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Gamepads and Replays

posted 27 Oct 2010, 19:54 by Jibb Smart
I guess the title is pretty self-explanatory. In the last week I've added support for up to two gamepads (I'll let you use as many as you want in the future [I hope], but for now it's just two), and the game automatically records a replay of the action. At the moment the game will record up to about five and a half minutes of gameplay before it starts to write over the earlier action. The interface for replays is very simple, only letting you play a replay from the beginning or cancel a replay that is currently being played. However, I've written the replay system in such a way that more advanced features -- such as scrubbing through the video forwards or backwards -- are simply a matter if setting up the buttons to control it. These more advanced features won't make this release since I'm prioritising other aspects of the game, but they'll come soon enough.

I've never programmed with gamepads before (never had a PC gamepad until I bought two earlier this week), but I have to say that designing and programming for gamepads is way more fun than doing the same for mouse and keyboard. Of course, if I was making an RTS, FPS, or first-person RPG I would definitely say mouse and keyboard are the way to go. But for a car game, gamepads are just awesome.

I haven't had a chance to play any PC games I already own with my new gamepads, since Steam has stopped working on my computer and I haven't been gaming much at all while working on this game. But my brother has been giving them a good workout with Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (which he had just finished with mouse and keyboard), and Dead Space (whose mouse controls are infamously abysmal), and he's loving them.

I'm still looking at releasing version 0.1 this Friday, but due to a heavy day at university tomorrow I doubt it will be as polished as I'd hoped at the beginning of this week. v0.1's audience will probably just be the Gamestudio forum community and whoever stumbles across my site. I'll hopefully push the next version's release to a wider audience and set up a better web-site to support it.

Which reminds me: here's what I'm using to make the game:
  • I'm using the A8 Professional engine to power my game. All code is written in Lite-C (A8's native language) and HLSL (shader language, for those of you who don't know).
    • A8 uses DirectX 9, so no Mac or Linux support. Sorry. If I was writing my own engine it'd still probably be DirectX only since it's so much nicer to program with. Just saying.
  • 2D artwork is done in GIMP 2.6. It's an awesome program. I'm using a Wacom Intuos3 graphics tablet instead of a mouse.
  • 3D artwork is generally done in ZBrush 4 with the UV Master plugin. Objects are converted to an A8-friendly format through Blender 2.5 and MED (Model EDitor that comes with A8 and Lite-C Free).
  • Sounds are recorded with a ZOOM H1, and edited in Audacity.
Here's another development shot (click for full-size). Today I was working on terrain textures and the terrain shader. I still have a long way to go.
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