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Author Topic: Weekly update 2013/12/03...  (Read 15535 times)
pspeed
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« on: December 03, 2013, 03:03:56 AM »

Over Thanksgiving break, I got to do a lot of coding.  Some trickier bits of Mythruna really needed some undivided attention so it worked out well.

On the Mythruna front, I pushed inventory a bit farther along by hooking up the Equip and Unequip menu actions properly.  This also involved giving the menus a sense of "left hand" versus "right hand".  In Mythruna, any action that you do normally is for the right hand and holding the "Ctrl" key makes it for the left hand.  So if you hold "Ctrl" and right click on an object you may get a slightly different menu than if you just normally right click on it.

You can see in this screen shot that the inventory will also show the equipped state of an object and the lower left and right orbs have been modified to also show what is equipped.  In both case, the imagery will be better in the future and the orbs will actually get real models of the objects (some may have visible state that should be seen, for example so a name is not good enough... think of a compass)


In the inventory, I eventually want a grayed out 2D image of the object instead of the big X but this will serve the purpose for a long time.  The object is still clickable in X'ed state and still shows fly-over text, etc.... just as if the object were still there.

From there I went back to implement the "grip" system.  Each object will have a default Grip associated with it that tell which block is the primary grip, what type of grip it is, direction, etc... objects will also eventually have multiple grips but right now I'm concentrating on just getting the grip system in place.  So I spent a lot of time in my "avatar tester" and going back and forth between avatar-code, tester code, and object setup code.

Here we see the most recent grip setup for a few of the objects:


The red lines are what I use to debug origin, position, orientation, etc. relative to the object.  The red wire frames represent the 'space' of the avatar's hand and I need to make sure my object grips aligned them properly.

The next step will be hooking this up to the actual game equip code so that when you equip an object then it will show up attached to your avatar's hand.


The night before Thanksgiving, I got this idea in my head for a first person space ship control system.  I see so many third person space shooters these days and they always have a more 'immense' feel to the space.  So many in-cockpit space games feel flat.  (You may remember that if not for Mythruna, I might have written a space combat game instead as I'd already done a bunch of prep work but that's neither here nor there now.)  In the latest Mythruna engine, having your camera attached right to the avatar's eyes really makes a big difference in how movement feels.  You aren't just tipping your head but you are moving it forward and back as well... and when you are looking straight down, you are really bent at the waist also.  So movement left to right gives you lots of nice parallax and at least to me the whole thing feels more real.  I got this idea in my head that if you put an avatar in the cockpit of your space fighter and attached the camera to the eyes... then make sure all ship movement is done on the center of gravity of the ship (which is way behind you) and all camera movement is done via avatar animation... that it would 'feel' better.  Add to that a little inertia and I suspected that it would give back some of the "space is immense" feeling you get from third person space combat shooters.

This was gnawing at the back of my head for a few days and so "Thanksgiving Eve" after getting inventory equip/unequip right, I started poking around the web for some decent spaceship models just to see if they had any with cockpits already.  They didn't... but I did find a cool ship and a cool (enough) cockpit so just for fun, I downloaded fired up blender 2.69 to see if I could figure out how to jam them together.

Long story short, I spent most of Thanksgiving in intense blender-learning mode.  By the end, I was editing faces, unwrapping UV, etc..  I'm not an expert yet but I know my way around the tool pretty well.

Here is the ship I found with a cockpit edited into it (and our familiar untextured female avatar):


No painting or unwrapping yet in that pic as I was really just trying to get something "functional enough" to get to control systems.  And how well could you tell scale when flying around without something to actually fly near... so I found some huge capital ship model:


Here is an early-ish video where the ship is just on rails but the camera is at the avatar's head and you can be rotated around:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I33xWWYmmMo

That's about as far as I got before I got seriously into messing with blender and learning the ins and outs.  I played with a few different models, got deeper into how our familiar female avatar model works, and even started looking into giving her proper clothing.  I've even picked up my blender book again and started reading.  I'm more than half way through.

Unfortunately, I started to bump into issues with how the jMonkeyEngine SDK imports this stuff.  It started off simple enough.  I've been running an older version of the SDK for a while and I know that there have been many improvements to the blender loader.  So I upgraded.  Many things were indeed fixed for my models by upgrading... and many new things were flat out broken.  I spent the better part of a day struggling to find some version that worked properly and ultimately I ended up at a place where any pre-built SDK is busted beyond usability for my models... and yet the latest blender import code is actually nearly ok.  I was at a point where I needed to either build the SDK from source, write my own importer utility, or go back to working on Mythruna.

