Been doing a lot of work on Nova Dawn recently and I can now drive around a randomly generated world complete with grassland, deserts, snow, mountains, coastline, forests, rocks and ruins. The car physics and collision detection are pretty much there with the cars skidding and bouncing off each other in a nice way. I've been struggling a bit with putting in roads, I'm toying with implemeting a A* algorithm for pathfinding which I can then use to route roads. I've given up on that for the time being and started writing some simpler code to route and join up highways but left my laptop on standby without saving it and lost a few hours work. I watched Lowestoft carnival fireworks on Saturday and it made me think that I want the explosions and stuff to be really pretty. I've already worked out how to do a night mode in my head and combat at night should be quite cool.
Don't know whether I'll manage to keep this up but I guess even if I make just the occasional entry in this blog it'll be interesting for me to look back on when (yes when not if!) I get Nova Dawn completed. I've started quite a few games that are on a similar epic scale to Nova but usually I get to just after the "character generation" phase and then lose interest and move on to something else. I've had the concept for Nova Dawn in my head for about 10 years now so I'm thinking that it might be safe to now start doing some serious work on it.
My platform of choice is the Pocket PC, the main reasons being that the PPC games market is not yet dominated by all singing all dancing 3D engines, so a single developer top down 2D game still stands a chance of being relatively successful. It also helps that there are some decent libraries and community pages around for Pocket PC games development and that Microsoft Embedded C++ is a free download.
My development environment is as follows:
Microsoft Visual C++ for development on the PC and Microsoft Embedded C++ for development on the PPC.
PocketFrog game libray - gives a nice framework and means I can get stuck into writing my game loop without worrying about windows and message handlers, etc.
PocketHal hardware abstraction layer - nice fast abstraction layer for graphics that allows me to write my C++ code independantly of the target platform. This means I can develop and run the code on the PC and simply recompile it for an ARM processor when I want to deploy it to the Pocket PC.
Hekkus Sound System - Nice sound library that will handle playing all the music and sound effects for me.
Paint Shop Pro - Pretty much all my artwork.
ModPlug tracker - Easy to use tracker program for making mod files which Hekkus can then play.