Monday, 15 July 2013

Monday And The Return

Back In The Driving Seat

Freshly returned from the baking sun and rolling waves, I find my computer desk exactly where I left it, and the Reloaded project crying out for attention. Hopefully I can make up some time in the next few weeks, produce lots of cool things and restore the balance of Reloaded news in the universe.

Naturally the weekend was spent dealing with no less than 260 emails, half of which I could not delete. I then had a small mountain of paper mail, lots of personal life to catch up on and of course the final task this morning was to go through the progress of the last two weeks from our Reloaded team.

While I was sunning myself, our esteemed artists Mark and Peter have been producing juicy little nibbles for the Reloaded banquette and I can reveal some of the eye candy right for your delectation.

In the above video, you can see the final elements of the character animation being crafted to give a more realistic reaction to getting shot from multiple directions and from multiple stances. Arguably better than ragdoll, it will really help improve the dynamic feeling when in the midst of a Reloaded combat situation.

It seems Google Blogger cannot find Google YouTube videos, even when you give it the full exact title of the video so I had to resort to the above.  This video is hosted on our parent YouTube Channel in case you wondered.

Here is a shot from our new Quest system which will allow you to place images and text on screen when you chat with a character. It should be some helpful advice or a map to lost treasure ideal for a wondering hero.

The explosions also got a LOT bigger in my absence, with dark cloud flumes punctuated by orange blasts of heat. It's still work in progress, but I can't wait to blow something up when it finally integrates with the main engine!

The Two Weeks Ahead

My schedule for the next two weeks are pretty gruelling, in that I have to write a complete terrain engine and editing system which integrates with the main map editor system we have so far.

My short list is to be able to dynamically create terrain in real-time, with real-time vegetation, edit for terrain height, texture and foliage plus add the ability to walk on the terrain either through physics or a simple ray cast. All this needs to culminate in a demo at the end of the month which demonstrates the ability to select a terrain genre, randomise said terrain, edit it and then run around it. In addition, as the water table system is key to the terrain texturing system, a basic shaded water plane will also be introduced so bodies of water can be simulated too.

It's a tall order, but with some careful planning and single minded focus, I should get plenty done by the time I have to show anyone.

Signing Off

Naturally all I have to report so far is that my backlog is cleared, all Reloaded emails have been sent out and side tasks delegated. I have a few emails to send out after writing this blog, and then I dive deep into the world of generating real-time terrain.  Thanks for your patience and allowing me to swan off for two weeks, but I am back now and ready to report the rip roaring rodeo that is Reloaded.

AGK V2 Kickstarter

Another amazing bit of news that greeted me on my return was the huge success of the AGK kickstarter which we ran before I left for my holiday.

Fear not sports fans, my focus will remain on FPSC Reloaded entirely. This project is in the safe and skilled hands of Paul who has already spearheaded the V108 update and brings amazing new features to this product daily. The kickstarter has already passed three stretch goals and is set to hit a forth with over 3 weeks still to go.  The next stretch goal is the inclusion of Bullet Physics in the main command set, which will compliment the augmented 3D commands perfectly.  I am personally hoping we hit that one as the combination of 3D and Physics in a cross platform easy to use language would be an almighty boon!


  1. Hi Lee

    Firstly welcome back from your holiday!

    Now that you mention water, I think we should move away from using a single plane to cover the entire map. Instead we should use a material / shader which can be used on surfaces so we can have water in different parts of a map.

    Also are you still going to try a deferred rendering prototype to see if this will be a better approach for lighting in Reloaded?

    Looks like there are some nice new features and content on the horizon which is nice.

  2. I do see your point about water areas VS water plane, but the schedule is pretty tight running up to Christmas and it makes sense to focus on the 80%, which will be games played above water. No reason why I cannot swap out the water plane for water bodies at a later date of course :) Deferred rendering will solve some performance issues I can anticipate, but for the next two weeks my brain is committed to terrain. After that, and some ideas I have about ground shadows for grass, I can visit the overall shader a fresh and look at the deferred question which is really just about performance.

    1. Ok Lee sounds good.

      I finally got around to pledging my cash for Reloaded and got my new shiny badge. It was the dynamic shadows video which tipped me over the edge!

      Am also glad to have your blog functional again. A little treat at the end of each day to see cool new stuff.

  3. While that quest system looks interesting, I sincerely hope it is not as limited as it sounds, and also not the only glimmer of GUI abilities for reloaded.

    To me, having the ability to implement our GUI, featuring drag and drop, buttons and interaction with values/scripts is really, really important in allowing Reloaded to reach its full potential. A lot of the graphical issues are being sorted out, which is great, but the gameplay ones could do with some seeing to as well. The more flexible and diverse this tool is, the more it will be bought and used.

    As it is, making a GUI that is barely interactive is virtually impossible in FPSC. :(

    1. @Huknar

      Agreed but the graphics, performance and physics are really the most important things which need to be addressed in the engine.

      GUI systems can usually be scripted and that can be added or extended by the community later on.

  4. Brilliant to see the kickstarter campaign well exceeded target. Well done!

  5. Will you be adding rain and snow efx to the outdoor terrain. It would be a great feature to add and create a more dynamic creator. Blosser shaders were good but it is reloaded and should be awesome.

  6. No plans for rain, snow, storms, wind or other environmental effects for V1. Those are nicely self contained effects we can introduce in a series of updates after the initial release. It also needs some quality time do them right, such as changing the specular value of surface textures when they get wet, HUD raindrops and snowdrops, new physics for atmospheric changes, tracks in the snow, rain bouncing vertically off sky-facing surfaces, water distortion in heavy rain and wind, the list goes on. Definitely something to tackle as a whole project rather than a quick add-on.

  7. Agreed. I would pay for a weather pack. And other packs too. Plenty of extra add ons for us. Glad you will do it though :) p.s is that a definitely will do it?

  8. It's a definitely talk about it more after V1 ;)

  9. Hey Lee, where is the blog for Tuesday?

    Some of us don't have lives you know!

  10. You know me, my Tuesday ends about Wednesday morning about 4AM :)

  11. I've been waiting a long time for better text support.