Before we get to work on the area you’ll access using the shrink ray, I want to show off some improvements I made to the underwater maze. It was too dull before, just a bunch of samey copy/pasted tunnels and junctions.
Isn’t that better? Now there will be some cool shit to see on the way from the entry pool, to the room with the hazard boots in it. Here’s a look at some of the new underwater maze:
These areas are still very much works in progress, hence only one of them is shaded. But already it makes the underwater maze portion more visually interesting and less mind numbing. Later on I will put some hidden items in those new sections to reward exploration.
That’s what a mirror looks like in the editor. Notice there’s a little opening at floor height, to the right of the mirror. This is the opening we’ll be able to fit through after shrinking ourselves, by shooting the shrink ray at the mirror.
The nice thing about this is that it doesn’t use much in the way of walls or sectors, so we can use mirrors and adjacent vents to hide other goodies elsewhere in the level. But that can wait until after the main item rooms are all done.
Here’s how the mirror looks ingame. It causes a very slight performance stutter the first time you look at it, just because it’s replicating all visible sectors behind it in a gigantic room you never see or access. It’s just the space the engine uses to re-create what’s on the other side of the mirror, including the player sprite/model.
There’s the pipe bombs. Visible, but out of reach until later. That’s not always possible since, for example, the pitch black maze you need night vision goggles for is too dark and convoluted for the prize at the end to be visible from the start. Likewise the jetpack in the jumping puzzle room is too far away. But where it is possible, the prize should be visible before it’s accessible.
Here’s what the pipe bombs will be for. In this engine, to make destructible walls, you build them how they will look after they are blown up. Then at runtime the hole is pulled shut until you trigger the cracked wall sprite with a nearby explosion, at which point the wall blows up and reverts to how you built it, the destroyed form.
Here’s the grid view. A sector effector sprite in each of the sectors comprising the hole, lotag 13, hitag same as the crack sprite on the wall. Some C9 sprites, shrunk horizontally as much as possible (makes them invisible ingame) with the same hitag as the SE and crack sprites. That’s all there is to it.
Here’s the crack on the closed up wall ingame, waiting to be exploded. The transparency helps it blend in somewhat with the texture, but anybody who has played Duke3D will recognize the sprite and know it indicates a destructible wall.
There it is being exploded, with some debris sprites flying this way and that. The area behind the exploded wall, as you saw, is designed to look like huge pieces of rubble collapse inward complete with individual shadows for all the rubble chunks.
I may even go further and add some sprite based debris scattered across the floor. Anyway, this is where the player obtains the steroids, which will be used to complete a challenge that requires very fast running to avoid being killed. More on that next time.
Stay Tuned for Part 18!