During the shadow rendering changes I was generating new sprites quite frequently, and I quickly realised that my mess of shell scripts just wasn’t a good enough system to be used in anger. I would have to call my scripts manually, with a variety of parameters, and remember a bunch of stuff unique to each script.
So I spent a day converting the script system into a Makefile, with rules for:
I also improved the scripts to make them touch all their output files with the last-modified timestamp of the original 3D model, meaning the scripts could become self-aware and know which output files are up-to-date and which need re-rendering.
With this system I can generate a full set of renders of all vehicles in ~minutes, or render just a single car in ~seconds. This is such a huge time saver and has enabled me to iterate on car designs more quickly and easily than ever before. I’m already seeing the gains in much better sprites.
Believe it or not this was the first Makefile I’ve ever needed to write from scratch. I knew enough about them to know that they would be a good fit for this task, and it was fun to learn more about something I only knew in passing.