Why, hello there!
It has been a while, hasn't it?
I fell behind my originally planned schedule quite severely ... by 6 months ... cough.
That is why I was unable to write anything - there simply was nothing I could write about.
However, these six months didn't go by while I did nothing. I did something but perhaps not as much as I would have liked.
There were 2 major refactorings (because I love kicking my own ass and breaking the code over and over ...?) going on. Following is a very nerdy (more or less technical) rambling about code stuff.
State Machines to Behaviour Trees
I got around to finish the conversion from state machines to behaviour trees for my AI. One would think that is easy, however there is only one BT library out there for Unity that is worth using but I couldn't because it comes with integrated path finding and that path finding does not work on a 2D plane.
At least that is the impression I got while trying it out.
So I made my own ... more or less.
I ported the JBT library - or rather the relevant parts of it - to C# and wrote a node editor for Unity to integrate it. That very editor was a major pain in the neck to write though. The first version I made assumed that the Unity serialiser can serialise anything that falls within the rules (GameObject or annotated with Serializable etc etc). However, it has a maximum nesting level of 7.
Magic constants. Great!
That meant I could only have behaviours with a rather limited complexity.
I supposed that a proper boss battle AI would have more than just 7 nested behaviours to function properly, with all the sensor checks, decorators, composite nodes and an undefined amount of actions a boss can have.
So 7 ... not gonna happen.
For version 2 I used ProtoBufs, the same library in use for the save game system.
This way I can have reference tracking (awesome for having parent nodes as real references instead of copies, which would really break a lot of things) and an unlimited amount of nesting.
So ProtoBuf serialises my behaviour tree into a simple byte array and Unity serialises that byte array back and forth. Job was finally done.
I have implemented a simple wandering behaviour and attack-on-sight behaviour so far.
It works a charme.
The new dialogues
The next big topic on my todo list was re-implementing the dialogue system.
It broke a while ago because it was too interconnected with all kinds of other parts like the input controller and inventory system. So I decided to decouple the whole thing and use my event bus to control it instead.
It can now be requested to do things by events, an "operator" does not need to know anything about the system doing the dialogues, it just makes requests. If there is no system in place, simply nothing will happen.
The dialogue manager itself dispatches events to notify all listeners that something happened. Specifically that a dialogue started or ended.
So that is done now too.
In other news
The moment it was released I switched to it and it's gooood!
I can now stop loading all the assets into memory at once and work with asset bundles. That means I should probably change the part of the save game system that loads prefabs to populate / re-create a scene. Not that it would make a big difference as all the assets are but a few kilobytes in size but it will probably lower minimum specs so you could run the game with a pile of wooden sticks.
And that was it for todays very text heavy blog entry. Next time there will be more pictures, promise!