A game about a certain space exploration company

Where most of 2018 went

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This was conceived as a way for lions who weren't smart enough to actually work on such a vehicle to get involved, in some way.

Every aspect of a modern game is specifically engineered to hold your attention as much as possible.  They're really designed by mathematicians & based on game theory.

Flight simulators are boring, no matter what.  There's simply no way to make a realistic simulation of flying to Mars also be a gripping arcade game.  The problem isn't the models, the physics, or the sound, but the map.  

So the 1st thing to go is realistic simulation.  In its place, the traditional space flight game is a kind of "rail shooter".  There's a track winding through a 3D space, where player input is restricted to just 2 dimensions on the track.  The track has ramps to allow the player to jump in 3 dimensions by inputting only 2 dimensions.

On a PC, there are enough user inputs to allow 3D user input.  There still needs to be a track the user needs to stay on, but the user can dictate height above the track.  It's still a very circuitous route to Mars, but more entertaining than NASA TV.  Haven't found any better way of modeling the track other than a series of rectangles.  The flying properties of the BFR have to go, too.

The next thing modern games do is have a fuel gauge system.  Each game consumes from the fuel gauge until they have to wait for it to refill.  Once it's full, it stops filling until they play again.  It's not about keeping them from playing as much as creating opportunity cost for not playing.  

Finally, modern games have multiple rewards: credits, tokens, & cards.  Credits are the easiest to get, determined by player ability, & create the least progress in the campaign.  Cards are the hardest to get, are usually drawn randomly, & create the most progress in the campaign.  You can't normally exchange 1 type of reward for another.  The multiple reward system might be to allow a much wider range of difficulty than multiplying the price in credits by a billion.  The campaign takes longer & keeps you engaged.

  • UV mapping in blender

    lion mclionhead05/28/2019 at 00:01 0 comments

    Like polygon editing, there's no textual documentation on the subject & only random bits of information on video.  It wasn't possible at all to get anywhere with Blender before gootube took off in 2010.  Many functions are only accessible by the keyboard.  What you want is a workflow, but no videos were giving that.

    The decision was made to just watch videos & write as many notes as possible.

    In the UV/Image editor:

    Selection of UVs works the same as edit mode.  The selection mode uses different icons which change depending on the "keep UV & edit mode selection in sync" button.

    "keep UV & edit mode selection in sync" has to be enabled & face selection has to be enabled to do anything useful.  Selecting edges or vertices causes it to ignore seams & treat the faces as linked.  Only selecting faces allows UV islands to be moved independently.  This is a huge bug.

    c circle selection

    b box selection

    UVs -> mark seam - make the smart UV mapper not keep faces next to each other.  Marked seams are shown as red in edit mode.  The seams create UV islands.

    ctrl-l select linked faces in the texture

    g,r,s - translate, rotate, scale

    e - extrude

    x,y,z - typed after the g,r,s,e to restrict movement of g,r,s,e to X, Y, Z axis

    numerical entry: typed last after g,r,s,e.  depends on whether it's in translate, rotate, or scale mode

    0 - for translating, make UV's equal on the axis movement is restricted to

     - for scaling, scale it to the value entered

     - for rotation, set rotation to the angle

    There's no numerical entry textbox for UV's like there is for mesh editing.  The textbox which appears when transforming UV's just affects the mesh.

    UVs -> pack islands - line up the UVs with the edges of the texture to maximize the space usage.  Only aligns 2 edges since it doesn't alter the aspect ratio.

    UVs -> show/hide faces -> shift-h hide unselected

    UVs -> export UV layout - generates a PNG with the UV coordinates outlined

    There's no way to dial in any coordinates.  Your only option for precise alignment is snapping to a grid.

    There's no magic way to tile textures.  Just extend the face beyond the edges of the texture.  It's a nightmare for every large faces.

    Eventually a workflow emerged, which involved defining seams to create UV islands, unwrapping each island separately onto its own area of a texture, exporting the UV layout, & drawing in Gimp.  The drawing ended up relying on the path tool, what Disney hottie called the "pen tool", the gradient tool, & the selection tools.  

    The mane drawing workflow is to create a line using the path tool & stroke it in a certain brush or make a selection with the path tool to restrict the gradient & fill operations to a certain area.  

    The path tool & gradient tool are the mane differences from the lion kingdom's last involvement in 2D drawing, 30 years ago.  30 years ago, computers had no greyscale so there was no gradient tool.  PC paint had only a 3 point curve tool, which lions used extensively.  The modern path tool is the evolution of that curve tool.

    Early paint programs were all designed to be pixel accurate.  A mane problem with Gimp is it's not designed to be pixel accurate.  The xored marching ants & brush outlines from vintage programs...

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  • Gameplay

    lion mclionhead05/12/2019 at 08:14 0 comments

    It occurred to the lion kingdom that the race course should be a 2D route through the upper level winds.  The winds would have to be rendered like land masses or clouds.  The space section would have to be a route through a dense sea of stars.  The only way anything can be playable is if it's very artistic instead of accurate.  It definitely has to be 2D to work on a tablet.

    It occurred to the lion kingdom that with Musk now caught up in John Green books, the name BFR is free & clear, so the thing should be called BFR.

