Monday, May 27, 2013

Gridiron #57: Assorted Serious Progress

First off, Fredrik completed Stadium #6, which I'm calling City Stadium. DQ VB.Net Advisor Garret Rempel suggested this theme, and here's a look at the finished product:

This stadium has a very different feel than the stadiums in more natural settings, and I'm looking forward to seeing it full of fans.

I talked about the drive canvas last week, and how I was expanding its usage. It's nearly killed me--man, it has been so much  more complicated, every step of the way, than I expected--but I've almost got everything in and tested.

Fredrik worked very hard on the multiple running poses, but they just didn't look right with a relative coordinate system. In the original design, when you were on offense, your player started at the far left or far right of the canvas. The far left/right represented your current field position, so going all the way across the canvas could be 20 yards, or it could be 80, depending on field position.

What this meant, in practical terms, was that the distance between poses was different on different plays.

So as the four running poses cycled through (pose changing with each play of cards), they just didn't look like I'd hoped, and I couldn't figure out why. Then--finally--after looking at them for hours, I realized that they looked awkward because each pose was too far (in space on the canvas) from the previous one.

I had also considered using an absolute yardage system, where on offense, the human player would see the drive canvas as representing the entire field, not just from the current field position forward. That would mean that each play of cards would result in a much smaller change of position for the little players.

I decided to go back to that design and see if it helped. Once I had it working, I took a look. As I'd hoped, it made a world of difference in the flip-book animation effect I was trying for. The small gap between poses was just what I wanted, and now everything looked fine.

Also, I added a down marker and a first down marker. The result is that it's possible to "watch" the game entirely from the drive canvas, if you'd prefer, just playing cards and watching the little story play out on the canvas above the field. Here's how it looks now:

The one thing I'm not crazy about is just what you're seeing--the down marker between the quarterback and receiver on passing plays. It makes sense, though, to have the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage (fading back to pass), and it looks fine in the game.

The CPU plays are more complicated, because they're staying on a relative scale (based on the max possible gain on the play). What I'm doing is if the distance to a first down is less than the max possible gain on the play, then the first down marker will be visible at the appropriate point. I haven't put in the code yet, and it's going to be a pain in the ass with all the relative positioning, but it's doable.

This has been a pretty ugly two weeks, but the final outcome is a substantial improvement in how the game feels when it's played.

Next week: time scales.

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