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Thu Aug 17 2017 11:30 am
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A few weeks ago, I started porting the old desktop version of CaveGen (a HATPC level editor) to the web so you guys can build your caves in your browser. The main benefits of this were to make the tool available to those who weren't using Windows, make the cavemaking process more streamlined and to give myself more opportunities to experiment with cool ideas (the old framework I used was quite limiting).

For information on upcoming features and the changelog, here is the README (and the repository). If you want to add a feature, you are welcome to make pull requests.

CaveGen itself is here.

I realise that the process of building AND testing a cave will never be entirely smooth due to the problems with the HATPC uploader. I will investigate adding some Fiddler-like functionality to CaveGen to make that part a little easier.

I've decided to make a news announcement for each minor/major version update. The contents of each version will be kind of arbitrary, but my plan is to have a handful of useful features for each new minor version. So here is your update for version 1.1!

The most important new additions are the Undo and Redo buttons. The old CaveGen didn't have these for ages, meaning that users frequently had the agony of accidentally clicking the Generate button and losing everything. I didn't want any more of those complaints so this was my first priority.

Soccerboy made a nice suggestion that there should be a grid of white lines across the cave to make it easier to measure distances and see where tiles would be placed in open spaces. This was particularly painful to implement due to silly limitations with the HTML5 canvas (see my post in the main thread about that).

Finally, a cursor was added to show you where your tiles would be placed when you clicked on the cave. Before, it wasn't obvious where these tiles would go for the larger brushes.

Along the way, a few bugs were fixed, broken and obsolete code was discarded and a horrible system architecture from the old desktop version was refactored away. A nice upshot from this was that the performance of painting was drastically improved (i.e. way less laggy).

Full change list:
- Cursor for making it more obvious where the tiles will be painted
- Fixed a bug where a line that started outside the cave and continued inside would suffer from submarining (i.e. the line would not be continuous if the cursor was moved quickly)
- White lines between tiles on the cave grid to help users measure distances (as requested by Soccerboy)
- Undo/Redo buttons
- Improved performance when painting in larger caves
- Terrain images replaced with grey rectangles to make undoing/redoing "generations" faster
- Images slightly reduced in size to make them look better in larger caves

Here's what I plan to add next:
- Hotkeys. I think the more experienced cavemakers will appreciate this as they have become so used to using these rather than the palette.
- Port over the spike tools from the desktop version. For example, the tool that would allow you to dig a tunnel through the cave with spikes automatically placed on both the ceiling and floor.
- Zoom and pan. Oh God, I really wanted to implement this in the old CaveGen, but wasn't able to with the WPF framework. Finally, you'll be able to see what you're doing in massive caves.
- Apply jQuery styles to the UI controls. They look pretty 1990s right now.
- Align the UI controls more neatly. Buttons are kind of randomly placed at the moment.

You'll see these features gradually rolled out over X weeks. When they're all done, I'll make another announcement like this one.

Thanks so much for all your feedback and suggestions so far. I would highly appreciate further input of any kind. And also give it a try if you haven't already - I collect usage data so even passive use of the tool without feedback is useful to me.
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