Monday, 7 October 2013

Monday Motoring On

Full Speed Ahead Mr Sulu

A full and productive day, with lots of little touches that make a big difference.  Two things I am sure will delight is the auto-foundation system for buildings which will level the terrain beneath buildings and remove the grass vegetation from inside the area.


Another cool one is the day/night cycle is in, using a technique similar to the visuals achieved in SkyRim which did day and night very well indeed.  Instead of calculating lots of sky assets, I simply fade between a day skybox and a night skybox based on hour of the day, which creeps along. Before you ask, all this will be configurable (and can be switched off).  

Not in yet is the further idea that when you go to night, EVERYTHING gets affected. Terrain loses color and light, shadows get softer, weapon loses it's daylight shine and the fog rolls in to reduce nighttime visibility. Put it all together and it should be a very effective transition, and another option for your game making antics.

Physics Perhaps?

I have some (well lots) of small editor/engine related tweaks to make the creative experience better and more fluid. I also want to get all the collision and physics reactions going as soon as possible, simply because it's going to be great fun watching barrels and boxes tumble about and have the player go around things instead of going through them.  We will see.

Signing Off

It's starting to look like a pretty cool editing experience now, and once the rest of the modules have been dragged into the main engine, we can start to see what kind of performance we'll get.  I have installed the GTX card over the weekend and installed the performance profiling tools too.  Looks like it will take more than a one click debug with the tools though, so probably a day somewhen this month will be put to CPU and GPU profiling.  One good thing is that in using the NVIDIA card, I solved a bug which did not show on AMD. Those kind of slight driver differences can be difficult to catch, so I am glad I found this one quickly before it scurried away.  More fun Tuesday!!

55 comments:

  1. While the day and night cycle is nice, I had wished you'd spent the time on something more vital, like say, a certain flashlight? ;)

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  2. Fantastic!

    Before I read the text description of your work I had instantly seen the terrain had been cut away behind the building and with the veg above thought well that's brilliant and as I had expected the terrain system will end up being able to do some great things with some user thinking behind it. Did not expect to see that auto feature though I must admit.

    I also am glad the day/night cycle made it in - wonderful - thanks.

    I love the screen shot - stunning shot there showing off the auto feature and well everything else really.

    Thanks very much for all the hard work again.

    Thumbs up!

    :-)

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  3. Good work Lee. That screenshot looks amazing.

    A little off-topic but I just want to reiterate: Please make adjustable parameters for things involving movement such as: Run-speed, walk-speed, crouch-speed, acceleration from stationary to full-speed (both walking and running), jump-height, de-acceleration after landing from a jump etc. These parameters will obviously be in the game, but making them easily adjustable will truly help make each game created by FPSC:R feel different and not just clones. Movement really helps set the mood of the game such as if it will be more slow and tactical, or fast run-and-gun etc and everything in between.

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  4. Great work again Lee,thanks.

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  5. Looking pretty good.

    In terms of evaluating the screenshot (I'm aware it's to show the auto-levelling of the terrain) but the lighting doesn't look quite right - although it could be that it's not configured correctly just yet. I'd expect some self shadowing from the bits of wood which are sticking out.

    Also the colour of the building is off, but I suspect this will be resolved when you start adding in colour correction filters. Also, some HDR lighting on that building would look brilliant.

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    1. So it looks a bit like this hastily prepared mockup:
      https://www.dropbox.com/s/xgcrljxmdxbjwxk/mockup2.jpg

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    2. I have to agree, but the thing that gets me the most is that lack of self-shadowing of the terrain itself.

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  6. Colours look fine to me considering one does not know what the designer (Lee) would like for their level. Colours are strong but maybe thats whats wanted. Middle of Australia, Mars
    colours may vary. Looks fine to me. The edited linked one looks more like washed out Wales as Lee and I will know - not much Desert and hot colours in Wales :-) Its game making - any colour you want to use in your game is fine :-)

    Certainly no hard coded auto colour control is needed - leave that to the designer to adjust as to personal requirement.

    There are loads of details and minor things I and many could pick up on a in a single screen shot that might be better if and when I am sure.

    Can we move on to Physics or whatever is next please and get any outstanding core stuff moving forward.

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  7. thank you Lee for the auto fundation system, it will help to make things look better, i hope however that an option to turn on/off that system will be included in the editor.. this for making half buried buildings, or to use demolished buildings with vegetation inside.

