Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Introducing Starch

Last week, the first major step in the Starch Framework was made - saving data. Today, the data saved has been refined meaning that, once loading is refined, a working data flow will be up and running. Right now though, I must answer the obvious question - What is the Starch Framework?

Have you ever played a game with some kind of level/item creator and shared it with others? In most cases you are restricted to share with the same game, and then you're locked in to that platform. Let's say Need for Speed: Most Wanted had a track editor and you created a track. You've made that track on the Xbox 360 and can share with your friends on the 360 (using Autolog). But you have friends who only own the PS3/PC/Wii U version. They can't play on it. Starch will remove that barrier.

But, hey, what's with just stopping at removing this platform barrier (or rather, let's take a step sideways)? Why can't you use the track you created in Need for Speed and then race on it in Mario Kart? And let's just live in a world without rules for the moment - why can't you use that same track as a multiplayer map in Halo? That's what the Starch Framework is. Letting you live in a world without rules. Well, OK, there are some rules. But let's just pretend there aren't.

A map created in a 2D racing game, along with the file with the corresponding data
Initially, because this is part of my dissertation, Starch will be built alongside two (incredibly lacking in the visual and feature department) racing games - one will be 2D and created in XNA, the other will be 3D and made in Unity. This means Starch is initially only going to work in C#. If it works, I intend to get it working in Java. And then C++. Possibly. But this might all be a while away. This might not even work. I may be punching well above my weight. But it's a start.