So I went back to working on Mythruna.  And that's when I did the hand grip stuff which took a lot of fine tuning and tweaking.  Still, the whole mess bugged the heck out of me as it was nice having a little side project to play with and my Blender skills had a nice outlet where I didn't care so much about the outcome.

Then it occurred to me: the perfect model importer is not really a model importer at all.  It's a bare bones visualization with a scripting console attached to it.  I could then load files with the latest engine code (which I already build from source), tweak every element using scripts if I choose to, and then save it back out however I want.  I even already had the Groovy Console code that's already built into Mythruna.  And I will need something similar to this to augment animation with IK info for Mythruna someday.  So Saturday night, I started throwing that together and had the initial version up in a few hours.  Thus "Script Monkey".

(This part is probably only of interest to developers)
It's basically an extensible script shell attached directly to a jMonkeyEngine window with some nice functions exposed.  You can load models, move them around, etc. all through scripting.  You can edit material properties, run whatever Java code you want, and so on.  It's a very powerful idea.  You can read about it in more detail here: http://hub.jmonkeyengine.org/forum/topic/scriptmonkey/
...I added some new features today and will hopefully add some scriptable UI components soon.  I foresee getting a lot of use out of this tool.

Here is an early screen shot of the tool with some default boxes loaded and a little bit of that changed one of the textures:

(End part is probably only of interest to developers)

So that was my week in a nutshell... one of the more prolific weeks that I've had in a while.  Sometimes these little side projects grow a life of their own and have some side benefits.  And I'm finally looking forward to getting my hands really dirty with Blender down the road.  The UI has improved so much since I used it last time.  In the next couple of days, I plan to finish hooking up the avatar grip stuff and then I can start playing with proper object->world interactions.

Thanks for reading this far and thanks for your continued interest in the game.
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Rex
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« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2013, 03:41:44 AM »

Cheesy Interesting! As always you're doing a great job Paul, keep it up! We're all with you Wink
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Sean
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« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2013, 03:12:31 PM »

Mythruna: The Next Generation?

Just* kidding...! This is shaping up excellently.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2013, 05:22:49 PM by Sean » Logged

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Moonkey
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« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2013, 05:12:02 PM »

Haha, Sean...
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Teknonick
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« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2013, 06:43:23 PM »

I TAKE BACK WHAT I SAID BEFOOOORE! The axe actually look's really neat on the avatar :O!!! Must've just been the inventory taking away from it's 'natural beauty'.

Anyway, glad to see progress! Everything's moving 10x faster now, so I think it's safe to say you're about two months and twenty eight days away as of now! WOO!!!!!
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pspeed
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« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2013, 07:07:28 PM »

I TAKE BACK WHAT I SAID BEFOOOORE! The axe actually look's really neat on the avatar :O!!! Must've just been the inventory taking away from it's 'natural beauty'.

Anyway, glad to see progress! Everything's moving 10x faster now, so I think it's safe to say you're about two months and twenty eight days away as of now! WOO!!!!!

Heheh... it looks even better with the right materials.  The avatar tester loads the raw original blueprints before I'd swapped out materials.
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BigredRm
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« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2013, 01:59:42 PM »

Team Paul!
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ebag51
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« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2013, 06:11:10 PM »

awesome job Paul  Cheesy i feel like working adventure mode release is so close i can almost play it

p.s. at this rate working inventory will probably be by this Christmas (that should be Paul's Christmas gift to us  Tongue)
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Michael
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« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2013, 08:13:54 PM »

Our gift from us to him should be from our hearts — I mean wallets. Wink
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Moonkey
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« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2013, 02:06:33 AM »

Our gift from us to him should be from our hearts — I mean wallets. Wink
I'm not giving him my credit cards!
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Michael
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« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2013, 11:09:27 AM »

Our gift from us to him should be from our hearts — I mean wallets. Wink
I'm not giving him my credit cards!
Give him your debits then.
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Moonkey
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« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2013, 05:21:14 AM »

Our gift from us to him should be from our hearts — I mean wallets. Wink
I'm not giving him my credit cards!
Give him your debits then.
Sadly, my wallet doesn't contain a credit card or debit card. (Should I be sad about not having to manage finances?)
I only have $23.
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belgariad87
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« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2013, 11:10:08 AM »

Wow. Good to hear such great strides in progress. Hope your havin fun too.
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Teknonick
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« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2013, 08:12:00 PM »

Our gift from us to him should be from our hearts — I mean wallets. Wink
I'm not giving him my credit cards!
Give him your debits then.
No. "Give him your everything!" Tongue That's a new version of "That'ssssss a very nicssssse house you have there....... would be a SSSSSShame is sssomthing were to happen to it SssSSssSSS!!!!"
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