Skip to main content

News

Topic: I say Hello, you say... (Read 3676 times) previous topic - next topic

  • Rahkiin
  • [*]
  • Verified
I say Hello, you say...
Hi guys!

I would like to use this opportunity... oh lets cut the formal crap: I am Rahkiin! A 19y old CS student from Delft, The Netherlands.

Then
I came to know Sphere when I had an game-dev assignment in my last year of high school. With three other guys, I made a game I was, and still am, very proud of. For future reference: the game was called Scala World, and was all in dutch. Although we did not know Sphere at all, we were very able to use the Sphere Editor and as I am quite good in programming, I picked up the JavaScript library pretty quick.
We used the map engine for the Pokemon-styled (literally, we used their tileset) game and programatically I added some nice tools, that are worth explaining, I think :)

Obstruction and animation
The roles in my group were divided perfectly: I was the programmer, one mate made the story and quests, another made spritesets and the fourth made the maps. Now I wanted to make the programmer able to do very easy obstruction mapping (non enterable blocks because a bench is there, but also doors you can only walk into (one-direction obstruction) and animation placing (eg, when jumping a ridge). To do this, I added two invisible layers to the map and obstruction tiles to my tileset, and I programmed the tile-based 4-way single-step (like Pokemon) movement with the obstruction layer as obstruction logic. And it worked very well! The map-designer could now create the maps all himself.

I also used the obstruction tiles for random person movement (NPCs). It is much faster than obstruction-segment collision matching.

I did use Map Zones, but just for Quest activation.

Portals
Our game would cover the whole building of my school, with every room in it. Most class rooms would just contain some walking students and the teacher assigned to that room/course.
Other classrooms would contain a teacher giving quests, in turn giving either keys or other objects. (The ultimate goal was to obtain the 3 elemental keys, open a dungeon and beat the boss (the master school bully) by answering questions about your adventures in the school).

This all meant we would have a lot of portals between rooms. And I did not want to program each of them by hand. So I created a portal system: blue and orange portals. A door entity placed where the doors are and upon collision, the player is moved to the linked door, in the right map, standing in the right direction. The portals were linked automatically: the portal in the corridor did not need to know the location of its opposing portal. Instead, they just both gave a link-name and a direction the player should be facing when returning. A script opened all maps and looked for all portals. A slow process, but with a portal-cachefile this was only done when changing any portals.
Result of all this in combination with a persistence script I found on the wiki: maps can be linked by placing entities and a small line in the entities touch-code: Portal('PortalName','east'). Even my map-designer could handle that!

I might upload the code somewhere, but I learned much last years and it ain't very clean code anymore (deadlines and all that).

Now
My current activities with sphere are somewhat different from writing a game. I am actually writing a Sphere Runtime for Mac OSX. (I am very Mac-ish these days, although I do have a gaming computer somewhere). I also went to write a native OSX Sphere DevKit, but this is on hold until I have my runtime (I tend to overcomplicate things, so I started with a full plugin-based environment. I think you guys know what I mean :P).

I want my runtime to have a couple of new features and functionalities. But in the end, I also want to be compatible with existing games.


  • UI and input: Cocoa

  • Joystick input: IOKit

  • Graphics: CoreGraphics. However, if this utterly fails I might do OGL (I suck at OGL)

  • Audio: CoreAudio

  • JavaScript: JavaScriptCore (WebKit)

  • Bonjour: LAN game discovery



If you are anything into OSX and iOS dev, you might notice these are all available on OSX natively, including JSC (since 10.9). That is great; what's also great is that even JSC is available on iOS7, so I could 'port' the runtime to iOS. And I think I could even convince Apple to put it in the App Store, because it is JavaScript and a Zip of resource files for a game, not some native code downloaded from the internet...  :D

Also, even though I wrote JavaScriptCore there, I have been writing an Objective-C wrapper very much alike JavaScriptCore for V8 (Flying Jester: I used the new Handle code  ;)), called L8. I do not trust it memory-wise though. And there is a problem is converting the C blocks to functions, and around. Quite a piece of code. So I resigned to JSC. (When I started this project, OSX 10.9 was not released yet).

That aside. The features:

All new class-based Sphere library
(With ECMAScript 1.6 (JS6) in mind, modules yeah!). This means a lot of 'classes', and no more function such as LoadFont(): instead there is the new Font() (create font) and new Font('font.rfn'). This is a lot nicer for me because of the JS-ObjC mapping done by JSC/L8.

