I'm finally posting an update video on my efforts with XNA.
This is about a month and a half of work after my last video. What have I added/changed? Pretty much everything.
I completely dumped the Tile System that I was using from Nick Gravelyn's video tutorials series. I just couldn't stand the look of the repetitive Tiles. Perhaps it is my lack of artistic knowledge in creating seamless tiles that don't look so repetitive but after trying to create seamless tiles that don't look repetitive for months, I finally gave up. Once my programming knowledge increased a little I was able to start toying with other terrain generation ideas. I'm still using a bottom foundation of rocky grass tiles, however since my game structure is not constrained to tile size, there was no reason why I counldn't branch out on the tile concept. My foundation tiles are now 510 X 510, created in ZBrush, rotated forward at 20 degrees and then screen captured as 510 X 510 Top Down tiles. I have a bunch of game Objects that litter the foundation base. All of these are created as 3D objects in ZBrush, tilted 20-45 degrees and randomly placed on my map. This includes the mountains, Rocks, Trees, downed Trees, Volcano etc. This helps break the repitition. I also created a second layer of snowy landscape Tiles that overlays the rocky grass layer. I'm still vasilating on the look of the snowy ground layer. I like the snow but it starts to make things look kind of busy. Perhaps too busy. Since it's all randomly generated (except for the foundation rocky grass layer) I'm able to adjust the size of my map on the fly and the volume of stuff on the map.
I added a cloud layer that scales as you zoom in and out with the camera. There are clouds that roll across the mountain range at all times and then there are higher clouds that only appear when you start to zoom out. As you zoom out, I adjust the clouds transparency and scale so it looks like you are moving through the cloud layers. My son said, "You need to adjust the sound so when you zoom out and are further away, your rock explosions and AcidRain Bursts are quieter."...so I did that....except for the thunder of course....because that's up where you are. He said, "You need storm clouds." So I added stormy clouds with lightning and thunder. He reminded me that there is a delay between thunder sound and lightning. OK. That took a few days. Then he said, what happens when the volcano rocks hit the trees. I guess they should burn. A week later and they burn. And of course I needed burnt tree textures to replace the regular tree textures.
So now I have a look that I am moderately satisfied with. Now the hard part....I need to make gameplay.
Thankfully I didn't neglect collision detection in my design so my player collides with the acidrain and the volcano rocks.. He also collides with the mountains and the volcano. That collsion makes him slow and scale since he is climbing. And of course I have to keep track of everything's depth. Since the player walks behind some things and in front of others. And he collides with certain higher rock formations.
Adding player health is the first step to gameplay once you have collision detection. So I started working on a HUD. Since my player is a vacationing mountain climber/hiker, I thought a rope would be appropriate for my health bar. After several days trying to make a rope in ZBrush....(one that I could rotate and frey into strings and pieces)..in order to capture the frames I needed for a desintigrating rope/health bar, I integrated it into my game. I added a rope exploding particle effect, code to tie the length of the rope to player health and a temperary text field just so I can make sure the rope length is actually tied to player health. I showed this to my daughter and I said, "How do you like the health bar?" She said, "Oh that...it looks ok." See my guy is a vactioning mountain climber, so I thought a rope would be a good.... She said, "Oh that's a rope?"
Ouch. She got a good laugh out of that.