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Messages - Lastmerlin

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General / Future developement of sumwars
« on: July 02, 2012, 10:24:44 PM »
Hello to all,

I am sure that you have noted, that I was more or less completely absent and inactive during the last weeks or months. I am annoyed of myself a lot in this regard, because just disappearing is not my usual style. Recall, that I always complained about those who are just gone without a word.

However, harsh truth is, that I wont return to active contribution soon. In fact, my current state could be described as severe lack of mental energy. Many people would just call it unmotivated. I myself would not say it this way, because I have still a strong interest in further developement of this game. At the end its still me who invested by far the most time into this project. Nevertheless, I have no ressources to contribute at this time.

As for the reasons: I have to speculate myself here. For a long time, I did not know where I got the power from, I threw into several projects, now I have no idea where I lost it. One point might be, that I have already invested tons of time and energy during the last 4 years. So at a certain point, a project looses its *thrill*. However, I doubt that this is the real problem. In fact I have noticed that the quality of my work diminished in other voluntary jobs I do as well. Moreover, I face the same issues at my job - I am researcher, which means that quick perception and professional level creativity are my daily bread and butter. Lately, I have caught myself reading the same article several time without getting the core idea or staring at some problems which arise without any *motivation* to tackle them instead of the *yeah some challenge* attitude I used to have. Some personal issues (which will not be discussed in detail) definitely contributed to this state, but in my believe they stand next to other unidentified reasons.

Whatever, my consequences are clear: If the overall pool of ressources shrinks, you have to set priorities and cut expenses. In my case, the priority is my job. I have a lot of other hobbies, including sports, a lot of music and just meeting friends. No idea how I would weight Sumwars against these ones - this is the sort of decision nobody wants to make. At the end, Sumwars looses first, because its the most direct rival of my professional work.

I can immediately understand, if someone is upset about this sort of decision and yells at me *but you have a responsibility here!*. Yeah, I know I have. In fact, this burden of responsibility might be a central reason why the developement lead grew more and more expensive for me. Be assured, that nobody would hate it more, if this project died here. And yes, I am aware, that I am most probably the person that must never leave here. Nevertheless, you can not invest something you do not have. I can understand if someone is severely disappointed or annoyed. I can only say sorry. Unfortunately, programmers are not just devices converting coffee to code, as a really old and lame joke claims, at the end.

So in one short sentence: Summoning Wars needs a new lead developer. I can't do it anymore.

What I can do is to offer any help I am capable of providing. Concerning legal issues, I can give any rights or whatever required (you know, I never really valued this licensing stuff ;) ), as long as my name stays somewhere in the credits. I can continue to pay for the webspace.

This is becoming a quite long and quite personal post. I hope you excuse the first and value the second. In my opinion you deserved this sort of rather elaborate explanation. Even though the majority of us never met in person - we share a common hobby and we invested a lot of time and I would also claim we had a lot of fun. So as a final remark I want to thank you, thanks to everyone who contributed something and thanks for everything we accomplished. Whatever happens next and however the future of Summoning Wars looks like - we can be proud. We did an awesome job.

Best regards,

Hans aka Lastmerlin

Graphics / Re: Buttress walls - Trilby's scenic projects
« on: May 30, 2012, 08:54:04 PM »
Very good work Trilby. I am also pleased to see, that you also provide the XML files for the integration as well. Apparently, the format is not that complicated as fusions claims after all :P
As I see it, all that is left to do is changing the environment to vault for the appropriate regions.

Graphics / Re: [UI] Halt the system.
« on: May 30, 2012, 08:41:58 PM »
First of all - sorry for the late replay.

It seems that you have caught me, having created all current GUI dialogs more or less at free will and random. In consequence, spacings, margins, button sizes etc differ rather wildly :( . Of course, having some coherent rules will give a much more *professional* look.
Therefore: Feel free to propose some new rules, and we can go for some improvements. By they way: All dialogs are described by the CEGUi XMl format, to they can be changed easily without modifications to the code.

