Monday, 27 October 2014

More Aggressive, More Speed, More Damage, More Fun

Finally worked out why the AI was so 'distracted', and put it right. The latest Escape demo is now populated with mean sons of guns who like nothing better than to hound you into extinction. 

I also spent my Sunday on the project as well, with improvements in what I am calling the light balance of the scene. Now all element such as static entities, dynamic entities, terrain, characters and other bits use the same calculation for both ambience and direct sun lighting.

As you can see, with ambience only you get a general coverage which all elements in the scene agree with, plus the shadows which are factored in.

In this direct lighting shot, all ambience has been removed so you can see the surfaces that have a direct line of sight to the sun (again, shadows factored in as they work in a slightly different way).

The final composite which adds the two together is the white matt surface on which the texture colour is eventually applied.  The weapon is deliberately brighter as the textures on the guns are a little darker and has additional visual effects such as cube mapping applied and tends to lower the overall luminescence of the weapon models.

I also discovered that some SSAO coding in the bloom shader was not actually doing anything, so I removed this and gained an FPS boost from 84 fps to 90 fps which was nice. I have lost the subtle blurring I got from the NINE texture reference samples, which might introduce some anti-alias effects, but I am sure there is a new technique I can try which does not cost that much more than the standard bloom shader.  I am not ruling out a screen space ambient occlusion trick in the future, but right now I am all for performance and more honest visuals, and removing it felt like a step in the right direction.

With the great victory of new faster, more FUN enemy AI, I am now moving onto one of my pet peeves which is the ability for characters to enter and logically track a player through a building.  That is, a single entity which is subdivided into walls and other vertical obstructions. Making a building out of individual wall entities already works fine, but most single entity buildings currently act like a huge obstacle that the enemy must run around. Nice effect when you want them outside, surrounding you, but for the most part you want to be able to run inside a building and be chased inside!  It could be an hour or a day, but today is the day this task gets my undivided attention!


  1. Outstanding, Looks fantastic. Glad to hear you are moving onto the characters inside stuff.

  2. While you're on the character inside code, don't neglect the problems we currently see with characters afraid of the water. I did some tests where the water was about waste deep in Wizard of Id's sewers and the characters refuse to go into the waste deep water and simply congregated on the sewer ledges.

    1. Sounds like they were quite intelligent for a change there then ;) I don't blame em, I wouldn't be keen to jump into some sewers either!

  3. Shaping up, for sure. Can't wait :) Looks like the shadows are still pretty long though. Any chance of a time of day setting in lua or a slider?

  4. Please make sure that when AI is running after the player that the AI finds cover more often.

    If the player turns to the AI in pursuit, the AI should find cover, especialy when the player shoots at AI. It is unrealistic in combat for AI to leave cover and just chase after player when player is shooting back. But this happens every time. The player gets surrounded by mad kamikaze AI who don't care if they get killed. Better for the AI to retreat and regroup.

    It makes it way to easy to kill AI.

    It is ok to have mindless zombies relentlessly chasing after the player, exposed to the players bullets, but not well trained enemy soldiers. Cheers

    1. Totally agree. Hopefully Lee can work some of his magic on the AI the same way he did with the graphics.

  5. "I have lost the subtle blurring I got from the NINE texture reference samples"

    YES!! FINALLY! That "subtle blurring" was not subtle at all and always made Reloaded look really yuck. Now I'm desperately hoping you don't find a way to add it back in.

    The problem was that the blurring simply blurred the scene and made it look really awful (it never looked crisp or sharp), and it didn't actually help with the aliasing for the most part.

    You've finally got the graphics near-perfect in my book. Obviously they don't compete with the photo-realistic graphics of Battlefield 4, say, but they're not meant to. They're just meant to look -good-, and that's what they do now.

    Now go make the AI good!

  6. Wow Lee, you've finally got the visuals past that frustrating "vaseline smeared" look. The lightning now fits the scene and the assets look solid and grounded. This is an incredibly leap forward, and I hope Reloaded might finally start to match commercial graphical quality now.