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  8. Awesome for day and night cycle. Will be a big bonus for many games. It will keep things interesting for all fantastic work. Huknar day and night is equal to flashlight ;)

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    1. I disagree. Adding spotlights opens up far more opportunities that a day and night cycle does. Most games will be linear and thus the creator will easily be able to switch from day and night manually. The cycle is only useful really for open world games, something I still cannot see Reloaded having the capability to do.

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    2. I agree with Huknar that having the ability to move dynamic lights will be a significant improvement over what we have in FPSC right now. However I don't think this was ever planned at this stage. Lee needs to work out what the lighting solution will be for indoor areas so this is still very much an open question at the moment. I also agree that day / night cycles will probably have a limited use in Reloaded but its cool to have.

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    3. Well then the fact we don't have indoor lighting sorted really concerns me. I had thought otherwise, but it really needs to be done over adding day and night cycles and other less important features. :(

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    4. Thats a fair shout Huknar. Once physics integration is done I think Lee will need to really think about the indoor lighting solution which should take into account things like flashlights.

      It might be the case that indoor lighting is out of scope for the 1st BETA Lee is looking to get out by end of this month but it certainly needs to be sorted out before v1 ships at the end of the year. Also there is still talk of having directional and spot lights in Reloaded so that will also need to be done.

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    5. I agree with Huknar. If we don't have indoor lighting, we're taking a (big) step backwards from FPSCx9. I think Lee knows this already, but he needs to bear it in mind.

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  9. This is the best screenshot we have seen from the Reloaded camp so far. Fantastic work Lee and well done.

    It appears that Lee has not yet enabled self shadows on entities as there are no shadows from the parts sticking out from the building on the building itself but the real time dynamic shadow from the building on the terrain floor is great.

    I guess the performance of enabling self shadows on entities still needs to be determined but that would really take the visuals up a notch if its possible.

    Love the sound of day / night cycles and the approach to this sounds very promising. Another great feature for Reloaded. Also the terrain editing systems if looking awesome and I agree full physics integration is a priority now.

    Another step in the right direction.

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  10. Huknar I hear what you say. But we don't get to do much with the beta anyway. Water is not done can't submerge etc and other stuff. But don't begrudge any additions. We will get flash lights I am sure. Let him do his stuff. Also I think he said at some point it might be none linear. Not sure though. All will be good

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  11. The only reason day/night went in was that Rick asked for the ability to toggle skies on a key press, and as I was in the sky code anyhow adding two skies overlapping and a nice bit of game time fading was pretty simple. Please send me shots, and video links to the kind of flash light you would like - I will be dealing with dynamic lighting quite soon :)

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    1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4k1Ex9VfW0

      I realize it is a third person flashlight, but I really prefer that style to the tiny little disc flashlight say, in, Left 4 Dead.

      I think it would be useful if we could edit flashlight settings, so, spotlight wise, cone width and length intensity and falloff.

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    2. (It starts at about 1:00 minute in.)

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    3. Got anything First Person? When the flash light swings left/right of the player, this effect is hard to achieve when not in first person view.

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    4. It wasn't the swinging effect I wanted to highlight, but the general flashlight itself. I can't think of any First Person game videos show decent flashlights right now.

      I'd say the first step to a flashlight is a spotlight mind, so surely that should help? At the very least everyone could be satisfied if, as I said, parameters could be edited.

      (It would also be helpful if the flashlight could be chosen to be a weapon or a built in effect regardless of equipment.)

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    5. For most FPS features its always a good idea to refer to the good book also known as Half Life 2. This flashlight seems to have a good spread and does the job nicely.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNUvANIOUHI

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    6. Could you get the effect of a burning torch through this? As before anyone starts rambo indianna Jones and many more used this as make shift light. Plus horror etc so I think a reasonable question.

