You've got to do a blog post on leap day haven't you.
Work started on new game a week ago, and somehow I've managed to get a fair bit done. Want to find out what ? Sure you do, because if I ever found out you weren't interested in our games I'd start hurting myself.
Let's start with a screen grab, it's easier to talk around that.
It's a little cut off as it's a big ol' screen, it's not that wonky in real life.
So as you can see it's a sequel to DN8. In saying that, it's going to be more of a 1.5 than a full blown sequel, a directors cut where we give it a visual overhaul and fix all the things which needed fixing.
The major thing with this bad boy is that we're going the stage3D route. And just to complicate matters, its using 2 engines. The background ( So the skybox you see, the planet with nice bump mapping and specular lighting ) is powered by away3D. It's really great to use, I've only ever used the lite version before so it's not as if I knew what I was doing, but I managed to get one planet and the skybox up and running in a couple of hours.
The downside to away3D is that its 2D support is limited, and for particles the general consensus is to use something like Flint. Now Flint produces great results, but packages like that are all singing and all dancing, which means an overhead which you can't really afford in a game ( It's like say Tweenlite, knock the shit out of that on the title screen, but in-game it's a little too costly ). I've being eyeing up ND2D for a while as it seems the best of the 2D GPU powered engines ( Friends who have tried Starling say its a little bit bloated as it's trying to be very transparent and displaylist like. Just to point out, I'm not slagging it or Flint off, I'm just going on hearsay as I'm far too lazy to do lots of tests to find things out ).
Now, how to add ND2D running on top of away3D ? Well I noticed you can have multiple stage3D indexes, I'll drop away3D at , ND2D at , set the transparency and swallow a little extra overhead as well, shit, we're on the GPU baby, everything is free and runs like liquid gold. Ah. the different stage3D "levels" don't have a transparency setting. Ah.
Plan B, download the away3D source ( I was just using the swc ), shove ND2D into the same package, find the render call in the away3D code and after that call the ND2D mainloop. Fairly simple. Hang on, it's displaying my simple particle test, but for some reason it's above the skybox, but below the planets. That's so close to working I had to pursue it, as if I could get it working we'd be laughing. A whole day of swearing and looking through both engines and I was having no joy. It was making me want to kill.
It takes a big man to admit when he's wrong. I'm far from being a big man, so I just posted on the ND2D forums asking for help. Lars is as good as gold and pointed me in the right direction, one changed line later and it works.
So in the first week we've got the look & feel nailed ( That was actually day 1, a whole day just to sort out a logo, a font and a rollOver style ), got a lovely looking background rotating around, most of the flow from title screen to actual game, the main player sprite moving and shooting ( The bullets using batched calls ), the music from DN8 as a placeholder playing a random mix each time and... I think that's it. I couldn't be more pleased with how its going, I don't have the first clue about 3D so to bluff my way through like this makes me happy.
Should we come back in a week to see if I'm still loving this ? Yes, lets.