Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Torque and Spike!

Having slept poorly over the weekend, I have decided to sacrifice this week, which was passing in a haze anyway, to define certain uncertainties.

First things first: I love Torque 2D, but it has some pretty serious issues on occasion. For example, you can rotate and resize sprites, but you can't WARP them. No bowing, folding, or tapering. Not even the most primitive of image manipulation commands. This is a huge disadvantage, and it means that I have two options for doing the expression engine: carefully animating the mouth and eyebrows, or chaining together long strings of short sprites to let me pretend I'm bowing and folding sprites. Both options will take a lot of irritating work, but I'll probably go with the synthetic line: that is more flexible and will allow for greater range of expression.

Other problems include the inability to measure a sprite along anything besides its own relative axis. When I say, "How wide is the sprite?" it says, "It's ten units wide." and I reply, "yeah, but it's rotated 45 degrees. That means it isn't ten units wide, it's 7.2 units wide." T2D replies, "no, I see ten. It's ten units wide."

In addition, turning off the on-board physics turns on the stupid. Anything mounted to anything - like, say, an ARM - suddenly breaks. You can't actually get the arm to MOVE - only rotation works. Even if telling it to move simply made it rotate in the right direction, that would be cool. Moreover, if the parent is moved, all its children get moved in the exact same direction, rigid like a single unit. You also can't "pin" children such that they can't move, which means that your weight-bearing foot will tend to slide around irritatingly.

I can understand this, since those features are usually used by people making physics-rich games, but it means that I have to do some pretty silly things. I have to turn ON physics, turn OFF all collisions, and then manage silly things like density and mobility manually. It's a pain in the butt, but at least it can be done, unlike warping sprites.

Okay, my gripes about Torque 2D aside, it's awesome.

The second thing I'm doing this week (aside from trying to get the emotion engine to work) can be detected in my writing. I am taking a smack-down dose of caffiene. I will know, once and for all, if it is caffiene withdrawal which knocks me down on the days after caffiene, or whether it was one of the generally simultaneous issues such as sunburns. I have no plans to get sunburned either today or tomorrow.

So, depending on how I feel tomorrow, I will know without a doubt what my reaction to caffiene is. I sure HOPE I'm not as hyper-sensitive as I seem to be, because caffiene really gives me a nice jump start. It ups my concentration and helps me program and think clearly.

On the other hand, it seems to shut down the right half of my brain, plus whatever part does language processing. While my math and programming skills remain undimmed, reading my writing after the fact makes me suspect I was on amphetamines.

Perhaps the upsides of caffiene are wholly illusory, but I can say that I simply get MORE DONE when I'm caffinated. Especially programming.

So, short version: Caffiene today, loud music blaring in my ears tomorrow. By Friday night, I should be over any withdrawal, given past experiences. Hopefully, there will be no withdrawal. If I could withdraw my worries with withdrawal I would draw drinks with caffiene and drink while whiling with code.


Zaron3d said...

I just started working with Torque 2D. Would you be available to use as a sounding board on some simple problems?

Craig Perko said...

(Taken to de email.)