Backlogs and Bitmaps
Well after the turmoil of motorway crashes and a weekend of gardening I am back in the saddle to get cracking with code. I had to clear three hours of email backlog, letters and a few tweaks to some existing products, but was able to rescue half the day for Reloaded fun.
New Bitmap Font System
The current text system in FPSC is pretty crude and relies on the true-type font system built into DBP, which is fine for regular text applications but not for high end super graphical games. For this you need bitmap fonts, and to this end I have created a prototype which can create and use bitmap fonts from the AGK universe.
This was was triggered by the current stage of the inventory panel prototype, which now requires proper text to fill in the gaps. Hopefully with the font renderer in place, I can show a new inventory panel screen shot soon.
Static LOD in Instance Stamp
As you may recall, we left our Instance Stamp system requiring some LOD magic to reduce the number of polygons the user can see at any one time. This will help control large scenes within the engine, and allow the addition of large meshes that have LOD built into them.
This brings me to note the reality that all legacy model packs which do not contain any LOD levels will not use the technique I am about to implement this evening. All Reloaded assets will be developed to include certain number of LOD levels so that this technique, and the dynamic LOD you saw before work out of the box. Old model packs can still be used, but will not take advantage of LOD.
You might be thinking that this LOD 'thing' can be done automatically, but it's not that easy and the results can be quite wild. In order to get the best quality visuals and results, I am opting for artist defined LOD. Of course there will be nothing to stop artists who previously authored older model packs to revise their assets by adding LOD, but that will be down to the individual artists. We may also update packs authored by TGC if there is enough community support for this, but might incur some kind of upgrade cost per model pack as there is quite a bit of work involved to do this.
Once I crack static LOD, I will move swiftly onto getting light mapping in there so I can get back to where I was a few weeks ago, operating from within the main map editor :) I think though that this diversion was well worth it and will make a better product when we finally release to the masses!