Dark Recon: Super Bloque

Amazingly, the development of this game is ongoing.

There is a lot going on with Dark Recon, and I’m glad for that. I can tell that the development process is on schedule even when is quite slow. Our main goal of shiping a balanced demo by december is more achievable than ever, at least view from what we have at this moment. We started in january with that goal in mind, and the odds are in our favor.

Our team has official name: La Vaca Mariposa Digital Ensemble (LAVAMADE), it’s something like The Butterfly Cow (check out the end of this post for more) and also we created an official Twitter account, and the website is on the way.

This time I want to share something Christian Chomiak write for you guys. As you may recall, Chomiak is one of the developers who’s helping me in this game. I asked him to briefly explain how things got together in Dark Recon so far. Following, the text.

Hi, this is Christian and I’m currently working along with Julián in the creation of Dark Recon.

My role has been mainly to work with the 3D gameplay and mechanics of Dark Recon, with a little bit of rendering at the start. Currently we’re working on a level editor in order to allow Julian design the game levels.

The name of the level editor is Super Bloque.

I’m gonna talk about what the editor currently does, the issues that have arised and the future of Super Bloque.

There’re 3 basic things found in pretty much any video game, besides the player (duh) and they’re: obstacles, enemies, triggers. Obstacles can be either walls that confine the room or elements in the scenario that block the path of the players (boxes, roadblocks, etc.) Enemies are, well… enemies. And finally triggers, areas on the map that excute actions when visited.

Now, those 3 things are the core of the actual Super Bloque. You can add, delete and modify them (position, rotation, dimensions, texure etc.), and the only rule is that they can’t cross with the others and they can’t be placed outside the playground.

The overall work wasn’t otherworldly, no new features implemented from scratch, almost everything is a rehash of things previously done (mainly the ability to select objects from the 3D space). Possibly, the only things that required a little more of work and research, were Oriented Bounding Boxes (OBBs). Long story short, XNA’s Bounding Boxes are Axis Aligned (AABBs), which means each of its faces is parallel to an axis. We don’t want that; most of the time elements have a rotation in some axis, and checking collisions of rotated elements, using AABBs, leads to incorrect behaviours. So, basically, after some work and research, and the help of Saint Google, we now have and OBBs class that supports rotations. Now, AABBs aren’t bad; actually the check of collisions between AABBs is much quicker and efficient than that of OBBs; it’s just a trade-off, as everything in this life is.

Now, the use of OBBs will not be the rule, they’ll be used only when needed because, after all, this is just a game and resources are not unlimited.

Nope, we dont have UNLIMITED POWER.

Regarding triggers, they currently have the function to spawn and remove obstacles or enemies from the scenario. Triggers are the only elements on the game that currently use AABBs, instead of OBBs, as the default collision detection method.

Lastly, Super Bloque has the ability to save/load the level, via an XML file.

Oh!, before I forget. We were finally able to implement a screenshot function.

Initially I tried to do it some months ago, but the solutions I found on the internet were for XNA 3.1, and because of the many changes from 3.1 to 4.0 those solutions were rendered useless.

There’s plenty of work left in Super Bloque, what we’ve done by now is just the base from which further work will be developed. Some of the missing things, to be implemented in the near future are:

  • A Graphical User Interface (GUI). It currently operates solely via keyboard shortcuts and the mouse.
  • 3D model import from Maya.
  • A module to tailor the Artificial Intelligence for the enemies.
  • Multiple leveln handling (Currently any change on the level overwrites the same file).

A copy-paste function (it’s not as trivial as it seems).

That’s pretty much what we’ve been working on this summer. More info coming soon.

Curious? want to help? Here it is Super Bloque. You can download it, use it and give us some feedback if you want.

I just have to add a few things: we have worked on the rendering. We have a basic material handler that allows us to define lambert and blinn materials, as well as bump maps and multiple lights and shadows. That will be subject of future post.

The IA has been implemented too, in a very basic way, but it works pretty neatly but it needs a way to be customized (as Christian said).

Lastly, the main gameplay it’s almost completed, in order to test it and begin the tedious process of balancing. More on that later.

Some screenshots of Super Bloque following. Keep in mind that the rendering is just for visualization purposes by this point.

First steps with the level editor creation.

The sight plays a primary role in gameplay.

The yellow thingies are the triggers, the red ones are enemies. Pretty basic stuff by now.

And some music highly related to this post.


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One Response to “Dark Recon: Super Bloque”

  1. Dark Recon « Bonus Disc Says:

    […] During the summer vacations of last year, I started working on a level editor we decided to call Super Bloque. It sure gave me a lot of work. The editor allows the creation and modification of obstacles, […]

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