Seabird » Blog

Timothy Barnes
3 years, 7 months ago
I will show in this article why game programmers should be aware of High DPI monitors and the way that operating systems such as Windows work with them. I will show the quality increase you can get by making your application High DPI aware on a platform that supports desktop scaling, as well as the problems with text rendering that show up when the operating system scales non-aware applications. I have written about how this came to my attention, as well as some background on High DPI displays and things to think about when programming to support them. At the ... Read More →

Timothy Barnes
1 year, 10 months ago
I am putting this project on hiatus for the moment. I have not been able to make progress on this game in recent months that would allow me to regularly write technical blog posts. Read More →

Timothy Barnes
2 years, 2 months ago
I will probably not be making another post on this blog until February. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me here or on twitter. Read More →

Timothy Barnes
2 years, 5 months ago

I made a video for the recent work I have been doing on the gameplay for Seabird.

Most of my work recently has been on designing how the wind in the scene should behave. The player is only able to keep from falling if they ride on a wind gust, or if another bird is holding onto them. In the video when the player is being held up by another bird, a red line drawn between the two birds.

In the storm there are also special wind gusts which will sometimes lead the player to a group of birds who ... Read More →

Timothy Barnes
2 years, 6 months ago
For the past few months I have been experimenting with different ideas for the game mechanics. The game involves the player trying to stay with other birds. Gusts of wind from storms which pass through the scene threaten to separate the player from the other birds.

I think I may be 40% done with the work I am going to do on the gameplay. The current design seems to work well, and is enjoyable to play (as least to me). I plan to make a video near the end of September showing some of the new gameplay and artwork.
Read More →

Timothy Barnes
2 years, 8 months ago
Recently I made a system for determining how the wind paths in the game will be placed within a scene.

Wind paths are the air currents or gusts that the player will need to navigate through to stay with other characters.

Due to the nature of how I plan to use these paths in the game, it is necessary that the layout for each wind path is chosen dynamically depending on what is happening in the game.

One approach I have found useful for creating the layout is to generate a chain of circles in which each circle is touching ... Read More →

Timothy Barnes
2 years, 10 months ago
Introduction to Series
This is the fourth part in a series about programming with splines. Part 1: Introduction, Part 2: Closest Point, and Part 3: Arc Length can be found at those links.

Introduction to Post
The gist of what I will be explaining today is the problem of inconsistent speed when moving down a spline. This happens when the spline’s control points are at different arc lengths from each other. This can occur when the control points have been specified by a person using a game’s level editor, or the control points are from a path imported ... Read More →

Timothy Barnes
3 years ago
In this post I will give an overview of how I arrived at the current movement system for Seabird and some of the challenges that I faced. I will show the problems with my initial idea of using a vector grid, and how my use of cubic splines largely replaced that. Then I will discuss the reasons for going back to a vector-based approach, and the flexibility that it has given me for scene layout.

This video shows what the character and wind movement presently looks like:

(Note: This scene is made of placeholder art. The player is marked ... Read More →

Timothy Barnes
3 years, 1 month ago
Introduction to Series
This is the 3rd post on splines in a series I am writing primarily for game programmers and others interested in the basics of using splines in their software.
In part 1 of this series I wrote an introduction to cubic splines. In part 2 I showed one way for how to find the closest point on a spline path to another point in the world.

Introduction to Post
Today I will discuss the problem of finding the length of a spline. I will go into why it is useful and a little bit of the mathematics ... Read More →

Timothy Barnes
3 years, 3 months ago
This is the second part in a series on using splines for computer games and other real time applications. In this post we will briefly go over how we define the closest point and why we want to find it. Then we will more formally state the problem we are trying to solve. There is a short overview of numerical analysis and an approach called Newton’s method, and I will explain some of the problems with the method as well as a few ways to get around those problems.

(Note: if you are familiar with numerical analysis, skip to the ... Read More →

Timothy Barnes
3 years, 5 months ago
This post is the first in a 4 part series about using splines in real-time applications, such as computer games. Part 2: Closest Point, Part 3: Arc Length, and Part 4: Speed Control can be found at those links.

The emphasis of this discussion is on making splines useful, specifically useful for real-time applications, where update time is critical, and getting stuck in update loops is a big no-no. Splines are a tool that many developers are familiar with, but there is some quirkiness to dealing with splines in practice.

In this first article I will give a ... Read More →

Timothy Barnes
3 years, 6 months ago
I hope to have something to show by the end of August. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me here or on twitter. Read More →

Timothy Barnes
3 years, 8 months ago
Ideas for a project change, sometimes substantially through the course of development. These are the current ideas and direction for Seabird.

What is the game about?
Seabird is a game where you play as a bird that is having trouble flying. The goal is to find your flock, who are looking for you.

Seabird is a rogue-like game as far as procedural generation and permanent death of the player-character. The rest of the gameplay is different than other rogue-like games. It involves trying to find your way back to your flock by navigating through the environment and learning the ... Read More →

Timothy Barnes
3 years, 9 months ago
This is the first blog post for Seabird, a game I am designing based on character interaction. Seabird is the project that is keeping me busy through my college years. I am excited to have Seabird here on the handmade network.

I feel that the handmade network is a good place for this project for at least two reasons:
1. I have found the people here helpful and supportive, and I think this community will be valuable to help Seabird come together.
2. I care about learning how things work. This has influenced the choices of technology in the game ... Read More →