Saturday, April 30, 2011

Progress Report (04/30/2011)

"I live again!"

Woo!  It feels good to be back to the project!  This is the first blog entry in over a month, and I am downright ashamed of the fact.  However, given the intensity of my workload this session, it's no surprise that TLC once again had to take a backseat to more urgent matters.

Last night (actually, early this morning), I got back into the code and picked up where I left off on the Actions menu.  It's not much, but it's more than I've given this project all month.

May I never take this much time away again!

  • Officially began implementation of the Move command on the Actions menu.
    • Created and handled the "Request Movement Points" network message.
    • Server now correctly calculates and returns movement points for characters.
    • Encountered a serious defect in the path-finding code I wrote last month.  I'm currently in the process of troubleshooting it.

Known Issues:
  • Network latency causes character upgrades to not show up right away.  The client needs to wait for the updated character to return from the server before returning to the team screen.
  • The color cycle control on the team creation screen throws an exception when there is only one color remaining to choose from.  This is only an issue when setting up a game with eight human players.
  • Chat messages get lost when a user in multiplayer mode switches between the lobby and the team/character configuration screens.
  • When a player drops off, their team data is orphaned.  The server needs to recognize this and place the orphaned team under AI control.

Next Steps:
High Priority:
  • Finish the level design guide.
  • Broadcast and handle the "whose turn" message..
    • Create the "whose turn" display to show it.
  • Implement the Move action.  This will involve:
    1. Decoupling the characters from the map structure.
    2. Implementing network messages for the Move command.
    3. Implementing the UI for selecting a destination.
    4. Done:  Implementing a pathfinding algorithm.
    5. Implementing path following behavior.
Medium Priority:
  • Sometimes network errors will cause an AI to be disconnected immediately after it connects.  This causes the lobby screen to wait indefinitely for a player who will never arrive.  The server should detect this and try again to create the AI player.
    • Solution: Refactor the engine's networking modules to use the Observer Pattern. This will also correct the "Known Issue" mentioned above with abandoned team data.
  • Investigate ways to dynamically color the team uniforms.  Experiment on the placeholders.
    • If this works, add the ability to dynamically color MHFont objects too.
  • Create the in-game chat component.
    • But first, fix the issue with the lost messages by making the data structure static.
  • Fix the team color selection for the eighth human player.
  • Create the HUD's event log display.
  • Finish voice scripts for narration.
  • Finish asset lists for current set of level designs.
  • Formalize the flowchart for the AI logic.
Low Priority:
  • I have a plan for optimizing the AI character initialization routine by consolidating some of the network messages.  I've got to try that.
  • Create the token factory and displays.
  • Implement the Draw Token action.
  • Implement the Heal action.
  • Implement the Attack action.
  • Finish the team creation screen.
    • Put in the floor image for the captains to stand on.
    • Replace plain gray buttons with captain character images.
  • Let's see if we can allow the player to change video modes dynamically from the options screen so they don't have to close the program and rerun it to change resolutions.
  • Make the AI players taunt each other in the lobby chat, just for fun.
  • Design the web site.
  • Get coin display graphics from the art team.
    • Add it to the team configuration screen.the character configuration screen and the recruitment screen.
  • Replace the temporary column header graphic on the character equip screen.