As with last week, the theme was “game world” for So Play We All. I had some nice plans for my two hours, but didn’t get near to finishing them.

Before I get to that, let me link to my response, the title of which turned out to be a bit of foreshadowing. Also, Luke wrote On Iterating about his decisive plans to redesign his game and Jim wrote about our differing implementation styles.

I started out this week with a small tweak to Steppe to make the camera float a constant distance above the terrain, instead of being way above the low plains and clipped into the tall mountains. In doing so, I found two bugs in Steppe: it wasn’t accurately reporting the height of terrain back to me, and it wouldn’t let me change the height of the camera. I reported both to Steppe’s creator Andrew J. Baker, we chatted a bit about some of the implementation and implications, and then I set it aside for this week.

I made two small tweaks to Oaqn. First, I included a copy of a utility class for loading images into my codebase (as opposed to loading it from the Steppe site as the demo I built from did). Second, I installed Machinist to make future testing easier.

Feeling good, I rolled into integrating easyXDM into Oaqn to pass messages between Steppe and the game (for more detail, see last week’s post). This didn’t go so well.

The documentation for easyXDM is messy, incomplete, and inconsistent. It took me quite a while to understand its options and vocabulary, then more to get a basic demo running. The only visible sign of that is some debugging output that messages are now passing back and forth properly:

EasyXDM wants to hide away the iframe it uses to pass messages, but Oaqn needs that front-and-center to display the world map. I spent the remainder of my time tinkering with an example for doing just that, but I wasn’t able to get it to work before time was up.

This was a pretty frustrating week. I made two trivial improvements, but ran into problems with two different parts of Oaqn. If it wasn’t for So Play We All I’d probably have gotten frustrated, but knowing that I needed to put in the time (or open my wallet) helped me persevere as much as I did. I learned a lot about both Steppe and easyXDM, so I’ll be better-prepared for future weeks.

Oh, and I got more sprites from my artist, subtracting another $44 from my ledger. This will be the last set of sprites before I get some playtesting in to learn more about which gameplay players most want to see.

Please vote for Oaqn in this week’s poll.

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