Friday, 28 November 2014

Friday Bits and Bobs

As you may know, I have finally finished the lightmapper which can now work across all your cores and produce lightmaps nice and fast now.  The latest build handles the static lights which bake into the scene and dynamic ones which you can switch on and off.

I am now starting through the bit lists and getting a new more things ticked off such as grass and foliage issues from store content and a lot of very minor glitches which creates a discord when using the editor.  Once I've gone through these 12 or so double-A tasks, I can move onto the single-A tasks of which they are many but minor.

I am also planning another internal build for the alpha testers this weekend, mainly so they can test the resurrected light mapper as it will need some brutal testing to ensure it's where it needs to be.

Apparently I cannot mention AGK anymore, so that's pretty much the end of my blog for this evening. I will be doing more work later on and then hoping to play a little Far Cry 3, for research purposes you understand :)  Also have a multiplayer test at 4PM which should be a blast!  Until Monday, have a great weekend and for those in the states, enjoy all those Turkey butties!

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Multi-Core Lightmapping Is Back In

Took all day but I found and fixed the issue with the 'mega nasty freeze crash issue' when the lightmapper ran via threading, which in turn was 'really' due to intercepting the process with Sync calls, and so by changing the order in which the render-able parts where updated, I could make the freeze go away.  This then freed me to move the new progress bar over to the threading version of the lightmapper and now we have a super fast light mapping bake process back.

The Escape level used to take 'quite a while' with the old single thread approach but now it takes less than a minute, and rest assured there is a LOT to lightmap in there.

In other news, App Game Kit 2 continues to do well and yesterday evening we even got on the front page of Steam, which was a bit of a shock.  It might have had something to do with the Steam system accidently promoting our launch offer to 66% off which was not the plan, but it was quickly corrected and it's back down to our 33% off price.

Not before a few lucky AGK2 users snagged themselves a great price at 66% :) I dare say such discounts will happen again so I think the moral of the story is to tune into Steam every day in case bargains are abound.  We even did nicely on the mobile version of the Steam site too:

If you are interested in AGK2, you can find it on Steam here:

Or you can find it on a new Bundle Stars promotion here:

Back to Reloaded news, we continue to have a barrel of laughs testing the multiplayer part of the product, and here is the latest in crazy landings. I can only imagine how bad his nose hurts:

I still have some small data alignment issues and then I can move on 'finally' to a new chunk of task to sort.  Best we get the lightmapper rock solid before I move on as it's a pretty deep and complex code base and while it's fresh in my mind I want to do as much as time allows.  Until Friday when I hope to have a new screen shot to show that is nothing to do with light maps :)

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

More Light More Progress

More work continued on the lightmapper today.  Multi-materials finally dealt with, and working across all the samples I threw at it.

I also tried out lots of buildings from the City Pack available from the game creator store and that worked a treat too.

The major bulk of today's work however was slicing up the lightmap process so it could update the rest of the app while it was working. This allowed me to create a nice progress bar to show what is going on when large scenes are being lit and a long waiting time is expected.

It took all day, but I am glad it's in now as this feature has been requested by pretty much all the alpha testers and having figured a way around the difficulties it's done and dusted now :)  Next on my list are a sequence of smaller issues but high priority, and then I can look at a new internal build for the alpha testers this week. Looking stronger every day!

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Meeting Day And Material Success

Had our ritual meeting today which starts early at 8AM and ends sometime around 4PM in the pub :)  Covered many topics, mainly progress and strategy, and had a good chat about the next steps for our AGK2 and Reloaded projects. Went very well and was able to get back and have something to eat and a cat nap before waking up and writing this blog.

Had a dream about some weird contraption where about eight people connect to a large ring hovering above them, which resembled a massive quad copter but with the propeller in the middle.  We started it up, and after a while we could pull our knees back and we remained air-born. It was then up to the individuals to decide whether to go up, down or in which direction. I am not sure how it was controlled, but I was given the conch and was able to move the beast by simply leaning in the direction intended. After about a minute, and gaining a good 30 feet over some grassy field, one of the passengers started getting woozy and wanted to get off, so the craft was subsequently landed, and the person ran off to throw up.  I then awoke to the tune of the cat throwing up hairballs.  I would provide a screenshot, but it was just a dream :)

What I can show however was the antics from last night. I finally finished work at about 2AM, clocking over ten hours on a single task:

This is what I had at 9PM with the off shadow issue and something not quite right, and totally too many polygons and draw calls.

