Friday, April 13, 2007


Something to keep an eye on . . .

The Toi world-making . . . thing. Production suite, I guess.

It's in a very rough state right now, but has a lot of promise.

I tried it out last night. The terrain engine is very streamlined. In a few short clicks I had a world created and was playing around with a large chunk of flat terrain. Basic controls - raising, lowering, smoothing, flattening. I wanted a way to generate noise, both over the whole terrain or specific areas (and maybe that functionality is in there, but I didn't find it).

Objects are the same way. Click to drop one in, then place, move, rotate.

Particle support and the PhysX engine, too. I haven't gotten to those yet.

My only complaint thus far is that the icons need to be larger and have floating tooltips.

No word on the licensing yet, which is always a bit worrisome. Gamemaker thrived on having a free version that lacked some more advanced features but had room for lots of clever workarounds.


I also tried out Torque Game Builder.

Not bad, but not as user-friendly as they would have you believe. If you're an experienced scripter, then it's definitely a useful product.

I think my biggest disappointment was going through the tutorial and finding out how to make my fish swim back and forth: first, navigate to your game directory, find your game.cs file, open it in notepad, create the fish class, give it an impulse, save and exit your script, exit your game and restart TGB.

That's just a ridiculous workflow. I expected an IDE that would show me available functions as I typed as well as their parameters. And I didn't expect to have to restart everything each time I wanted to see what would happen.

Since I'm just finally putting coding together in my mind, I iterate in very small increments and test every single time I make a change. The way TGB does it is probably the worst for my way of working.

Version 1.5 is supposed to add support for attaching Behaviors through the editor without mucking about with scripts. I'll keep watching that and go from there.

At the moment I've decided to stick with 2-d for many, many reasons. For one, it's easier for me to mock up a temp sprite in Paint than muck around in Blender. For another, it's simpler to visualize behavior and work out the math involved.

And for my long-term goal (tokenization of conversational data) it works just as well as 3-d.


Oh, and I looked at the Unity3d thing. Sounds perfect, but for one thing: Mac only. And no indication of a future PC port. That's too bad. I've considered getting a Mac Mini, so if I do it will go on my list of software, but right now I have no space in my work area for even a Mini.

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