Friday, March 23, 2012

Follow us on Youtube.

This blog is no longer being updated; we've decided to move exclusively into a video blog. For all the latest on Ring Runner, please refer to our Youtube channel:

Ring Runner's Youtube Channel.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Subrostrum

The Subrostrum, a tiny playground as vast as the universe, where the Sages rewrite the rules.
-- Ring Runner: Derelict Dreams

That may sound pretty, but what the heck does it mean? And, more importantly, what's it got to do with the game?

Sages are very much like future wizards, armed with technology advanced enough to seem like magic -- at least to us. But to them, rearranging atoms on a whim is quite ordinary.
Anyone can be a Sage; all it takes is a Corona and decades of discipline.

If they can resist the urge to swallow one, any toddler can play with marbles or stack some blocks. It takes all of a Sage's training and technology to reduce the act of willing atoms in and out of existence into something of a child's game. To accomplish this, they submerge themselves into the space between atoms, where the energies and laws that govern their particles are made plain: The Subrostrum.
Players must seek out the guidance of the Sages scattered about the universe, if they wish to learn the ways of The Subrostrum. The impossible act of liberating an atom from the effects of gravity becomes a simple matter, if you tread on the fabric from which it springs.
Logically, a single molecule being freed from gravity's grasp is not going to have a profound effect on the universe at large. That is why the Corona contains a powerful quantum computer, capable of macroing the action over a large mass, turning planets into marbles and stars into sparks in the eyes of a Sage.

And what powers all of this? The Thread. A subject for future discussion.

Translated into terms of game play, The Subrostrum is a collection of interesting mini-games, which grant players new Sage abilities upon completion. Though these Sage abilities are earned in The Subrostrum, they are used in macrospace, a place that you and I might commonly refer to as "reality."

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Procedural Nebulas

Now, I'm not sure that Carl Sagan would approve of space being so routinely depicted this colorfully, but let's face it... things can get a little boring without a splash of color. But if you want to get all "Sci Fi nerd" about it, the bulk of a player's time in this game will be spent on the fringes of an area of the universe known as "Wild Space." Further still, and the mostly vacuous solar systems of the inner universe are replaced with labyrinthine corrals of solid matter, which will hopefully be a feature of Ring Runner Part 2! We're crazy enough to want to include Wild Space in this installment of the game, but we're not crazy enough to attempt it, yet!

The video above is a demonstration of just a few of the over 4 billion possible nebulae that Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages can generate.

All nebulae are a result of simplex noise, which is basically a modernized version of Perlin noise of Tron fame, and fluid dynamics, which is a GPU-based, physics-driven simulation of the motion of fluids. These fluids can have varying density and are dispersed by a variety of forces, such as explosions, sine waves, cyclones, etc. The effected density map is used to determine alpha (transparency) values. The darker the pixel, the less opaque it will be.

The same density map is used as a height map, so it can be lit in a semi-realistic, three-dimensional way. Just imagine that rays of light are traveling across several hills. The tallest hilltops, represented by the brightest pixels, will receive the most light, while occluding areas of lower elevation, represented by dimmer pixels, in the direction that the light is traveling.

If there is enough interest, we would be willing to make more technical posts detailing elements of the process.

Happy holidays!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Procedural Planets

Because Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages is intended to provide players with tens of hours of entertainment, we decided that a fully procedural approach to background generation was imperative. This will ensure that the backdrops stay fresh and engaging, while keeping file size low.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Intuitive Camera System

Introducing, Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages' intuitive camera system -- designed to alleviate the view-range restrictions that are intrinsic to games featuring top-down cameras.