Off-Topic / Absence
« on: March 25, 2012, 09:00:26 PM »

I will be on a conference the whole week and attending choir rehearsal weekend afterwards. In other words: I am completely unavailable for the next 7 days - just to make sure that  nobody wonders where I am. I hope to invest a bit more time after this conference - however, during easter weekend, I will be away again x(

Programming / Re: minimap and stuff...
« on: March 19, 2012, 11:59:06 PM »
In general: Everything, that works better than what we have now is a good idea. Of course it should take a lot less effort if its a temporary solution - which seems to be the case.
Just one tip: Even with filtering - never try to update each frame. It will just result in abysmal performance. Unless you find the reason why rendering to a texture takes so much more time than rendering to window. For me, it makes absolutely no sense, I never got a good explanation, but I never got a fix either.

Graphics / Re: Use of 0AD plants, scrubs, animals and buildings?
« on: March 19, 2012, 11:54:18 PM »
Well, meshview is also somewhat outdated. I started to work on a tool that allows integration of objects via an ingame-gui. It already works for static objects quite easily. Overall, its really unfinished though. The idea was exactly, that content integration is one of our really weak points.
Unfortunately, here my very limited time kicks in again :(

Sound & Music / Re: Gameplay music
« on: March 19, 2012, 11:38:33 PM »
Nice to see you around here again :)
Very nice work with the new track, too. I especially like the rhytm - of course the syncopes (right word?) add greatly to the drive of the piece.
Concerning length: You can quite easily test the piece in-place by calling a simple command while playing the game. This gives you a rough idea how the piece fits into the cutscene at least.
I noticed that the XML code in this part of the forum got fucked up, need to fix that. But the simple command is still available.

Graphics / Re: Use of 0AD plants, scrubs, animals and buildings?
« on: March 19, 2012, 10:57:42 PM »
Well the central problem currently is, that we have no really active graphic content integrator. Getting existing graphical content into the game is an extra step that requires that some specific specification (in XML) is written, that links the graphical content to ingame objects. While this is rather easy (at least for static objects), its still the weak link in the chain currently. I have to find someone for this. Unfortunately its also rather unrewarding work, because there is really no creativity in it and hardly anybody is aware, that this step in the workflow even exists.

Story / Re: Better distribution of the Backgroundstory
« on: March 18, 2012, 09:41:18 PM »
Ok, I can see you point. Although, I must say, its really the first time that such harsh criticism is expressed. So what may we change about it. The general criticism we usually receive is, that there is too much text. Therefore, adding a lot more additonal information at the start is rather a bad idea.
The central point is, that character and player knowledge do not match. I can see two ways to fix this: Either add more explanation at the start - or reduce the knowledge of the ingame character (lost his memory or whatever). I will discuss this with kalimgard, who is the master of the story.

You are right, that some changes are probable to happen, almost surely in the tutorial. If you still want to help with translations, you can just start with another file. Good choices are menu and sumwars (Gui labels and items names, skill names/descriptions) or willard.po (the first simple quest).

General / Re: Developer interview: Summoning wars
« on: March 18, 2012, 10:32:29 AM »
Oh, there is a decision required ? For some reason, I had already settled on an *yeah, why not*-attitude. Then, I will ask in IRC this evening (you may also give an opinion here). Most probably, the result will be *yeah, why not* :D .

And: You should definitely add West and Psycho to the list.

Programming / Re: minimap and stuff...
« on: March 15, 2012, 10:23:58 AM »
A few thoughts on minimap, what problems to expect etc:

The central issue with minimap or everything that is _not_ rendering directly to the output window is, that the technique I use (render to texture / RTT) takes _a_lot_ of time. For some reason, rendering to a 512x512 texture takes more than ten times the computation time than rendering to a 1024x768 window. I never got a clear explanation why that happens, but it has some really annoying implications: We must _not_ render the minimap each frame. Or more specifically: Rendering the minimap during normal gameplay is problematic in general, because even a computation time of 100ms causes a noticable lag.

