Update #60 - A New Journey With Monument

Hey, welcome back! I've been awfully quiet here, as I've had my mind focused on coding and artwork. Great news: Monument is finally complete! Before we get into that, here are the minor changes:

  • Aeta UI: Moved a majority of the ImageElement.cs contents into RenderElement.cs. Now TextElement.cs and ImageElement.cs share common methods, thus decreasing complexity.
  • Aeta UI: Reorganized and renamed some folders that contain the elements.
  • Aeta UI: Individual elements can now cast shadows.
  • Aeta UI: Added HLSLTextureName to EffectOrder.cs. This must be set to the name of the HLSL Texture2D name when using shaders.
  • Aeta UI: Fixed an issue that caused tall game windows to cut off interfaces at the bottom.
  • Discord: Added Wanderer and Wright roles, and changed "Patron" to "Adventurer".
  • Data Serializer: Slight change to how the parser identifies objects. Previous way worked for everything except null strings. Not okay!
  • Data Serializer: Added "Prepend" and "Append" to the DataAttribute tag. This works well for structuring the serialized string.
  • Data Serializer: Added "Nickname" to the DataAttribute tag. Purely visual purpose. The coder must manually avoid conflicting names.
  • Aeta UI: Moved action queueing out from UserInterface.cs into a separate class. 
  • Aeta UI: DrawStencil() can now (almost) be called more than once.
  • Aeta UI: Added AlignTop, AlignBottom, AlignLeft, AlignRight, and AlignCenter methods to TextElement. For setting the origin of the text easier.
  • Aeta UI: Added KeyInput.cs, an improved way to get key to string input.
  • Aeta UI: Added TextBoxElement.cs. Like InputElement.cs, but multiple lines.
  • Aeta UI: Added text wrapping to TextBoxElement.cs, with four modes: Letter, Word, EraseFirst, EraseLast.
  • Aeta UI: Certain TextBoxElement behaviours can be turned off. This includes: line and index navigation, home and end keys, enter key, control navigation, control deleting, etc.
  • Aeta UI: Improved how KeyInput.cs handles key code for upper and lower keys.
  • Discord: Added #amusement channel to the Lounge. Discuss movies, TV shows, games, novels, and other forms of entertainment not related to Monument.
  • Aeta UI: Scale lerping now works when done in "Set Scale -> Set Scale Target" order. Odd glitch.
  • Data Serializer: Fixed an issue preventing SerializeEvent and ParseEvent from being called when a List is sent in.
  • Aeta UI: Fixed a render error caused by the renderElement list not being re-ordered when an element was removed.
  • Legal: The EULA for Monument has been completed. Go to enckling.com/monument-eula for the latest version.
  • Website: Lines now have a little bit more style.
  • Aeta UI: Due to a velocity issue with dynamic length, ScrollElement.cs has been changed from linear interpolation back to velocity and clamping.

Monument

If you've been following my progress on Twitter or Mastodon, you'll know what this is. For those who haven't, Monument is the hub for downloading the latest games, tools, and resources that I've created. This is my first step from an independant game developer to a digital content creator. There are six screens in Monument, which are:

  1. Login. Self-explanatory.
  2. About. This interface has information about the creator, quick links, and the latest updates.
  3. Settings. Basic settings, such as remember user and display tooltips. Also has buttons for opening the .exe's directory and clearing all library files.
  4. Library. Where all of the games, tools, and resources are at. Clicking on an item will load it into the Item UI.
  5. Item. This contains all of the versions of the selected item. Clicking a version will display more information and the option to download or launch.
  6. Mail. If you have a suggestion, issue or comment, you can send me an email directly.
 The Item screen, showing Pilgrimage of Embers.

The Item screen, showing Pilgrimage of Embers.

There isn't much content in here yet, but over time I will to fill it with quality games, prototypes, game assets, tools, and anything else I make. Pilgrimage of Embers is available to any Patron (Nomad, Adventurer, or Knight tier). I will be sending out usernames and keys shortly, so keep an eye out for it. If you would like to get access to Monument, consider becoming a patron.


