Sunday, 15 December 2013

Sunday Weekend @ Work

Busy Busy

As the weekend was populated by rain and wind, and wrapping presents, I decided to give a few hours over to some coding to make up for any lost hours during the week gone.  Turns out Saturday I clocked in over 12 hours and made some nice improvements. 

We have been internally building a list of priority A bugs that need fixing, but performance came in at an even higher priority so these duties where postponed. Performance is still in the works, but with my recent success with shader reduction I decided to knock a few of the more undesirable issues off the list and improve the engine.

What Improvements?

The most striking is that you now have a weapons and health HUD panel when you place down a Start Marker, fully functional with final graphics. I am not too happy with the size of them, and the font used, but otherwise it's in the ball-park. To take screen shots, simply remove the start marker from the scene (or don't start with a weapon and set health to zero).

As you have read, the start marker weapon is now respected so you can start with a weapon and ammo, the weird bar at the bottom of the test game screen has been removed (a real pig that one), foliage no longer causes collision issues or AI obstacles to be created, allowing the character to run through low grasses and shrubs. Lots of little tweaks you probably won't pick up on but had sat in the list for a good while and was starting to alloy me.

The Secret Coder

I have logged on Sunday for one purpose, which is to prepare some files for a new coder to the Reloaded camp. His mandate is simple enough, and for the moment I will keep his task secret, but he brings with him as much experience at coding as I have (which means he's an old git like me).

At the start of the year, I re-designed the new Reloaded engine to allow modules to be worked on independent of the main code. This has been used to fashion small prototypes that could quickly implement and test sub-modules of the main engine and allow super rapid development. The system now lends itself to allowing another coder to share things like the data structures and common helper subroutines, but implement a wholly separate piece of code which can drop into the main engine without resource or coding conflicts.  It is this system that will be tested over the next few weeks.

The bottom line is that you now have 'potentially' two Lee's working on Reloaded, and I will be happy to report the results of this experiment.

Classic Makes Good

A bit of retro news for you. The original product FPS Creator Classic was created many (many) years ago and has been responsible for some great games. Two such examples have made it into the top 100 IndieDB charts and is now spoiling for a top award. The games need votes, and every vote is one for the FPSC brand, so I invite you to go and help the author click his way up the ladder.

My hope is that in years to come, Reloaded will be the instrument that will allow many users to create IndieDB chart topping games, showing the same level of customization as 'Into the Dark' and 'Into the Ice' reveals.

Signing Off

With shaders (for the moment) done, on Monday I will be returning to the subject of QUADs (True Imposters) and finishing what I started. I could readily leave this out for the next update if it was not for the fact that objects are popping in and out of existence. A handy quad will resolve this visual artifact and at the same time move us in the right direction. A substantial byproduct of this work will be the acceleration of the shadow, light-ray and reflection renderers which means high-end users are going to get even higher. I could do the work today, but I think it makes sense to have at least half a day off, maybe playing some relevant FPS game to stay tuned to the overall goals of this tool.

Steam Is Green

One of our ambitions is to get Reloaded onto Steam, which means getting a Green Light, helped along with public votes. We are off to a flier, but need to keep the momentum going. If you know anyone with Steam, invite them to check out the page and see if they would also like to see Reloaded reach millions of new FPS players (and budding creators):

Also, if you have ideas how we can improve our steam page, description, shots, videos, e.t.c do get in touch!


  1. Sounds like your starting to have real fun Lee.

  2. Another coder? Lee that's the best news Reloaded has had since it begun! I am really happy to hear that above all else and I hope his addition will really start to pay off in the long run.

    Improve steam page? Remove that trailer! The low frame-rate does the product no justice. Record another when you've got the performance up.

    There are quite a few typos and unprofessional word choices too. :(

  3. If hints and comments elsewhere (including at the Oculus developer forums) are anything to go by, I believe the secret coder is hard at work on Rift integration! A quote from Rick: "Hi, the Reloaded team are now adding support for Oculus Rift. Once the holiday season is over we will have a demo to show and we'd aim to release support in the first new Beta in January." This would be very fun, and as I've mentioned elsewhere I hope the integration trickles back into native DBP at some point as I'd really love to hash out quick demos and concepts with full Rift support that may not be FPS-related.

    1. Not quite what I expected. I guess that's cool and all but I would hope that this new programmer would work on some more important aspects right now. :(

  4. All sounds good except I don't quite know what the importance of the Rift thing is at this stage but there you go.

    If I had or wanted or cord afford to use such a system to play games at the moment they would not be Reloaded games as I can't make one yet or wont be likely to be able to to satisfy myself for a while yet though perhaps I am sure I may enjoy walking around my Terrains. Perhaps next Christmas!

    At the moment I would be grateful for some other important feature to me as a game maker rather than player or even some simpler basic things like transparency so we can have some glass windows in buildings or ice in our ice world :-)

    Little things if you like that can make a real big difference to a game.

    or perhaps some support for receiving shadows on custom or imported non stock entities which seems to be unsupported at the moment. e.g. place floor entity, place pot entity to sit on top of floor and it does not cast a shadow on the floor entity below - though it does if placed on top of terrain. The world light (sun) cast shadows on them but not one entity upon another.

    Anyway all sounds good overall and I guess there are hundreds if not thousands of small additions, improvements, updates and tweaks to look at apart from major features.

    At the moment personally I don't even need things like Huds for player weapons as I cant make a game - need the basic essentials first please as above. I wont even place an enemy or give the player a weapon in a level for a long time yet to come until I can make a better level with some decent enemies in it to make it worthwhile to do so. Don't need a hud yet myself.

    I am happy to see the kind of improvements mentioned by Lee for performance and the popping of entities which are most welcome and helpful over and above anything not so at this stage.

    Occulus, Huds - don't need them right now myself.


  5. I would just like to comment that Oculus has announced on the weekend that they have secured a $75 million dollar investment to help take the Oculus Rfit to retail. The technology is on the verge of blowing up and I am pleased to say the FPS Reloaded will be right there for it to happen.

  6. It´s a bit confusing. You´re working on PPP and then suddenly Oculus Rift? What happen with all IMPORTANT BASIC functions in between?
    How do you think some gamers will afford Oculus Rift when they apparently can´t afford decent graphic cards? :)

    1. It's just an educated guess with a good bit if evidence. Could turn out to be otherwise.

  7. Fear not, I am not working on the Rift, nor is my secret coder ;) Essential features first!

  8. "Fear not, I am not working on the Rift, nor is my secret coder ;) Essential features first!"

    thumbs Up, to hear that makes me happy ! :)

  9. Dont know about the Save game feature on the Voting List which seems to be not a priority yet.....

    But can we have first please have the ability to save settings preferences we set up in test level in editor for our own individual systems for all the sliders, sky as for terrain and so on. Every session/day up to hundreds of times I have to fine tune minutely everything only to have to do the same again two minutes later and it goes on and on endlessly day after day. Its driving me and many others I am sure up the wall.

    I have to test things being done in level endlessly and am in and out of the editor all day tweaking models, textures and so on externally, updating, deleting bin and dbo files and so on and its an endless pain having to do the same thing all day long before one can test again properly. Same the next day and you know it will never end.

    Its almost worn me out with frustration.

    Thanks for any help with that.


  10. Thats the most pressing thing I am aware of trying to actually do anything with the engine apart from running out of memory message crashes which have been reported I believe by others.

    I guess you will be updating an entities ability to receive shadows which they don't seem to do as opposed to the terrain which does.

    I will leave you alone now.