A Long Day
So long in fact I think my body napped for 30 minutes at the keyboard between deep coding thoughts. Mostly a meeting day today, and it was a long one too, which means I talked a lot which means I was tired at the end of it. Once I got my second wind I returned to the world of physics coding. It's now 2:30AM which means this has been an 18 hour day give or take a meal or two, and I'm ready to turn in and post a quick blog.
A Meeting In A Pub
Mostly confidential stuff but some good ideas, initiatives and action plans came out of it, which will help strengthen the Reloaded project still further and provide some very exciting features for Christmas and beyond. The big result of course is that everyone liked the terrain module demo, and aside from some extra tweaks the potential of this new component was realized almost immediately. I will make some videos for Friday's blog so you can see what we saw today, and hopefully you will approve.
We also had an opportunity to play with the Oculus Rift device, and aside from certain members getting dizzy and almost throwing up in my office, the potential of this device was clear. Fear not, we are entirely focused on the essential features of Reloaded and will not be distracted too much with these amazing new toys!
I was ready to call it an early day when I thought I would do half an hour of physics to make today count in the development arena. Well that was five hours ago. I now have the terrain collision working, nice and fast, and also have the character controller running around the terrain. I also threw in a few barrels at the top of the mountain and had fun following them down as they cascaded and bashed off each other, winding the way of least resistance down the slopes. Great fun!
I did have some hurdles, the main one being I could not use the built-in Bullet height map collision shape because Blitzwerks uses alternating quad edge patterns which means the physics does not respect the polygon arrangments. Although the objects follow the heights, they sink into the terrain in places which was not really what we wanted.
I solved it by using the static mesh shape, converting the terrain to a low LOD mesh and providing that. It remains to be seen whether I need to use the high resolution mesh for the physics mesh collision, but I am hoping I can get away with the lower resolution one for the collision map.
I am quickly running out of physics toys to add now, with DBP now having Bullet commands for spheres, boxes, cylinders and meshes both static and dynamic, full kinetic character controller and a very nice fast experience which is super solid (no small objects falling through the floor any more). I dare say the comments section will mention stuff like ragdoll, but I only need to do that when my character falls off something high, and we need to get him running before he can walk (off a cliff). I might invest some time in water buoyancy, certainly experiment will piling up crates to see how stable a simulation it is, and a scope test to create physics objects ALL OVER the 500x500 area and see if they are still there when I come back. I have a whole week to work on these bits so I am happy to report that Lee is on schedule (for once).
Just one more blog to wait and then you get some eye candy. Sorry for the delay but I hope you like what you see on Friday, and see the potential in the terrain editor and the kind of environments you can hope to see in your own games later this year.