Monday, August 8, 2011

I Was Just Resting My Eyes

I should take a minute to post about what's been going on, as stuff is indeed going on. I was on my way to a family reunion a few weeks ago, killing time at the airport and started thinking about how I would use the MOAI system to create the classic player rotation movement of Asteroids. Well, one thing led to another and here we have a screen from Solar Trucker.  I'm getting fairly close to having the gameplay basics solid, but there are still some real problems with my rotation and "thrust" code.

For the thrust I am keeping the player at center screen and moving a starfield behind him, and that's the new second-iteration choice, I originally had the player floating off one end of the screen to appear at the other. I'm grappling with Box2D, which is one of a few physics systems MOAI implements natively. Moving objects with Box2D gives the movement a very smooth, kind of weighted quality that I like, but I haven't been able to get the amount of speed I want out of the code, regardless of how I tweak the mass of objects. It's a big library and I'm sure the solution is in there somewhere. I've been simultaneously messing around with moving things just by animating their "props" around with the native movement functions, and under that model it's easy to get that starfield flying by, but the handling is god-awful and really, why not use Box2D when it's right there at hand?
One of the most difficult parts is going to be knowing where to stop. Every day I think of another cool feature, but the most important thing right now is to get the very basics working and presentable. My homegrown rotation matrix works surprisingly well most of the time, but I just know I transposed a couple of digits somewhere, the player's bullets will occasionally float off sideways. 

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