Spellcaster Studios

Make it happen…

Random Missions: Infestation

Today I wasn’t very motivated, an overall lack of energy… So I started by doing some writing, but the inspiration wasn’t great… Then I moved towards some research (mainly decals, ended up on this link which is probably the approach I’ll follow, although I’m not using deferred rendering on this game: goo.gl/S8o2W2)…

Finally, decided to start building the areas needed for the infestation missions:


It’s a simple “map”, to be inserted in the middle of a planet… I got to build additionally 4 to 6 of these, to have some variety (and hopefully force different tactics)…

Hopefully, tomorrow I’ll be more motivated and I’ll start with the text of the mission…

Now listening to “The Path of Totality” by “Korn”

Link of the Day: Some research stuff is really impressive… Hair is a big mystery for me, in visual terms… Too many variables (animation, display, etc), the math is complex, and it requires carefully authoring… So seeing something like this is like seeing magic:

SIGGRAPH Asia 2013 Posters from Gene Lin on Vimeo.

Random Missions: Infiltration done

Just finished the infiltration mission… It’s a bit more fun that I was expecting, which I guess it’s a rather good thing…


Unfortunately, I’ve found a lot more bugs in the process… For example, on the screenshot above you can see props that should be on the wall in the middle on the room, for example. And this is not one of the worst examples, the game is full of these, let alone the bugs with the AI.

I’m pretty sure now that I have to rebuild all the AIs… Not the underlying system, that works well enough, but the way the system does the actual reasoning: when to run, when to attack, from where to move, etc.

Now listening to “Age of the Joker” by “Edguy”

Link of the Day: I like looking at graph tech papers and wish I’d like to have time to do that! This grass rendering presentation looks very cool: http://blog.codemasters.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Rendering-Fields-of-Grass-using-DirectX11-in-GRID-Autosport.pdf

Interlude: BUGS!

Well, for some time now things were going slowly but according to plan… No, not anymore!

Too bad I didn’t take a screenshot of the before, but the pirate lairs were a mess… The laser beams were in the wrong position, the ceilings weren’t displaying, the props were all over the place…

Just some small changes in the codebase triggered a whole lot of problems, but now they’re mostly solved…


Only big bug still present in the pirate lairs are the collision boxes of the props, which for some reason stop the weapons, but not my character…

Anyway, with this in place I can do the really hard part: forcing a prop in the area to guarantee that the player has something to fetch at the end…

Now listening to “Paradise In Flames” by “Axxis”

Link of the Day: From some people that worked on the Bioshock games, here’s a new kickstarter for you to take a look: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/theblackglove/the-black-glove. You can recognize a lot of elements from Bioshock, but there are some weird (cool) stuff there as well!

Random Missions: Infiltration

Started work on the infiltration missions. In this type of mission, the player will be given a pirate lair and will have to infiltrate it, keeping casualties to a minimum. Every casualty will lessen the reward, until it basically only pays for the travel.


I mostly worked on the text part of the mission. It takes a long time to get some variety and coherence in the texts (although they aren’t that varied!).

Now listening to “The Nexus” by Amaranthe

Link of the Day: Web-technology has been really getting better and better in the last couple of years… Looking at the samples at http://threejs.org/examples/#webgl_animation_cloth, I almost feel like picking it up to develop something with it!

Random Missions: Finished scanning missions

The title says it all!


This screenshot is from the “dynamic” scan: player has to follow that thing around for as long as the scan takes, or else it will fail…

I think I’m going to work on the infiltration missions next!

Now listening to “Holy Land” by “Angra”

Link of the Day: I don’t have much interest in the game itself, but the visuals of this kickstarter game are absolutely amazing… Here is the demonstration that you don’t need ultra-shaders, PBR and fancy tech to build good graphics, as long as you got a good art direction (well, shaders help, of course!): https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2074789246/innerspace

Random Missions: First subtype done

Finished the first sample mission subtype, in which the player has to look for the sampling area using the sample kit.


The sampling area doesn’t show up until the player takes a sample near it, and the sample kit will give a base direction when the sample area is not visible.

Now listening to “So Cold” by “Breaking Benjamin”

Link of the Day: Although I’m not a big fan of realism in games (I like the escapist nature of them), this video about the silencer/suppressor is very interesting to see how it works:

Random Missions: More Sampling

Continued work on the sampling random mission, probably will have the whole logic part finished by tomorrow!


That “tracer” is what happens when you use the sampler still far from the location of the sampler point. It points in the direction of the sampling point, and you’ll have to follow it to find it. This type of sampling mission is pretty simple. It’s just a simple way to make money!

Now listening to “Souls Highway” by “Beseech”

Link of the Day: Yep, I’m very psyched:

Random Missions: Sampling

Today I’ve started the next type of random mission: the sampling mission.

This comes in three flavors: find a source of some anomaly, scan some particular places or hunt down the source of an anomaly (the first and the latter seem similar, but they play very differently).


Today was mostly generating the mission text, but it’s progressing much faster than the delivery mission (a lot of common primitives).

Now listening to “From Afar” by “Ensiferum”

Random Missions: More bug-fixing

Finished testing and bug-fixing the delivery mission… A lot of small stuff, but I think I got it all!


Think the next mission type is going to be the “sampling” mission, in which the player receive a target planet and some sampling spots, and it has to go sample them with the sample kit.

It’s just a “movement” type of mission (like the delivery)… The player will have to clear the area of the samples, since sampling takes a bit and being hit will reset the sampling.

Also, need a way to mark the right coordinates for the sampling, either by shining something there (a particle system or so), or by just saying what are the coordinates and making the player find them…

Now listening to “Blood Alliance” by “Power Quest”

Link of the Day: So, “Human Resources” was cancelled… Can’t say I’m surprised, considering the state of “Planetary Annihilation”… The game had some good ideas, but the execution is terrible, with an UI that’s not that friendly, a lot of bugs and polishing issues, a lackluster single-player campaign… I don’t think “Kickstarter Fatigue” was the issue, nor “over-promising on previous game and not delivering”… For me, the problem was that PA isn’t that good of a game that I want to see another RTS from the same guys… http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/10/21/human-resources-kickstarter-cancelled/

Random Missions: Cleanup

Cleaning up the random missions is proving to be a bit more challenging that I expected… Due to the way STL maps work, if you try to access something that isn’t there (an entry for which there is no key), it will create a key for it, which screws up my iteration code which isn’t expecting NULL entries… This one will be a tricky to track down…


Anyway, most of the times the cleanup works well, and I’ve added other permutations of the delivery mission (for example, dropship cutscene).

Still testing, see if everything is alright before stepping to the “Sample” mission, in which the player has to go to a specific locations in planets and take samples (which takes a bit, and the player is defenseless in the meantime). This mission needs me to be able to trigger new actions during gameplay (or add a sample kit to the equipment, which might be interesting as a mechanic).

Now listening to “The Big Thrill” by “Axxis”