Leges Motus Progress: Refactor, Physics


Well, it’s been quite a long time since I last posted. My apologies.

But the good news is, the lack of posts doesn’t have anything to do with a lack of progress on Leges Motus!

We’ve been hard at work since v.0.4.0, and I’m very excited by the cool stuff we’re working on. First of all, it’s all part of a gigantic refactor that involves rewriting almost the entire client. In simple terms, this means we’re fixing all the bad design decisions we made the first time around, separating out the graphics code from the game logic and physics, and from the networking, etc. This will make many new things possible: AI clients, shaders, better GUI elements, better physics, moving obstacles, and so forth.

We’re already moving forward on making several of these new, cool things:

1. We’ve switched to the open-source Box2D library for physics. It’s the same physics library used in Crayon Physics, among many other games. We’re amazed at how much more interesting we can make the gameplay with a full physics engine, rather than our own simple collision code. Here’s a screenshot of the game with the debug drawing for Box2D enabled, so you can see the bounding boxes:

Debug drawing for the Box2D physics in the new Leges Motus revamp.

Debug drawing for the Box2D physics in the new Leges Motus revamp. Replacing the physics code with Box2D provides a lot of cool possibilities.

Really, though, it’s hard to get the full sense of how many cool possibilities there are with Box2D until you see a video. I don’t have one for Leges Motus, but there are other Box2D demo videos on youtube you can watch to get a feel for it. As for the current state of physics in Leges Motus, we’ve got jumping and attaching to walls working better than ever, and a bunch of other cool physics should be possible as a side-effect (such as player on player collisions).

2. We are now able to attach shaders to the graphics in the game, which means we can start adding some really cool visual effects. We’re already working on a ripple effect for the impact cannon, which will be much cooler to see than the little dots we had before.

3. Once all the gameplay is re-implemented, we will be starting on an AI client. This is more of a long-term goal, but it’s something we’ve wanted to do for a while now. We feel that, without AI, it’s hard for players to find out how fun Leges Motus is unless they have a bunch of friends playing at the same time. Empty servers are self-perpetuating, so having AI opponents would hopefully allow us to break this trend.

4. As a slightly less earthshaking, but still useful, feature (and one we could not do before), we have made it so that the game scales to fit the display window. This means that players with larger screens will no longer have an automatic advantage, because they will see no more of the game than anyone else.

I’ll try to make it a habit to post a lot more updates in the coming months.

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~ by greywhind on November 11, 2010.

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