I have been working on several test programs in my free time to try out some new ideas I have for my ProSonic game engine. ProSonic has become increasingly difficult to update, so I have been rewriting some major portions of the engine's code. As I said before, this is overdue. With my drawing library in development, I should be able to support the features I want without having massive amounts of clutter. The only down side to this is rewriting the code might actually cause the engine to run slower on old computers. I have always had the benchmark set at 60fps on a Pentium II at 400MHz. There's still a chance I can pull it off, but there will no longer be any guarentees.
I have also redesigned the background filters. The old concept was a really good idea, but because the old drawing code was so messy, I found it hard to get background filters working exactly how they were supposed to work. So since I'm doing a rewrite of the drawing code, I figured I might as well update some file formats to support some new features, and the background filters have certainly been enhanced. These background filters are called "composite filters".
The idea of a composite filter is to mathematically break up the background into seperate parts. These parts are called "cells" and have many properties associated with them. Ultimately this will allow background effects in ProSonic like the ones in the original Sonic the Hedgehog games, but with absolutely no programming required. Cells can move on both the X and Y axis at any speed. They can also auto-scroll, grab pixels from another area of the background, and use distortion filters. The composite filters are different than they were before because instead of breaking up the background by horizontal lines only, the background is broken up in horizontal and vertical lines. This means you can carve out a square area and have that square move freely up and down across the background without anything beside it attached.
As usual, this probably sounds like hype. It is hype -- I like talking about what I'm doing for the engine and about all the different ideas I have for it. If I happen to finish the drawing code rewrite before December 15th, I will release a public demonstration of the engine. December 15, 2005 was when I first began writing ProSonic. I feel a 1 year mark is appropriate to release something. If I don't get the drawing code rewritten by that date, I still have something else I'd like to release.
Also, I still haven't forgotten those questions. I will get to them, I promise! Just give me more time please.