Archive for the ‘About’ Category

We’re Slow

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

For the past 2 months our schedules haven’t really been lining up, and we’re basically out of funds, making progress on In The Dark slowed to a crawl. We’re looking for solutions to this so we can get back to steady progress towards a finished game and having cool stuff to post here on a regular basis.

Physics Bugs

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

We’ve been working on updating In The Dark to the latest version of box2D and while we’re at it are rewriting and optimizing pretty much everything a long the way.  My goal is to hit 50 average FPS on my netbook. If we can manage that then I think mobile ports will be significantly more feasible in the near future. Unfortunately this has also opened up quite a few little bugs that we have to work out, and thats eaten up most of our time over the last 2 weeks. As an example I recently wrote about how the lights for ITD are calculated. The old version was 460 lines of code, the new one is only 240. That doesn’t always mean faster, but I think most programmers will agree that “less is more”.

Sadly on rare occasions the new lighting makes mistakes.

Making Solid Lights

Friday, November 25th, 2011

I’m slightly surprised at how rarely anyone asks us about how the lights for In The Dark work. I guess most people assume that the lights are not much different from lights in any other game, but in fact they are very different. In most games lighting is handled more or less entirely on the graphics card, with little or no feedback to the rest of the game. Also in most techniques lighting only has to be roughly accurate. Obviously, In The Dark requires a high level of accuracy and feedback or the game would be unplayable. In fact the lighting for In The Dark is handled almost entirely using the physics engine as it is a physical object within the game world.


Making an Endless Boss Level

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

One problem I ran into recently while working on the demo for ITD (which hopefully will be done soon) was making the boss level physically long enough. This boss chases Bump until you beat him, so the level needs to vary in length depending on how much time that takes. In The Dark wasn’t really developed with this sort of level in mind, but luckily there is a fairly simple way around that. The test version of this level looks like this:   

Player Movement (or Why You Should Never Rely on Physics Engines)

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Making Bump move 100% the way I would like him to is impossible. But by the time In The Dark is finished, I hope that he will move how I want him to at least 99.9% of the time. In The Dark only relies heavily on physics because it has to, if I were making a traditional platformer or something I would write my own collision system. I’m stupid for relying on the physics any more than I absolutely necessary,  but over time I’ve removed almost all of the physics properties from bump, and really just rely on it for collision and as a means to consistently propel him around.

So why are physics engines so bad for handling characters in games, or really anything in games other than crates and barrels? (sure see a lot of those in games nowadays, huh?) The problem stems from classic games, you can lay most of the blame with Mario. In classic games (this applies to 3D as well as 2D) there wasn’t really any processing power to handle realistic momentum, collision, or even acceleration so games cheated. At the same time, speed and scales were exaggerated to make the games more fun and skill based. Everyone started copying the early games that did this, and now it’s so ingrained in most gamers that when a game attempts a realistic simulation it “feels wrong.”


Footing Detection and Wobbly Bump

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

Recently we added this wobbling animation for when Bump is in a precarious position:

The only problem is our existing footing detection for Bump wasn’t really capable of the kind of precision to make the animation play at the right times. Traditional platformers have very simple systems for making these decisions, most use grids and have no support for rotation. Obviously when using a physics engine and having dynamically generated platforms like In The Dark’s lights, things get more complicated.  Bump’s footing detection has gone through five different major versions since we started.


Music (not dead)

Friday, November 19th, 2010

No, We aren’t dead, just busy.

We’ve received several comments about the music in the trailer video. The song is by Airtone and is available on CCMixter . We like ccmixter. The music is licensed under various versions of the Creative Commons License which means it’s free to download, and free for just about any use, provided you follow the requirements of the specific license.

At the moment most of the music in In The Dark was found through them and I expect a lot of music for future projects will be as well. For more on Creative Commons, go here.

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