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    7. @science man
      look down

      this way would produce even burning torches
      ofc it would involve a bit more to produce a burning torch but
      by adding a parm for Lightflickering
      this could be achieved aswell and even timed/ probably combined

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    8. I hope that you will still be doing the fantastic night fall sequence as well. Because it would be a shame to let that go. But if it takes a back burner so people get torches I won't complain as long as it will go in eventually

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    9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    10. I recently created a general purpose solution for dynamic flashlight effect in FPSC X9 classic but I expect the Reloaded version to be significantly better. This was just taking a V119 update and evolving it to its natural conclusion.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fC15wZp1RrQ

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    11. Hello Lee, please have a look at this flashlight, just to take some ideas.. it's from fps game stalker:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yramwCsfWQc

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  12. Wouldnt it make more sense to just make lights attachable?
    Spotlights for Flashlights and you get that effect
    nm if its in 3rd Person or FPS
    its important to give the user the abbility to attach stuff
    and by using bones on the model
    the spotlight could be attached/ detached
    by script

    anyways great stuff @lee
    lookin forward to the beta

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    1. and the same way you would get the weaponfirelight
      attach it to the bone by script
      and when the weapon is set onfire mode
      it starts

      add enough parameters so that users can edit lights behaviours
      something like this

      // Weapon lights up while firing
      lightType = "WeaponFireLight";
      lightColor = "0.992126 0.968504 0.700787 1";
      lightRadius = "4";
      lightDuration = "100";
      lightBrightness = 2;
      lightCookie= ""; // This parm coudl be used for textures in combination with
      // the lightType: Spotlight

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    2. Precisely my point. Implement spotlights with editable parameters and flashlights are pretty much done.

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    3. @ mio good idea. Maybe though a flickering on off option could be added. He is doing dynamic then surely an option or something could be added. Horror enthusiasts and many other options as well not just battery operated type. Just adding ideas :)

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    4. Lee will need to decide if its performance reasonable to have real time dynamic shadows cast from the flashlight also as this might result in an additional render pass on there.

      It sounds like Lee is going to be doing a session on dynamic lighting soon and based on everything else we are seeing in Reloaded I expect this will be equally awesome and he will add some really cool stuff.

      There will be probably be some limitations around what can be done with dynamic lighting and shadows at some point but this is really key to having something which visually stands up to the bigger engines out there.

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  13. Half Life 2 is alright but I found a couple of others that might be worth looking at.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjF0XugH6ho

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxYCcnA1sq4

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    1. I personally find the slender flashlight awful.

      The UDK one is nice, the sort of thing I'd love to see in reloaded, but to me, the most important aspect is customizability. I really hate being funnelled into absolutes. We should be able to choose the flashlight's colour, shape (though circle is actually fine as a predetermined option) size, start length, end length and falloff/blur.

      In an ideal world.

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    2. Personally I'm not a fan of the flashlight effect which blacks out everything on the screen except a circle in the middle where you an actually see anything.

      How many times have you been in an environment where there is no natural light whatsoever and the only thing you can see is at the end of a torchlight.

      Its unrealistic and for me it doesn't create atmosphere, I just get pissed off at not being able to see anything!!

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  14. Personally I have no particular use for a Flashlight as I am not in the slightest a fan of any game where a player spends a great deal of the time in the the kind of darkness where you cant see anything at all. I understand that there are a lot of people who like nothing more than teeth nashing out of complete darkness though.

    Enough said on that.

    At the moment Lee has been working in the great outdoors and their are still many things far more important in that part of the Reloaded environment I would swap any day for a Flashlight. Any slight single improvement in the water feature or any attempt to add any slight weather feature at all and these things I accept and would expect not even to be considered at this stage until we can see how the Beta performs so as to access how it does so in terms of that performance.

    The much talked of self shadows for entities another feature which would indeed add a great deal but is asking a lot it would seem to me at this stage at least. It would be nice to see every last detail of each blade of grass casting a shadow on everything around it I agree. It seems to me to be like asking for radiosity type lighting effects where the light and colour from every object reflects onto every other until and radiates around continuously bouncing light rays off everything else it touches until the energy runs out and the light dissipates. Such things can add fantastic visual quality and effects but I fear the adverse effect on Reloaded performance.

    I would personally like to see how this behaves with the most important core features in place and ensuring they do not become adulterated and their quality is maintained as paramount before adding things which may affect those basics core things unduely.

    Reloaded already has some major additions - Larger World - Terrain - improved Shadows.

    I would like to see the now the most important core features of all in place without which we will have not a lot to build upon and have some indication of how everything is then performing : i.e.
    Physics and most importantly AI of a quality as we should be expecting.

    Those two things and the issues that have always surrounded them should take precedence of all other things . e.g. quality, stability, performance and should not be compromised for anything else.

    I am not against a Flashlight or anything else and never have been - the more the merrier lets have it and everything else we can think of and could wish for too.

