Spaceballs - Day 6, Part 2

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A couple minor changes (or not so minor when it comes to control schemes). Tonight I took some time to play Geometry Wars Evolved for a while (the game Spaceballs is based on) and I came to a decision.

One of the difficulties is translating the control scheme to the PC as the console gamepad has the two joysticks that are both used to control the ship in Geometry Wars. As of earlier today, I was using a combination of the mouse and the keyboard (nearly Quake-style controls). You "dragged" the ship around with the mouse and turned where it was facing using the A and D keys. After trying it out for a while (and going back to play Geometry Wars), I realized that it felt unnatural and was not very intuitive. I have changed it to flying the ship forward using the W key, and flying backwards using the S key (full-blow Quake-style control scheme now).

With this change I realized that I needed zero mouse support for my game, so I had the pleasure of ripping all that code out (have I mentioned the sick twisted pleasure I get ripping code out of a code base?). It wasn't much code to rip out, but it still gave me a pleasure :). I saw in an earlier posts of Chris that he was considering support a Gamepad. That is a fabulous idea and I might need to steal the idea (Chris, you want to check out XInput now, I believe, not Direct Input). Heck, I have an extra 360 controller lying around from Microsoft Meltdown so I might just have to put it to use here. I will save that until the end though because I don't want to get hung up on a feature that is only "a nice to have" and not "a must have".

I had talked about it earlier, and after much internal debate, I have decided to re-introduce the messaging and tasking system. However, I am only re-introducing a much simplified model. It won't be nearly as complex or as feature complete as I am only going to add the bare necessities this time around. Once those are finished, I will change my ship to fire continuously like Geometry Wars (rather than based on an input command). Hrmph, even as I'm typing this I'm still having an internal debate about whether to go forward with this. Perhaps that is a sign that I still haven't quite decided yet and the back of my brain wants to work some additional things out. Oh well! I'm not going to let that hold me up from making more progress. Back to coding.....

::code, code, code, code::

::two hours later::

Sidetracked!! I ended up re-working my keyboard handling since I wasn't happy with it (it was quite *hackish*). That is all fixed, and I did some "cleanup on aisle 7"-style refactorings (nothing too big). I went ahead and converted the ship controls to be completely keyboard driven. It feels a lot better, but it's still not as comfortable as I would like it. It will work for now though.

Tomorrow I will probably whip up a quick Vector2D class (if I was using DirectX, I could just use the one that is built in). I will move all location/velocity values over to be Vector2D rather than PointF (I'm really getting tired of this ".X"/".Y" crap everywhere rather than using simple Vector-based math). Once I get that in place, I might go ahead and add a "slowdown" feature of controlling the ship where it will slow down after you let up the key rather than stopping right away.

My hope is that once I get some of these architectural issues settled, hooking up enemies, collision detection, scoring, etc. should be pretty easy. At least the technical aspect should be easy, there would still be the fun part of writing the AI :). So far, I'm making progress though.

My goal for tomorrow is to have the Messaging and Task subsystems hooked in and working by the end of the day. I would also like to get the GameObjectRepository hooked up and doing some rudimentary boundary checking (like destroying game objects (like bullets) when they leave the playing area). Once the GameObjectRepository is working, adding some easy collision detection (I probably won't do per-pixel at this time and will settle simply for bounding volume checking) shouldn't take that long.

Anyways, time for sleep :).

P.S. Minor Annoyance #2 with VCS Express - The limited debugging features. Visual Studio's debugging capabilities in the IDE seem much more robust (like forcing the code execution to a specific line (aka "going back in time")), etc.

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