Friday, 31 December 2010

Taxing times

Time to think about how often farms and mines produce resources. Once an hour seems a bit of a long time to wait, but I suppose it could also encourage players to raid unwary neighbours. It also seems logical because one game day takes one hour in real time.

The pipes, the pipes are calling...

All the same, I wonder how gates will work?

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Jack Frost's machine gun

I can't believe the damage frost can cause to plumbing. It really does look like the pipes have been strafed with machine gun fire! I hope the new plastic pipes will be better.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Water, water everywhere

Fixing burst pipes is not much fun. So far I've found 8 splits in just 20ft of piping and there's 40ft more to do tomorrow...

Monday, 27 December 2010

Terraforming troubles

I think I need to put some more thought into the way the landscape can be changed...

Friday, 24 December 2010

Winter Wonderland

Oo, it's all snowy! And here's a unit of archers singing a (fortunately inaudible) version of 'Good King Wenceslas'. Have a good crimbo!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Genuine Havock

Nothing possible today: burst pipes! Water everywhere! Still bailing and waiting for plumber!

Edit: Got the pipe capped in the end - had to do it myself. On the plus side I'm now quite good at white-water rafting!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Wreaking Havock

Today I got into destructive mood and torched a few houses...

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

A little place in the country

I'm still working on the building system. I now have a nice carousel menu for buildings so I can have as many menu items as I like. The hard part is making a system which is both flexible and intuitive. I'm trying to get that immersive feeling which you can get from building model railways and the like.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Maybe going solo carol-singing wasn't such a good idea...

I think the building system is going to work like this: you can build or destroy anything within range of your king (that's him on the horse). Other units have limited demolition capabilities. For example all units can destroy wooden structures with fire, but only kings, catapults or cannon can destroy stone structures. Though the king is very powerful in this respect, he's also very vulnerable to attack, and if your king dies - that's it, game over. All your units are removed from the game and you have to start from scratch! This means that you can wipe out an entire army if you can get to their king and kill him. It also means you have to keep your own king very well defended. Because the game runs in real time you'll have to make sure he has a good bodyguard around him before you log off!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Building bridges

Being able to raise or lower the landscape as you build means that building bridges (or moats) is possible.

Friday, 17 December 2010


(Actually, it's only a model) Walls today. I might have to rethink the 'only allowed build by roads' thing, or making walls like this would be rather awkward.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Planning permission

Buildings can only be built beside roads and have to be within range of existing buildings.
I think I'm going to need more than one building menu, the one I've got is nearly full already!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

A* is born

It's not perfect yet, but the new pathing system is a lot better than the old one.

Too many distractions

Can't seem to find 10 mins without being called away for something or other! Tsk! I must get the server-side and client-side pathing synchronised.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

AI first steps

This is the simplest sort of AI. It wouldn't find it's way through a maze but then, armies seldom have to! I'll need to tweak the client-side obstacle avoidance a bit to stop the soldiers marching through the end of the fence though.

Saturday, 11 December 2010


No time today so here's an old shot of moonlight midst the mills;

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Ooo! Vids!

Thanks to CamStudio I can now make gameplay videos.
Here's one showing how to lose a skirmish really badly...
Later on I'll try and make one where I win!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

When life gives you palises, make palisades.

A second go at palisades;
Of course, fences like this mean that path finding is much harder for the AI!

Too late!

Bravid's had it! The enemy's here in force. I'd best run and look to my own defences.

Monday, 6 December 2010

A Friend in need

Well, I suppose I could send a troop of foot soldiers...
Lots of refactoring today so no new eye candy, unless you count the chimneys on the farms...

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Bijou empirette

First go at roads today. You can only build buildings beside roads so they're an important part of territorial expansion. Roads also increase the speed of troop movements so they have a strategic element as well. The current road-laying system is a bit clunky but it'll do for now.
I've also added longitude and latitude on the HUD, so players can tell where they are.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Land of Plenty

Here's an army in the making;
I only really had time today to add smoke to the (not yet built) chimneys. Doesn't look too bad!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Blooming kids!

When a mummy farmer and a daddy farmer love each other very, very much, they hold hands and soon the stork brings them a little baby. The little baby grows up into a rude and sullen teenager who eats all their food and never does any work, so the mummy farmer and the daddy farmer are really quite glad when a passing warlord conscripts the teenager into his army and sends him off to be slaughtered in the cause of making the warlord richer and more powerful. To tell the warlord that there's a new recruit, the farmers put a glowing, rotating man above their house, like this;
The right-hand image has a bloom effect applied. While this does make the image nice and glowy it also reduces the fps by 3/4, so I guess it won't be going in the game. It was worth a try though!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

I'd hammer in the morning...

More work on the building menu today. I'm still pondering the best way to implement walls and palisades. I suspect that I may have to limit them to north/south or east/west orientations.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

If I had a hammer...

