I came across an intriguing statistic this week: upon looking at the total editing time on the code for the level editor vs. the code for the actual game, over the past few months of development we’ve spent significantly more time on the level editor! As of this point, that should hopefully turn around, because we’ve finally finished putting in support for all the different game items into the level editor, which is the last necessary feature required to build any and all of the levels from scratch (although the game itself can hardly interpret the endless XMLs of item types and their properties, yet…).
We also began modelling the tribal people this week, producing a unisex rig that can be scaled and transformed (within reason) to animate different types of tribal people using the same set of animations. A whole range of tribal masks are currently being undergoing heavy concept development to determine the class hierarchy of the ancient civilization, and determine which of these mysterious creatures you will be encountering in the depths of their ancient world.
On the audio front, I finally finished the transition from the existing audio setup (using XACT) to a new setup using the demo version of IrrKlang (a C++ library developed by Ambiera). I knew from early on that XACT wasn’t going to cut it in this project, mostly due to the structure of the game’s music. Each instrumental layer of the background tunes is divided into multiple looping parts, and although XACT’s cue based structure is perfect for this system, IT STILL DOESN’T ACCEPT ANYTHING BUT WAV’s (and never will now that its discontinued). This means that even early in development, the game’s audio was clocking in at 600MB vs. the 40MB required for the graphical assets, which instantly settled that argument.
When looking for a replacement for XACT, I found Renaud Bedard (the programmer of Fez, an excellent blogger, and always a fantastic source of inspiration) hadencountered similar troubles with XACT and explained his workaround. Not wanting to delve as far as he did into the lower level audio processing, I searched for a library that would handle much of what his custom written class did: enter IrrKlang. Although the product requires licensing for commercial use, I found it easy to implement, its documentation robust, its forums well looked after and its features very useful. All that’s left now is to code all the of the cue-based functionality that was lost with XACT, and then celebrate over the 90% reduction in audio size due to the use of .ogg files!
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