Constructing a scene, Part 3.

Now that I have a decent base to work off of, I can start animating it. If we go back to the description we know that this scene is going to have at least 3 separate lighting passes. One different set of lighting for each time he moves forward in the level. Because this is a 2D game, each of those different lighting passes has to be rendered completely separately. Now, to make things even more difficult, I want to have those signage boards flickering as tho there are slight power surges, and the globes are kinda entering the last days of their lives! So each lighting setup needs to have a separate pass for the signs flickering, aswell as a pass for the signs in a ‘normal’ state. Memory wise, that is going to be to big to practically get into the scene, so we are going to be doing a bit of cutting up. Also, by cutting out each sign separately, we can make sure that each sign gets it own random flicker. Adding that kind of randomness will really help sell the scene.

Lets start by rendering the 3 first light passes. We are going to call them:

GL_InnerAirlock_LightPass_1.png

GL_InnerAirlock_LightPass_2.png

GL_InnerAirlock_LightPass_3.png

Then we set the inside of the posters to be slightly lighter. Not to much tho, but enough to cast some interesting light on the injects infront of them.

GL_InnerAirlock_Flicker_1.png

GL_InnerAirlock_Flicker_2.png

GL_InnerAirlock_Flicker_3.png.

Once we have those files, we open up Paintshop Pro, and create a quick script to crop those down to JUST the areas we need, like this:

Once the graphics are done, putting them into the engine, and making them work only takes a few seconds. Visionaire has this really cool ‘random’ option, which will randomly pick from a set number of frames. So if we place in the ‘non flicker’ and the ‘flicker’ frames, it will get a semi strobing effect-exactly what we are looking for. And because its ‘mathematically random’, no two flickers will be alike.

Setting up the code to get the 3 sets of lights working, with the 3 filckering lights is a little more involved. I wont go through step by step, but Ill explain the concept behind it. The level is divided into three zones, with each of those zones needing display its own background. I drew 3 ACTION AREAS, and set a command that would execute every time the character entered that specific zone. So, when he entered ZONE 1, GL_InnerAirlock_LightPass_1.png becomes the background, while GL_InnerAirlock_LightPass_2.png and GL_InnerAirlock_LightPass_3.png are hidden. The same set of commands is given when ZONE 2 is entered, except Lightpass 1, and 3 are hidden, and 2 becomes visible.

Now the flickering is linked to a value, that is activated when the different zones are activated. So when ZONE 1 is the active zone, the FLICKER 1 animation is made visible. When ZONE 2 is active, FLICKER 1 and 3 become invisible, with FLICKER 2 becoming visible.

There are some sounds linked in there aswell, to really sell the ‘clunk’ of large lights turning on and off, which really adds to the visual aspects.

The airlock opening is done in the same way. A zone is created, and when the character enters the zone, the specific animation is played.

Once its all put together, the level can be played instantly. Heres a short video I did of the level being played. The character looks a little ‘glidey’ and some changes are a bit sluggish, but thats from the recording program running in the background.

Before you take a look at the completed level, lets go back to the original description:

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The airlock clicks open with a hiss. A silhouetted figure walks into a dark room. The massive rotating door behind him rolls back into place, and seals shut.The airlock clicks open with a hiss. A silhouetted figure walks into a dark room. The massive rotating door behind him rolls back into place, and seals shut.Darkness. Nothing. Maracheck walks forwards. As he does so, a light directly above him turns on. Motion controlled. A computer voice sounds out “Welcome to The Groomlake Research Facility. We know you will enjoy your stay.” Computer screens flicker on showing various PR photos of families on board, scientists working happily, children playing.As Maracheck moves forward the lights continue to turn on infront of him. More computer voices:“Please be aware that we are operating on emergency power.”He continues down the corridor. Comfortable seating on either side of him suggests an airport lobby of some kind. This must be where the important people came in…a company would waste money like this on an entrance for grunts.As he advances, more lights turn on, highlighting security turrets. Shut down. The security systems must not be operating. Good thing too…those turrets would have shredded him. As if reading his mind, the computer voice sounds out an eerie warning.“To ensure that your stay with us is a pleasant one, please remember to follow all protocol. Your safety is our priority.”The lights go off for a second…the sound of an electric generator spinning up again.“Please make your way to decontamination.”“Thank you for your cooperation.”

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With a few changes, I think that the level plays out pretty faithfully to that original idea. What do you think?

http://vimeo.com/18178146
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Chris