If you have any ideas, constructive criticism, or just want to tell me how much you dislike my creations, you can:

  1. Send me an email
  2. Tweet to @Soestae
  3. Gab to @Soestae
  4. Toot to @Soestae
  5. Comment below

Do you want to support my projects? Here's what you can do:

  1. Become a Patron here!
  2. Tell your friends and family about my projects!
  3. Retweetrepost, retoot, and share!

Thank you for reading!
From Enckling, with love.

Update #59 - Aeta UI & Monument Progress

Hey, I hope you've been well. A lot happened these past couple of weeks! Here are the minor revisions (long!):

  • UI Library: Renamed the "UI Library" to "Aeta", and made a neat logo for it.
  • Aeta UI: Improved and cleaned up TextLineElement.
  • Website: Visiting enckling.com/discord now loads a cover page with the discord widget rather than redirecting to the invite URL.
  • Website: Changed the Promo Popup from PoE to Monument focused.
  • Website: Added "Seek" link to enckling.com navigation. This will direct you to the search function.
  • Website: Moved date to bottom of posts, and added author alongside it.
  • Website: Author link now redirects to the Soestae twitter profile.
  • Aeta UI: TextLineElement now supports sensitive data and a customizable sensitive symbol.
  • Aeta UI: Fixed the render order of elements.
  • Aeta UI: Fixed ButtonBoxElement clickbox not adjusting with origin. 
  • Aeta UI: Fixed TextLineElement sensitive data relying on regular text than the custom symbol for IndexPosition.
  • Aeta UI: Added IsLocked boolean to Element. This is used to prevent conflicting shortcuts (especially helpful for typing).
  • Aeta UI: Added defaultElement to UserInterface.cs. If the controlledElement is null, it can optionally be set to defaultElement now.
  • Aeta UI: BoxElement.cs and ButtonBoxElement.cs now set their UI's controlledElement to themselves if mouse is hovering.
  • Website: Added Itch.io social link to the footer, and removed the Facebook link.
  • Marketing: Updated my itch.io page (https://soestae.itch.io/). I've neglected it for years now.
  • Aeta UI: Added IsLocked boolean to UserInterface.cs. Prevents other UIs from gaining control until the current UI is finished.
  • Aeta UI: Added action queueing to UserInterface.cs.
  • Aeta UI: Added IsInteract and IsRendered booleans to individual elements.
  • Aeta UI: Added the ability to delay control checking. Useful when element misclicks occur during UI transitions. 
  • Aeta UI: Added Animator.cs, used for animating textures.
  • Aeta UI: Added AnimatedCheckboxElement.cs. Like CheckboxElement, but with animation.
  • Aeta UI: Removed rightClicked and middleClicked animations states. They now use "Clicked".
  • Aeta UI: Made public the "OnX" events. You no longer have to add or remove through a method (AddEvent, RemoveEvent).
  • Aeta UI: Separated "onControls" event into individual control types: onMouseControls, onKeyboardControls, onGamepadControls, and onAltControls.
  • Aeta UI: Updated how controls flow on all elements.
  • Aeta UI: Added TargetRender and TargetUpdater strings to Element.cs. Used for filtering what gets drawn and updated.
  • Aeta UI: Replaced FadeIn() and FadeOut() with Fade(color, speed).
  • Aeta UI: Renamed a few variables. RenderOffset to Center, InterfaceSize to Size, InterfaceOrigin to SizeCenter, InterfacePercentage to SizePercentage.
  • Aeta UI: Added two positional variables. TopLeft and BottomRight, which are at the top-left and bottom-right corners of the UI. 
  • Aeta UI: Added ToolTip.cs. Perfect for giving descriptions to elements.
  • Website: Added Mastodon social link to the footer.
  • Aeta UI: Removed "SetInteraction" from UserInterface.cs. Interaction can be set manually with IsInteract boolean.

Aeta UI

I've talked about this in a previous update, but it was under a different name. Aeta UI is a user interface library coded for use in C# and MonoGame. Since working on the Monument games launcher, I have discovered a lot of very specific details that needed refining. You can see all these changes in the minor revisions above.

I am planning on releasing this as a .dll soon, but first I need to get a license written up and the documentation. I'll walk you through the setup process and troubleshooting, so I'm anticipating it to be 15 or 20 pages long. I may not have time to do this until after I release Monument.


