Shining Online

January 8th, 2007 16:32 Development Diary

A look at the SO Editor

Once development of the PC version of Shining Online started, it became apparent that a suite of editors would make creating the content much quicker and easier than adding information directly to the source code. Here’s a little look at two of the old Shining Online development tools.

Shining Online – Level Editor

The first version of the level editor was built directly into the game engine, and could be activated by pressing certain keys. The buttons on the side would slide onto the screen in a similar fashion to the Dreamcast web-browser, and the whole thing was controlled using the arrow keys.

As the levels got larger and more complicated, using this editor became much harder. After the first demo was released it was re-designed and rebuilt from the ground up.


The “Shining Online Development Application”, or SODA, was the next iteration of these development tools. It was a separate, full screen application that took advantage of a higher resolution and the mouse, so was much easier to use. It made it much easier to edit maps and characters, and integrated an “event editor” that allowed the user to create simple scripted events, such as characters speaking or changing the weather.

The quest featured in Shining Online Demo 3B was developed using SODA, which was difficult considering the unfinished state SODA was in. It was mainly a race between adding functionality to the main game and then adding a method to edit it in SODA.

The Future…

When Shining Online was put on indefinite hold, my focus switched to other projects which would need a set of editing tools to be created. Instead of creating a million new editors for each new project, it seemed logical to create a single, unified application which other editors could be built on top of.

Instead of writing a complete GUI system as in the first two applications, the standard Windows GUI is used instead. Naturally a few extra bits have been added, and the finished version should allow for GUI’s to be loaded dynamically from an XML definition file, which opens up the possibility for the application interface to be developed using itself.

The editor is currently in development (as always), but is still called SODA. Because recursive acronyms are so popular these days, SODA should stand for something groovy like “SODA: Omnipotent Development Application”. I think I’ll keep that.

February 20th, 2003 12:23 Development Diary

Worklog – February 20th, 2003

More more more! From now on I’ll try and update this thing as soon as features are added. Most of these features should be apparent in the next demo.

  • Added the play and stop ambient sound events.
  • Added the play and stop music events.
  • Added the new look weather events.
  • Added the speak event.
  • Added enemy editing to SODA.
  • Added obstruction template (thanks to Koshums for his help).
  • Added the flashing tiles too :)
  • Removed almost 30k of redundant/repugnant code. Ouch.


November 28th, 2002 12:22 Development Diary

Worklog – November 28th, 2002

Another month, another Dev Diary. I’m writing this at 2am after 6 hours of coding, so excuse the lack of coherence.

  • Got four absolute monsters of assignments for January hand-ins. Ouch.
  • Interviewed for TSS. Hopefully a link will be up soon.
  • More source slicing. What’s left is a lot tighter than before. Hopefully the weekend shall yield more results.
  • Started writing an A* algorithm for the enemy AI (as well as an article to go with it.) It’s not as easy as I thought, but it should be done soon.
  • More design doc, more website.
  • Worked on SODA some more. Completely overhauled the interface.
  • Started plans for the Atari SO.
  • More website stuff.
  • Did the Hussien Skank.

My bed looks very comfy. Night!


October 27th, 2002 12:20 Development Diary

Worklog – October 27th, 2002

Wow, haven’t been keeping up to date, have I? Sometimes I get a little suprised by just how long SO has been dragging itself along. Anyway, here’s some updates!

  • Finished Skies Of Arcade. It’s really quite good, so buy it for your DC (and the GameCube version too!)
  • Sliced more guff out of the source code, speeding the game up a tad. Plus it made me feel better. You learn a lot of coding tricks in a year, and the source is beginning to how it’s age.
  • Got a nice installer working, which should prevent people from getting errors with the new demo. I hope.
  • Added some new functionality to the website (not online yet though =P ), as well as some integration with the game. I’m quite proud of that bit.
  • Wrote 26 pages of design doc. Not a lot really, but I’m not very good at writing lots of guff.
  • Added some of the cameo sprites, but I’m still waiting for more (*hint hint!*)
  • Did lots of university work =\
  • Started the mammoth task of finishing the level editor, and adding “Super Mega Event Editor”
  • Released a demo of Sonic Groove (Here)
  • Thought about canning SO. Quite liked the idea, too!
  • Canned SO (see news)
  • Realised it was a bad joke.
  • Newts wrote more music.
  • And more music.
  • Got hassled to release the next demo. When it’s ready, you fiends!

I should really get back to work now. Hope you enjoyed this rather poor update!

June 19th, 2002 12:19 Development Diary

Worklog – June 19th, 2002

What’s an update? Plenty has been done, so here goes…

  • Changed the backbone of the game structure, making it a lot more versatile. Took a bloody long time but should be worth it in the long run. Source code is now readable too.
  • Drew some nice graphics, like more enemies and townsfolk (mostly drawn by Newts though).
  • Started adding some tasty new effects, though they won’t be in the demo.
  • Completely re-wrote and re-designed the development environment…because I got bored. Looks much better now and is far better, allowing more complete control over the game.
  • Changed some weather effects to look better. Which they do.
  • Added a fullscreen/windowed mode selector. Fullscreen mode is far superior, but some people can’t run it…
  • Played lots of Skies of Arcadia and Grandia 2. Finished Grandia 2, need to play more Arcadia.
  • Prettied up the windows.
  • Spell Icons redrawn by Newts.
  • Music re-recorded by Newts.
  • Listened to some punk music.
  • Started major work on demo 4, and watched stress levels go ballistic.
  • Fixed some more minor niggles, and cleaned more source code. Again, it’s more readable than before, plus it’s a little faster.
  • Realised (again) that for the amount of time I’ve had, I’ve done very little..