Friday, 9 August 2013

Friday Video Time

While The Cat's Away

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!

Signing Off

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.


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  2. Fantastic work here Lee,

    Looks like you really got the pysics nailed down now and I think the water will be fine without refraction. I guess when you are dealing with a body of water this size and throwing physics objects in there it will have an impact on performance at some point.

    Always worth checking with the Blosser as he might have some refraction in a single pass shader up his sleeve that would help with that.

    I appreciate you have the weapon system and AI to take care of now and getting enemies working but please don't forget about the other rendering prototypes for things like deferred rendering, indoor dynamic shadows etc.

    Also occlusion culling will become very important once you start actually populating these terrains with lots of buildings and entities. I'm assuming you will be revisiting that down the road.

    Things are going very well so I think the key thing is keep going as you are and don't worry too much about hitting a particular deadline.

    You have earned yourself a weekend off. Enjoy.

  3. I'm impressed. What happens if you jump on a floating entity?

  4. very impressing! i think the physic system is almost ready, it need to be fine tuned, i noticed the barrel mantain the same speed after a little slope in the terrain (0:11) it appear to be "braked" but i think is because it roll only a little before splashing in water! (a splash effect?) i had a lot of fun, i suppose you can jump over the floating objects, could be possible to load a .x file of, example, a boat and put it on water?

  5. Looks really good.

    I think somewhat better with the refraction but you know overall whats best for Reloaded re performance impact and so on so we must trust in what you will decide and do.

    What I like about the water to date is its no over heavy on the surface shaders so much is looks almost like plastic as in some engines though if thats what is called for that's another matter. This is - well natural.

    Not sure from looking at the video but yes it may be nice if it were possible for the water to react to impact - i.e. splash, ripple etc, as already mentioned. If not then so be it. Cant have everything and performance and so on can only be adjudged by you at the moment. I guess in reality it may be a long time down the road when everyone can build some large game levels in order to actually test the total overall performance of the engine but at the moment in development you have to use your judgement we understand. If something shows an obvious undue impact then it has to be dropped or not even considered I suppose.

    I would not want to niggle as personally I am for getting the main core element features stable and maintain performance for those and at the end of the day maintain good game play speeds and stability. Smaller details are a bonus to me.

    Looking beyond minor details Overall this is excellent.

    The variation now in the veg and the terrain shadows make things look much better and I noticed when going over the top of the hill and being able to see the rolling hills well into the distance that it does that very well indeed from what can be seen in the video. I am not sure if the hills far away there are part of the skybox or actual terrain and it does not matter from the point of view that the distance blends well into the physical play area as it were.

    A Far Cry scuse the pun again from Classic and its those kind of major features that make the difference here.

    Not sure about making a game but I could certainly entertain myself for years to come making 3D worlds I can just walk around, explore and enjoy the view. With the increased size of the Reloaded world that in and of itself would probably be enough to occupy me for quite some time.

    Its a thumbs up and looking forward to seeing more and whats to come in the time ahead.

    Thanks again.


  6. Absolutely awesome! It's great to see this being built :)

  7. With the AI how will we avoid the issue with enemies passing by eachother on the same path? In FPSC sometimes they get stuck or they whip around eachother. In games like Fallout and Skyrim they some how manage to walk around other characters in their path.

  8. I'm totally amazed that you (Lee) thought to make it possible to walk on floating physics objects. The closer Reloaded gets to completion, the more I start to believe that finally I might be able to fulfil my dream of creating games with a quality reminiscent of the first and second singleplayer FPS games I ever played, Portal and Half-Life 2. Half-Life 2 is my favourite game of ALL TIME and will stay that way forever. GO VALVE! Except Steam. Make it faster and less awkward and allow us to prevent auto-updates on singleplayer games and then GO VALVE! *night-weirdness rant over*