I finally had a solid weekend to sit down and hammer down some of the details for Tiny Heroes and things are really starting to come together. I've had some special abilities implemented for a while and projectiles had the ability to hit things, but there wasn't anything computing damage values or keeping track of health. I've made a lot of progress on that.
I've also made a lot of progress on the interface. The bottom bar is a browser control which shows your location (and will likely serve an additional purpose in the future). It's been there for a while, it just doesn't get shown when I take a screenshot using F2. The HUD in the bottom left shows the key bindings for abilities.
I added support for displaying damage numbers on the screen but I'm not sure if I like it. From a theoretical standpoint I find it interesting to hide the numbers from players and have them try to figure it out, but in practice it's often easier to just expose all of the numbers.
Pixel Movement Update
A minute ago I posted a small update to the camera control and the handling of elevated objects (ramps particularly).
Sidescroller / Pixel Movement Article
I'm working on two articles:
1. Optimizing your usage of pixel movement (applies more to pixel movement than sidescroller).
2. Creating AI in a sidescroller (applies more to sidescroller than pixel movement).
The first article will be fairly short. The Pixel Movement library already comes with a demo called "performance-demo" which demonstrates the techniques mentioned in the article. The purpose of the article is to explain the techniques in more detail and explain why they're necessary.
The libraries like F_Damage have given people the impression that a library is a bit of "canned functionality", it gives you a proc or two you can call whenever you need to. My Pixel Movement library is a different kind of library than what most people are used to. It's a completely new default movement system. It's not a proc you call here and there, it's something that passively permeates your entire project. That's something that a lot of people don't understand.
The second article is inspired by the work I've been doing for Tiny Heroes. With a simple state machine and a little knowledge of how the Sidescroller library works, it's very easy to make decent AI. The article, which I haven't begun to work on yet, would include an executable demo and a couple of examples (I'd probably copy some Mega Man boss AI for the examples).
Ideas about Improving BYOND
It's not likely that this will ever happen, but imagine if the staff did this:
1. Got rid of the community landing page. Posts related to game development would be screened for content and the approved ones would be displayed on the developer landing page. Unapproved posts would not be displayed publicly.
2. Displayed the developer home page inside of Dream Maker.
The idea is that the staff screens posts for content and approves quality development posts, ones about meaningful progress or an interesting project. The development posts that are light on content (ex: "production team looking for three coders and one artist", "check out my new title screen", etc.) aren't listed publicly.
By aggressively publicizing the approved posts you're giving every DM developer examples of what they should be doing and achieving. It won't work on everyone, but by showing every DM developer "while you're busy posting in Classified Ads about your production team, here's what real BYOND game developers are doing" (but without being overtly patronizing about it), some people will be pushed to achieve the same kind of progress that others are making. The people who don't take the hint to up their game will fade into obscurity.