All posts tagged with "chris whitman’s wizard powers are many and varied"

Little Tree on the Prairie

A lot of our time over the last week on the programming side has been spent updating our internal documentation.  Since we invested so heavily in back-end programming for the game, there are a lot of systems that we’ve written but have not spent a lot of time interacting with yet.  And because we want the game’s content to be malleable enough that people on the team with no programming skill can edit and create content, they need to have reference to consult.  It’s not the most exciting work in game development but it needs to be done.

Steampunk Colorado

From earlier: Steampunk Colorado

While waiting for some last bits of an object systems rewrite to be finished, I’ve been implementing some of the “high prairie” (aka Yellowstone) biome code that we were talking about at the beginning of the month, with the hope that we can start showing some more varied screenshots.  It’s still a work in progress, but here’s where it’s at right now.

High Prairie and Pine Forest biomes

Shown here are the biome generators for the high prairie grasslands and the high prairie conifer forest (two of the planned seven “mini-biomes” of the high prairie biome set).

forest floor texture

Missing from this forest floor texture: empty cans of cheap beer, discarded cogs left by bands of wandering steampunks.

The biome transitions are still basically straight lines at this point and we’re going to try to cram a bit more biodiversity and foliage variation in there to make things seem a bit more realistic (There was an extensive discussion on the subject of diseased trees). Note also that this is the upper plateau segment of the high prairie biome which is dryer and colder.  The lower areas will generally be more green and lush with broadleaf forest.

We’ve done some work to reduce the appearance of terrain texture tiling artifacts (notably some clever spells cast by Mr. Whitman) which has paid off very nicely, and the process of creating terrain is starting to speed up a great deal.

To do this week: work party controls (so you don’t just get anyone doing everything), greener pastures, and hopefully the death of the object framework rewrite. Death in a good way, that is.

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New Methods For Extracting Surplus Value From The Labouring Classes

Salutations scientific Colleagues & curious Dabblers!

Welcome to another edition of The Gaslamp Games Games Development Weekly Heliograph Circulation. Today we discuss the manner in which the Middle Class is employed to oversee the labours of the Labouring Class by means of organization through the newest methods of Scientific Management.

We shall demonstrate this week’s study in the field. First, a sampling of tools has been laid in careful rows on the ground. Each tool is associated with certain Jobs, as documented by our associates of the Royal Society of The Clockwork Empire for Improving Natural Knowledge, Misters Vining & Whitman (which you may recall have recently described various phenomena including studies on Plebeian Collision Avoidance In The Common Mob & an investigation into so-called “Animal Jobs”).

So, proceeding: tools at-hand, the Colonial Bureaucrat must initiate action by stamping a properly filled work order which designates a site on the landscape. This task can range from “Chop Trees” to “Flatten Land” to “Find Nature” (wherever it’s hiding). This order is then directed to a work party overseer (who is implicitly of the Middle Class and therefore of correct Station to command a group of Lower Class labourers). The work party overseer’s squad collects tools fit to their assigned task while the overseer heads directly to the work site.

In the heliotype below we see a work crew gathering axes for their “Chop Trees” task:


A feller needs a chopper that’ll hack it. (Meanwhile, the only tool the Overseer needs is Management Skills.)

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April Technical Status Update

It’s April! There is a Technical Status Update. You know the drill.

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Hooray for Scripting! (And Other Things We Did In The Past Two Weeks)

Way back in December, we had just implemented a bunch of the character logic for going through the world and doing things using our Finite State Machine model and utility functions. What we discovered was that writing the code for the FSMs themselves was, to put it frankly, a huge pain. Additionally, non-C++ programming members of the development team could not easily add new items and new behaviours to items (mines, buildings, trees, and the like.) Micah J Best, at the end of December, decided that we should use scripting to wrap some of the complexity and hide it from the end user, while simultaneously letting our development team create new objects and FSMs without requiring a programmer to go thrashing about in the codebase. I said, “Fine. Show me a proof of concept and then we’ll talk.”

Fundamentally, Gaslamp’s programming team operates based on spite. If somebody says “oh, well, we’ll never get that done in time”, or “oh, well, it’s too impractical”, somebody usually says “no, it well isn’t” and will jump to the bait. (I did this recently with a pipe system test.) Saying “Well, show me a proof of concept and we’ll talk” is equivalent to putting a red cape in front of a bull.

Over the holidays, Micah found himself stuck in Quebec. With nothing but inlaws, a language barrier, two laptops (one of which was destroyed by a cat), a turkey stuffed with poutine, and spite, he put together the first build of what is our new scripting system. It does, indeed, encapsulate all our programming decisions and is fairly powerful and flexible. We took apart all the character code we wrote in December, ported it to the new scripting system, and have now started using it to implement new things in game. It’s very powerful and, after some back-and-forth, I’m quite happy with how it’s turned out. We’re still fixing bugs and fine tuning how it all comes together, but let’s see how it all works…

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