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Current Projects: Americana Engine (Game Engine Development)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Brief History of Message Boxes (in Americana Dawn)

The dialogue box appearance in Americana Dawn has changed over the years, and a bit more dramatically in the months after I came in and built a custom engine.

First two panels: The first one was used as a custom message box displayed in the RPGMaker Engine (The Long Goodbye). The other one was probably a photoshopped mockup, but I don't know for sure. (I didn't receive a copy of a build that displayed message boxes)

Panels three and four: First one was the photoshopped mockup that I needed to implement in-game. The closest I could do was in the panel below (this includes recreating the drop shadows, quality reduced since it need to redraw the shadow in realtime up to 60 times per second)

Panels five and six: Panel five is the photoshop mockup version. I recreated it and added a bit of additional features in the next panel. Said colored text are not the exact rgb values in yet another mockup, but I manually adjusted it for readability purposes. Drop shadows are part of the bitmap font. Said font is not monospaced so there were a few tweaks made with letter placement in the bitmap to improve performance while keeping uniform spacing between letters and such.

Complications: The pixel font was implemented as a bitmap since the AddFontResourceEx call fails when trying to read the ttf version of the font (as in it causes the program to hang after the function is called, and I can't stop the program for debugging).

The 'reading Japanese Characters from a file' might prove to be a challenge at this point since I'll have to deal with reading UTF-8 and interpreting the multi-byte input into a character (I cannot use such characters as test strings in the cpp files since they are encoded in ANSI).

I have still a few other pages to implement, but I'll cover the battle screen related stuff next, since people want action related shots and I'm overdue a few months on a functional demo.