Friday, 21 June 2013

Friday Unchanged For Millions Of Years

A Good Day

Measured by my yardstick that decrees any day which does not contain a BSOD is now a good day.  Friday was a good day.  As some of you know, I am recovering from a system crash of mysterious origin and have updated my SATA controller driver in the hope this solves it. The stress test went well, as did my creation of a new SVN repository to hold the entire project off-site and on both machines.  For now disaster has been averted.

However, I am sure you want to learn about Reloaded development so here is the latest screen shot:

I am not tempting you with a video just yet, I am holding it back until I have more final artwork in the prototype. You will understand when you see it.  Don't worry about the insane specular coming off the sand, there will be much playing around with shaders all the way up to final beta.

So What Do You See

Well you probably recognize the wall and the monolith from the previous demo, but the sandy terrain is new and so is the sky.  Mark came through with some lovely undulating terrain, parallax textures and a matching sky box.  After much shifting of dev kit linkages, I managed to recompile my code and I do not seem to have lost any of my progress so the shadows cast just fine.

What you perhaps don't see is that the clouds in the sky are not part of the sky box but are in fact real dynamically generated clouds using our DarkCLOUDS module from Dark Basic Pro. Not only is this module capable of producing clouds, but has day/night cycles, sun simulation and a whole host of settings to affect how many clouds you have and what they do.  You can even accelerate time, or even reverse time from within the command set. Very powerful, very fast and just the job. I had to mask out the old sky box sky, and in doing so realized I need some really high resolution mountains for the final product but I think the effect is really cool. You get foreground terrain, then background mountains and finally a realistic sky.

I have been REALLY tempted to add extra stuff to the shader (bloom, depth of field, sun flare, etc) but I have a product to finish and the visuals are already looking top draw so I will leave those for tweaks and polish when we have more the product shape in place.

Under Control

The final part of my deliverable for the Monday meeting is the player controller system which will allow the user to wander around the level. The old one will be thrown out and my new one will take it's place. This one has been written quickly and to my exact requirements, and allows the player to walk and run, mouse look and jump will follow soon. The best feature of the new controller is that I've added smoothing maths so everything feels slick and professional. This is now in the demo and Saturday and Sunday will be spent tweaking the prototype and adding Mark Art as it comes in.

Signing Off

It's that time of year where a small office like mine starts to heat up really bad. The sunny days, coupled with having three PCs on, two large skylights and an overworked coder all contribute to the oven I now write from. Unfortunately, I have a product to finish so I must fight through it to the next battle in this war. I've downloaded the latest Bullet Physics SDK 2.8 and have run through a few of the demos. It seems the first two things I will need is the terrain demo and the kinetic character controller class. Whether it's an easy cut and paste job, or a nightmare on earth remains to be seen.  I've also been tinkering with the idea of writing a sand-storm particle effect for the demo as well, but perhaps this is one bridge too far for the weekend.

As a mini quiz, can anyone figure out the name of the game I was thinking about when I wrote the title?


  1. A question since you're on the subject of terrain: is the infinite horizon mentioned in the kickstarter page for Reloaded still going to be in? I just think that that would be the icing on the cake along with the other stuff you've mentioned this blog. If it were to be implemented though, I'd be curious to see as to how you would go about doing it.

  2. Yes indeed, as described. Once you hit the physical limit of the level (500x500 tiles), the auto generated terrain will continue a few thousand units into the sky box, and hopefully blend nicely in the distance. It will be up to you as a level designer to add some obstacles around this physics edge to convince the player to turn back. Alternatively you can raise the edges of your terrain so steep that the player cannot even climb it (the new player controller will have a maximum slope value for step climbing limits). The terrain geometry is relatively low polygon so rendering it off into the distance should not be a problem.

  3. Fantastic result there and one can see glimpses of the eventual final possibilities. I am well known to be very critical I think and take some satisfying.

    As it happens it was only about two days ago when I had been thinking about what FPSCR needed to include was the management of and ability to have dynamic sky and day night cycles and thought about suggesting it but thought I would have been asking for too much and in any case did not dare suggest it at such a time.

    Clearly I am very happy and happy for the FPSCR product....

    I would say that this together with the new higher level quality of Character/AI we have seen being a solid core that as far as I am aware no other engine anywhere near this class could boast and never has easily out of the box will place FPSCR in a great position to achieve a great deal of success for itself, TGC and users.

    You have my admiration and thanks for sticking with and concentrating on the core features and getting these in place as described. We asked for it and you are delivering.

    I do hope that the rest of the many things you surely yet have to do go a little easier on you and we all look forward to FPSCR being launched and being a great success which I am sure it will be.

    This looks like being a different class of indie game engine to what TGC has had before and its beginning to show if that's not too much of an over statement. I can see the need and plan to look at getting physics in and hopefully later seeing some enemy AI moving across the terrain to complete the scenario/scene as it were.

    Drooling again. Great work. Thanks

  4. I'm quite impressed with the sky there wow

  5. Just on a side note, could you use screenshots on a higher resolution (somehting like 1080p)?
    Because I always get the feeling that everything might just run fine with lower resolution but switching up to standard 1920*1080 might just kill everything. Higher screenshots (and even video quality) would convinvce me, that this is not the case.
    Other than that, the progress still looks really good. As mentioned the skybox needs a more "high-def" look in the future, but great idea to throw the cloud thing in.
    I can see great potential in these features.

