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Stuck on ideas for the time travel project
by Patrick Purcell on 04/10/13 01:03:00 pm

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The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


So I have hit a point where I have the base functionality for two players to interact with each other on independent time lines, but I don’t have the time to devote to designing out the gameplay in any meaningful way…So I am going to use the current state of the project as a sandbox to really dig deep into HLSL and see what sort of special effects I can come up with.  Right now I have the players seeing versions of each other on separate time lines greyed out, but I would like to add some sort of transparency effect to it.  I would also like to implement Valve’s character outline from L4D just because I think that it’s really, really awesome.

 Shopped screen to show desired effect

Right now I’m just throwing ideas out there and once I start to code them up I’ll see what sticks.  One that might be cool is if the other player’s opposing timeline position is not visible, but is treated as a light source, or if the opposing player’s shadow is the only thing that shows up.

I’d like to make some sort of “worm hole” effect that shows up on the screen of a player that is travelling through time, because as of right now, a player that is traveling through time is locked in space while recording or loading recorded frames, and there is really no on screen indication for the player.

There needs to be some sort of way for players to know what is going on with the timelines…additionally I would like make the timelines converge together if they are within some critical time from each other, otherwise players would never be able to land back on the same timeline.

I’ve also toyed around with having some sort of “string” connecting the player’s phantom and the real player that would show a “time lapse” of the phantom.  It could be fun to try and learn the basics of hardware instancing in order to replicate the model across its “timeline”.

One blog post left for this project, hopefully I have something cool to show for it.

I have put some thought into the problems that would arise if a game like this were to be implemented with online multiplayer.  Even assuming that the game has a fixed frame rate, what happens when one player’s machine is running at a slightly slower frame rate than another player?   Then add in net latency…fun.

But I digress; I have no intention of networking this concept until I have a real game design and not just a mechanic.

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