Here is the new entry in Nordenfelt‘s weekly development log. And it’s still about explosions.

This week I’ve checked out some tools for particle effect authoring. There are some free editors out in the Internet wilderness but nothing really worthwhile. So I quit searching for a free solution and found TimelineFX from Rigzsoft. It’s a useful yet affordable tool (£29.99 at time of writing) and comes with a load of free effect libraries.

The good news for all you Blitzmax game coders out there: TimelineFX has a module to integrate the authored effects into Blitzmax applications. The bad news for the rest: other languages are not supported. You have to export effects as sprite sheets and render them as animations in your game. This works well for small effects but becomes bothersome for larger stuff. I’ve already pondered porting the Blitzmax code to C with some SWIG wrappers. But that would be quite a pile of work. No time for side projects aside side project Nordenfelt. You know, time is scarce as full time non-indie. 🙂

What the heck. Some diversified smaller explosions combined work as well. For the diversification I’m currently integrating a new feature into Nordenfelt’s particle engine. Particle attributes will become controllable by graphs. So far they just interpolated from a start value to an end value over lifetime. E.g. a smoke particle can start full opaque and fades linearly to full transparency. The new controller graph can make particles blink, pump, wobble, start delayed, etc. –  everything the heart desires.

As usual: don’t forget that you can help getting Nordenfelt done, test the game’s latest versions and discuss the game in the secret development forum with other preorderers by preordering Nordenfelt. If you like to stay in touch, be sure to subscribe to the RSS feed, email newsletter or listen to my tweets at @black_golem.

Cheers,
Thomas