And this is what I had at 2AM. As you can see, all those meshes have been welded up and even though each building has six textures (materials) each, the system was able to identify their close proximity and common attributes and weld them together to create the whole scene in just 4 draw calls. As you can see it's also lightmapped. This is a model from the City Pack in the store, but as Rick pointed out today the upper building texture is wrong as there are two texture types used in the original model. Looks like I have a little more grind stone to spin before this multi-material thorn in my side is extracted!

On a non-Reloaded subject, I stumbled across a movie production last night called Bedrooms to Billions, which is a great film to watch if you are an aging 40 something Brit who dabbed in computers back in the day, and charts the rise and fall of the UK games industry. Yes folks, that's fall.  I've only watched half of it, then I had to sleep, but I think it has a happy ending with the news that after dropping from #1 to about #5 in the global economy of making games, a new breed of mobile adepts are emerging who may very well help our small island regain some of it's former glory, and with the recent introduction of programming lessons in our curriculum (teaching kids algorithms as young as 5), we're set to have a generation of Brits who eat, sleep and think binary ;) A powerful resource to have in the techno-magical era ahead.

Time to fix the last remaining multi-material lightmap grumble, test everything around it, make sure nothing is broken, then test the rest of the City Pack to confirm it all works well together and put a temporary lid on the issue so I can move onto the next thing. We've agreed a tentative deadline for the final V1.009 (secret) so we're now focused to get something solid out to you soon. I can say a build will 99% get out to you before the Christmas season, and that build will be a good one.

Monday, 24 November 2014

In Support Of Multi Materials

Multi-material models from the store have been the real subject of todays grafting, with the entire city pack built on these foundations. Not necessarily loading them in, which works fine, but light mapping them. The currently lightmapper was strictly designed handle one light map object per one entity, but the MM models could have any number of objects for a single entity, each with their own texture.

The current build as of Friday could take a single material from the model and lightmap it, discarding the rest. Monday was about allowing the lightmapper to discover the rest and include them in the process. As the old system was a one-object based system, everything needed updating, the data structures, the load and save, the consolidator, the lot. 

This is my progress by 9PM, with all six materials separated, submitted and lightmapped (to some degree).  I have an all day meeting on Tuesday so cannot stay up too long, but I think I am over the hump now and it's just a case of calming down the shadow objects, restoring the floor plane, e.t.c.  Slowly slowly, catchy monkey!

App Game Kit 2 continues to do great on Steam, and is providing useful information and statistics to help us plan our Reloaded launch early next year. For more info on AGK2, here is the Steam page:

Going to put another hour into finishing the lightmapping of MM models, and then make a build for the meeting show tomorrow.  The agenda is quite full so need plenty Z's so I don't fall asleep half way through, but rest assured on Wednesday the fixing continues as I make my way though the list of items fed back from the weekend alpha testing.

Saturday, 22 November 2014


Well what a trip that was, our first ever Steam title launched into the world and what a smooth birth it was too.  Admittedly I only stepped in to bask in the limelight of the release, having left the muddy murky world of having to develop it, but it seems my absence from the project probably improved the product overall :)  As any expectant father would, I set up the revenue page on my browser and refreshed it every hour for a whole day (with a few hours to sleep) and it was a real buzz to watch the number increase every time I pressed the refresh key.  Alas I am not permitted to reveal the figures by order of Steam HQ, and I suggest you do what Steam developers before us advised, which is come and see for yourself. If that's not an invite to finish your game projects and get it onto Steam I don't know what is :)

We started off modestly in our very own 'Game Development' category, but listed in the New Releases chart very briefly on the day of launch. The cynic in me said to take a picture because we would not be here long, remembering the sting of all those iOS and Android apps we developed over the last few years.

We then stumbled into the Top Sellers spot for the 'Game Development' category, probably due to the huge discount on offer for our launch week.  It was still nice to be there and gave me a nice warm feeling, and a delusion of what it might be like to stay there a little while longer.

We then surfaced and achieved top spot in all three tabs, New releases, Top Sellers AND specials, AND a first banner slot when I visited the site (for the hundredth time).  Seemed like the whole world was App Game Kit 2, and life felt good.  Admittedly a big puffed up fish in a very little pond, and probably only for today, but it still felt good.  What made me feel a little better was what happened next.

