Monday, 14 October 2013

Monday Wayfinding

The Final Mile

Well not quite, and very probably far from it, but it's interesting to look at the next two weeks as a sort of ultimatum. Plenty of lose threads, each as vital as the others and all needing attention.

Today I worked on the 'obvious' missing elements from the IDE, starting with the way point system. Currently these are the last toolbar icons with no functionality so I focused on this. As part of the work, I first ensured the character AI entities retained their position and rotation state between test games so that when I eventually assign them paths via way points, they will start in the right direction and animate as they mean to go on.

Waypoint Mystery

You would think this feature should be a simple cut and paste, considering the outward functionality already existed in classic, but for all the clever and creative lines of code, I could not coax the waypoint objects from appearing. It was as though a mighty void swallowed their geometry the moment it was created. Turned out waypoint objects are based at 0,0,0 and their mesh coordinates are absolute, and also still based in the negative Z space. The bottom line is that I finally managed to get them to appear, and subsequently had them following the height of the terrain.

Next Steps

Now I have the waypoints being created, edited and deleted as normal, the next step is to tie them into the AI system which will require some new AI code to assign waypoints to DarkAI paths.  From there, it should be a simple matter of assigning paths to entities and we should see characters patrolling custom waypoint routes for the first time.

Other incomplete features include adding dynamic lights, contour marker zones and checkpoint marker zones.  All very exciting and will bring the front-end to almost full functionality (from a buttons point of view).

Beyond the IDE aesthetics, I also need to add weapon, ammo and health pickups pretty promptish as launching test game for the first time loads ALL the guns which is a little needless during these early test runs.

I also have a small mountain of new art and asset pieces to integrate, which is also exciting. One asset set includes brand new water splashes, ripples, decals and other material to create a truly lovely triple A water effect for when the player walks through the water, shoots into it or throws something in. Having studied a few YouTube moments of what happens when game meets water, I think we have the graphics required to pull off something similar.

Signing Off

I spent two hours digging a rather large hole in the garden and after some food and a small snooze, I am pretty zonked.  I am going to make myself a brew and perhaps put another hour in and then call it a day. At only 8:30PM it's the earliest I've stopped work in many moons but I think it will put in squarely in the day shift for the next slew of days and allow me to work in TGC normal hours during this critical crunch month.

You will notice the lack of a screenshot today. I think we all know the visual level we are at right now, and rather than throw another Christian into the ring, I'll save my next visual for something more in line with the feedback received so far. You may be pleased to know I've knocked the bloom level down from 0.4 to 0.6 threshold and reduced the light ray value by half, so the next shot should be a little easier on the eye when it comes to the phenomena of 'Oblivion Bloom'.


  1. "You may be pleased to know I've knocked the bloom level down from 0.4 to 0.6 threshold and reduced the light ray value by half"

    And the world rejoiced.

    That's quite a lot of work you have on your hands there! I am really quite excited to see what the first beta will offer users and for them to give you feedback and to see what they are able to make.

  2. Nice work again lee,enjoy your early night.You have earned it.

  3. Nice work as usual. I would like to ask by the way, if there will be possible to set more than one material to the static entity?

  4. You finally realised that hurling multitudes of Christians into the coliseum is futile. Yet they cheer for more blood. Can't win. A petition for screen shots then slay you for it. Lol. Look forward to water especially seeing the waterfall that was included be great. Sliders awesome move. X10 has nice buttons and better looking light bulb icons suggest rip it out of there. really excited t what under water will be like but that will be like waiting for Xmas day

  5. I thought the analogy was apt :) Each static entity will have a single material from which it is made. If there is call for it, we can look at building material data into the model (via limb names) or something in the FPE to assign material per limb...

    1. Good to hear.

      Would it be possible to have models with multiple materials the same way as guns currently have multiple textures (by the mesh itself containing several materials rather than limbs)?

      Also, the sliders are a great idea, I refer you to my comment a few days ago about a universal fullscreen shader with brightness/contrast/hue/saturation/luminosity/photo filters/colour correction and how that would work very well with sliders.

