Monday, September 03, 2007

Icons galore!

After adding the status widgets and updating the entity labels the only thing left that made Ember look ugly in the default mode was the inventory widget in the lower right. It's always been meant to be a placeholder widget only showing the most basic info (a list of entities with name and type). The grand idea was to instead use small icons for the different entities, much like each and every other game in existance. I could easily have used the EntityCEGUITexture class to render individual entities into separate textures, but this being Ember I opted to go for a more robust solution. Icons is something that we're gonna need here and there in the client, not only in the inventory. I therefore though it would be prudent to provide a more generic icon manager class which uses an icon cache, handles rendering and updates of icons and does house keeping of all icons. I've added a blueprint for it to the launchpad. So that's what I've been doing the last week. I've gotten so far as to have the basic classes done for letting other components check out icons for both entities and Eris base types. They are automatically rendered in a small size (64x64) and copied to a single larger texture. This will increase performance compared to using multiple small textures.
While I've worked on this feature I've also added some much needed asset browsing features to Ember. I found that while debugging I had a great need for a widget which listed all textures used in the system and allowed me to see real time changes to them. This is something that I've felt the need for before, but never had a pressing enough issue. The first iteration allows for texture browsing only, but the idea is to build on it to allow for browsing of all different resources used, such as materials, scripts, meshes, models and so on.
All in all, some nice features for a much better looking UI are on their way.
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