Sphere compatibility with a Shim
Of course it should have everything Sphere has, but mostly via a shim.

Game libraries
I want to design the concept of a library for Sphere. Especially with the JavaScript modules (ES6) in mind. Any thoughts or comments are welcome. I think it would clean up a game, especially when using big libraries like Radlib. I am thinking about a folder with an extension (OSX-like), not zipped, but placed in a libraries folder. Then lib-files and your own files will not be mixed.

Native OSX game packages
This I find very awesome: I want to pack the runtime in an .app package and load the game into it. Then add some much more info to the game information file (actually, get rid of .sgm and make some .plist) to also include game icon and such. Then there is this simple .app package, such as Blockmap.app with the Blockmap icon, and double-clicking it opens the game directly. Save-files are stored in the user-data location and the app actually shows up with the correct icon in the dock. I would really prefer such package over sending someone a Zip with a bunch of files in it :)
I have no Idea how easy, hard or impossible such thing is for Windows people. (Exe can contain resources though).

My plans
As I said above, I am planning on making the dev environment. Just because I think Sphere is very awesome! I also plan to hang out on these forums.

As far as I can tell, I am speaking to just a couple of people here: Radnen, Flying Jester, NEO, Mooch, DaVince and Lord English. And Harry Bo. But that's cool :)
Please, do not tell me I waste my time here. Don't we all? ;D

So that is me, what i've done, what I do and what I plan to do with sphere. Any comments and ideas are welcome!


// Rahkiin
  • Last Edit: March 10, 2014, 02:16:31 am by Rahkiin

  • Radnen
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Senior Staff
  • Wise Warrior
Re: I say Hello, you say...
Reply #1
Hi Rahkiin! Well, that was a lot of stuff you said. I've seen Sphere used for class projects too before and they usually do very well. I'm glad you picked up Sphere and saw how easy it was to use. :)

Making a Sphere port/version for OSX is not going to be too easy and I wish you the best of luck. :)

I am interested in this portal system of yours. So instead of typing in map names you just type in a "warp-id" and it goes straight there? That's extremely neat, practical, and useful. I never seen this in all my years with Sphere. Mainly because I thought the map name was good enough. But it also seems that the portals do even more and set the x/y of the person too. I like this system very much!

Oh, and sorry if you expected a larger community. Sphere definitely has it's ups and downs. What I'm hoping is that with new Sphere engines we can build up a community of newer programmers. One core issue with Sphere is that it's nearly twenty years old! (17 to be exact).

See you around!
If you use code to help you code you can use less code to code. Also, I have approximate knowledge of many things.

Sphere-sfml here
Sphere Studio editor here

  • Rahkiin
  • [*]
  • Verified
Re: I say Hello, you say...
Reply #2

Making a Sphere port/version for OSX is not going to be too easy and I wish you the best of luck. :)

I would like the hear if you know of any who tried it and what they walked up against. The troubles. So I can either solve, circumvent or prevent them. Or I could stop with the project all together  :P


I am interested in this portal system of yours. So instead of typing in map names you just type in a "warp-id" and it goes straight there? That's extremely neat, practical, and useful. I never seen this in all my years with Sphere. Mainly because I thought the map name was good enough. But it also seems that the portals do even more and set the x/y of the person too. I like this system very much!


Thanks! And yes, that is what it does. I will write some tutorial on it and maybe release some code. But at this moment I am unaware of the state of that exact piece of code nor its ability to be standalone from the persistence.js I used.

What it essentially does when creating the portal-links:

  • Open every map

  • Look for portal entities

  • Add them to a list



In the end, there should be a list of IDs with matching portals. Now when a portal is hit by the player, it is activated. The matching portal is looked up, the map is loaded, X&Y is set and the direction is set. It is actually quite simple. Except that the direction also changes the actual X&Y (cant place the player on top of the portal as that directly triggers another warp and other of such small details).


Oh, and sorry if you expected a larger community. Sphere definitely has it's ups and downs. What I'm hoping is that with new Sphere engines we can build up a community of newer programmers. One core issue with Sphere is that it's nearly twenty years old! (17 to be exact).


