Nerd Aesthetics

by Kyzrati on 20130101 , under

Work continues on the new mod, which is now mostly content-complete and soon to enter the playtesting/tweaking phase for a release sometime within the next week or so.

My own personal time sink (read: son) has been performing his role quite effectively, so I've been spending more time away from the computer in recent weeks. Seeing as how I'm still always home, and X@COM rarely leaves the screen so that I can type up new additions whenever I have a spare moment, while working on this mod I've had many a chance to gaze (longingly :)) at that this screen.

I love working with pretty data, lots and lots of pleasingly-colored data that lines up nicely and makes my eyes happy without killing them after staring at it for hours.* Maybe it's just nerd aesthetics getting the better of me, but seeing the data even from a distance is fun, so I've recreated the effect by taking screenshots during development and shrinking them down here. No need to read the content (which is too blurry, anyway), just enjoy the images. Of course you can always read the content when the mod is released, but that's not the point here (you also may not have as large a screen(s) as I do = less beautiful).

By percentage, coding has taken up far less of my time lately since this scenario (introduced in the previous post) is a mod, and therefore implemented entirely through text scripts.** So what you see here isn't source code, it's the scripts as they appear when viewed with X@COM-specific syntax highlighting.*** (My source is very organized and has some interesting shapes and color combinations to it as well, so I should put up shots of that some time.)

Here I'm designing props to be placed into the world. Their properties are listed on the top and some map pieces used in random generation can be seen at the bottom.

Entities (units) and their stats are listed at the top here while I work on defining the effects of their special abilities on the bottom.

Here I'm putting together the map pieces in earnest, placing objects and determining their behavior through the spawning scripts seen at the top.

Many new armor types here (since you can now swap out armor), some that enable special abilities.

All these new units (top), items, and abilities need cool new particle effects (bottom) to go with them. I've pretty much doubled the existing library of particle effects with this mod.

So barring the end of the world (I think we're past that now, right?), you should be able to play this soon.

*Less of a problem now, I must admit, since 15+ hour coding sessions died last year, sacrificed at the altar of awesome parenthood so that my son could be born into this world! Cogmind was essentially the sacrificial lamb, by the way, being perhaps the last such project I'll ever have the concentration of time to undertake in so short a time span. (FYI: Both he and Cogmind were born around the same time.)

**However, there has been a large number of small changes throughout the code responsible for handling object interaction, since that's what this mod is mostly about--increased interaction/dynamic content capable of expressing a greater range of roguelike/RPG features beyond your standard tactical squad simulator.

***And it's not just a few scripts, either. I've churned out a good 5,000 lines of content (hopefully equivalent to "5,000 lines of good content" ;p) in just a few weeks, half of those controlling abilities and interactive environments, in addition to hundreds of new units, many hundreds of items, etc.

Thanks to everyone who voted in the Roguelike of the Year 2012 poll. X@COM did better than last year (all I was hoping for) and we were still in the top 20 despite the inclusion of a greater number of commercial games this year. You can see a rundown of the poll results here as analyzed so nicely by Jo at Rogue Temple. (Cogmind did great, too!)
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