XNua So i finally came up with a name XNA + Lua = XNua… yeah its a bit rubbish but it also has the advantage of not being taken as a domain name (well it is now but u know what i mean…). Today has mainly been battling php and Drupla and writing documentation.

Don’t bother going to the site yet, its not ready but it should be (with a following wind… probably a curry :-p) tomorrow evening. Its likely to be a bit rough round the edges both from a distribution point of view and a website one.

I think i’ll have a binary distribution, just consisting of the assemblies (cos the 3 assemblies are all you actually need) and a full source distribution for those who want to help make it better or customise it. I also have a public svn server, anybody who wants write permission (just ask) can then just work on the source control version directly.

Already got a bunch of things that need doing…

Separate from XNua there is of course my day (and often night…) job… Heavenly Sword and Ninja Theory have been in a pretty tight media silence for a while which we are finally coming out of. I really don’t get the whole media silence thing but meh Sony pay the bills so… Its also been a fairly odd time for me which hasn’t helped me post very much either, I’ve been a bit ill and have been almost obsessional over the army section of the game which has eaten massive amount of my time.

Basically two of us (Lilly and I), pretty much designed and implemented most of it from a game play perspective over the space of the last 6 months or so. Its been pretty intense to say the least…

Essentially we have built a separate game that runs along side the normal game… The armies can swap into the main game when required… its totally seamless to the player but internally there are two distinct game play systems.

So basically you have the army game which has up to 2180 AI’s (I checked the other day cos somebody on Beyond3D asked and I didn’t actually know, its can probably go a little higher but thats the current number embedded in the code) running on SPUs with the normal main game logic mainly running on PPU. For fighting the SPU code selects the 20-30 closest army guys and hands them over to the normal game so you get the full fight engine and AI for them. For ranged weapons (like the Bazooka) its all handled internally to the armies, and they try and run or dive and also get blown up quite spectacularly(its very satisfying ;-) ). The army AI is hierarchical, each guy has his own brain and avoids and tracks important things but there is also a battalion level intelligence that guides each unit around the field following a specialised virtual machine with commands and orders. Its quite hard to control an army and not make it look silly, so we use a few tricks to make it look visually interesting as well.

From a design point of view, the difficulty is giving the player a challenge without making it completely unfair. Obviously 2000 people + catapults vs 1 women is a little unfair in the real world but we have a number of techniques to keep it fun. From long range weaponry to her spinny attacks and some cool special moves she can wipe them out if you know how. I had a screen shot (used to be my laptop backdrop) when I was tested the army death code where I went and slaughtered every person I could find (at that time about 950). With Alpha basically done (which means we are basically feature complete) its now just a matter or polish and balancing, that’s something Lil and I are quite looking forward to, we have had to do a fair amount of rushed drudge work to get here and just having some time to polish is something we’ve been wishing for, for quite some time.

I think some stuff is being shown at GDC but don’t quote me, I know ATG have produced a presentation using the army code as a SPU case study and a video has been made but its possible its for internal WWS stuff and not GDC… but hopefully its for the public as its very frustrating not to have it ‘out there’…