Blog 529c: The Day I Kept Making An Arena Y4

At 12:59 World Editor is back up and running after a short lunch break. Sausage rolls — sweet rapture! The perfect food for any mapping binge.

It’s totes like 24 or something. Toilet breaks all happen off-screen here, too!

Maybe I’ve been hoodwinking you just a little bit, because I had actually already done work on the Epsilon, the production version of the AP-AM, before today. It’s going to be starring in the bonus missions, Gala’s Trench and Skyward Fire and all that, so it was mostly done but languishing without the Burst Pack replacement for the artillery cannons — so I did that stuff a couple of days ago, in between Fallout: New Vegas sessions. Don’t get me wrong, though — the thought of doing an arena never even crossed my mind until said few days ago. This is very much a flash-in-the-pan project.

Moar lightning, moar!

Moar lightning, moar! The “hard-coded” cockpit has been replaced with the standard module, and the pulse cannons are now seperate components.

The music of the afternoon begins with The Twins’ Passion Factory, seeing as I got it for crimbo and its fairly futurist lyrics are a good fit for a space-fantasy explode-’em-up marathon. Though it’s not gritty enough to make it onto the mood board for Y4 itself, it’s a damn good album.

Now that the conversion work is done to turn well-established singleplayer monoliths into accommodating multiplayer gentlement, it’s time to wheel out all-new systems for the round controls and base limits. Each round will be timed, an between each round there will be time to settle down and upgrade. Keeping it simple for now.

The time is 13:37pm (heh) and the Twins finish to be replaced with Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. The big guns begin to roll as tentative steps are made towards the AI loop, and basic base entry/leaving triggers are put in place to make jobbies unable to cheese the arena from the sidelines.

Woof, I’m going to need to keep cutting. Down to only 9.76MB and that’s all the obviously irrelevant stuff gone, but still more than a thousand imported items — I’m reckon I’m going to have to think long and hard about what sound effects are absolutely necessary for the game to function. I don’t really want to go blitzing all the special units, in case I decide to put boss rounds in later, but things like the Alpha Miner (and its wreckage model) are really eating up space. And, well, hopefully once all the terrain is giant prefabs we can cut out the terrain tiles…

At 2:38pm I decide to lay off the triggers for a moment and start some of the prefab artwork as the music goes from the classic experimental synth of OMD to the pumping dance synth of Freezepop. The main issue with WC3 and giant prefabs is, well, it gets tough to coordinate what’s going on in Milkshape against what’s going on in the map. I will be doing the arena in four corners, each with a base pathing map of 64×64 — considering a tree is 4×4, that’s pretty damn big (but we know the game can handle it, as I did something similar for the Vault at the end of Y4).

Seven minutes later, Hotmail tells me that I need life insurance. Hmm.

Further down the line at 3:30pm we kick things up a gear with some modern Ultravox, Brilliant, its thunderous opening Live rolling on as the arena walls begin to take shape and the triggers that will cause AI players to wail on chosen targets come together. Tee hee hee, you’re going to have to be good to defeat these bots — unlike the RDZArena, they won’t spend any time chatting and they’ll spend all their time killing you (well, and each other).

Well, that's the worst of it done -- I can add dangly bits for beneath the transparent terrain and sticky-out bits for the edges later.

Well, that’s the worst of it done — I can add dangly bits for beneath the transparent terrain and sticky-out bits for the edges later.

By 3:57pm the walls are in — the Arena now has a definite size and shape. Simple, but hopefully effective. I’ll drizzle crates and shit all over it later.

This paves the way for the first live test, whichcommences at 4:12pm and ends abruptly with a crash, because I forgot to swap an Integer B reference for an Integer A reference. D’oh! The second live test commences a moment later, and has to end abruptly because cinematic mode stays switched on. It’s all the little things that add up…

The time is 4:24pm and it’s now up to The Best of A Flock of Seagulls to serenade this satellite into life.

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