Our little game maker had escaped the confines of the 'Game Development' category and was now dancing about in the GENERAL News feed for the WHOLE OF STEAM, and in the number one slot too!  Don't ask me how it got there, or why, or whether it lasted more than a minute, but it was great to see.

I don't know what the future holds now. We have a great marketing tag team behind the product, a driven and seriously overworked lead programmer spearheading the development of this game changing tool and a company which has spent a considerable number of decades catering for the needs of budding game designers everywhere.  Combine that with the biggest distribution platform for the PC and we have everything to play for, and opportunities abound. I am big fan of competitions though, so expect a BIG Steam based competition off the back of our launch in the very near future with great prizes to get people excited (if the bank manager lets me).

If it was a choice between a 'state of the art PC gaming rig' or 'a device for every platform we support', which top prize would you prefer?  Nothing says 'look at me' than a huge sexy prize!

It you are interested in taking advantage of the launch discount of 33% on the regular price, you can visit the Steam store right now with this link:

I recently watched a YouTube documentary short called 'Becoming YouTube' which had a great mix of humor, introspection and information that propelled me through all 12 episodes. Still infected by the inspiring insights of this intrepid investigation, I got to thinking that perhaps a short YouTube documentary entitled 'Becoming Steam' might be a suitable continuation of this invaluable public service.  Unfortunately, I am not an actor, nor attractive, have no production facilities, no time to record, let alone edit the footage, no Steam developers to interview and no journalistic skills whatsoever. Given these minor disadvantages one might conclude that a series of episodes on becoming Steam might do nothing but damage and distort what is a truly amazing experience that every developer should feel before the world moves on again, not to mention invite a lawsuit for the use of the adjective 'becoming' in this particular context.  I was also thinking of dying my hair bright green (as it rhymes with steam) but it's easy to take these flights of imaginational fancy too far.

As you know, my own active involvement in the launch of App Game Kit 2 on Steam was a dress rehearsal for the product that I am pretty sure is set to sweep aside all previous records for sales of a game creator on Steam.  I cannot think of a better vehicle to gauge what the Steam community want from a game creator than by giving them another game creator and listening to what they have to say.

I have been promising myself a nice distracting game for weeks now, and this very second I feel like returning to my gamer roots, so I'll leave you with this rare weekend blog post, invite you to check out the AGK2 Steam page and see you again on Monday when I resume my blog on the trials and tribulations of an overworked under-appreciated insanely happy game engine coder.

Friday, 21 November 2014

App Game Kit 2....IS ON STEAM!!!

I am keeping todays blog short and sweet. Aside from some good fixes, and some more work later this evening to make a build for the alpha testers, and a hell of a battle with converting multi material entities to regular ones for the light mapping process, the MASSIVE news today is the launch of our App Game Kit 2 product on Steam:

App Game Kit 2: Easy + Instant Game Development

If it's within your power, please help us promote this and spread the word so we can make a Steam splash!  If you think there is something my team or I can do to further our success with this launch, comment here and I'll be all over it. The official steam page is here:

I will be doing more Reloaded work over the weekend as well as keeping half an eye on the AGK2 release, so fingers crossed everyone for the next 24 hours :) We should learn a LOT from this launch, and have a great template for our second major product, Reloaded, early next year!  Until then, have fun exploring App Game Kit 2 and have a super weekend!!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Oh My Poor Head

I feel like a hollowed out water melon today, largely due to the mixing of Guinness and Newcastle Brown Ale. Turns out the pool match was cancelled so decided to play a different game called boozin'.  That's my social life done for another week, and now back to the code!

I continue tweaking and refining the lighting system, and now the fog works across all the various shaders and it's looking pretty neat.  Currently working on fixing up the Super Terrain Mode, which when working allows you to replace the terrain which is a performance and memory hog with a simple flat polygon, allowing things like city and interior scenes to be created.

Not sure how much time to dedicate to Super Flat, as I am now straying into lightmapping it and it was not on the original list, so hopefully I can get it squared away and move onto more interesting issues.  Bottom line is that V1.009 alpha build is looking very nice now, and I am hopeful the alpha testing team will agree with me :)

App Game Kit 2: Easy + Instant Mobile Development

In other BREAKING news, we are about to launch our first product on Steam! As some of you know AGK2 has been brewing in development phase for some time now, and we're very pleased to be able to officially launch it to the masses. 

