Comments on Changelog 2014-02-03

No update to the Changelog last week due to vacation. If you haven’t experienced Yellowstone National Park in the winter, I highly recommend it.

Got off on a bit of a tangent lately. It started when I decided to look more seriously at the PRAY command, and how best to implement it. Without giving too much away, Jason used the PRAY command to great effect in the original Vespers, but in a way that is very challenging to implement visually in 3D. As I apparently described in a blog post from precisely two years ago, PRAY has been something weighing on my mind for quite some time:

There is still the question of how to implement the PRAY command, however. In the text version of Vespers, PRAYing has an important impact on the game, and Jason did some creative things with it, particularly in the description of the effects on the player. I have a plan in mind to do something similar in this version that involves the use of Jeff Faust’s AFX code for Torque, but that’s not an easy system to digest. I’ll probably include some temporary placeholder effects taken directly from his sample code while I spend the time learning the system and developing all new effects that are more appropriate to the game.

So here we are, a full two years later, and I’m now looking into doing something about it. I started by looking over the AFX code mentioned above as a template for what I wanted to do, but I soon learned that the AFX code had been updated a couple of times over the years, first from version 1.0.2 to version 1.1, and later to version 2.0. So I spent some time looking over the changes implemented in version 2.0, and what it would take to port the code over to that version.

What I soon learned is that, contrary to expectations, porting over the C++ engine code is actually much easier than dealing with all of the changes to the script code. Jeff made a lot of changes to the scripts, including their structure and organization, when he moved to version 2.0, and that presents a huge challenge. There’s almost no way to tease apart my script code from the base Torque/AFX script code, so merging my previous scripts with the newer 2.0 scripts would be a nightmare. This, despite the fact that it took me only a few minutes to merge my C++ engine changes into the AFX 2.0 engine.

So that meant going back to AFX version 1.1 to see if even that version made sense, and I think it does. The changes to the script code in this version are fewer and, at least on the surface, easier to deal with. But that will take a little more time to review them all. The advances to the AFX features appear to be worth the effort, though, so I’ll spend the next week or two figuring this out. If it doesn’t look feasible, I’ll still have version 1.0.2 to work with, which should provide most of the functionality I need.

At that point, it will then be all about creating the special effects to reflect PRAY results like:

“Fire rips through your body, boiling your flesh. Bubbles spread across you: tumors. A cough shatters your composure, a shower of blood and vomit released in its wake. Screams spin in your ears. You collapse, and the pain subsides.”

That should be interesting.


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