    Working on the game makes lions want to play Asphalt 9 & reminds them of commuting, since most of the work is done on a train & the game is based on Asphalt 9.  This results in wasted days playing Asphalt 9 to avoid being reminded of commuting.

    The godot editor is so bad, a key requirement is a way to freeze the game & view from arbitrary cameras.  The camera previewer in the editor is non functional & most of the models are synthesized in the game.  

    Introducing textures

    The garage scene in Asphalt XTreme uses textures heavily to simulate polygons.  The shadows aren't even drawn very accurately, but it still works.  

    Thus, when it came time for the hangar scene in BFR, lions were woefully unprepared to make the custom textures.  It's ironic that animals who did much paper drawing & struggled transitioning to 3D models now have a hard time with the 2D drawing required to make textures.

    To someone who was alive over 40 years ago, modern paint programs are better for editing photos & terrible for drawing 2D.  Compare this to millenials who can't imagine drawing anything on paper & make big bucks drawing 2D on computers.  There is a millenial trophy wife showing that professional art is drawn electronically, but not showing any tutorials.

    The computer interface definitely limits it to a certain style.  Surprising how much TV art is 2D & computer art has evolved from 3D to 2D as they've learned how to make better interfaces.  

  • Godot is a hard program because

    lion mclionhead04/24/2019 at 17:15 0 comments

    It doesn't remember the inspector state or undo history when navigating between windows.  The inspector resets to the top level node & you have to navigate back down to where you were, after every window change.  Navigating in the inspector is otherwise hellish.  

    Down arrows sometimes give you a menu, sometimes expand an area.  A text box or image may or may not expand another level or replace the inspector with another window, with no indication of what is a child of what.  Left & right arrows try to ascend & descend history, but the history is usually lost from a window change.

    Textboxes randomly stop accepting input & the program has to be restarted to continue typing,  navigating all the way back to where you were from the top.

    There's no way to copy nodes from 1 scene to another, but there is a way to copy nodes in a single scene.  Unfortunately, multiple particle generators in the same scene overwrite each other in random parameters.  Wrapping particles in different scenes still experience crosstalk, so they have some global variables & widgets which aren't being updated when you change windows.  Editing a textbox in 1 particle node will usually overwrite a parameter in another particle node.

    The bugs led to a gdscript particle system for engine flame.  

    Settings are randomly split between flags & parameters.  View settings are split between a view & a perspective menu

    Hiding the indicators for window resizing to comply with the modern convention is a pain.  The modern convention is endless mousing over to reveal hidden widgets instead of just drawing the widgets, making a lifestyle out of everything instead of just making it work, as millenials call it.

    The active textbox in the inspector gets stuck in the same place, on top of everything else, when scrolling.  Dragging from a listbox makes the source listbox scroll instead of the destination, so if you drag the same item multiple times, you have to rescroll the source listbox every time.

    Despite all the options, there was no way to have a starting velocity for radial movement.  There is an accel curve which can replicate engine exhaust.  Naturally, the accel curve is an artistic bezier curve editor with no printout of numerical values.

    Got somewhat of a liftoff, with much crosstalk between particle generators.  Didn't bother tracking down all the sound credits.

    1 thing that worked was making the particle nodes always face the camera, to create fake volume.  It's done by 1st looking at, then resetting the 2 fixed eulers.

    var defaultSmokeTransform = smoke.transform

        smoke.transform = defaultSmokeTransform
        var euler = smoke.transform.basis.get_euler()
        smoke.look_at(camera.global_transform.origin, Vector3(0, 1, 0))
        var euler2 = smoke.transform.basis.get_euler()
        smoke.set_rotation(Vector3(euler.x, euler2.y, euler.z))

       var scale = defaultSmokeTransform.basis.get_scale()
        smoke.transform.basis = smoke.transform.basis.scaled(scale)

    They did a good job recreating the animated look & simulating what a character in the show would see, but it's extremely boring. Notice the use of crosses & dynamically generated models to draw the smoke trails. The explosions could easily be quads with animation inside textures. 

  • Low fidelity

    lion mclionhead04/07/2019 at 07:15 0 comments

    Been away, but now it's back with an emphasis on low fidelity.  The amount of work involved in making it photo realistic is immense enough to be satisfied with 1984 quality graphics.  

    Countdown by reversing & tracing the spacex logo.

    Somewhat of a 2D exhaust plume from a particle effect.  No lighting.

    The flame in Asphalt wants to be another particle effect with stretched particles.  There's no smoke from methane engines.

  • Better collada exporter

    lion mclionhead02/10/2019 at 01:44 0 comments

    Every time lions play Asphalt 9, it's inspiration to revisit this.  The mane problem is creating the same entertaining gameplay & map in a flight simulator that is possible in a road racer.  The other problem is making it something lions are going to use every day.  Lions can play Asphalt 9 every day, even though there's no point.  There's no way to advance & there isn't any challenge, but it provides engagement with a physics system & sensation of speed.

    Most often, a solution randomly happens to be found, like the so called "better collada exporter" on the godot page.  There's no indication of what it is or that it's a .zip file, but it actually is a plugin someone randomly put on the godot page & it does slightly better with some of the normals.  Exporting the most basic 3D data like normals is hit or miss.

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