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  • Robin Robin

    Yet more editor progress.

    In the past week, I've mainly added scene link creation/deletion to the screen graph editor, and the beginnings of the scene editor.

    Pictures are worth more than a thousand words so I'll keep it short.

    SceneLinks.gif

    Now my proof of concept SOTN map looks more like an interconnected map.

    Troidal2.png

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  • Robin Robin

    Made more progress this week on the editor.

    I am able to generate collision tile maps now for any scene that doesn't have an associated map. Luckily the TMX map format is plain text and super easy to write. There's still a few things I need to adjust, but it's mostly working.

    Also I replaced the ugly UI with a nicer looking Dear ImGui interface. I used Dear ImGui earlier but didn't fully explore what it was capable of. I see how it allows non-UI people like myself to easily create great looking interfaces for tools with minimal effort.

    Troidal.png

    Since I'm using Dear ImGui now, I was able to remove the WinForms code I had in place for Save/Open dialogs. So now in theory this should work on other OS's too 🤷 .

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  • Robin Robin

    Made quite a few updates to Troidly Troidal since last time.

    • Added auto-tiling of walkable areas via a toggle. It's much easier now to design scenes.
    • Added right-click selection of tile on canvas for even easier editing
    • Save/Load Dialog is better now since it uses Winforms (though this makes it constrained to Windows for now)

    Before creating SceneLinks, I'm working on generating "Collision Tile Maps" of all the designed scenes. These are simple TMX maps with a light background and black collision tiles, and it would directly correspond to the type of walkable tile plotted on the Scene. A "walkable tile" in the Scene actually represents an entire screen. This gives the benefit of quickly generating a set of traversable tile maps that represent the designed scenes so that one can get a feel for the overall flow of the game early on. Of course this would have to be fine tuned with more ledges and interesting shapes, but this would give a much easier starting point than doing everything manually. The more visually appealing tiles that represent the actual world can then be drawn on top of this.

    Once this is in place, it would be easier to create scene links between maps.

    And then I could finally get back to working on the actual game again...

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  • Robin Robin

    Made lots of progress on the editor since last time. I also gave it a name...Troidly!

    It currently supports the following features:

    • Drawing scenes (These are shown as purple areas)
    • Drag and drop of selected scene anywhere on the grid
    • Drawing walkable tiles within a scene (These are currently all blue tiles). As described before, this allows for easily showing the high level layout of the scene's tilemap so that you can see the walkable areas. It's basically what every Metroidvania out there shows in their maps. Overall, this step is still optional and doesn't add any functional value to the overall map, since it is the scene that is directly linked to the TMX map.
    • Saving and Loading the overall "ScreenGraph" as JSON.

    Even though this is coming along nicely, the UI part of it is still not very nice to look at, and probably never will be. And the different modes ("Create Scene", "Select Scene", "Create Tile", "Create Scene Links") are all switched by using function keys.

    I recreated part of the beginning area of the Castlevania SOTN map as a test of what's possible so far:

    alt text

    I still want to at least add the following features before moving on to the scene metadata editor portion of it:

    • Creation of Scene Links to link 2 different scenes together by connecting their edges. This would be where doors or other scene transitions happen.
    • Auto-tiling for the walkable areas (would make tiling these much quicker than just using the palette on the right)
    • Generate empty TMX maps with a relevant collision grid for any scenes that don't already have a TMX map assigned. This way it would be easy to test out the overall game layout by just using this editor. I would probably create an exporter that does this in a plugin-style, so that it could be extensible to other types of maps.

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  • Robin Robin

    Made more incremental progress on the scene editor in the little free time I've had lately.

    Now I'm able to draw scenes of any size, at any location. There's still a few features missing with scenes like being able to drag/drop them anywhere after being placed....or deleting scenes.

    alt text

    Once I'm completely done with scene creation/placement, I'll move onto drawing the walkable areas in a scene.

    I don't plan to add too many UI elements to this unless required. For now I'm using shortcuts to switch between various modes like scene creation or selection. I don't want to lose sight of my main goal of creating a very simple editor to draw the layout of the world along with its metadata. I will probably have to add some level of UI elements eventually though.

    I know the current color scheme isn't very easy on the eyes. I was focused more on function over aesthetics for now.

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  • Robin Robin

    Made some progress on the editor this week.

    I've done something others have already done a million times in the various map editors out there. I've got the tile grid for the ScreenGraph displayed, and it can be panned around using the middle mouse button. Also the currently selected grid tile(underneath the mouse cursor that isn't shown) is highlighted. Although done a million times before, it's a first for me, so I'm happy.

    alt text

    Should be a good foundation for adding scene drawing and map tile placement within scenes.

    And then once that's all done, I plan to link individual Tiled tmx maps to the scenes and hopefully launch them from the editor. I'm also aiming to display the tmx maps in the editor for the selected scene to add metadata for various things.

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  • Robin Robin

    This week was mainly focused on improving the json format, loader, and editor design.
    At first the json supported what visually looks like this:

    alt text

    While this would take care of the job of laying out the overall world design in terms of scenes, it doesn't look very interesting. It just looks like a bunch of boring rectangles that could be linked together. These scenes would directly correspond to a Tiled map which would have a more interesting design...but it's still hard to plan out what that design of interconnecting scenes should look like from a higher level when you can't really visualize what the actual walkable areas will be like.

