Friday, November 6, 2009

Empyreal: Progress Check 11/06/09

The Empyreal team has made significant strides over the month since our last update, illustrated and explained below.

Among the features illustrated in this video:
  • The first thing you'll notice is a new player ship model. Though it still needs texturing work, it's much better than it was before.
  • The next thing you'll notice is the afterburner shader effect. The effect is coded in HLSL, and the size of the afterburner is dependent on the throttle control of the player. You'll also notice at the end of the video, the afterburner gets utterly massive; this is the result of the "Awesome Button", which basically is an escape mechanism for the player if he gets in a hairy situation.
  • You'll also notice that basic weapons functionality is in; the player fires white cube placeholder projectiles. Though there's no clear onscreen indicators yet, weapons can have finite or infinite ammo, optional ammo recharging, and differing projectiles depending on what weapon is active. Projectiles have collision detection with other nonplayer ships based on whether the owner of the weapon which fired the projectile is friendly or an enemy; i.e. as of now friendly fire has no effect.
  • Every now and then, you'll see a purple box in the lower left hand side of the screen. This is for the Empyreal Event System, which is a main driver of the gameplay in Empyreal. The inspiration of one of our programmers, Nick Wasilewski, the event system is responsible for presenting challenges and story elements to the player. Events can include the appearance of new enemy ships, text messages, audio cues (for example, voice acting sound bytes to drive a story), and more. The event system is backed by a strong in-house level editing and event planning tool which allows for the creation of many varied and challenging missions.
Much still needs to be done for Empyreal, however. Notably:
  • AI for Nonplayer characters is still a work-in-progress and has not yet been implemented. This should arrive shortly.
  • Unfortunately, Empyreal is still sorely lacking in content in nearly every area at this point; there is some stuff in the works, however, but the game may need a second semester to flesh out the idea completely.
Though there is still much work to be done, Empyreal is making strides and should still be ready and playable at the SGD Fall 2009 End Of Semester Expo.

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