the Toolbox. Editing Toolbox entities allows placing unlimited entities with the same edited attributes.
  13. Build quest manager UI (4 Subtasks)
    •  New Quest Frame
      • DØNE: Create Dropdownlist Control
      • DØNE: Create TextArea Control 
      • DØNE: UI Frame controls for setting Quest Attributes
      • DØNE: Controller logic for the MVC pattern of UI.
      • DØNE: Edit, Delete Quest Nodes
      • DØNE: Edit: load quest into form

      • DØNE:Subclass Quest Specifict Attributes
      • Deferred: Preview Quest.
  14. Build DAG for quest chains.
    1. Create Canvas for displaying Quest Nodes
    2. Create Quest Node Buttons which can be clicked to open up the Quest Details
    3. Allow Dragging of Quest Nodes
    4. Allow Dragging of Quest Node Canvas (moves all nodes at once)
    5. Connect Nodes which are linked.  
    6. Improve nodes (size, info, ...) 
  15. Deferred: Extend Research Manager UI (2 Subtasks).
  16. Implement the Map Load/Save Screen.
  17. Disable certain game frames in Editor.
  18. Deferred: Fix game main menu when using editor.
  19. Fix home menu to include editor. 
  20. WIP: Build Class to store Map as Level on server.  
  21. WIP: Build Class to create/store Campaign (level tree)

Beginning of Dungeon Colony 0.1.9.x - Level Editor

Version 0.1.8.x is now officially finished. The significant improvement was reducing the size of tiles, allowing different sizes of object. This change added new dimensions for game play, strategy, and better dungeon design.

Now that this version is completed the question is, what's next?? There are still some important game elements missing (tba). However, the basics needed to create a full working game are now finished. Therefore, the next version (0.1.9.x) will bring a new engine element that allows content creation - a Game Editor. This will allow me to start building the main quest for the game. Players will have a choice to continue playing the sandbox mode or play the new quest mode.

I have started on the editor and, so far, I have a clear canvas to draw stuff on the map and I created a new content window that acts like a toolbox. In the window, you can select object which you can drag on to the map. The things you can select so far are tiles, objects and creatures. Objects can be rotated and removed; tiles, such as ground and wall tiles, can be drawn. And I added a lights on/off switch to show/hide shadows that are cast inside the dungeon.

Blank canvas to draw on + Toolbox with Objects and Tiles

Placement of objects and tiles, Rotation of objects and Light on/off switch

I am building the editor right into the game instead of making a separate tool. While it requires separation from the main game, including the editor into the engine should make level design more dynamic (i.e. cast shadows dynamically as you build a dungeon etc.)

Finally, due to instabilities from implementing the editor, this version won't be released until it is completed, but I will post progress regularly.