NoshBar's Dumping Ground






It all started with a level editor...

Well, that's a lie, it started through experimenting with the A* Path Finding algorithm in the hope of eventually making a car driven by an intelligent entity.

2 weeks ago I decided to restart work on this project, and it went something a little like this...

Step 1 - Edit, Edd and Eddy.



"Hmm, I like the idea of tiles, and Tiled is great, I wonder how I could automagically convert the 2D into 3D... wait a minute, I'll make my own!"

*sigh*, why does it seem like a good idea every, single, time?

Level editors, they're visual things.
People like me, they're impatient things.
Quickest possible way to get something visual up and running that I know of? Delphi. *sigh*. I guess I have a weak spot for the special.

Seeing as I stopped producing gold eggs a long time ago, I downloaded the latest version of Lazarus and within an hour I had something usable.



As you can (hopefully) see above, the map is made entirely out of 3D tiles. Each tile is made out of an arbitrary amount of blocks, each one building on top of the previous one, height-wise.
While the "user interface" is a bit rubbish (having to manually enter values), changes are visible throughout the map as you make them.
Placing them on the map is as simple as using the arrow keys to move around the map and hitting space to place the current tile (page up/down cycles between the available tiles).

For non-block shapes, you can import OBJ files and litter the landscape with instances of them. What's nice is that they automatically snap to the height of the tallest block in the currently highlighted tile, making placement really easy.
You can, of course, adjust them on a per-pixel basis.

It's around this time that I start thinking about integrating Lua into the editor, so that you can make plugins for loading/saving and tools... but instead decide to test whether everything works on Linux unchanged.



Huzzah! It does! Nice work FreePascal/Lazarus people!

Step 2 - Level Viewer



I knew that the only way I would ever see something from my work would be to throw my "good programmer" hat out the window into busy traffic during a heavy-agriculture-machinery trade show day.

With the joy of a thousand rabbid skunks I hacked away at some code and had a "level viewer" in no time at all and I had finally found an excuse to investigate and use SDL2.



Seeing as I had a map you could move around and view from any angle, I thought it would be a pity if I just left it there...

Step 3 - Physics



... so I took the opportunity to investigate the Bullet physics engine.
The first thing I learnt about it was how horribly overcrowded the supplied examples are, and how sparse the online documentation is.

That aside, I did manage to get things up and running quickly enough to have the tiles in the level converted to static physical bodies that my new little blocky player character could run and jump on.

Adding a car was a bit tricky, the settings are a bovine to get right, and they still need some serious tweaking, but -hey-, I didn't have to code the physics engine, so I can't really complain, can I?

There's also a patch I have to make for vertex index array collision shapes, so hooray, I get to contribute!

Step 4 - Lowest of the low



I always try aim for possibly the most underpowered device still around in wide-circulation: the last thing I want is to make something that no one can use.

So I stuck to fixed-pipeline OpenGL. Despite being slower on modern devices and not really supported on mobile devices, the GLES1 on Android seems to be okay with what I've done:



While it's still my most favourite achievement to date, it really does look pretty damn awful, and I think it could really do with some shadows...

Time to learn about shaders and friends.



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