Second problem:  Several objects (like fences) are important for gameplay, but really hard to see on the minimap. On the other hand, other objects, especially monsters, should _not_ be visible on the minimap. Honestly, the game will be way to easy, if mages or archers can see large cluster of enemies too early (not to mention the possibility to shoot area of effect spells or guided arrows in there).

The general idea I had a longer time ago for all this was using an own scene for the minimap. This allows a lot of really nice things:
- use vastly simplified meshes (also getting rid of the rendering cost problem)
- add arbitrary markers
- filter objects (like monsters)
- display shroud easily

If the update time can be reduced to lets say 1ms, we can easily update the content each 100ms (for instance) without noticably costs.

Drawback: Its a lot of work and it requires Ogre knowledge. Well thats the reason, I have not done it so far....

General / Re: Developer interview: Summoning wars
« on: March 13, 2012, 03:09:55 PM »
Interesting idea  - in general, advertisment is always good.
What are you thinking about specifically ? IRC or some *real* interview via Skype for instance ? How many participants do you want to have ? Can you post your previous interview (in english, at best) just to have an example of the style ?

Programming / Re: minimap and stuff...
« on: March 13, 2012, 02:00:46 PM »
Nice work on the minimap :)
The cursor is still suboptimal indeed, but its already a great improvement. Nevertheless, a minimap with proper object drawing strategy and also shroud (imo very important) still remains to do. Circle-shaped minimap is nice to have, but really not essential.
Another think I am wondering about is: How will  this work with larger regions ? My current code just takes a snapshot of the region and stores is in a texture. Of course, resolution is horrible if the region is large. By scaling the image down this might get even worse...

Yes, Augustin Preda is DezGusty - but I dont know about plans to replace the theme. In fact, the current GUI made by hiponboy works very well imo. Although, as far as I know, its not a complete L&F yet (messing with L&F is _really_ messy).

Programming / Re: minimap and stuff...
« on: March 11, 2012, 02:08:29 PM »
playing arround with the minimap.cpp file, i've delayed the pursuit of (re)drawing the outer lines of the world objects for the moment, as i realized that the current map is actually a scaled down frame where you continuously positioning a label according to the players position in the world.
I must admit that i laughed a little bit at that approach :D But respect! i guess it's work with what you have at hand isn't it ?  ;)
Yes, the minimap _is_ a horrible hack x( . I never had the time and Ogre programming skills to do something better...

But anyway, i stumbled across the label->setRotation() routine, witch takes a 3DIM vector as argument. As the Z-Axis argument of that Vector, could always be 0 (because of the 2D nature of the minimap scene), i thought if there isn't a way to obtain the player's world orientation and use that vector together with the Z-Axis Argument  = 0 to construct the 3DIM vector, witch the setRotation function expects as argument to proper yaw the label on the minimap? together with an arrow like image for the label (label->setProperty("Image", "set:TaharezLook image:MouseNoSoCursor") for example, do you think that could work as a heading indicator?
In 2D, we have only one angle (the rotation along Y, which is the height direction). It can be obtained by:
Code: [Select]
Depending on position in code, the result of the first fucntion should be tested to be not NULL. Most probably, an already checked Player* pointer is already available.

General / Plans for 0.5.7
« on: March 08, 2012, 08:35:35 PM »
OK, lets collect plans for the next release. I will start with a list to be extended:

- Improve Mapgenerator (placement of templates, flexibility, interface)
- Fix translation issues
- To be discussed: Implement potion timer (I dislike that you can drink potions at arbitrary speed)
- More testing and improvement for network (again ;) )

- Editor for creating new maps
- Improvement to the content integration tools

GUI/Graphics programming:
- Verification of shadows (almost surely a lot remaining work here)
- Minor improvements to GUI (like changing the close buttons)
- Visualizing of region exits
- Improvement of the timer visualization
- Hopefully: Improvement of the minimap

Graphics content:
- Integration of the all completed meshes (I dont even know how much of Psychos work is not ingame yet..)

- Implementation of the greengecko quests
- Hopefully: Finally start extending the story after the Lich

I will create tracker issues later, to enable easy tracking of the progress.

OK, open for discussion :)

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