LD20: Rendering the Plaza and The Highly-Anticipated Lunch

I created a bunch of sprites, but they weren’t being drawn on the screen. I’ll fix that!

I have a background, plus the cobblestone play area that represents the plaza. I thought it would be simple to draw the package recipient on top, but for some reason, he disappeared.

After throwing in some debugging output and manually setting its position, I discovered just how weird this bug is.

If the VIP is standing to the left and up of a certain position, it gets drawn. To the right and down of that position, it was missing.

Wha-? I eventually saw that it was, indeed, getting rendered in the correct spot. It was just getting drawn under the cobblestone tiles in that area, so you couldn’t see it.

That’s bizarre. Now, my sprite rendering system does draw according to z-order. The basic way it works is that if Sprite A and Sprite B are to be drawn at the same (X, Y) position, but Sprite A has a Z-coordinate that is higher than Sprite B, then Sprite B gets drawn first so that Sprite A gets drawn on top. If the Z-coordinates are the same, then it checks the Y coordinate next, so sprites get rendered from the top of the screen first and the bottom of the screen last, which gives a nice overlapping effect.

But I didn’t set the z-order explicitly on any of these sprites. I verified that the default z-order for all sprites is 0. I find it odd that I can draw the VIP on top of the cobblestone for about a 10×8 area in the upper left but not in a 2×8 area at the bottom right.

So I set the z-order of the VIP to a high number, and it still wouldn’t get drawn on top. I set the z-order of the cobblestone tiles to a negative value, and suddenly it started to work correctly.

Now, normally I would look into this bug a lot more. The rendering system was designed so that sprites drawn from left to right and top to bottom would render overlapping correctly without the need for z-ordering to be set.

The only thing I can think is the problem is that I don’t actually draw the sprites until I collect all sprite-drawing orders and do them in a batch. So I can have a bunch of sprite-drawing requests, and they get sorted by the z-ordering rules I mentioned, and then the sprites get drawn. Actually, maybe that’s the problem. The background tile render requests are in the same batch as the VIP render request, and I have no control over how two sprites at the exact same position and z-order would get sorted before they are rendered. I’m not sure why the behavior is inconsistent depending on where the VIP is, but again, I’m not going to look into it now. I have a game to finish!

Here’s a screenshot of the VIP getting rendered on top of the plaza tiles correctly:

Screenshot - The Plaza With VIP

Yes, my programmer art will be very basic, which means it is quick to make.

After I got the basic rendering working, I had lunch. A number of people have told me that they are looking forward to my apparently famous peanut butter and pickle sandwich. I was actually planning on skipping it this LD since I thought people would be sick of seeing the same sandwich and food come up each time, but I can’t disappoint the fans!

So first we spread some peanut butter on the bread…uh, oh….

This is sad. Where's the peanut butter?

That’s not nearly enough. Where’s the peanut butter?

What?! No peanut butter?

No peanut butter? I’m out of peanut butter?! Unpossible!

Every Ludum Dare, I go through a checklist. I make sure I have a working Audacity and sfxr in case I have enough time to implement sound. I double-check that my time lapse software still works. I ensure that I can start a new git project so I can get to work right away.

For this LD, I even made sure I had a new jug of orange juice, and I did have a new jar of pickles, but I forgot to check if I needed more peanut butter. B-(

But fear not! In the interest of variety, I have other nut butters! Walnut butter is too expensive to get regularly, but almond butter and cashew butter are delicious alternatives to peanut butter as well. Since pickle juice tends to make the sandwich a bit drippy, I opted to go with cashew butter, which has a stickier consistency than almond butter.

And there you have it: the cashew butter and pickle sandwich!

Cashew butter and pickle sandwich!

I sprinkled some cinnamon inside before applying the pickles, and it makes a compact, nutritious, delightful snack!

And now, on with the show!

A little less than 8 hours left. I’m not gonna lie. I’m getting slightly worried. My game might not have sound effects.

Or game play. But I’m definitely worried about the lack of sound. B-)

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