Early task list

Finally starting to feel properly better, today, though I’m still finding myself becoming easily winded under any sort of physical exertion.  But at least the flu symptoms have abated.

So I’m beginning to spec out what’s going to be in the MS2 build of MMORPG Tycoon 2.  It’s mostly gameplay stuff, but before I start on that, I’m going to be doing some graphic work — it’s been far too long since I did anything that could be seen in a screenshot!

Here are these initial graphic tasks:

  • An animation system.  (Consider importing animation data from a 3D package)
  • Modelled + animated PCs, NPCs, and monsters.
  • Trees.
  • Improvements to terrain system.

Today I’ve begun on the animation system.  Animation systems can be big, complicated things, depending on what features you want them to have.  Animation systems are one of my special subjects, so this one is going to be fairly full-featured.  Biggest issue is going to be where the data’s coming from.  I imagine that in the first revision, I’ll just be entering data by hand, but in the long run, I should definitely be reading the data in from data files exported from a 3D package, so that I can get actual animators to create assets, instead of needing to do everything on my own.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get the animation system finished up tomorrow.

On the topic of PCs, NPCs, monsters, and trees, I’ll just note that MT2’s graphic style is somewhat stylised, and I expect that these new bits of art will be as well.  Imagine hyper-deformed  characters built out of cubes, and you probably won’t be far off.  With the number of entities potentially visible on screen at once, they need to be very cheap to render.  But I still want to have them be animated, and nicer than the simple boxes that they are right now.

On the topic of the terrain engine, I’ve decided that the terrain system that I was using in MS1 won’t scale well to a full-size MMO, and that even if it would, it doesn’t provide as much terrain resolution as I really want.  I’ve identified two minor changes to the system which together should allow substantially higher vertex density for the terrain, but also should reduce MT2’s current memory footprint from around 600 megabytes down to about 50 megabytes.  I’ll talk more about these modifications in a few days.

But for now, it’s time to sleep.  Exhausted.