Thursday, February 20, 2014

Oh yay! Another update!

It has been over a year since the last blog post. Sorry about that. I would usually post things if I wanted to share information, talk about projects, or announce releases of Portal maps. So what happened?

From the time I last post, PUNT has been on and off with it's development progress. With it, I learned so much more about the Source Engine, how to do more things with code, how the engine mostly works. So, even if it does not pull through, the things I learned are greater then the time I spent on it. So, is it dead? Tsh, No!

After a while, I was questioning about the overall game play mechanics of the mod. I felt like it was just  "Press Mouse 1" type of game. You turned things on, you turned things off. There was no spark that Portal had. I talked about the game play changes on ModDB over the summer. This was a much more fun game mechanic, and it was really fun having power balls bounce all over the map! But with this, the Retro-Futuristic look had to go.

In the early summer of last year, Valve FINALLY released a new base which has faster load times, (thanks to vpk system) optimized for modern hardware, and can run on Windows, OSX, and Linux. There are a bit of back workings that were changed, but nothing too major. The thing that did get people flipping tables was that the tools shipped non-working, people could not get code to compile, and tools needed to be loaded via batch. It took a bit of time before Valve and the community made it better, but still somethings remain broken.... *cough*Hammer's cursor calls*cough*

I knew that support for 2007 was going, so I ported PUNT to the new base. With it, I made a rough campaign with the former style with new game play elements and such and it felt right. However, it still looked like a Portal knockoff although the style solved design issues differently. Talk about map design went back and forth until the project just stopped being talked about. Also what did not help was the engine's handicaps which I did not learn to hop through until later.

Putting PUNT a side, I started to "Play" with the engine and my little coding skills a bit. From scaling, random colors, to breakable doors!

I've also did other stuff along the lines of porting some things from Alien Swarm's code such as HDR fog scaling, fog_volume, and beam_spotlight to name a few. Pretty much, it almost has all the features of the Left 4 Dead 1 engine, minus post processing control.

Work on Portal: Alive and Kicking started back up again although everyone thought it was dead. We've found the flaws and missing elements and popped the mod back into shape. In January, it went up on Steam Greenlight, and was ranked #1 when it was lit a few weeks ago. Since then I've been working non-stop on this project, and I try to do at least one thing a day on it.

As for the future of PUNT, it's undecided at this point. I really want to use my edited branch of the 2013 engine, but there is a feeling in my heart that the project would be perfect for experimenting in a different engine sometime in the future. But for now, Alive and Kicking is pretty much on my plate everyday, and what helps keeps it on my plate is the fact that it will be available on Steam!

I have future plans with this blog. I want to get a full, legit tutorial series explaining EVERYTHING I know about the Source Engine. I kind of want to do this so if I go to a different engine, or just get too busy to do these things anymore, you or I can go back to these and reference it. Other then that, smaller updates will be on my Twitter.