Location: Kelowna, BC, Canada
Rank: Desk Jockey
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 9:10 pm
Hello good sirs/madams of the Court-Records Forum.
Im in the process of creating a Phoenix Wright style animation engine, based on Flash Actionscript.
Sounds simple enough, until you hear what its meant for: Complete, and utter, customization.
Absolutely nothing is built into the engine, everything is external, including the user interface pieces.
The engine will allow for Cinematic Cutscenes, Investigation Scenes, and of course, Courtroom scenes. Basically allowing you to go anywhere and do anything, provided you provide the assets.
The scenes are scripted via a robust and intricately simple designed XML structure.
The assets are pieced together via external scripts, that allow you in 1 line of script, to program in a custom asset, whether it be a graphic, animation, sound, or music track. The asset identifier is then referenced in the XML.
Want proof? Thought youd never ask:
(ps. Please ignore the typo, i know it's "it's" and not "it")
As you can still see, the thing is still a heavy work in progress, and the prototype isn't even ready for internal viewing yet. So why am i presenting this to you so early? Encouragement really. And a place to post progress, get feedback, etc etc all that wonderful stuff that comes from posting project progress threads.
Q. When can i play with it?
A. Im thinking of releasing a public prototype when its ready. When its ready is hard to say, but i need this thing going for a particular project im working on alongside it as well
Q. Can i collect/present evidence and stuff?
A. This is unfortunately only an animation engine, Everything will be driven as if it were a glorified FanFic. Though, nothings stopping future versions past 1.0 to include all that fancy interactivity
Q. I have a custom character in mind, how can i get it in there?
A. in characters/ folder, add the first and last name of your character like so: "PhoenixWright" or "DickGumshoe", place your anim_bank animation data in there (look further down on how to do make these), as well as the character definition script (again, further down). These scripts are only about 3 lines long and just help identify a couple things that are character specific. From here the character is ready to be plugge dinto the engine, simply add the foldername to one of the character bases in graphics_manifold.ces script to your, like so:
instead of &lawyer_base=PhoenixWright& change it to &lawyer_base=HannaBarbara& or something, done, and especially, done.
The goal was to try and make so that the most work you had to do to get a custom character working, was in fact: animating and drawing them.
Q. I already have an entire FanFic, and its loooong. Do i HAVE to write out the XML?
A. Nope. Keeping up with the user friendliness, an authoring environment will be provided in the SDK called "CourtEdit", this editor is a node based editor, that allows you to quickly and easily add new events, manipulate events, delete events, etc, all in real time. The editor feeds off of the same script and asset data as the engine, so youll be able to see if your on the right track or not. Finally, when your done, hit File > Save, and save it anywhere within your project folder (typically in the scripts/), just make sure to have the config file point to that scene data, otherwise it wont work.
Q. Can i edit existing scenes?
A. Absolutely, File > Open reads the data and populates the scene lsit accordingly. Edit away.
Q. Will CourtEdit come with the prototype?
A. No, the prototype will require hand written XML in order to run, initially. The editor will exist, in a non working state by the time the protoype is ready for public viewing.
Q. How do cinematics work?
A. Animate the cinematic in Flash or your favorite SWF authoring system, save it. In the graphics_manifest, point to it in a new identifier
in the XML, add a new scene as so:
<scene type="cinema" id="cinema_act00" music="music_allegro2001" />
Done and Done.
Q. How does Evidence work?
A. Two ways: Presenting and Gathering. Obviously but hear me out:
Presenting: has its own special tag. When you call the <pip /> tag, it'll show the object in box in the top right or left, depending on the attributes you provide.
Gathering: <addEvidence /> tag will perform the whole action of switching into the Court Records UI and moving the object to the desired location.
A. 2 sections that only exist in the Court scene type. the <testimony></testimony> tags and the <crossexam></crossexam> tags. Your going to have full control over how these operate, the user is only clicking Next to advance the plot, but these tags will get you into the desired 'modes' if you will.
Q. Will there be ANY interactivity at all?
A. Yes, just not much. The user will be able to browse the Court Records and Profiles pages, and hit the Next button.
Q. So what your saying is: Its easy?
A. Trying my best. Robustness doesn't come without a price, but in the end, you should be able to do anything that can be seen in the games.
I hope thats enough information to prove that im actually going somewhere with this, and not just gobbling internet space.
Any questions, comments, concerns, please, let me know. Ill be happy to answer/address them :)