    So I modified the json format to introduce a collection of "mapTiles" in each SceneNode. This is a set of autotiling blocks that will be drawn over the encompassing rectangles for each SceneNode. So then it supports something that looks like this visually (the slope tiles are a special case):

    alt text

    Now that looks more like typical maps of the M-word style of games. 😯

    With these enhancements, I think I have everything needed to bring this to life.

    Hopefully my next update will be a shot of this in action.

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  • Robin Robin

    I've been working on how to define the game world that the editor will help to piece together. This picture shows the design I'm working towards.

    alt text

    The grid in the background is what I call the "ScreenGraph". A "screen" represents a unit of space that is equal to the screen resolution of the display. Every box on this grid represents a single screen.

    A SceneNode is what describes a scene.

    • The "ScreenSize" is the x/y dimensions of the SceneNode in screens, which ends up being equal to the number of boxes that the scene takes up in the ScreenGraph.
      • If a SceneNode has a ScreenSize of 1x1, that means it's a single screen (or single box on the ScreenGraph). So while the player is in such a scene, it would never scroll. The entire scene will be viewable at once since it's size would be equal to the display resolution. Otherwise the screen would scroll horizontally or vertically as needed.
    • The ScreenGraphPosition is the x,y coordinates of the ScreenGraph that the SceneNode is located in.
    • A SceneNode also contains a list of Entities and their Components
    • I'm calling this a SceneNode (or scene), instead of "map", because a TileMap is just another Entity in the scene. If I wanted to I could display multiple TileMaps in a scene, but I have yet to find a reason to do that...so for now I have the map in a separate attribute since it would be useless to have it in the Entity list.
    • All SceneNodes exist independently, and it should be possible to reposition them in the ScreenGraph at any time.
    • By using a combination of the ScreenGraph and SceneNodes, the map that will be displayed in-game is naturally defined.

    A SceneLink is a Component that links 2 scenes together. The source SceneLink will be in SceneA, and the destination SceneLink will be in SceneB. If the player collides with a SceneLink, they will be transported to the scene that the destination SceneLink is in, at the position of the destination SceneLink. This is obviously useful for doors or passageways. I've already got doors/links working in the current engine, but this is a cleaner way to define them than what I'm currently doing in my procedurally generated world.

    With regard to the editor, I've started off by defining the Json format for the concepts I've described above, which is mostly done. There will be more attributes added in the future though for things like music played in a scene, effects, etc. I've also created a loader for it that can load the Json into a strongly typed object model (backed by unit tests!).

    With the Json format defined, and the loader working, the editor is just a front end on top of this.

    On another note, I really really really dislike the term "Metroidvania" so I will not refer to this game as that. Even though conceptually it looks like it could be categorized this way, there is a whole lot of default expectations that are attached to this term that I'd like to not be bound to. (Clarification: I really like games in this style like Metroid(s), Castlevania(s), Axiom Verge, Hollow Knight, etc...it's just the term I am not a fan of)

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  • Robin Robin

    Since my last update I've traveled outside the country for a few weeks (to India). After coming back and focusing on the day job for a while (mainly getting up to speed with more microservice principles), I decided to switch gears back to my main game.

    I still intend to revisit the RPG/battle system idea I had one day since I think it could be a fun game, but for now I am trying to finish what I started again.

    This time my focus is on creating a scene editor. So far outside of using Tiled for tile maps, I've been creating all scenes in code...which can get tedious. I just got comfortable with it and never thought about making an editor. Also in the beginning this started out as a Roguelite, which really didn't need any comprehensive editor to put scenes together since they would have been procedurally generated. But now I realized I will most likely never finish this game in its current form if I can't see how all scenes fit together.

    So far I've designed the editor on paper (sometimes I need a break from the screen, so I still use paper for stuff!), and also implemented some of the basic classes. The editor will support the creation of Scenes, which can have Entities and Components added to it (The standard Nez ECS system). Scenes can be linked to other Scenes. Entities can have any number of components added to them, including tile maps, sprites, colliders, state machines, etc. The resulting collection of linked Scenes can then be output as a JSON file that the game can load.

    I don't intend for this to be too fancy (I am not a UI designer in any way). It will just be a tool to use to visually put the game together...and then leave the non-world-building stuff to be written in code.

    Hopefully I can keep up my motivation/momentum this time. 🤷

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  • Robin Robin

    Had a busy work week, but I managed to squeeze in some time to draw tile art for the prototype I mentioned last week. I found an old overworld tileset that I once made with 8 x 8 tiles, and I redid them in 16 x 16. I focused on tile art that has a simple, clean look to it...and I've been sticking with the "Dawnbringer 32" palette that I've used on my other game. I find that my tile art and pixel art tends to be a lot better when I work with a limited palette, since it prevents me from going overboard with colors. The target resolution for this is 320 x 180, which scales well to HD resolutions and covers an area that the images below show (It won't be this small though!)

    alt text
    alt text

    While trying to complete a game, it's generally a big mistake to work on something else in the middle of development. I'm mainly doing this diversion to make myself feel better about not passing up the chance to do something new and potentially fun.

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