The Boy Who Stole The Sun: Devlog #5 - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

The Boy Who Stole The Sun: Devlog #5

Continuing on the path of the Vertical Slice, I have the first object scripted up that was on my list from last time: Snow Piles! One of the big benefits of coding up all the basic objects of the game quickly is that poor assumptions get weeded out.

For instance, I imagined the snow piles as sneaky ninja-containers. I wanted critters to pop out when the player least expected it. This turned out to be laughable in practice. As soon as I had the objects in the world, it became apparently that a pile of snow is in no way stealthy. It would have to be surrounded lots of other deep snow, and perhaps just be a pronounced drift instead of a pile. Even then, to be fair to the player, there would have to be some small announcement that a critter is going to emerge, to give time to react. Something like the Leever from the Legend of Zelda franchise fills this role nicely. But there was a more interesting choice to make here.

I decided to make the snow piles immobile and place them to block the path of the player. I made them punchable, which decreases the amount of snow in the pile. If the snow was reduced to minimum level, collision shuts off and the player can pass over it. But if the pile stacks up to the max height... punching it will unleash a Flurry critter. So, I got all that coded up, but not without unleashing some bugs in the animation and script command-handling systems.

Punching Snow!

One of the first bugs was with punching the snow piles. At one point, the animations were triggering the wrong frames, which made the whole thing look broken. After that, punching only triggered when a snow pile had reached a new personal best height. Anything less was un-punchable. That had to do with poor logic flow in the script. I looked a ton of code in the engine before realizing I had just written the script poorly, not turning collision back on in the proper places. There was also a segment where punching the snow only triggered properly on every second punch. That was also a collision toggling bug. After I got all these things fixed, there was a brief time where everything was suddenly broken. Program crashes... player starting the map in the middle of the water instead of the spawn point. Madness! I had to take the rest of the day off in order to return with a clear head.

All that being said... the basics of the snow pile are complete enough to play with them.

Future considerations: Need to determine spawning frequency. Right now the snow piles build up pretty fast, which is convenient for testing. After unleashing a critter, the object resets and can therefore spawn infinite critters. Will need to possibly make snow piles aware of the numbers of critters on the map. Perhaps they'll refuse to spawn more if the map is crowded. Also need to verify that snow pile collision is off during the frame where the critters are spawned. Right now it looks they're being shoved to the side, sometimes into the water, which is bad.

I had hoped to code up more of the Flurry behavior, but since I didn't get that... I made a video for you. Enjoy!

Posted by Seth Gorden

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