I also plan to work on an RPG, but not based on DND. As my weapons have a variety of reaches (combined with character’s height/monster size) and choice of weapon strokes (slashing/sweeping strokes verses thrust and parry). There is no initiative in the game, each action takes a certain amount of time to complete (based on the character’s traits and the amount he is encumbered.) I plan on implementing a time queue in a At Startup Stack piece.
My question is: What would be the best way to implement the path of a weapon swing? I am using a hex grid map with 12 facings (each vertex, and hexside center). I would like to place the weapon sweep when the player takes an action, using different shadings for each future time point. Is there a way to modify area of effect to do this? Would it be better to place a irregular shaded piece adjacent to the character? Other options?
Yes, PNG’s support 8 bits of transparency - 256 levels from completely transparent to completely opaque.
I agree with Joel that enhancing Are of Effect would be the way to go. However, it is moderately complex problem - You need to handle the two different hex orientations, plus, there are lot of variations in what arcs you actually want to display.
The PNG file format has support for 1-, 8-, and 16-bit alpha. Most image
manipulation programs you’ll encounter right now does not yet support
16-bit color samples, but 8-bit alpha will give you 256 levels of
transparency, which I expect would be sufficient.