  6. Looks Greate especially with Dartk Clouds and with Day/night aswell.
    this looks extremly promising :D

  7. Hi, I have a question for you. The old model pack for fps creator x9 will be compatible with the new fps creator reloaded? In addition, the textures of the old model packs will remain the same or They will improve themselves ? Visually, I will see much difference whether I used the old model packs to the new fps creator reloaded?

  8. Thanks for all the comments! I agree it's the first screen shot that looks something more like Oblivion and less like Doom :) I will continue plugging away and hopefully fulfil the potential of this product so you guys can sally forth and create some great games. Once I am in beta stage, I will start producing higher resolution videos and shots as part of the grand reveal, just be aware you will need a beefy GPU to run at those high resolutions due to the heavy shaders this puppy will employ. Old model packs will work in the new Reloaded but run in 'legacy mode', or we might select model packs and 'upgrade' them to work with Reloaded. We will see.

  9. Thanks to you! Forgive my question and my ignorance but....what does "legacy mode" mean? Good work Lee :) See you soon

    1. Legacy Normaly Means(older version or older compatibilety or Older run) it depends. :) ps Norwegian

  10. I was looking at the screenshot thinking this is finally starting to look great, then I read you have already implemented Dark Clouds and started drooling at how good this must be in motion.

    It will be very important to ensure the likes of Bloom and Depth of Field find their way into the mix before the 1st beta is released but things are already looking very good here.

    I'm still interested to see how dynamic shadows are going to be handled for indoor areas and if we are still going down the deferred rendering path or not.

    At least we can all see that Reloaded is already way ahead of FPSC and X10 already and only 50% of the way through development which is very encouraging.

    AI is going to be an interesting one and I'm also interested to see how you manage waypoints in Reloaded if enemies can climb ladders and use cover etc.

    Aside from graphics I think this will be the area which makes or breaks the product. Ultimately the AI doesn't need to be revolutionary, it just needs to be solid and work consistently.

    For now though great work and please continue like this for the rest of the project and we will really have something that is capable of making some genuinely good games.

  11. "..just be aware you will need a beefy GPU to run at those high resolutions due to the heavy shaders this puppy will employ."

    Could you hint as to what the lowest spec machine would be to run everything full whack? Then perhaps those of us with lower specs can shop around for when FPSC comes out.

  12. Bullet Physics is straightforward. However i worry about your huge level size for floating precision.

  13. You certainly do need to keep the AI at the very highest level of quality being at the top of the list for priority in my humble opinion, whilst keeping some measure of control of the machine spec required to run FPSCR.

    I don't think you can expect to see any large number of users or potential users rushing out to buy the top of the range machine just to run FPSCR no matter how good it may become. Thats not the way of things in general. You may end up with a very small user base actually being able to do anything with it.

    Hopefully it wont end up like Classic in that way due to a major issue being the drain on most users machines as it were as that in itself could be one for many potential purchasers/users.

    Those with top of the range machines will always be few and far between and many of those are not going to simply switch to using FPSCR if the don't already support TGC products despite the improvements over classic. Some may and many wont as FPSCR will still be well behind what other engines can offer in many areas being quite restricted in some areas.

    I think FPSCR and I may be wrong will need to attract quite a large user base rather than a select one by hardware requirement restrictions which may limit users to a minority of those that may otherwise be able to support it. But then I guess it depends on who the target audience is and how much you have to charge for the product without alienating even more potential users.

    As usual I am waffling but there is a danger there I think which needs controlling rather than just letting the development dictate the end result.

    I understand the need for setting high end results for the product targets for output but that should not be at the expense of the user base depletion which could certainly conversely do with some much needed boosting.

    If it all looks like its going to need a "Beefy" machine now, I hesitate to think what it will need when the rest of the features are added and users get hold of it and start destroying it with heavy development which they surely will put it through. With an up to 500 x 500 tile world size and so on - sounds like more than Beefy is going to be needed :-) Double Decker perhaps.

    I hope all that pans out and has some sensible balance for the sake of the product.

  14. I think hardware as come a long way since x10 even. A card of gts 8800 in 2008 was a great card now it is been way out performed by lower end cards and a cheap rig will do well. Also reload will be more optimised and im sure settings will deal with that. And I think he already has bonus funding so I think it will be all good. It ain't working like the old it optimises and draws parts not all and lod and culling and horizon tricks etc mean performance will be smooth and hardly a taxing cycle. I also believe he found a trick with shadows and won't be as performance hitting either. Ai and physics I am sure will be be more efficient as him and hockey kid discussed. I just hope he will add role play script like character choice or something with advancing levels. Or able to have ability to do it without a mod etc.

  15. it Looks awsome.might need to have a function about level editor grapic quality test mode quality and final buld quality. youst so that if whant to make a beefy grapic game you can in editor. but will have low fps in game or when testing etc. so far it reminds me of Serious sam3 Quality and i dont think SS3 Demands extremly beefy pc i can run it and i dont have extreme pc. sort of Norwegian&Dyselexia)StigDesign at TGC StigDesign1 at Youtube. :)