You can find our Steam page here:

It is particularly relevant to this blog too as this launch allows us to make a dress rehearsal for the launch of Reloaded on Steam next year.  Any mistakes we make will be a lesson learned for when we go public with a V1, and hopefully maximize our impact there and make it a great release.  If you've already pledged to the AGK2 kickstarter you'll be getting your free Steam keys soon, and for everyone else who wants to start some mobile app development the easy way, we have an early bird discount available when we launch AGK2 tomorrow.  Exciting times!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

A Day Of Light

Some good fixes today, including extending the dynamic lights to MEDIUM shader techniques and making them the default. The upshot is that users can drop in dynamic lights and see the results of them instantly which is exactly what you want for a new user.  The best news is that the addition of these light calculations only drained a few FPS from the already high 90's which in lee-man speak means it's as good as free :)

I have modified the GTTR (Get To The River) level to include a static and dynamic light, plus a new scripted entity so you can switch the dynamic light on and off. Really happy with the overall work done on lights, and aside from some gaps I am sure still exist, we are getting closer to a V1 for the lighting stuff.

I certainly need to include the grass in the dynamic lighting fun to blend it all together, but at over 90 fps with dynamic lights and pre-baked good definition shadows, and dynamic shadows for dynamic entities to the floor, I'd say V1.009 is certainly going to leave it's mark.

I know there are more effects I can do with the overhead lamp machine, such as lens flare, volumetric light rays, some subtle sound effects and maybe the occasional moth flying about the bulbs, but the mission has been and will remain the completion of the core elements of the product, which means drawing a line on this one for the time being and moving onto other urgent matters like memory management, overall system compatibility and the remaining missing features of the engine/editor.

Also, I added a new slider called Fog Intensity, which turns out to be pretty cool as it allows me to make atmospherics effects without washing out the distant mountains.  Notice how the characters (which are not presently using Fog Intensity) are washed out, but the rest of the scene is bathed in a soft fog.

I have another 20 minutes of coding, and then I am off to play a few racks of pool to unwind and study the miracle of Guinness up close.  Thursday will see the various shader tweaks applied and tested, plus a slew of additional critical fixes reported so far by the alpha testers.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

New Dynamic Light Script Commands

Aside from some basic reflection tweaks this morning, the major addition was inspired by one of our premier alpha testers, who wanted once and for all, control of the dynamic lighting. To this end a new script command was added called LightSwitch.lua using two new commands HideLight(e) and ShowLight(e). Basically you can now add a dynamic light, associate it with this script and when you get near it you can toggle the light on and off by pressing the E key. Simple stuff, but long awaited and opens the door to the 'rest' of the dynamic lighting commands via script.

The biggest chunk of work however was last night when I finally fixed the annoying shadow flicker issue, and made some good improvements on the visual side such as dynamic and static lights working nicely together with the pre-bake scenes.  Also gained some extra performance points along the way for various reasons, and now my Escape level easily tops 60 fps at the start and the GTTR level tops 90 fps as well which has never happened before now.

I also found a way to speed up the Editor IDE for levels which have a lot of entities, creating a smoother scroll and entity selection experience.

Been a long day on the road this afternoon so not much energy left for much coding, but I have my email open, my code standing ready and a juicy bug that relates to 100 characters so might do one or two more before it gets super late. In other news, and exciting news at that, we've just received the release authorization for the forthcoming launch of our App Game Kit 2 product on Steam, penciled in for this Friday.  For those not in the know, AGK2 is our cross platform development language which allows you to write apps easily and deploy them instantly to all the popular devices. We have already had mucho success from apps we created with this tool, and now you can tap into the same power house of functionality for an amazing price. Watch this space for news of the Steam launch and a great early bird discount to get you coding mobile apps sooner and making your very own iOS, Android and Windows hits!

P.S. Sorry for the lack of screenshot today, it was pretty hard to take a shot of 'not flickering any more and a lot faster' :)

Monday, 17 November 2014

Weekend Warrior Of Work

I did some coding at the weekend, and made a little break-through with the 'Get To The River' level which now runs at over 100 fps (hurray!) on LOWEST.  It was my goal and with some careful grass optimization was able to push it over the edge. I also made other performance improvements such as hiding the duplicate static entities when LM objects where in play, and lowered the pain on the reflection system today as well so it's now even faster. Ouch!

