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Monday, April 23, 2007

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The Broken Hourglass Dev Diary
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

RPG Watch has posted a new developer diary from Planewalker Games' Jason Compton. The article examines the dangers of "What You Asked For" in terms of game development, specifically focusing on designing the upcoming RPG, The Broken Hourglass.

It turns out that an independent RPG producer may find himself in a position where he is asking for something without truly understanding what it is he needs in the first place. We ran into this issue early on with recolorable character sprites—the types of characters and creatures you can change from having red hair to having blonde hair, or from green clothes to blue clothes, with a single click of the mouse or tiny XML attribute change. In WeiNGINE, the code that powers The Broken Hourglass, there are four major ways the engine can identify where a recolorable "region" begins and ends—in other words, how to differentiate between "this is hair" and "this is skin", plus about a zillion different things the engine can do with that information once the regions are obtained.

Just knowing how to identify the regions was one thing. Knowing which would be the best to instruct the artists to use—and ensuring that they knew how to do it correctly—was another matter. More than once we had to blow up the sprites we were using and ask the artists start over. Not because the animations were unsatisfactory, but because the approach to recoloration I had asked for, which sounded correct on paper, ended up looking weak or unmanageable in-game. From their standpoint, of course, they felt that they had simply delivered What I Asked For. But What I Asked For was, in fact, the wrong thing to ask for.

To read the rest of the developer diary click over to the site below.

RPG Watch: Broken Hourglass Dev Diary
The Broken Hourglass

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Pokie Magic Releases Pirates Plunder For Macs6:00 AM
• The Broken Hourglass Dev Diary6:00 AM
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