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Platform Masters - Will you be the world's next platform master?

Keveran Desert - the lower areas

Date: Aug 12, 2010
Screenshot #41: With the scenery for Keveran Desert added in, I could now see what it looks like in the game engine. The low-lying areas should be quite familiar - the cacti and sand dunes with the rock cliffs far in the distance. The rock cliff obscures the hills and small mountains behind it. The sand dunes, however are quite too far apart from each other so I'll likely need to add more... several more. In this screenshot, the character is riding one of the test platforms I added later on in the test level when I got dynamic platforms added. This platform uses 24 nodes, which was the limit on a per-platform basis, but now it's 100 for a single platform, with 5000 per level.

Keveran Desert - the upper areas

Date: Aug 12, 2010
Screenshot #42: High above the ground, it's pretty obvious that there are far too few sand dunes visible. You can also see the sand at the top of the cliffs. These lead to the hills and small mountains. The grass and ocean beyond are still obscured by the mountains.

Keveran Reef - waves interlaced

Date: Aug 18, 2010
Screenshot #43: I've tried 3 various setups for the waves, debating which method is the best looking. The first involves the X offset (the horizontal offset) being 0 for all layers of waves. This causes them to line up in a straight line, as if the wave was very wide but narrow. This is the simplest method to program.

The second method involves the X offset alternating between 0 and half the wavelength (64 for Keveran Reef), causing an interlaced effect. This idea comes from the idea where, if a wave is at its crest, further out, it'd be at its trough. As of the time this screenshot was taken, this is the preferred method as it looks the best.

Keveran Reef - waves randomized

Date: Aug 18, 2010
Screenshot #44: When the waves have their X offsets are entirely randomized, this screenshot shows what this effect looks like, the third method. This method comes from the distant background well beyond the waves - the texture here is randomized in a controlled way (as opposed to purely random). It doesn't look anywhere near as good as that of the interlaced method though.

Keveran Reef - the big waves

Date: Aug 18, 2010
Screenshot #45: Keveran Reef's waves are very big. Since I've never experienced the ocean outside brief bits on TV, it's quite difficult for me to know the typical sizes of waves. I'm used to lakes, which tend to have rather small waves. The character standing in the water a bit gives a good sense as to how big the waves really are. The camera is less than a foot (10.56 inches to be precise, 26.8 centimeters) above the tops of the waves.

Keveran Reef - the reef

Date: Aug 18, 2010
Screenshot #46: Keveran Reef isn't called "Keveran Reef" for the fun of it - there's a good reason for the "reef" in the name. When underwater quite a ways, the reef becomes visible. If the "Camera.y" value on the debug panel is any indication, this screenshot was taken very far underwater. The value is in coordinate units, the game's unit of measure. This converts to 274 1/3 feet (83.6 meters) underwater for camera. An extra 2 channels (one in the middle and one further away than the current furthest) would enhance the quality of the reef. Keveran Reef has no solid ground below, so watching the height is critical - the reef cliff is the warning for when falling out is about to occur.

Keveran Reef - the upper reaches

Date: Aug 18, 2010
Screenshot #47: Keveran Reef involves a lot of water, but that doesn't mean every single level has to take place underwater. There are areas that do get quite high above the water and, high enough, it's easy to see the scale of the islands in the background. There are 2 islands visible here. One is hard to see due to the fog (it's about 9.7 miles (15.6 kilometers) away) and is generally fairly low, except for a small area in the left center of it. The other is rugged and very tall with its highest point being 1464.3 feet (446.3 meters) above the ocean waves. The camera is still below the top of this. These aren't the only islands though.

Keveran Reef - various islands

Date: Aug 18, 2010
Screenshot #48: Keveran Reef is at the southeastern part of an archepelago, a group of islands. A group of islands is a great place to find a reef so having all the islands scattered around added to this, and also makes the scene less monotonous. Thus, one would expect to see a lot of islands in the background. Keveran Reef has several islands scattered around. This just happened to be a scenic setup I encountered while fiddling around to test various things. The part on the left is what grabbed my attention. Thus, this screenshot served as a good setup for showing the various groups of islands. The dark green one is actually the closest visible island of all the islands. Which island(s) are my favorites? The furthest one and the closest one.

Menus - the initial design

Date: Aug 20, 2010
Screenshot #49: With recent troubles with remembing which key loaded a world's scenery, I'm in great need of getting the menus up and running. This is the first design idea for the menu system. It's based off of TSO 2.4's system. However, unlike TSO 2.4's system, the system is more advanced, with icons for various things, sort of like how TSO 3 was planned. This screenshot is the initial design setup used with the menus and is prone to change.

Menus - the basic design

Date: Aug 21, 2010
Screenshot #50: After making adjustments to the design of the menus, this is what the end result will pretty much be like. While very similar to TSO 2.4, there are several differences. Instead of a highlight that highlights the currently active option, an arrow does this instead (the arrow's color is adjustable in one of the 40ish configuration settings). This is not always the case though as, for some cases, a highlight is used instead like TSO 2.4, but this is fairly rare, most common with the rather rare textual input.

One of the key differences you'll notice is the use of icons at the end of each option. The most common of which is the one for submenus. TSO 2.4 just used the ">" to indicate a submenu. PM uses an icon of a rectangle with 4 offset to the right, with the top being highlighted.

The calculator icon means that numerical input is requested for the option. If other options are present besides the numerical input, the usual icon for a submenu is present in addition. Numerical input involves using the left and right arrow keys to move the arrow cursor beneath each digit to different digits and the up and down arrow keys are used to change the value of that digit. Of course, values must be kept within the setting's allowed range.

The keyboard icon means that textual input is requested for the option with the usual submenu icon present when other options are present in addition. Textual input involves the use of using the arrow keys to move a highlight between characters in a grid and using the enter key to select the highlighted character.

The icon of a traffic light with the green light lit, seen only at the top of the menu hierarchy, indicates that selecting this option will leave the menus and normal game play returns.

Not seen in this screenshot is an orange-colored (this color is configurable) arrow that goes down a bit then turns right to point to the left. This icon is used to indicate that selecting that option will result in going up at least one level in the menu hierarchy.

Beyond this, not much else is different. The rest is otherwise self-explanatory, explained in the text in the above screenshot (#49). Instead of 16 options, there are 15, due to forgetting about the headers at the top of the central section.