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Archipelagos Remake - Energy bars and trees



Anyone who's played the original will know how eerie the game looks. The Arboreal Trees are the main feature of the game. They are the items that spread infection across the land. They look great on the ST and Amiga. They grow then sink into the ground, before growing again at an adjacent square.

Having played around with some Gear VR games I had noticed a few games that had minimalistic, yet effective, untextured polygon graphics. And as I'm still trying to grow my confidence with 3DS Max, I wasn't that keen on designing my own trees. I didn't want to make a direct 3D copy of the originals.

A couple of weeks ago I came across a possible solution - voxel trees. The idea came from this 3DS Max Maxscript tutorial on YouTube.


I took the ideas in this and created my own version in C#. It doesn't work in quite the same way. The result is less perfect and yet seems more fitting in that the trees grow in a more erratic fashion, which is something you might associate more with something that's diseased. Also, instead of trees sinking into the ground, they crumble from the top down after a few seconds. The pieces (voxels) then sink slowly into the ground they land on as they fade. Wherever a piece lands on, that square will become infected and one or more new trees will grow in those new infected areas.

One minor gameplay change that will come from this is that disease is likely to spread faster across the landscape than in the original.

The tree test works fine but at the moment it's not working when I place the tree in a level. Hopefully that shouldn't take too long to fix.

Something that does work and, as expected, didn't take very long to do was the energy and timer bars. The design of those is likely to change by the end and they will need to be completely redesigned for VR otherwise they will be uncomfortable as they'd be right in the player's face, as it were.

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It's been held up the fast few weeks due to lack of time and space to set up my laptop. Only had a chance to do a couple of bug fixes, such as the bug with the trees. Have another bug to contend with when the tree regrows in a new location.


I am a bit concerned about the number of polygons in the trees. I'll probably have to scale it back a bit. When a tree is 'growing' it's not so much of an issue. It's when it's crumbling that there could be a problem when all the physics comes into play. With Gear VR, there's an even greater limit in the number of polygons you can have over the number of polys in a normal mobile game.

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