Friday 15th December

Today is the first official day of ChristmasHack, but it's also a work day and I went out for the evening with friends. Returning home slightly tipsy and very tired, I haven't managed to get too much done. But for the competition I would have been straight off to bed. However, knowing that this sort of thing was likely to happen I did get a lot done before the official start of competition. Prior to today I already have the following:

Today I got my set of descriptions, including the one I wanted most of the entire set, i.e. "a game where light — or lack of it — should be a pretty major feature." I intend to make lack of light an extrmely major feature, especially as light and shadows is something you can get a decent aesthetic from with only maths. Very useful if, like me, you can't draw to save your life! So my game design is: something moody with light and shadows.

Codewise, I added the following today:

The latter uses a discrete time model which is not the sort of thing that I'm most comfortable with, but it seems to work for now. The 3d map is actually an extremely basic format, it's just a 128x128x6 grid and each square is either filled or not. Rather than implement lighting right now, I've just assigned the different faces of each cube a colour based on which axis they point along. That proves that I've read the map correctly and that my player is correctly running along it, etc.

Screenshot for today:
Screenshot for Friday 15th December

Funny place to tack it on, but I've just come back and realised I haven't explained some basic points: I'm using SDL and OpenGL. Everything is being written with an emphasis on getting it done quickly, so I'm writing a very sub-optimal application.

Saturday 16th December [1]

I have Christmas presents still to get, so today is by necessity broken up. This is the first update to show what I've managed by enabling OpenGL lighting. I'm using a point light (represented by a cube), and have decided on a gameplay dynamic in which you have to throw the light around to figure out where you are, what's around you, where you're going, etc. So I've enabled the GL lighting and added a "light" object that you can throw around. I'm not happy with the control scheme, but I'll switch it to mouse & wasd later.

First screenshot for today:
First screenshot for Saturday 16th December

Saturday 16th December [2]

Well, it's the evening, I've shopped and I've eaten and now I've done some more to this game. Specifically: I've implemented stencil shadows. Not very well, but I'll fix that once gameplay is working. Everything looks much, much nicer now. Sadly I've had to disable multisampling for the time being due to frame rate concerns. Since I'm developing this on a high-end machine and my target is a mid-range machine I'll definitely have to do some optimisation later. For the time being I figure getting gameplay is more important since if I fail to get either then I can't really submit a complete ChristmasHack game but if I just fail on performance then at least my giftee will be able to enjoy it one day.

Second screenshot for today:
Second screenshot for Saturday 16th December

I've also decided a bit more about gameplay: I think Christmas presents will be distributed throughout the city (I'm not sure why) and you'll have to find and collect them, while avoiding some sort of vicious sentries. So then: I've basically gone with the exact gameplay of Ant Attack. But in the dark and from the first person! Sentries will probably have to be weird blobby circles or something, as I can't draw much else and that'll make the shadow volume easy...

Sunday 17th December

Most of the people I know are enjoying a day at a health club today, so I have lots of spare time. Today's accomplishments:

All I have to do is add some enemies, and I've got a game going on! Since everything else is based on cubes, I think enemies should be circles. Just to emphasise that they're an "unnatural" presence, although in a sense much closer to nature.

The main game still looks much as it did, so these shots are mostly of the title and instruction screens:
First screenshot for Sunday 17th December Second screenshot for Sunday 17th December
Third screenshot for Sunday 17th December Fourth screenshot for Sunday 17th December
Fifth screenshot for Sunday 17th December

Monday 18th December

For those that don't know, I'm a full-time employed person. Thankfully I work in publishing and am nothing to do with IT, so am not too sick of computers to do some ChristmasHack work in the eveings. So, a bullet point summary of today's ChristmasHack happenings:

Screenshot for Monday 18th December

Tuesday 19th December

Although I expected to have little or no time for ChristmasHack today due to a scheduled game of squash, that was cancelled. So:

Things still on the "to do" list: sound and proper keyboard/mouse controls. Screenshots get less interesting by the day, but here:

First screenshot for Tuesday 19th December Second screenshot for Tuesday 19th December

Wednesday 20th December

Well, I'm a bit tipsy again, this time from the work Christmas meal which took up a sizeable chunk of the afternoon and involved lots of free wine. I'm starting to think I may have an alcohol problem, but decided to do some ChristmasHack stuff nevertheless. So:

So — sound remains to be done! As does tweaking. And saving preferences/high score. The game still looks much the same as it has since Sunday, so no new screenshot today. Probably no development update tomorrow either as I'm going to a formal social event, dinner jacket and everything.

Friday 22nd December

My last day of work on this, so all good coding and other "well formed project" considerations are out of the window. I just need to get everything to work!

And that's it. The game isn't very good, but it is finished and does conform to spec. Hooray!