Developers' Diary


Paraplu: Ordered Layers!

Monday, August 11th, 2008

Whoa, I just completed the ordered layer drawing system. Before, all Guys on a particular layer were drawn in whatever dang order the game pleased. This was fine in Soft Landing, because it had a purely side-on view and it was unlikely to matter which of any given pair of peers on a layer draws […]

Paraplu: Sequential dialog boxes

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

It was surprisingly tricky to create a system for a series of dialog boxes that appear one after another. Soft Landing’s novel part is based on conversation scripts for doing just that, but in Paraplu’s running-around-shooting-stuff engine, we didn’t really have any way of doing it. Now the game keeps track not just of whether […]

Paraplu: Items

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Julian and I both love items. One of the aims of Paraplu is to be delightfully item-rich. You should be excited to discover and collect items, admire their cute little icons, read their descriptions, and carefully consider how you’re going to budget them to craft other items. Yesterday I started in on the item system: […]

Event Queue

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

My friend Nathaniel was just watching me code, and he suggested using the event queue to process input instead of polling for every type of input every frame. To be honest I don’t exactly understand how the event queue is any faster than polling (like, at some level there must be some logic checking every […]

Chipping away at level editor

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

I’ve been implementing a level editor feature or two each day. Now we have a little display on screen that tells your current tile coordinates, which paves the way for our status display of health, items collected, and so on. There’s also a neat little blinky cursor that shows exactly where your tile will land […]

Paraplu: Layered Editing

Monday, May 19th, 2008

So Paraplu’s level editor has so far only supported changing the map layer of a level. But there are two other layers in each level: objects and “entities” (meaning enemies or townsfolk). It was surprisingly difficult to adapt the level editor to work on these other layers, because each layer was kind of a special […]

Paraplu: Text

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

I just transplanted what’s probably the most complicated class in all of Soft Landing, “Interface”, into Paraplu. Along the way I chopped off a ton of messy code that I’m planning on rewriting. This is the class that draws all of our text boxes, menus, health bars, and so on. It’s not gorgeous, but it’s […]

Paraplu: Editor

Friday, April 11th, 2008

I just finished much of the work on the improved Paraplu level editor. It’s a mode you can enter when you start the game, in which the character is replaced by a translucent square cursor. There are buttons for cycling through the various batches of tiles we have, each with 9 tiles in it. Then […]

Paraplu: Collision

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Well, Jules and I decided that pixel-level collision is not really going to be necessary. We’re just going to have a kind of rectangular collision mask for each entity and each obstacle, and test against those. Given the tiled nature of the maps, this should work fine. It took about ten or fifteen minutes to […]

Paraplu: Enemies

Monday, April 7th, 2008

So Paraplu is already at the point where we can have enemies running around the map. I got them in the game today, and have them chasing the player with very simplistic behaviors. There’s a terribly primitive collision detector in there, checking whether they’re running into any solid objects, but it’s bad in that it […]


Friday, April 4th, 2008

Soft Landing is an enormous game. When I imagine it in its finished state, it’s like Xenogears, Ar tonelico, Sakura Taisen, and other pinnacles of achievement in gaming, crafted by large teams of professionals working full time. I believe we will finish it, and I believe it will be everything we are wishing for. So […]


Thursday, February 14th, 2008

Jules and I have been using a big time-versus-entities matrix to plan out the story of Soft Landing. Across the top are boxes for the “distant past”, then the preceding few decades, then the preceding few years, then the individual story chapters. Down the left side are the names of characters, groups, and organizations. Any […]


Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

- Tied trust score into what used to be “shields”. Now your capacity for damage, your firepower, and your overall affinity with your support pilot are all represented by one number. – Removed offscreen death effect, leaving your ship on screen when you get hit. – Made ship go really slow when it gets hit. […]

This Morning

Monday, February 11th, 2008

I successfully woke up early, and I like to think it’s partially because I set the Ar tonelico 2 theme as my alarm. I came in, played AT2, and once I was sufficiently inspired, did some work on SL. * Fixed up the player’s speech bubble so the Laurent portrait doesn’t slide around disconcertingly as […]

Brief Update

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

Added nice fading sliding inset images for dramatic effect. Tested this with a nice quick portrait of Brianne that Jules threw together. Tied the synchronized pod-gun to the Trust score. Now the better you do (in the eyes of your support pilot), the better your coordinated firepower gets. All of the crazy numbers we had […]


Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Jules and I had a couple of meetings this week. I’m on “vacation”, which really means that I still come in to the office but I mess around playing Ar tonelico 2 and jam out on my bass and code on Soft Landing instead of doing work. We have done some more to adjust the […]

Soft Landing for Windows, thanks to PyInstaller

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

As we approach the demo (like Achilles approaches a turtle…) and as we have a new Windows-based audio guy on board, it has become pretty important that we get a standalone version of Soft Landing working on Windows. See, for Jules and me, Soft Landing requires Python, Pygame, PyObjC or Numpy, and PyOpenGL, each at […]


Monday, July 23rd, 2007

Today I dropped Aaron’s noises into the game for the first time. There have been several clues that Aaron is the right guy to make the audio for our game: The very day that Jules asked him about helping on the project, he put together an awesome SL-specific stage music. The next day, without prompting, […]

Fet vs. Windows, round II

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

Well, I don’t know exactly what did it, but for some reason, Soft Landing is running fine on Windows for me now. Once I got it working, I found a weird bug: the guys’ animation frames were all jumbled up, causing enemies to spasm around comically instead of menacingly and smoothly deploying their weapons. I […]

Fet vs. Windows, round I

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

I have now spent three evenings trying to get Soft Landing working on Windows. I know it works, because Jules runs it all the time. I installed XP on my MacBook, set up Subversion, downloaded Python and Pygame and PyOpenGL, checked out Soft Landing… But the game keeps crashing with weird errors, like claiming that […]