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Nathanael Gentry

That was fast!

Another week has gone by quite quickly. After taking some time off for Independence Day here in the US, I can’t believe that another Monday has passed. Last week I talked about a major update to our renderer, and I finished that pretty early last week. There was some major refactoring involved, but my work – splitting out our renderer into a Stage class and moving to traditional dirty-rects handling – worked well with some of the major refactoring that djsrv had been wanting to do for a while. Going into this week, our engine’s code is far more modular (thanks primarily to djsrv), and the graphics are looking good. All this we showed off to John Henry Thompson last Thursday.

First, I finished implementing the puppetTransition command, which allows you to call transitions from Lingo. As part of this, I reworked the transitions pipeline to support only drawing a transition on the changed area of the screen. This took a lot more work (and many paper sketches) more than I was expecting, as some of the transition algorithms had interesting behaviour when I tried to clip them.

I also did some more work on the ink types, including making an efficient interface for the ink types that use implicit mattes or masks. Over the weekend I worked on what was for a long time a big irritation of mine – sprites with scripts did not highlight (or, in Director parlance, hilite) on click. When I tried to work on this before, I found that simply testing for a script on the sprite was far too broad; there were many erroneous inversions. It turns out that for bitmaps there was a special flag, and for shapes (as far as I could discern) only one ink type where this effect showed. I hadn’t looked much at the Director file format before, but I found where that flag was and also uncovered some other unknown fields in bitmap casts (primarily palette information). Working there led me to some nice condensing of our sprite code, which I pushed this morning. That’s one more step to making The Apartment realistic!

Overall, though, last week felt like mostly under-the-hood changes and small optimizations to individual movies. Right now I’m working on the graphics code for efficiently setting the foreground and background colour of puppeted bitmap sprites, and rendering this on-the-fly.