Monument Progress

A lot of progress has been made to Monument since the last update. Then, it was just images and a font, but now it's functional experience. In the video above, you'll see the login, message box, about, settings, assets, and item UIs (in that order). It's still a work-in-progress, but I'm very happy with how far it's come.

So, what's left? Not including the inner workings, quite a bit. There's an empty space on the right panel of the about UI. The settings UI should have more options. The item UI is completely empty. I need to add a Downloading UI, which shows information about an item's download status. Also need to add in a title bar, and remove the default Windows title bar. Thankfully, Aeta UI makes all of this easy to code in. It's the planning stage for each UI that takes time.


If you have any ideas, constructive criticism, or just want to tell me how much you dislike what I make, you can:

  1. Send me an email
  2. Tweet to @Soestae
  3. Gab to @Soestae
  4. Toot to @Soestae
  5. Comment below.

Do you want to support my projects? Here's what you can do:

  1. Become a Patron here!
  2. Tell your friends and family about my projects!
  3. Retweetrepost, and share the content that you like!

Thank you for reading!

From Enckling, with love.

Update #58 - Monument & Various Fixes

Welcome. I'm excited to share this update with you. I'm heading in a new and positive direction with Monument, as I shift from independent game developer to creator. While I'll still do games, I don't want to limit myself to just that.

On a personal note, I finally created a better online alias and identity. TheShyyGuy was an old username from almost 7 years ago, and I felt it no longer represented me. If you see a username called Soestae in your timeline and have no idea who he is, that's me! And, birthday milestone tomorrow: I turn 21.

Alright, alright. Here are the minor revisions.

  • Added BaseOffset vector to Element.cs. Now elements can return home.
  • ContainerElement.cs now sets a removed element's target offset, so they return home.
  • Added in code to support shaders with multiple techniques.
  • Fixed a memory leak caused by not disposing AlphaTestEffect (used for masking UIs).
  • Added control-neutral code support to Element.cs.
  • Added control-neutral element selection to UserInterface.cs. This is important for gamepad and keyboard navigating UIs.
  • Added sci-fi shader technique. Future!
  • Cleaned up Controls.cs, and added Gamepad support.
  • Overrided default gamepad controls for all interactable elements.
  • Minor clean up to UserInterface.cs.
  • Added DialElement.cs. It's like sliders, but rounder!
  • Added KeepInBounds(). It'll gently push the UI back onto the screen if it wanders too far.
  • Added RadialBlur technique to the list of available shaders.
  • Completed the logo for Monument. It's neat!
  • Revamped nearly half of the Discord server, changing it from company-focused to game launcher (Monument).
  • Completed specific textures for Monument: UI frame, background, text input box, button, checkbox + animation, checkbox mark + animation, horizontal divider.
  • Completed the small and large fonts for Monument.
  • ImageElement and derived classes now support smooth scaling and rotation.
  • DialElement now smoothly scrolls across the -180 gap.
  • TextLineElement now must be activated if using keyboard to navigate to it.

Monument

monumentAnnouncementUpdate58.png

Officially announcing Monument, the upcoming games launcher. This is one of the first steps in building up a community, and a new path for Enckling Games. The launcher will have similar sections to the PoE launcher, such as login, games, downloading, and about. There's also plans for a secret section, only accessible in a secret way, and will reveal secret knowledge with a secret key (or something).

Lastly, I'll code a Monument updater, which will download and install the latest launcher version (think Discord).

monumentFontUpdate58.png

I'm very happy with the name and how the graphics turned out. It has a geometrical, earthy feeling. I looked up celtic art, which inspired the edges. When creating the font, I realized how careful I had to be. Geometrical can look futuristic, and that was not what I wanted. As you can see in the picture above, it looks great, and fits very well with the other graphics. The large font is the same, except a couple times larger and with a median effect applied to round out the pixel edges. Most of the graphics are complete, so now I need to polish the UI library before I feel comfortable making it.

