Monday, January 30, 2012

polygons and vehicles and stuff


I should have written a few news posts since the last one, but I didn't. Since then a few things have been added to the game.

Polygon shapes have been available for a while now. There has been a lot of confusion with there usage so I will try to clarify things in a nice list:

- There is a big difference in functionality when changing the polygon tool from interactive and non-interactive. If you're telling me the polygon tool is broken, you probably didn't uncheck interactive when attempting to draw.

- Interactive polygons are limited in their shape. Shapes can only be convex polygons. This means no inner angle of any vertex can be over 180 degrees, and no edges can overlap each other. Shapes must also be drawn in a clockwise manner and have 10 vertices max. This is done in order to not break the physics of the game.

- Non-interactive shapes have nothing to do with physics, so they have no limitations other than the number of vertices (50). Click while holding shift to end the non-interactive shape early without filling it. You can use this to draw lines.

- Use ctrl+click to remove the last vertex you placed with the polygon tool.

- You cannot change the interactive value once a polygon shape is placed. This was an easier solution than checking if your random art piece obeyed the physics rules, which it probably did not. (also, slight laziness)

- Polygons can't be scaled. There were too many things to consider in order for me to allow it. However, there's no size restriction on them... they just have to fit on stage.

That's the end of the list.

There's now a much improved color selector in the editor. When you choose a certain color, a brightness and saturation spectrum is displayed. Left to right is saturation, and up and down determine brightness. The brightest, most saturated version of that hue will be always be at the top right. You can save and delete custom colors with the plus and minus buttons. Additionally, when dragging colors on the spectrum, you can drag off of the color selector and grab colors from anything in the background.

And finally, there is the new vehicle feature. When selecting a group containing that contains at least one interactive shape, you now have the option of converting that group into a controllable vehicle. Any character you eject can control this vehicle once they've grabbed onto it. I think I will start a new list:

- When first creating a vehicle, you'll notice all of the interactive shapes inside will glow blue. These shapes will act as the handles for the vehicle. If you'd only like for one particular shape (such as a steering wheel) to act as the handle, double click into the group and disable the handle property for the other shapes.

- Leaning is set to zero by default, so be sure to raise this if you'd like the user to be able to lean left and right on the vehicle.

- Pressing up and down while operating the vehicle will operate attached joints. So for example, a wheel is placed on stage (not inside the vehicle), and then attached to the vehicle with a joint. The wheel's top speed and direction are determined by the joint's properties, not the vehicle's.

- Joints attached to a vehicle can be set so they are not controlled by the vehicle.

- Jets and arrowguns that are jointed to the vehicle can be controlled. Set spacebar, shift, and ctrl abilities in the vehicle properties.

- If you'd like to limit the rotation of a jet attached to the vehicle, it's best to set the joint limits to 0 and 0. This will allow the jet to rotate, but it will stay in the correct angle relative to the vehicle.

- You can actually attach vehicles to each other with joints, and they will be controlled by each other. I haven't done anything too crazy with this, but I imagine you can do some very cool stuff. I might also make it so any joint connected to a vehicle indirectly (a joint connected to a shape that is joined to a vehicle elsewhere) could be controlled by the vehicle. With this you could make a whole chain of joints flex or retract upon keypresses. That would have to be cool... I think.

OK! I think that's the end of it. This may be my longest post. Vehicles have been cool, but I definitely think I have to add some better sounds in there. Perhaps adding a sound property to running joints, and possibly selectable impact sounds for shapes. In any case, I'm seeing a lot of very cool stuff being made with the new tools. On Saturday, the top 50 for the day were all pretty great. I don't know if I've ever seen that before. Thanks so much to everyone participating. A higher quality community will definitely inspire others and lead to even better submissions.

I'll probably make another post soon with a bunch of other crap I forgot.""   This is the update that Jim  Posted on TJF.

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