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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Rktcr: Path Select

Rktcr, as text, is pretty much free association. I know what I want to happen in the game, and it flows relatively freely into the code. This isn't to say that things work properly on the first try -- many of the systems in Rktcr have undergone (and are undergoing) refinement.

Of course, you can motivate this refinement by downloading the demo and providing feedback.

One of the systems in the game that I've been having a fair amount of trouble getting right is path selection. In the current demo, path selection looks like the above shot -- a simple way of picking any completed trajectory through the zone.

This path select doesn't really give one a good idea of the content of paths, or how they vary -- e.g. two paths that are the same except for the last five ticks are displayed entirely separately. It also strikes me that path select mode, with its holistic view of trajectories, is a good place for timeline-based editing.

The (work-in-progress) screenshot above shows my current progress in playing with these ideas. I'm generally liking the two-level timeline (detailed view and overall view) for showing the controls applied along a trajectory, though I dislike the redundancy. Perhaps I will test a magnification-in-context style as well. I also like the faded-wheel trajectory visualization (n.b. this is animated in game, though I'm still trying to find the right sort of curve to use to animate it -- right now it's a sine wave, and feels a bit too smooth).

However, I'm struggling to figure out how to show different paths in this context and how to select between them. In broad outline, I know I want to use a tree structure, which should make common segments of paths clear. Indeed, I have a fair number of sketches of potential display and control options. Unfortunately, no option is clearly the correct one yet.