    2. Having the ability to assume custom sounds to materials would be nice too lol

  6. "Make myself a brew" good idea, me too I think.

    Have a good evening.


  7. Good work Lee. Seems like you still have a heap of stuff to do, though, so make sure you get a good night's rest :)

  8. hello lee,
    1st time posting to you on here ;D. great job so far i was impressed and got the product asap ;D. but now i have a question for you and its funny how you post on such things sort of today of all days, water and boats travelling in it question here.. a, will the boat sit in the water right assuming we need them b, will the boat course ripples based on speed of travel when following a way point? and thanks for all your hard work and time!!! cant wait to get this


  9. OMG

    I think some people spoke to soon about the visual quality in Reloaded.

    Take a look at this video MrValentine recorded from the Play Expo 2013 TGC stand of Reloaded being used in real time with the terrain modelling, entity spray feature and real time dynamic shadows.

    It already looks amazing and very polished and thats before Lee added the self shadows, characters and physics he is currently working on. The looks like Crytek engine for goodness sake.

    Load times are lightning fast and see the real time dynamic shadows being cast from the netting onto the players hands and gun in real time. I don't know if it was just some of the screenshots Lee was taking but in real time everything looks beautiful.

    @Lee - You are a genius.

    1. Well the video shows nothing that I didn't already expect from screenshots and other videos, but seeing it in motion has really helped to get an idea of the potential. With user assets and careful level consideration and some extra features I think we could see some truely amazing looking games.

      With some key, extra features implemented, the game play might end up matching that too.

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  11. Thanks for the praise :) I'm competent in my own little sphere to be sure, but lacking genuine super powers my efforts are a direct result of the hours spent sweating over boring lines of code :) I guess my mission in life is to spare the rest of the planet the burden of having to do likewise. It's a curious and perverse happenstance that I get a kick from coding said lines of code, which keeps me going long enough to then appreciate the fruits of that toil. Not much longer to wait now. Still plenty to do, and in the grand scheme of things, years of ideas to implement, but we're almost at the point where the engine is whole again. Keep tuning into the blog for the daily adventures of this overworked and blurry-eyed grunt ;)

  12. After watching this video I think this really looks good and is a huge step for FPSC.
    I like the overall look with Bloom/LightRays (and we can see that it can be adjusted!).

    So just keep going the road you did, because I think you will do whatever is good for FPSC.

    1. Don't forget the real time dynamic shadows DG !!

      We have both been waiting for this in FPSC for a long time and it was certainly worth the wait. It turned out even better than I hoped for.

  13. Let's leave the cork in the bottle until we're a few weeks into the beta ;) Some early internal tests have proven we have a LARGE hill to climb in the performance department which might bring dismay in the short term. My philosophy is that we should aim high, then once the exceedingly long ladder is established, help the rest of the population up with some fiendish optimizations. I have a few in mind already ;)

    1. Hi Lee

      After this showing I have total confidence in you and this project. Here are some things from memory and others I can think of:

      - Depth sorting instead of texture sorting
      - Texture batching for static entities
      - Reducing draw calls for cloned entities
      - Draw distance culling for dynamic shadows
      - Nvidia performance profiling tools

      I remember having to do all of this last year whilst developing ZAP for Android. I had never used performance profiling tools before this but it really helped and using the above techniques I was able to chop a lot of draw calls and got the performance back.

  14. I hear all the wonderful mention of AI, but what exactly are we talking about in terms of Allied AI? Friendly AI took quite a while to be integrated in X9 and was thankfully readily available in X10. What can we expect in terms of Friendly AI in FPSC:R? Believe it or not, the types of friendly and enemy AI available will probably be the largest selling point for me in FPSC R

  15. ^^ I just pledged 25$ for betas and future updates/releases. I know you'll do it right Lee. Congrats and I look forward to FPSCR

  16. Thanks for the pledge and the support! We'll all get there in the end, and what a day that will be ;)

  17. I just watched that video and I am thrilled!! THANKYOU MrValentine for being at the expo and recording the video for us! :D I cannot wait to get my hands on Reloaded now!! :D

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