Design and documentation journal for my interactive fiction (text games); also reviews and other miscellaneous stuff.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I love the Internet.

I love the internet.  Not just as the best tool for procrastination ever, either.  Did you know that you can search flickr within a certain area, and the pictures you look at tell you when they're taken?  Hugely useful for the stuff I'm doing on relative bloom times for the various sprites.

Most bloom times are actually controlled by day length and weather, but there's way less calculation involved if you go with a straight date range, with flowering starting somewhere in there.  There is risk that the daffodils will start blooming in the middle of a spring snowstorm, but trying to derive the specific flowering factors for unimportant species and translate those into game terms does not sound like a good time.

I'm still working on sprites.  It's slow, but still fun.  Birch has foiled me completely - it's really hard to get white trunks to look good.  I finished willow this morning.  I think if I get a couple evergreens, an oak or two, and another maple, I'll have a good basis for the majority of the forest backdrops; a few flavor trees (plum, dogwood, hickory, basswood, and/or elm), and a couple bushes, and I can make it pop.  I'm finding that my monitors really *do* display colors differently, just like they tell you they do, but there's no good way around that.  I'm having an issue that the light/bright leaf colors practically glow in night scenes.  I don't really want to create night sprites for every tree/season combo, so I'm looking for alternatives.  The leading alternative is to put a semi-opaque black filter over everything that is not the moon.  Since the moon comes from behind the trees at some points, this is actually a bit of a sticky widget, since the moon should be in front of the darkening filter, but behind the trees, and the filter needs to be in front of the trees to work right. 

I'm looking for ways to make the initial player map look handmade.  (Well, the current one looks handmade in Paint - I'm looking for one that looks handmade with paper/charcoal.)  I haven't found a convincing filter/brush set yet, but we'll see.  I think the change from saturated, fully featured might make the display a little less distracting - there's less going on.  

No implementation this week.  Did a few more encyclopedia entries.  Thought about the horrific tangle that cooking represents in the design documentation.  Had to go sit down with a cool compress.  The documentation for cooking was written very early, and basically calls for an impossible level of programming skill/manipulation.  Seriously have no idea how that could be both workable and not hysterically awful in its output. 

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