March 2007

Project “W” – New Video

Project As promised several times I finally made a new video for Project “W” to showcase the project’s current progress. The video is fresh out of the press and I created it only several hours ago (actually I started two days ago but did several tries). It’s almost 7 minutes long and encoded in windows media format (WMV) so anyone having installed a recent version of the mediaplayer or having installed a codec pack should be able to watch it.
But contrary to the first video I released in january there are two novelties for this one :
– First, everything is in english so people that don’t know german will now finally see what’s going on whitout having to do a lot of guess-work.
– Second, it’s fully narrated by myself. This means that throughout the video you’ll hear me talk about the game and what I’m doing and this is also in english.

So I hope you enjoy the video, but also please remember that I could not show anything from the game or tell too much about it’s background story in order to have a video that’s reasonable in both, size and length. So happy watching…


New page

As you may have guessed from the complete new layout and design I redid my homepage (again, this is the sixth iteration since I went only 4 years or so ago). My old web-package only included 200 MBytes of webspace and that hasn’t been really enough to hold all my projects which forced me to delete old things when uploading new stuff. And therefore I decided to upgrade to the next bigger web-package with 1 GByte of webspace but this one also includes MySQL (5 databases) as well as PHP.

So I also decided to get rid of a static HTML website and move on to a dynamic page that’ll allow people to comment on my stuff like projects and will make updating and adding content easier. To help my with that the page is now running WordPress (which is a great thing and I therefore want to thank it’s authors), and I’m using it not only for blogging but also as a CMS to e.g. organize downloads. So that also means that I won’t update my old blog anymore but instead blog on my own page from now on (and news on Project “W” will be coming within the next days).

But converting all the old static content over is a lot of work (and there is a lot of content on my pages) so there is still a lot missing here. Therefore if you need some of the content of the old page you can’t find here, please visit the old page over here. It’ll remain online until I moved over all content.

Next stop : Localization

Once again I finished some points on my todo-list for the demo release, including all missing icons (for buttons, windows, etc.), adding some rebel units (which you encounter while attacking a region that had separated itself from your government), finishing the regionmap (remaining names, adjusting values, etc.) and much more.

But one of the biggest still outstanding points on the list is localization of the game. And this is exactly what I’m gonna do next. Over the last weeks I already implemented most of the functionality (both in-game as well as into WeltEdit) to have support for different languages and also translated all the in-game messages. But the remaining localizations are still a lot of work and include all building descriptions (and names), same for military units and technologies and also translating the GUI (mostly the windows) so I thin I’ll need a week or two to get this done but then you’ll finally get some screenshots that are in english and also readable by non-germans. Right now (at least for the demo) I only plan to support the languages I know, namely german and english.

And I also plan (no promise) to have a new video showing a recent version of the game uploaded soon. I already wanted to do this two weeks ago but decided to push it back until the translation and some other minor things are finished.

Climbing the Todo-ladder

Since the last posting here on my blog I got a big share of the outstanding Todos for the coming demo done (around 50% of the points on the list), so work is still going at my projected speed and the game is looking and feeling better and better each day.

And as I already hinted at in my last posting one of the things I did was the customization of the regional 3D view. Before this all regions looked the same no matter where they were located or how much they were populated. And since I didn’t like this myself the game will now display each region differently depending on where it’s located, how much it’s populated and also shows some environmental effects. Right now there are seven different terrains (depending on where the region is located), three differently popualted backgrounds (from low denstiy with small houses up to high density with lots of skyscrapers) and also three different types of roads. The background and roads will change depending on populationcount of the region and there is also moving water for regions that have a coast. Other than that I also have an environmental effect for high pollution so that at a certain point you’ll begin to see a waving fog-layer that gets thicker with higher pollution and high pollution will also cause the water to get dirty. So all-in-all this should be sufficent variety to make the regions look different and more interesting, though I’ll may add some more environmental effects later on.

To see what I was talking about here are four screens of different regions, and for the second one you can already see the fog-layer (click on each for a bigger view) :

Even more work on the GUI

Right now I’m working down the points on my todo-list towards the demo release and already got several things done. But one point was usability and look of the GUI for the game and this one took (and still takes) much longer than I initially had planned.

I did a lot of work on the main menu, including an options screen and adding functionality to have every UI element slowly fade in and fade out. So this one is done now. I also created two screens for loosing and winning the game but those need to be filled with some information of which I’m not 100% sure right now, so I’ll get to that later on. Other parts of the GUI also got some additions, so you can now e.g. mimimze a window to it’s titlebar only to make room for other windows without having to close current windows.

Other things I worked on were the addition of proper dialogs for loading and saving games (including the possibility to give the saves custom names) and usability of some of the windows, so that e.g. in the regional detail window important properties will be highlighted with different colors depending on their values.
Next point on the list, which I already partially started working on, is the customization of the regional 3D view. Right now I have visual feedback for high pollution (a waving fog-layer that get’s thicker the higher polluted the region is) and for low energy (lights out), other stuff will follow like different backgrounds depending on where the region is located).

And to finish this update off here are four new screenshots of the current progress :