Thursday, 9 May 2013

Thursday Paranoid

Paradroid System Added

Back in the day when I was an 8-bit games coder, I used to play a game called Paradroid, and remember reading an interview with the author who described how he managed to create the impression of hundreds of robots in his game by simply removing them when they left the edge of the scrolling view and adding them when they entered the zone. Simple stuff, but life lessons like that stick when you are young and form the brain that later goes on to create programming languages for fun and profit.

"image copyright the respective owner(s)"

I can confess I spent many hours playing this game, and also confess that I never completed it. One of the reasons is that the ship was MASSIVE and you only had one life as I recall.  No save game positions back then ;)

I can gladly report that this little pearl of wisdom is now added to my instance stamp system which only creates buffers when the instance in question is in view.  Here is a shot of the prototype right now:

At the moment it creates the buffers, but does not delete them so you can see what it looks like as I wondered around. My next step is to delete buffers that are entirely outside the camera view zone, and place them in an inert state. No sense deleting the buffer from memory as I will only be creating one of the same size as I advance into new territory.  The buffer count should even out after a few minutes of game play and we can finally see the memory usage for basic geometry.

Once again, if programmer art and uninspiring screen shots are giving you cause to doubt reality as you know it, please disregard, they are going to be replaced with new geometry, new textures and new shaders.  It's all smoke and mirrors these days!

Signing Off

Had another conference call today to add to the Ultimate Coder Hangout call from yesterday so I can hopefully post a link to that hangout video soon. Not too many email distractions today which was welcome.  Also had a steak dinner which was a nice treat for me and one of the reasons I look forward to every other Thursday ;)  Should have this Paradroid System complete by Friday night!


  1. When I first read the headline I thought it said Paranoid. I was wondering if all this R&D work had hit a dead end. Good to know you're winning Lee, let massive worlds be built!

  2. I pray that's what this eventually becomes, Aaron. We believe in you Lee!

  3. Thanks all! Not sure about 'open world' as to me that means 'miles' of landscape, which requires streaming data in from a large page file, which is a whole new set of techniques. Not impossible, but I would like to put the cogs back in the machine and get it looking like a game engine again :) The good news is that the new technique I am using lends itself very well to increasing the reference grid size without increasing memory usage significantly. Any idea how big a typical 'open world' needs to be in 'FPSC grid tile units' to become convincing?

  4. Rick: It DOES say Paranoid ;) Come on, just because you're TGC's resident realist doesn't mean you have to be so unbelieving in Lee's work :P

    IMO whilst virtually infinite worlds would be the best option, at 200x20x200 you could create some pretty massive worlds and it's easily big enough for anything I could think of making. Well, maybe it could be taller (40?).

    For open-world games, I would make a guesstimate of around 400-500 tiles wide. If the engine is designed well to begin with it should be possible to expand the maximum size to whatever you want and still have the game run well.

  5. regarding the Polyreduction, i do believe that Lee just wants to quick test some things
    and that is why he just needs something easy and fast
    to produce some testresults.

    So lets not bother yet with Lod`s
    that is another chapter and will be dependent on the artist itself
    and in the FPSCR Art case - it depends on Bond01
    and we all know that he is actually a great artist.

    However i do hope that there will be some documentation regarding the art aspect (and LOD System) of FPSCR - a quick howto?!

    1. My post regarding polyreduction is in Friday's post, not this one ;)

      But my point with Action3D is that Lee is TGC, surely he could get a free copy whenever he wants.