Few things to talk about today, including some stuff I’m really happy about. 🙂
The Director system, something I began designing about a year before the Indiegogo campaign, has hit a major milestone. The team have put in a lot of work recently, and I’m happy to say that the Director is now passing every one of our tests. It’s an entirely scratch-built markdown language designed to make writing for our game as fun and as creative a process as possible, by offloading logic from code into raw text. This allows writers a much greater degree of control, as well as making scenes highly adaptable. I think the syntax is solid and understandable, but obviously the major test will be once we start accepting writing from you guys (something which is now closer than ever.)
I’ve already begun writing ‘dry run’ scenes, the purpose of which has been to test how easy the Director is to use, as well as provide context for tags and keywords. Keywords point to specific game data, so rather than build a massive list of all keywords we might need, the idea is to grow the internal library of keywords as we go, knowing that each of them has demonstrable need. The next major step for the Director will be to finish our character data structure, so that the Director has body and character information to look at.
For those curious about the details, you can check out our tests here and the subsequent results here. They’re not supposed to be human-readable, just a series of tests to make sure everything is being picked up properly. In the near future I’ll prepare a post as a primer on what the Director is for and how to use it.
Furthermore, as I’ve been writing for the Director, I’ve created a syntax highlighting scheme for Notepad++ specifically for our Director language. It’s based on Monokai and looks pretty nice, as well as aiding in lots of ways like showing you if there are unpaired/broken brackets, or just letting you see easily where the labels are in the text. Here’s a little look:
The best part is that it now does its job, but also does it really, really efficiently. The memory usage for this is I think, two StringBuilders and one output string. This is largely due to Crimson’s amazingness. It also has good error handling so it can alert us to problems, as well as handling those problems gracefully. Typos happen, after all.
AnonDev also brought with them a friend when they joined us, who too wishes to remain nameless for the foreseeable future. For now, I shall refer to her as AnonDev2. She’s been absolutely invaluable recently, not only in assisting with the Director, but also in helping to organise all the lore I’ve written into a private wiki. Once this reaches a more organised state, we plan to create a public version which should be much more comprehensive and easy to use than the Codex has been, that being one big document. Not only that, but she’s been a lot of help in fleshing out the gritty details of the world which I am admittedly not that great at. Things like government types, imports and exports, and primary trade routes and politics between species. Once the wiki is up there should be a lot more world information to sink your teeth into. No ETA yet, though.
Back on Track
With the new team members, I tasked them with working on the Director, as its a largely isolated system which doesn’t need much interaction with Unity itself. Bringing the AnonDevs up to speed on the Director created an inherent focus on it. Now that it is functionally complete, for the time being, we now return our focus on the battle system and getting the next release out. As a reminder, the next release should have working moves and weapons (that aren’t punching), an entirely rebuilt battle interface, a simple but functioning Inventory screen where you can change gear to try different moves, as well as lots of improvements behind the scenes. No ETA on it either, but we’re working on it as much as we possibly can. We’re very lucky to have the team we do, working in their own free time on what is by no means a small project.
Personally I’m thrilled to finally see my neat little Director idea working. Our Dev team did amazing work on it. I originally wrote about 85 pages of documentation for the Director, but this will almost all need to be rewritten with slight changes to usage rules and syntax since then. It’s definitely a useful design document, however, so it was by no measure wasted time. Iteration is key, after all. The second draft will grow more over time instead, just like the Director’s inner library of keywords, being added to as needed (I’m told this is called Test-Driven Design). I’ll prepare a primer on Director usage soon, which will likely serve as the beginning of the new full instruction manual.
Once the basic Director usage post is up, I am happy for people to try writing with the language and provide feedback. I must stress that we’re not yet ready to put written content into the game, but the early test scenes written with it will help us tighten up any flaws in the syntax, as well as perhaps see useful features to add in the future. I’ll also provide the Monokai syntax highlighting XML for anyone that wants to give it a try.
Massive thanks to everyone helping to keep us going on Patreon. <3
Until next time!