I posted this on the forum to show the difference across the ages, and also to try and pinpoint why the feedback I am getting from the alpha testers suggests that visuals have gooten worser.  After balancing the GTTR level with the new sliders and lighting equations, this is what I ended up with:

Don't worry about the 92 fps, it's well over 100 fps when you create a standalone version of this game. Notice how I've matched the colour balance with the early V1.0071 shot, and improved the detail on the HUD weapon since V1.009 shot, and the grass is actually better in this one that the first shot.  The HUD weapon is slightly different as I discovered the V1.0071 engine reversed the light direction of the weapons, so that was fixed up too.

I also experimented with the new static baked lights.  Ambient occlusion is still O.T.T but you can start to appreciate the power of a few static lights for interior scenes using the pre baker.  This scene has an off-white light on the ceiling and a small static green light over the barrel to give it a radioactive look.

Spent half the day transcribing bugs from the forum to the work sheet, and now have to go through and prioritize them before I can actually start some fixing. The good news is that the alpha testers are being very thorough which means a solid V1.009 for you when the time comes.  Going to give the doggy a walk now while it's still light and then return this evening for some actual fixing and to tick off a few more DONE items.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Great Bug Fixing Day

While waiting for a series of test compiles, I figured I would sort out todays blog a little earlier to give me some more free time for the evening.  Bug fixing has gone very well so far with no less than 14 bugs fixed and 2 marked down as not reproducible.

Work done to improve performance is holding and the test game and standalone executables are running faster than ever before (for me at least).  More work required on performance so it works for many different systems, but things are heading in the right direction.

As you can see in the shot above, borders for water bodies have been increased to allow characters to completely avoid the steep drop and falling into the water. Currently looking at a bug that causes some of the sky to disappear in standalone mode, which is actually a symptom of a new fog sky technique which works by fogging only the distant horizon but not the higher and closer sky.

As the fog distance controls the degree of this effect, it acts more like real atmospheric fog than a blanket dimming of the sky as a whole.  Anyhoo, plenty of bugs left and plenty time to fix them in, so I will carry on and for the time being have a great weekend and next week I will reveal more fixes and shots from the V1.009 candidate builds!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Sitting A Top My Mountain Of Happy Bugs

Getting early reports of performance issues with modes I don't test as much such as HIGHEST and non light mapped levels, so spending some time running and analyzing those tests today. Also solving the shadow issue, which seems to be rendering shadows in the background even though they are not needed. All these themed things should mean I can increase the performance for the next build, and of course fix some key bugs along the way.  The thinking is that I should refrain from releasing any more builds for the testers until a large chunk of the existing list is done.  

Right now I am working on an issue which causes the physics system to jump from 15% to 30% of run-time performance when I blow up a barrel. I suspect the physics debris that get created from this explosion do not exactly settle and deactivate once the dust settles.  Right now my Escape level starts at 65 fps which means performance progress has been made, with some more to come!

Sorry for the lack of blog matter yesterday, had a 'personal day' to go play snooker and pool ALL DAY and ALL NIGHT.  Was great fun, and I performed well in the league game that evening, still some small errors in my overall game, but certainly picking up from where I left off a few years ago :)  Not much of a life, but they say a change is as good as a rest, and there is something very relaxing about mastering the art of potting balls.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

12 More Bottles Less (On The Wall)

You can say goodbye to 12 more bottles from the wall, as the bug list for the V1.009 gets reduced by a few more lines.

Also gained some more performance by reverting the masked solider to the correct mesh (3 meshes instead of over 30) and also removed all vertex data write calls and replace with a nifty shader that can animate internally:

vertexOutput mainVS(appdata IN)   
    vertexOutput OUT;
    float4 worldSpacePos = mul(IN.Position, World);
    OUT.WPos =   worldSpacePos;   
    OUT.Position = mul(IN.Position, WorldViewProjection);
    OUT.atlasUV = IN.UV + UVScaling.xy;
    float4 cameraPos = mul( worldSpacePos, View );
    float fogstrength = cameraPos.z * FogColor.w;
    OUT.WaterFog = min(fogstrength,1.0);
    OUT.clip = dot(worldSpacePos, clipPlane);                         return OUT;


Almost all the triple AAA issues solved, those remaining require more info from the internal alpha testers.  My next attack will be on the double AA's which are key fixes but not as urgent as those pesky AAA ones.

It's quite a good feeling to finish the day with lots of DONE items on the list, and I hope to repeat it real soon. For now, I will jog off and prepare a new build for the internal alpha testers while listening to the best C64 tracks from Jeroen Tel, a SID legend :)

Monday, 10 November 2014


With the main features added for our V1.009 public build, the time has now come to go through EVERYTHING and make sure it's solid for a general release. To this end we have recruited a dozen die-hard uber critical alpha testers to put the current build through it's paces and hammer it into something near-indestructible.  Could take anything from 1 week to several weeks, depending on the feedback, but it's time well spent and means you will not have to go through the nightmare hell that we'll be putting our alpha testers through in the coming days.

