Skip to main content

More on the asset pipeline

So I'm still trying to figure out what my asset pipeline is going to be like.  What makes it particularly interesting is this:  the GBA doesn't support files (there are hacks out there to simulate it, but I'd prefer not to use them).  Everything gets packed as data into the single game rom, and run.  The DS, on the other hand (at least for homebrew) has a usable filesystem.  Now you can ignore the filesystem and pack things into the rom like I did for the DS release of Anguna, but working with files can sometimes be a lot nicer -- it sure makes the edit/build/test cycle a lot easier, as you don't have to go through a separate compile step.

The tricky part is thinking about how I might implement both of these.  The core of my existing engine assumes everything exists as structs in C, and references to other data is just via pointers.  (Which is easy when the compiler does all the work for you).  But if I use files, I'll basically need to write a file parser, which will then populate those structs, and create all the pointers between the new structs based on text symbols in the files.  Definitely doable, but a bit more work.  Is it worth it to go to files for the DS but not for GBA? 

The other side of the coin is the argument that, realistically, when editing assets, I'll already have to jump through some hoops to save/export it properly using whatever tool I use.  Why not just make sure my tool also recompiles everything during that step, and let the C compiler do all the work of parsing, populating structs, and creating the pointers?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Retrospex 32 Review

RetrospexInternational recently sent me a couple units of their new handheld device, the Retrospex 32, a new dedicated GameboyAdvance emulator handheld.  To make the unit playable out of the box, they pre-loaded a handful of homebrew games, including Anguna, which is why they were kind enough to send me 2 of the units to play with.  I was pretty excited to get my hands on the device and try it (I loved my old GBA micro with a good flash cart!), and see Anguna running on it. So here's my thoughts after playing with it.



Their website lists the Retrospex 32 for £59.99, which is around $100 USD. It seems like it's marketed toward people into retro-gaming (which makes sense for a dedicated GBA emulator device). At that price, with that target market, and such a limited set of functionality (why not make it a multi-machine emulator, and emulate all the old consoles?), it would hopefully do a really good job of it.

The short version of my review: it doesn't. It has one job (emula…

Making the game fun

The real trick for Spacey McRacey (as I'm calling it now) is going to be making it fun.  And that's what I'm rather unsure about at this point.

I have a game design that basically works. The technical issues are mostly sorted out, I just need to get a few more implemented before I can seriously play test it.

But fun? It's hard to know if it's actually going to be any fun to play.  With a 4-player party-style game, it's seems like it might be hard to hit that fine line where everyone is close and competing, where everything feels exciting and tense, as opposed to tedious and boring.  And despite envisioning my game as fun, it might just be boring to play.

Some of that comes down to tweaking it. Tweaking the speeds, difficulties, etc, will make a difference. (If it's too easy to shoot people from behind, then it will be nearly impossible to hold a lead for very long, which could ruin it and make it no fun. If it's too hard to kill the guy in front, it wil…

Killer Queen

So at PRGE, I played an arcade game that just left me amazed.  Killer Queen.

It's a 10-player game. You have 2 cabinets linked together, and 5 players huddled on each one. Each one is a team of 5 people, working together to play a simple one-screen 2d platformer.  But what made it work was the high quality game design.

First, the game is relatively simple, yet there is a lot going on at once.  One player plays the queen, the most important and powerful character on the team. The others start as workers, but can become warriors who can fly around and attack in a very joust-like flappy contest of height.  The real trick is that there are three completely different ways to win: either collect a bunch of berries and bring them back to your base, or ride a REALLY SLOW snail across the screen (while other people try to kill you, and you hope your team protects you), or kill the enemy queen 3 times.  There's some other things going on as well (using berries to upgrade, capturing upgr…