Oh I don't mind! I think it is awesome to have a core group that have a good community together. I think there are many users of Sphere who don't register at all and just look at the posts in the Wiki and on the forums, never intending to reply or write anything. But that's ok.

If Sphere is already so old, could I push forward to Sphere 1.7 with a more objective oriented programming library? :D

I forgot to add a special feature to the OP, and I will add it now. The feature I want to add is Bonjour networking: giving games the opportunity to announce themselves to the LAN and to find peers. Easy for multiplayer games. Simply do an announce('player_name') and the Bonjour will do the work using the game name and the player name. Then list() will get some list of current players who are announcing. I think this will work and I also think it will make people want multiplayer network games as it is so easy to do. (No need to find your IP and give it to someone etc).

// Rahkiin

  • Radnen
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Senior Staff
  • Wise Warrior
Re: I say Hello, you say...
Reply #3
Do you mind if I made my own portal system? :)


If Sphere is already so old, could I push forward to Sphere 1.7 with a more objective oriented programming library? :D

I forgot to add a special feature to the OP, and I will add it now. The feature I want to add is Bonjour networking: giving games the opportunity to announce themselves to the LAN and to find peers. Easy for multiplayer games. Simply do an announce('player_name') and the Bonjour will do the work using the game name and the player name. Then list() will get some list of current players who are announcing. I think this will work and I also think it will make people want multiplayer network games as it is so easy to do. (No need to find your IP and give it to someone etc).

// Rahkiin


Well, you shouldn't call it 1.7, unless you are working off the existing code base. If it's a Sphere rewrite I'd call it something else, like how TurboSphere and SphereSFML are named. They are still considered in the 'Sphere' family of engines. I like this Bonjour thing, networking always was tedious to set up in Sphere and Sphere aims to be user friendly in creating games with a scripting language.

One last remark: Sphere had OSX ports and Neologix can say more about that than me. The best I could say is it's a port of the old codebase, and used SDL for the graphics backend.
If you use code to help you code you can use less code to code. Also, I have approximate knowledge of many things.

Sphere-sfml here
Sphere Studio editor here

  • Rahkiin
  • [*]
  • Verified
Re: I say Hello, you say...
Reply #4
Alright, but I was just hinting to a new improvement of sphere, not specially to an update of the original sphere. :) Are there any interests in such an OO update? (You did not actually answer that question :P)

I am currently using the existing codebase for how sphere handles stuff. Currently I only implemented all file formats into my own implementation. The codebase is the only source for that. Beside the codebase, there ain't much (none) documentation. Also, it is not a rewrite as it is in ObjC.

I will look more into the Bonjour thing. Is there anything else any of you want into sphere, that I could tryout in my own runtime?

Ping NeoLogiX :D

// Rahkiin

  • Radnen
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Senior Staff
  • Wise Warrior
Re: I say Hello, you say...
Reply #5

Alright, but I was just hinting to a new improvement of sphere, not specially to an update of the original sphere. :) Are there any interests in such an OO update? (You did not actually answer that question :P)


As outlined in Developing a Sphere-compatible engine, there is interest in an OO update, TurboSphere does this already, but you should ideally create a shim. A piece of code that does this essentially,

Code: (javascript) [Select]

function CreateColor(r, g, b, a) {
    return new Color(r, g, b, a);
}

function LoadImage(filename) {
    return new Image(filename);
}

//...



I am currently using the existing codebase for how sphere handles stuff. Currently I only implemented all file formats into my own implementation. The codebase is the only source for that. Beside the codebase, there ain't much (none) documentation. Also, it is not a rewrite as it is in ObjC.


Well, if you are doing it in Obj-C, it is a rewrite since Sphere is done in C++.


I will look more into the Bonjour thing. Is there anything else any of you want into sphere, that I could tryout in my own runtime?


One thing that gets requested a lot and what would separate your engine from others is an isometric map engine. I've wanted to do that, but I'm working on like everything else first. But that is definitely something. Another idea is the 'shallow' or 'basic' map engine, one that has the ability to code it however you want and doesn't necessarily use tiles like the current map engine does. This would hopefully be good for the more adventurous coders looking to create platformers or any other kind of game that doesn't use the old map engine.
If you use code to help you code you can use less code to code. Also, I have approximate knowledge of many things.

