Another good day and pretty much wrapping up physics now, apart from the ragdoll of course, and to celebrate I have prepared a quick video showing the latest prototype and a screen shot for the fragile amongst you who dare not look upon pre-release content:
The preview video shows a few things, starting with the further tweaked water buoyancy physics and eventually the weapon being shadowed by the veg shadow map (not the cascade shadow map this time).
As you might also see I have removed the refraction in the water and kept only the reflection. The reason for this is that when many bodies enter the water, there is no performance friendly way of making the refraction intersection look good, and you end up with 'ghosts' of the object swimming about just below the surface. This removal will also 'drastically' improve performance and give me other advantages as the water can be transparent again. I think it looks just as good as a 'hero shot', and up close you will hardly notice the absence of refraction once I add some water depth effects and a few bits of wildlife.
Other Features Added
I tweaked the vegetation scales to match the new Reloaded asset objects, but until I get my buildings in with doors and windows, the final scale juggling will have to wait. I added the basic weapon system in the latest prototype as this will eventually be improved to include the full range of weapon functions when the AI work begins. I will likely cut and paste from the classic engine as the gun system is quite evolved already (you only have to play some of Errant AI's weapons to see this).
Adding the shadow effect from the vegshadowmap on the weapon was also a very effective and relatively cheap thing to do, and I am considering dropping the cascade shadow map from 4 texture stages to 3, allowing a full-time slot available for the vegshadowmap. Using this map I can do extra cool things like detect when a character or player is in shadow (very quickly) and maybe make some game play choices based on that (i.e. sneak-em-up games, enemies that avoid non-shadow areas) :)
I tweaked the overall physics speed and settings so small or thin objects no longer penetrate (or tunnel) the terrain mesh, but of course we won't have final settings until EVERYTHING is in. Still, pretty happy with the behavior of all objects now at 60 fps.
Early AI Work
I also got a glimpse of one of the key features of Reloaded which is enemies that can 'hide around a corner'. Here is a screenshot you should not take too seriously:
A great first prototype from Paul as it showed right away the red cone enemy getting behind a corner and staying there just out of firing range :)
As you can see, in the above shot, the white sphere which was 'me' forced the red cone to hide around the corner, but my two green allies sneaked around him and blasted the guy in his hiding spot. A little bug or feature exists where the red guy will just sit there in his hiding spot being blasted by the greens, but I am hoping Paul reads this blog and puts something in the 'self preservation' column so the red guy just runs away once truly and sufficiently pummeled!
Will spend some time chilling this weekend, but should find time to add the character model to the physics prototype and get the weapons functional. I can then start the process of incorporating the new AI system into a relatively good looking prototype. A kind-pin feature of the AI system will be the 'super building' concept, which is something I hope to reveal to you in the next three weeks.
Hopefully my Friday video will make up for the media black-out from the last two weeks, and providing I can get away with adding silly red disclaimers on my work in progress shots, you can continue to get some uber-early developer eye candy.