Coffee Diary 1/8/22


Hey Exanimates,

The previous week we got the ball rolling on Force thaumaturgy, getting very basic functionality in place. We had some promising first results for visual effects too. But now the real work begins, and the difference in complexity between a basic first version of something and a complete, fully featured, optimised one is generally astronomically huge.

We are using Force Blast as our development launch point, your starting power which knocks things back in a small area in front of you. This being Exanima, we can't just add some swoosh graphic flying across the screen and call it a day. As with everything else, Force needs to have some realistic physical behaviour. No part of the blast can pass through solid objects, nor should the whole blast dissipate because it hit something. Instead the blast must break apart on collisions and deflect off surfaces, a bit like a blob of thick fluid.

We knew that getting these mechanics to work and look half decent even on low end system would be one of the biggest challenges for force, and probably the biggest unknown. We'd been trying to figure this out for a while, we did have a plan and we've now made great progress on this, everything so far has worked out well and we're mostly trying to clean up the visual effects. These core mechanics will be useful in a number of powers beyond the basic blast.

Another important development goal we hit this week is the lighting system for these effects. With force breaking up and the powers having various shapes we wanted to leverage the new GI system to have lighting follow the exact shape of the effect. We now have an efficient system for complex emissives like this and we've also significantly improved performance for emissives in general. This is something that is useful not just for force, but for pretty much anything we do that emits light.

We're not sure yet how we'll prioritise further development goals with Force, we might continue to focus on more technical aspects for other powers or shift focus more towards mechanics and getting some basic powers fully functional. Either way we'll keep you up to date and we'll probably be able to show some video of force in action before long. Hopefully we can maintain this rapid pace as there are quite a few other things we'd really like to include in this update.

Have a great week!
-the BM team


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