    Again - not many lights in the desert at least at night unless there's a moon up, so it may come in handy - especially when it starts to get dark and the night cycle comes along!

    Bring it on!

    :-)

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    1. I'm not sure I agree that self-shadowing isn't important. It's something we already have in FPSC, as this needless screenshot evidences:

      https://www.dropbox.com/s/w2l3ea7nbush1xg/selfshadow.png

      It'll probably come as part and parcel of the lighting system anyway. I know not how such things work, but it would leave a significant realism deficit if entities could not self-shadow.

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    2. The main difference between FPSC classic and Reloaded is that shadows are now real time dynamic shadows rather than static lightmaps. This is a major improvement for Reloaded but Lee needs to ensure the performance can still be maintained if he switches on self shadows for entities.

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  15. "I'm not sure I agree that self-shadowing isn't important"

    I don't think anyone has suggested that and yes Lee is still working on shadows I believe so perhaps it will be done then. Again perhaps and I have no idea if this is the case - as with anything else where it is possible - perhaps it would be - turn - on - turn offable for those with differing systems.

    I don't really have any idea if that's possible though.

    I am sure Lee will work the best out of it for you.

    :-)

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    1. I'm sure Lee will be able to get self shadows working at a reasonable performance cost as he still has a number of optimisations to make in the engine anyway. The graphics will look spectacular if he is able to do this so we need to keep our fingers crossed and I agree it he can make it an optional feature in Reloaded that will suit everyone.

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    2. I still think it's going to have to be done whatever the performance cost (although obviously it should be mitigated). It's going to be something that breaks the suspension of disbelief if you can see somewhere which should by all accounts have a shadow but does not.

      Especially so given that FPSC 1 has (prebaked) self shadowing, to lose it would seem like a step backwards in many ways.

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  16. Actually I've just noticed it was in the demo video anyway, so I'm not too concerned.

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  17. Just a thought regarding Flashlight : Sorry.

    If they are possible for introduction whenever then any change we can attach one to a weapon instead of/as well as - holding? - or have a weapon with integrated flashlight? or perhaps pick up Head Gear which the player can "apparently" wear as he moves around and so still have a weapon - or two if Reloaded will support dual wielding?

    Just a few thoughts there for the future perhaps.

    :-)

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    1. I suggested that this be a choice, that flashlights can be a built-in toggle for the player, and also a weapon-driven piece of equipment.

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  18. Love to see a video of night fall creeping in with all what lee says. Be awesome. And yes lee made a huge land mass with good graphics. Need to utilise any outside extras. Not just horror game creator's. Enough said. It is lees blog and we need to respect that. :)

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  19. Very excited for this, Lee! However, as always, I have some things to say.

    Self-shadowing is important. As it is, in that screenshot, if you were to walk into the building, it would be lit exactly the same on the inside as the terrain is on the outside. I don't mean the grass should be self-shadowed, though. That would be a bit ridiculous. But buildings and trees and telephone poles should be.

    And I really love the idea for the cool day-night cycle additions. Not sure about the fog (although I assume were this happen it would adjustable) but everything else sounds awesome!

    Onwards and upwards! Or since you're working on physics next, downwards!

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  20. One thing about FPSC I never really understood. The angles always seemed more extreme than other games or real-life. Maybe its just me.. but its something thats always bugged me about FPSC. But its probably just me that notices this. I can be picky :p

    By the way day and night cycles is a request i made years ago and am SO glad to finally see it being put into place. I have many uses for it. Thanks Lee!

    Be cool if there is an a global clock variable to go with it. For those that wish to show time in their game and also so we can detect if its night or day to produce various events in our game.

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    1. Angles of what? I have no idea what you're talking about.

      But I agree with the global clock thingy :)

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    2. The perspective lines on the building they are very angled

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    3. Oh, that's just because it's got a high FOV, but it's easily adjustable (it was adjustable in x9). The camera is also low to the ground and pointed slightly up which adds to the warped feeling, but I think it was done deliberately.

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  21. I also must add... that most games have it so once you go inside a building it loads a different map that has different type of lighting. So its in the best practice of US as the map developers to make the two maps separate. For example in Fallout and Skyrim, the outdoor maps deal with light differently from indoor maps, so anytime you enter a building a new map is loaded to deal with a different light source system, rather than a "skylight".

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