It's been a while, as I was away on business (If anyone ever asks you to ride a freight train from Adelaide to Alice Springs, then back..... decline, hastily). Arnthak's been quite difficult to work on lately, as paranoia has set in slightly ('Will this actually be any fun to play? Will people understand how the crafting system works? How the hell do I get more puzzles into this thing?!?'), and it's actually quite hard to even begin working with those monkeys on your back.
Regardless, it's nice to be looking at things again, and I've managed to fix one significant bugbear for me: Text in Slick.
Drawing text to the screen in Slick2D seems like an easy thing, but it's actually a goddamn pain. While the libraries are present, the functions are present and they work... they don't produce good results. Both the TrueTypeFont & UnicodeFont classes have a drawString method, and both fail to produce non-fuzzy output (the actual text is blurry and difficult to read). After a few hours of frustration, I swapped over to using AngelCode fonts, and though the class is unintuitive to use, it's workable. I'll need to polish it and make it look good - but at least I can read it. It was quite disheartening to be unable to read dialogue, and made me question whether we needed so much lore, etc in the game.
The map grows, slowly but surely - and other areas are refined, slowly but surely. The polishing process is far more important to me at this stage. I've become achingly aware that there needs to be more of a fun element to the game, and this is becoming a stumbling block for me personally. Fine tuning the maps helps me to get toward a better blend game-wise.
This afternoon, I sat down and worked on some (rather snappy, if I say so myself) fungal decoration tiles. These are simply 'icing' for the upper sections of the Forest, to indicate to presence of Myconids. It's programmer art, but I think it's important to put a bit of effort in, and I'm happy with how they are. I'm sure Jay will make them look even better soon.