With this announcement, the Discord server is now called Monument Society instead of Enckling Games. Additionally, the Patreon page has begun renovations, shifting its focus from supporting Pilgrimage of Embers only to Monument, which includes all games, prototypes, and even tools I create. I intend to keep the same costs, and stay per game update release. I will complete the Patreon page after I complete the games launcher.

Now, most of you who signed up for the Pilgrimage of Embers alpha will not have access to the new games launcher, but can certainly gain access easily by supporting me on Patreon (after it's been sent out, of course).

I'm expecting to complete and release Monument by update #60. Let's see if I can complete it by then!


If you have any ideas, constructive criticism, or just want to tell me how much you dislike what I make, you can: Send me an email, tweet @Soestae, gab to @Soestae, comment on the Facebook page, or respond in the comment section below.

Do you want to support my projects? Here's what you can do:

  1. Become a Patron here!
  2. Tell your friends and family about my projects!
  3. Retweetrepost, and share the content that you like!

Thank you for reading!

From Enckling, with love.

Update #57 - Particle Engine & UI Library

Hey, welcome. I hope you've been well. Here are the minor revisions:

  • Data serializer now supports List<T> serializing and parsing.
  • Wrote a quick-start guide on using the data serializer.
  • Extracted the particle engine from PoE into a separate class library.
  • Wrote a quick-start guide on using the particle engine.
  • Changed how positioning works in the UI library. It feels cleaner!
  • Camera origin can now be set (this is functionally the UI's origin).
  • Fixed elements not fading out properly. Silly me only reduced alpha, when all RGBA decreasing.
  • Added SliderElement.cs to the UI library.
  • Added TextElement.cs. One line strings.
  • Added CheckboxElement.cs, with support for radio.
  • Merged HoverBoxElement.cs with BoxElement.cs. One was used for drawing boxes, the other for collision detection.
  • Added ContainerElement.cs. Group other elements together for easy moving!
  • Added linear interpolation to the slider.
  • Added ScrollElement.cs, which gives the coder access to smooth scroller across both X and Y.
  • Tested UIs having a visual inactive state. Incredibly smooth!

Particle Engine

particleEngine.png

After extracting the old code from Pilgrimage of Embers into a class library, I had to update parts of it. It's now very extendable. Here are some cool demonstrations:

This is the most basic way to use the particle engine. Create a derived class from Emitter, add in custom behaviour, an texture sheet for animation, and you're good to go.

This uses a custom particle called ConnectParticle. Similar to the old ConnectParticle which connected particles via lines, except with a modified MonoGame.dll to allow texture corners to be connected. Add in some simple physics, and you've got elastic ribbons.


UI Library

Part of this code was actually written last year, but I postponed it to get back to working on the Pilgrimage of Ember's alpha. This is also the reason why I haven't started working on the new games launcher yet, as I wanted to use the UI library in it.

The features added so far include:

  • Elements. Image, AnimatedImage, ButtonBox, Box, Slider, Checkbox, Text, TextLine (almost), Container, Scroll.
  • Visuals.  Fade, zoom, rotate, shake, wobble, squish, and slide. These should be put in the minimize, maximize, inactive, or active methods.
  • Interaction. If two UIs are overlapping, clicking on an element in the front UI won't trigger any elements in the back UI. They play very well together... or rather, they don't!
  • Masking. Render a couple of backgrounds to define the mask, then draw the sprites like normal in the next parameter. The UI background in the above video is originally 1000 x 1000 pixels, but it's been cut out.

I'm aiming for flexibility, so the above is completely optional. If you don't want to use masking, skip it. If you don't like how I coded an Element type, make a derived class and code it better! As for what is next here, I'm going to add more elements in, such as semi-rich text boxes. I'd also like to make the elements control-neutral (with recommended methods), that way it is compatible with mouse, keyboard, gamepad, touchscreens, and anything else defined by the coder.


If you have any ideas, constructive criticism, or just want to tell me how much you dislike my projects, you can: Send me an email, tweet @TheShyyGuy, gab to @ShyyGuy, comment on the Facebook page, or respond in the comment section below.

Do you want to support the developer? Here's what you can do:

  1. Become a Patron here!
  2. Tell your friends and family about my projects!
  3. Retweetrepost, and share the content that you like!

Thank you for reading!

From Enckling, with love.