SHMUP suite musings
I have two issues. One, is that I don’t want to have to learn a GUI setup for windows in order to make my utilities. This probably the completely wrong approach to a solution; reinventing the wheel. But I’m soo used to it. Ok, here’s how I’ve made my GUI-ish apps in the past: it’s all internal. My GUI needs have always been simple. I just need a few buttons, and a display windows. Nothing fancy, nothing much. I currently just create the buttons and layouts manually. Yes, that means providing the X/Y coords and which functions they correspond to. I’ve decided that if I’m not going to actually use an existing GUI toolset, I should at least create my own toolset for creating GUI frames. Duh! So I’m doing just that. Just a simply visual editor for placing buttons and display windows. That gets compiled into a text define file which I can include into my code and just associate functions via pointers, etc. This probably makes some people cringe, but I think it’s fun.
Secondly, enemy pattern AI. Well, AI might be a strong word here. Reactive might be a better word for it. But that aside, simple dumb enemy pattern movement.. how do I make this flexible enough that people using the suite don’t have to rely on a list of fixed pattern movements? I’ve taken a cue from the FM playbook. Enemies can be defined by phases. Inside each phase, there are three operators. These operators are a type of behavior; sine, cos, etc. You can assign where the output of the operator is going, X or Y coords, or as a modulator for another operator. Each operator also has assigned attributes like frequency and scale control. The phase has two attributes: time and reaction. The time parameter is self explanatory (how long the current phase lasts), the reactive parameter is a little different. It could something as if the enemy gets shot (doesn’t die in one hit or does and spawns a new objects, etc), or if the enemy gets close enough to the player – change phase. This might sound expensive on processing time wise, but really it’s not. Of course there will always be predefined patterns designers can default to (familiar enemy patterns), to keep resource lighter for the bulk of the level. It’s all about balancing where the ‘spice’ is anyways.
I’ve been playing around with other idea of how to emulate the PCE video and audio in the simulator. This is easy enough, but it’s tied directly to the game engine and not the real PCE. So I’m not worried about accurate emulation – just enough simulation for the game engine. The audio part is going to be tricky for me, as I’ve not had a whole lot of experience with it, but I’m sure from the little that I have done on the PC – it’ll be fine. Again, not really emulating the PCE’s audio as I am simulating it for the chiptune and SFX engine. In my opinion, that’s pretty big difference (and in favor for my side – lol).