Saturday, October 20, 2012

Navigating The Flow

Hey Readers,
It's been a busy couple of weeks. My main focus has been on getting in some kind of backend interface to control all of the different commands that are going to be available for the user. I needed something that would be flexible since there are going to be so many different possible commands.

User Contexts

I decided to go with something I call User Contexts. The idea behind the user context is simple, It's basically a state object which contains all the logics to execute commands for that context. So for example

Main User Context =>Has two options, Build Item and Move Item            
*Build Item
    Build User Context =>Choosing Build Item spawns off a new Build User Context from the Main
    *Build Wall
    *Build Floor
*Move Item
    Move Item Context
    *Click on location to move item to

So each user context knows about it's current state and how to construct the next level of user contexts which are based on the available commands. When a new context is created it's returned to the main game state as the current context. In addition each previous user context is linked to the next context so that when the current user context is finished it can easily jump to the last context.

Interfacing with the User

This was all well and good for the back end but I needed a way to convey this to the user. To keep things simple I decided to build a console UI element which could be easily written to. I didn't want to waste a lot of time fooling around with creating new UI's for each User Context so I thought this would be an easy alternative that would still convey what the possible options are to the user. I set up a function in the User Context which takes in a UIConsole so that each context can print whatever information it needs to convey. There's also a number of functions for user input for overriding what the functionality should be when there's mouse or keyboard input.

Status of the Game World

While I was mucking around with setting up this user context console window I thought it would be great to have another console window for displaying information about the currently selected object. I haven't really taken this one too far but my thought is to set up a status component I can give to each of my game objects so they can convey useful state to the user. Some useful info might be how much resources are left in a crate, or what ability a character is currently using, or maybe how much is left to do on an object in construction.

In the coming weeks I'd like to flesh out a few more gameplay features: obtaining resources, the job system, item destruction. We'll see how far I get though. I've posted another video showing the progression I've made. You can see the User Context console is in the top right corner and the object status console is in the bottom right corner.

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