What's next for Walkabout?
by Daniel Buckmaster · 03/13/2013 (4:01 am) · 21 comments
Greetings all! It's been ages since I've blogged about anything Torque-related (or at least, it feels like it!) and even longer since I updated Walkabout. A lot has happened since then - most obviously, Torque 3D going open-source! I now feel slightly shady for selling a commercial addon to an open-source project...
The FutureLike with jetpacks?
Yes, I'm here to talk about The Future. Where can I take Walkabout from here? I have tons of ideas, but I need help deciding! Below are a few of my favourite ideas, but I'd love to hear people speak up. If you own Walkabout, what would make you use it more? If you don't, what would make you buy it?
You may not have realised, but Walkabout can badly generate cover points for you.
- Detect water zones and adjust pathfinding as necessary. This means making use of some of the current options to enable/disable characters being able to walk through water. Ideally, I'd also have a 'swimming' mode that creates navmeshes across the water's surface instead of underneath it.
- Automate character animations when traversing off-mesh links. For example, if you have an off-mesh link through a window, you could specify a climbing animation - or a head-first dive, F.E.A.R. style! This would, unfortunately, require additional art in the kit...
- Automatically update the navmesh when you move objects around in the editor. I'd love to basically be able to lay down a navmesh and build it, then as I continue the edit the level, the navmesh automatically responds to objects that I create and move around. Walkabout already includes the ability to update the mesh based on objects being added and deleted, but I'd need to modify the editor to get callbacks for when objects are picked up and dropped.
- Make it work better with bigger meshes! This is a constant concern, though I think it's a conquerable problem.
- Improve the cover-point generation. At the moment it... sort of works, and it's not too bad in very predictable environments. But throw it something like the rocks above and it has a bad time. Of course, you can always add cover-points manually in the World Editor, but who wants to do that?
- Vehicle control for AIPlayers. Enough said.
The PresentThere have been some minor problems reported in Walkabout's official help thread. Unfortunately I've been unable to actually live up to the thread title and help, but now I'm back and ready to hop to it. Some way of tracking known issues publicly might be a good idea to look into! I also want to try setting up a private repository so people can get beta access to what I'm working on, if there's any interest in that. The codebase as it stands seems robust, and now I can look forward to improving it and tightening it up even further.
One of the ways I'm improving Walkabout is by upgrading the Recast Resource. I'm working on an updated version that will be pull-requested and hopefully rolled into MIT3D.
Already, while trying to live up to the T3D Committee's demanding standards, I've been able to make the debug renderer more efficient and made redundant some changes to T3D's primitive renderer that I used to massage the interface with Mikko's Recast code into the shape I wanted it. So that will be ported back to Walkabout.