Game thing progress #5, but also a bit of other things that's been happening

Hey, long time no see, as if anyone reads these posts.

I've been doing some things on and off for the past several months, including working on the game, a bit of working on another code thing, and playing games (haven't done that in a while..).

The other code thing is a somewhat ambicious and experimental (as in I have not done anything of sort before) project, where I try to implement a virtual machine and a parser for the C language in Common Lisp. Surely it can't be that hard, right? The answer is indeed, it's not exactly that hard, just tedious. I return to it sometimes when I want to work on something else, but it's been lying on the shelf for some time now. You can find the code on github1, but it's very not done and poorly documented. Because of course it is.

Now for the game, there are quite a few news, the first one is the game project files finally changing name to the actual name and not the old one left over from my previous attempt at writing the game in rust with a somewhat different plot.

Now that the first puzzle room is somewhat finished, I added a small jingle that plays when it's solved, composed it myself, too (putting a few notes together in LMMS).

The DrawableSprite component has been made into Drawable and can now handle any drawable, it's been made so I could also draw text with it. Currently, the only text drawn with it is the text that says [E] to <action>, action being some unique thing encoded in the object, so for a button it'd be "press the button".

The story has been revised a bit again, somewhat. After playing Syberia 3 a bit I felt like I read something I wrote. Unlike the first two games, it's written very amateurishly and I think I saw a clear problem with my own attempts at writing there. It tells too much, reiterates on every thing and makes everything very clear, so the reader has no room for thinking about what was said. This is why it feels unnatural, people don't talk like that, and realizing that I rewrote parts of the story to remove uneeded details.

There were lines of text in the story that required no choice or anything of sort, but just an acknowledgement (by pressing space to progress). These has been reworked to accept "1" instead of space, because as of now most answers only have one choice and therefore 1 is the most logical key to use for acknowledgement. That said, pressing 1 now also skips text "typing" and prints it all at once, this also applies to responses (though there any numbered answer key can be used). So now you can skip the text printing out if you want to go faster.

Also, the first character you meet has finally been given name. It is an obvious cut out of a different word, but I think it does feel like a genuine name, and it fits quite well.

The dialogue construction file format has also been improved, an option called dialogue_between has been implemented, it allows not specifying characters if their pharses are alternating (one talks after the other all the time), while also also allowing to change the character that is currently talking in the dialogue by explitly specifying the character name. If the character is in the dialogue_between list, the next line is assumed to be by the next character, and if the charcter is not in the list, then the tracking ignores that line and doesn't change the currently speaking character, thus allowing intermissions like player - description - other character, with only specifying that the description is a description, and the system understanding that the the description is not a part of the dialogue. That allowed to remove about 30 lines of character specifications that I already knew, but had to be provided explicitly. I'm kind of proud of this dialogue system by now, it's quite flexible.

More of the story has been added to the actual game from the draft file, soon enough I'll probably be ready to make the first public release, probably on itch.io, since it seems to be a very nice site for indie game developers, providing a lot of benefits, allowing easy communication, etc.

Since I'm somewhat getting ready for the first release, I set up automatic builds with GitHub Actions! It builds the game for Linux and Windows curently, though I hope to extend that for MacOS also (I don't have a mac, but I know someone who might be able to help me with that). While building for linux is easy, since that's the platform I've been using all the time and I engineered the build somewhat well, so that it takes just two commands to build the whole thing, Windows was a bit of a different story. On Windows, I had to use MSYS/MINGW, that took some time to figure out. Then, I learned that you can't build lua on windows that easily (and can't link to it statically at all), so instead of using their makefile, on Windows I do the following:

gcc -O2 -DLUA_BUILD_AS_DLL=1 *.c -c && mv lua.o lua.e && gcc -shared -o lua53.dll *.o
gcc -L. -llua53 lua.e -o lua.exe

This builds both lua-the-shared-library and lua-the-interpreter. The first one I link with and copy it to the release directory, the second one is used for luarocks, which has a different setup script on windows (it's called install.bat). This script gave me a few problems when automating, since the GitHub Actions thingy that sets up MSYS2 doesn't inherit the PATH variable by defult, while the real desktop MSYS2 does, and since install.bat, when it detects that it's run in mingw, assumes the existance of both unix and windows utitilies, it wouldn't work on the automatic builder, but worked fine on my machine! This was an easy fix (setting path-type to inherit in the action config), but it took some time to figure out.

Other than a few path (/ vs \) problems, there weren't much more trouble with building, mostly thanks to the fact that all the major dependencies are provided as submodules and are in my control and, in release mode, I compile everything statically, which makes distribution a fair bit easier.

For the last thing, I also also added a small delay between terminal line output, so they don't feel too fast.

Looking at it, not that much work has been done, I've been mostly slacking off, but I did have some stuff to handle IRL, though that is mostly over for the time being.

Well, that's probably my longest post yet. That's pretty nice, hope you enjoyed it, and hopefully we'll meet again soon, thank you for reading my blog post!

UPD 25.09.2020: Link to the game on itch.io.

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