Lots of furtling under the bonnet today, tidying up the poly-picking for buildings and adding the functionality to the allow players to build things (if they can afford it).
The plan is that players can build buildings and these will gradually generate resources. The resources are collected (or stolen!) by the player who commands the unit which is closest to the building, so players will need to post guards near buildings unless they want it to get robbed.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Mines and barracks

This is the model for the barracks (looks a bit too much like the farm to me!) and over there in the distance is a mine. You need barracks to train recruits into soldiers, and mines to get coal, iron and (very rarely) gold. I don't know if a smelter or a forge is necessary - maybe just 1 coal + 1 iron + 1 recruit = 1 soldier. Hmm...

Saturday, 27 November 2010

T is for 'chat'

Why the 'T' key is generally used for chat in games I don't know. Maybe it's short for 'talk'?
Anyway the chat system is in and seems to work.
As you can see I modified the GUI a little as well.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Ugh! It's all GUI!

Here's a first go at a GUI.
I think I'll have to make custom images for the GUI. Currently I'm just using the same textures as the units themselves. 
Also in the picture you can see my attempts at palisades. I need to put some thought into how they can fit together nicely without having to use loads of models.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Let Battle Commence

A raiding party found my village better defended than they expected it to be!
Unfortunately for me the AI players currently have unlimited resources so I could only keep them off for a few minutes - as soon as I wiped one unit out another took its place. I think I need a town wall.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010


Most of today was wasted in timesome meetings so I only got a chance to do a few housekeeping tasks. Good thing I had this guy looking out for the village while I was away!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Down on the farm

Farms provide recruits for new units or to make up the numbers of units which have taken a kicking. The more farms you have the bigger the army you can sustain. This should allow for a range of playing styles - do you have a small army with lots of reserves or do you use up all your recruits in one go to make a huge army?

Monday, 22 November 2010

Who's who?

Today was about getting labels into the landscape, not such an easy task in LWJGL. How nice it would be to have a drawString(text,x,y,z,size) method somewhere! Anyway, at the price of using a monospaced font it's not so hard.

One problem is that names overlap when units are close to eachother, so at some point I'll have to do a 'dontOverlapNames' routine. Tsk! There's always something else to do...

Saturday, 20 November 2010

New archers

I got a free model from TurboSquid and recoloured the uniform to make my new archers.
I'm not sure about the blue boots, but these archers certainly look better than the previous ones I was using.
I think I need to add some plants or something to make the ground texture a little less bare.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Transparency troubles and archer attacks

Most of today was spent trying to fix a transparency issue where images had a white 'halo' around them. I had to put in a texture effect controller to remove this - not ideal but it works...
More fun was to be had giving the archers arrows to play with. They seem to like it!
Now I've smartened up the goblins the existing troops are looking a bit rubbish. I'll have to give them a lick of varnish as well.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Meet the neighbours

Artwork is the bane of any game programmer's life. How many times have I wished I'd listened during art classes! Oh well, I'll had to make do with what I've got and hope these goblins are scary enough.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Towering achievements

Watchtowers can now be placed - I wonder if troops will be able to use them?
Also much tinkering with a horse animation. Horses are not at all easy to draw, so I got a bit of help from M. Muybridge;

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Clouds, coppicing and clashes

Units now take a dislike to each other and start giving it some.
I thinned out the trees a bit, added a shrub or two and added some pseudo-clouds that loiter around the camera. It'd be nice to make it rain occasionally.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Camera capers

The code to create and move units was the easy part - most of today was spent fiddling with the camera; trying to get it to both follow a unit and also move freely when required. It's not at all easy getting something that 'feels' natural. More work needed here I think!
I also tweaked the grass texture to make it a little less bright & added a day/night cycle.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Give me land, lots of land...

The Stickmen Wars 2 feasibility test just had one simple square of landscape which was a bit limiting. What if I could make an infinite landscape for the game? The latest version of the 3D engine jPCT, a bit of Perlin noise, a bit of vertex manipulation et voila!
Hmmm, seems a bit small and bare - what if I enlarge the landscape mesh, tart up the textures and add a few trees?
That's more like it! And you can stroll for thousands of kilometers in any direction and the landscape just keeps on going. We could have some really big wars here!

Mind you, there's a lot of polygons in that landscape so I had to use LWJGL (a java binding to use OpenGL on the graphics card) to get high enough quality graphics. I left the software renderer in as a fall-back but it doesn't look half as good.

Stickmen Wars 2 begins!

Follow me here as I try and build a game of strategy, slaughter and survival: Stickmen Wars 2

The original Stickmen Wars was a fairly simple game written some time ago. Two sides, red and blue, battle it out for ultimate supremacy. Later a multiplayer version was added.

 The next stage was a feasibility test for a 3D version of the game. Not very pretty, but it showed that 3D wars were possible...

Now read on!