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arcnet 4 years ago#1
This year did not begin until August 2017. So there's not a lot to report, but there's still a lot to report.

It's possible I did some things earlier in the year, but I do not recall if so. Instead, like the back half of last year, I've been working on COLLADA based 3D modeling software/tools, which will eventually complement SOM.

There are two or three major projects that happened in 2017. I want to say something about the minor projects first:

1) SOM_MAP is the main tool. It does all of the level design. It saw numerous enhancements that are all (I believe) written about here ( http://www.swordofmoonlight.net/bbs2/index.php?topic=257.0 ) ... the main ones being: an overlay feature, for working on top of a guide image; a "play" button that consolidates 5 steps into one button press; and a user-friendly color picker system that has an elaborate visual element to match SOM's atmospheric look and feel.

2) There is an MLAA system that antialiases colorkey using textures so that the outlines are smooth down to the pixel. These are knocked-out edges like the silhouettes of plants. The only downside is MLAA is a messy algorithm that produces unwanted artifacts, and really works best for organic shapes, but it is a start. It usually looks amazing, but can looks worse with some of the built-in models that use colorkey. Probably those models can be refinished.

3) In the last 30 days of the year more or less I worked on the in-game menus a lot. This ended up taking a lot more time than I thought it would, mainly because this part of the program had not been explored before and very little was known about it. It started by wanting to add a real-time map system to help with level-design and playtesting demands. This feature lets one of the 4 possible maps be pulled up and left onscreen while playing, and makes it possible to go anywhere by clicking on the map. While exploring the menus also they were made to remember where each menu left off, which is very helpful for using the same item over and over for example. Also on item menus it was made possible to wraparound to the beginning from the end and vice versa. This was added just to make it easier to run tests on the back end of the menus, but it's quite helpful. There's also away to change the order of items for easier access and more professional presentation, and magic abilities are added to the inventory so they can be hidden and reordered also.
Remember, this is Gamefaqs:
http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/661226-pokemon-black-version-2/64668593
arcnet 4 years ago#2
Okay, (3) was what I consider a major project, but I thought I could cover it in a single paragraph. And it leads me to how it came about.

The first major project had to do with why I've been working on 3D software stuff for a year to begin with. I returned to SOM work kind of for a break. But I realized that I probably could solve this problem even if my work in a year didn't really make it to a solution...

That problem is there is a very cool system that I think since the other day I like to call NANA or No-aliasing AND No-antialiasing. The problem is that this system, while cool, requires special consideration when creating 3D models. So the first major project was to finally repair all of the artwork (models) that come with SOM so they work well with this system. So the first major project was a model rebuilding project, and it also required a lot of custom software to pull off.

Upon completion of this project, there was also a "clipping" component, which is a second class of models that imparts SOM's worlds structural integrity. So each model that is a part of a level (a tiling system) also has a clipping model. So I wanted to make some enhancement to the visual models and that required likewise enhancements to these clipping models...

Because of this I learned that SOM's clipping subsystem wasn't very good. This is because it could not handle many kinds of shapes for purpose of walking over them. Like a sloping cliffside was what I wanted to add to its exterior set, but it would not work. That is conceptually identical to a pitched roof. Basically an incline with a fall off of the side that is a ramp.

And so, I began a major project to overhaul the clipper. And this was possible to do because I'd already taken an interest in the 3D map file format. In fact, I wanted to then think about developing an alternative 3D map file creator. This was the second time the clipper has seen significant work. In order to push it further it was necessary to plumb deeper subroutines than those that simply used the clipper.

Just in the process of working on it many amazing developments occurred around movement. Right now the experience is virtually perfect in fact. And the new question is how can the NPCs get in on it.

As a result, I was finally able to play with a demo called Moratheia 2.1 that previously I never could make headway with because of clipper issues.... basically if you keep falling through the world, even if there is a safety net in place, it becomes tedious, and I would lose interest in going further.

Because of this play I was able to fix a number of core issues with the player so that the game would not crash at various points. And I was able to get to the end of the game/demo, which was not insubstantial. I was amazed in fact how large and feature-rich it was, and the artwork is all original. FYI: its author tells me they have a new demo in the works that looks like a complete overhaul.

After this experience, and some talk with the author, I let myself get distracted from planned work to do (3) instead. Because some of the problems I experienced were using the same and common items over and over, and getting lost on maps, going round and round in circles. Its author tells me that the new demo addresses some of the issue with getting lost (owing to not enough unique landmarks or clear thoroughfares I think.)

I'M REACHING THE CHARACTER LIMIT. This probably isn't everything that happened in 2017, but I'm pretty sure it's most of it. So I'll stop here now. (If I think of anything, hopefully the topic isn't yet locked.)
Remember, this is Gamefaqs:
http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/661226-pokemon-black-version-2/64668593
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