Sphere-sfml here
Sphere Studio editor here

  • Rahkiin
  • [*]
  • Verified
Re: I say Hello, you say...
Reply #6

As outlined in Developing a Sphere-compatible engine, there is interest in an OO update, TurboSphere does this already, but you should ideally create a shim. A piece of code that does this essentially,

Code: (javascript) [Select]

function CreateColor(r, g, b, a) {
    return new Color(r, g, b, a);
}

function LoadImage(filename) {
    return new Image(filename);
}

//...



Yes I read about this, and my OP said it would have a shim. I will look into TS and its OO approach.


Well, if you are doing it in Obj-C, it is a rewrite since Sphere is done in C++.


But my 'rewrite' would not work on any other platform than iOS and OSX :P So much for an improvement. I will just have to come up with some nice fancy name for my runtime then :D


One thing that gets requested a lot and what would separate your engine from others is an isometric map engine. I've wanted to do that, but I'm working on like everything else first. But that is definitely something. Another idea is the 'shallow' or 'basic' map engine, one that has the ability to code it however you want and doesn't necessarily use tiles like the current map engine does. This would hopefully be good for the more adventurous coders looking to create platformers or any other kind of game that doesn't use the old map engine.


Isometric map engine, isn't that basically either morphing the tiles or using isomorphic tiles, and drawing everything in the correct back-to-front order?

Combining both isomorphic and shallow/basic map engine sounds like an adventure.


// Rahkiin

  • N E O
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
  • Senior Administrator
Re: I say Hello, you say...
Reply #7
Re OSX port: Rhuan did pretty much all the work of actually making a working xcodeproj for Sphere and getting working versions of the necessary frameworks; my part was mainly making sure it compiled on Intel since he did it on PPC before it was eventually available in a Universal Binary.

I don't currently have access to my MacBook Pro but I've been meaning to re-upload the last version of the Mac source and the last UB since the reboot; in its current state it does require a bit of..."configuration." Still, it's nice to see people are still interested in a native Mac version of Sphere :D

  • Rahkiin
  • [*]
  • Verified
Re: I say Hello, you say...
Reply #8
So the troubles was just that you guys had no idea how to work with Xcode, plus the libraries you used were not easily available for Mac? Because I intend to have a very small dependency list :) (Can't have dynamic libraries on iOS, so if I ever want to publish to the app store, I must be able to link statically. Something many licenses do now allow. *Ahum GPL*).

I browsed through the forums and through some TurboSphere code, and I think I should be doing OpenGL after all. Luckily it's builtin to OSX, iOS and Xcode :) Unfortunately, I suck at it.

// Rahkiin

PS: I have created an on-topic discussion about the engine here: http://forums.spheredev.org/index.php/topic,1146.0.html
  • Last Edit: March 06, 2014, 07:31:55 pm by Rahkiin

  • DaVince
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
  • Used Sphere for, like, half my life
Re: I say Hello, you say...
Reply #9
Hallo! You just got here, write 29 forum posts and do all these things like write a new, backwards compatible runtime? Man, you're awesome. Welcome to Spherical. :)

  • Rahkiin
  • [*]
  • Verified
Re: I say Hello, you say...
Reply #10

Hallo!

Hi fellow dutchman!


write 29 forum posts

One can call it spamming  ::)


and do all these things like write a new, backwards compatible runtime? Man, you're awesome. Welcome to Spherical. :)

Yeah. Crazy, isn't it? It will be a coding overhaul but with an impossible amount of shims :)

And thanks!

// Rahkiin

Re: I say Hello, you say...
Reply #11
Quote
As far as I can tell, I am speaking to just a couple of people here: Radnen, Flying Jester, NEO, Mooch, DaVince and Lord English.


And Harry Bo! (I go quiet from time to time, but I am always lurking here :))

Welcome to sphere dude, sounds like you will fit in great!

  • Rahkiin
  • [*]
  • Verified
Re: I say Hello, you say...
Reply #12
Hi! Added you :P

Yeah, I guess I will :)

Re: I say Hello, you say...
Reply #13
G'day! I'm more of a lurker as of late as well. Always glad to see new members though! Welcome :)
It's super effective!

  • FBnil
  • [*]
  • Verified
Re: I say Hello, you say...
Reply #14
More than a year late, but still: Welkom Rahkiin! Good to see you have the drive we had in the past.