We released the alpha internal build over the weekend and the private forum started filling up fast with feedback.  I also spent some time testing over the weekend and produced a rather messy level for my own amusement.  Had a great time creating crates dynamically in F9 mode, but my graphics card was not really up to the task of rendering everything in HIGHEST mode.  I was planning to play more of my Thief game (latest one), but again my card was not up to the job of rendering at a decent frame rate (as I had replaced it months ago with my current older model to get a more honest result during my own development tests).

I have itemized all the feedback and with 55 issues to look through, my week is pretty packed and I am looking forward to knocking them off the list one at a time :)  Hopefully my alpha troop will continue to produce feedback on the builds as they appear, and before too long we'll have a candidate worthy of your inspection.  Blog posts might be thin on the ground as we do this (as no new features), but if anything news worthy happens I will be sure to record it here!

Friday, 7 November 2014

Multi Levels & Shiny New Con Kit

A good day today with the successful implementation of the multiple level system allowing you to create standalone executables that contain many levels. The Win Zone trigger zone is now your portal into another world, and a completely untested one at that.

Right now I am working on building the installer and doing the standard blanket tests before I release it to an FTP site.  This will (might) be the internal alpha testers version for the weekend, but it all depends on Rick's assessment this evening as to whether it's together enough for an internal release.

In other news, we have had a wave of new assets including new grenade sound effects which are cool, and final artwork for the Con Kit menu system to almost entirely eliminate the programmer art from the entire software offering.

I had the opportunity to go out to play darts this evening, and drink a decathlon of Guinness but I decided to spend my evening making sure this build is solid before the weekend hits.  The weather has truly turned now here in Wales so no more sunny weekends in the garden, which keeps me attached to the PC for the foreseeable Winter.  No specific date as yet for the official V1.009, and I am sure you are eager to get your hands on it, so will be pushing now to get these tests completed so I can sort out an upload and give you something to enjoy over the rainy and snowy weekends to come.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Shaders Unified - Phew!

Spent the whole day cleaning up and expanding all the main shaders to reflect the new unified light balanced scene, so that means MEDIUM and HIGHEST, plus PRE-BAKE techniques all use the same lighting calculations and work with the various components like shadows, flash lights, normals, e.t.c.

As you can see, when switching ambience to low and adding a midnight sky, those bump maps really pop when set to highest!  Of course this means one day left to add the multi-level stuff, make and test a solid build ready for the weekend. No pressure.

In multiplayer Ravey news, jet pack and multiple weapons have been added, and the game play is totally awesome.  Picking out shot gun wielding jet packed flying nemesis out the air with a sniper at long range, and watching the ragdoll drop to the floor while the jet pack stays in mid-air was hilarious.  Progress is moving in leaps and bounds here, so keep watching this space and I look forward to revealing more V1.009 news soon!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Big Improvement - Enemies Running Scared!

Bit of a mish-mash today, but a significant one in that I followed some Intel engineer advice and now my engine can use up to 4GB of system memory. It's still a Win32 application, but thanks to a 64-bit friendly flag for modern operating systems, I can use the full 4GB address range from here on in. This means that levels that would crash out due to lack of system memory will continue on their merry way and more immediately, it means I could successfully run the GPA Frame Analyser from Intel:

The magic flag in the executable project was called LARGEADDRESSAWARE and even though it's been available since Windows XP, it proves that programmers always have something new to learn.

Unlike my enemies, who are now hiding their heads in sand bags, I can almost see the finish line for a first version of this product as more functionality is added to the mix.  Currently finishing off the MEDIUM and HIGHEST shaders to match the light balancing of the LOWEST shaders which look great now, and then Thursday I tackle multi-level loading from both the WIN ZONE trigger zone and also a new LUA command so you can move to new levels via scripting too. I dare say loading the new levels will be the easy part, and preserving game state data across the levels and player will be the mystery grey area I am not fully dreading yet.

In other news, just had a death-match with the latest multiplayer, which now has realistic ragdoll impacts based on bullet direction. It has a raw game play to it that I think will be very contagious when we release this part of the software, and any doubts about it's rightful place in this project will be dispelled. It is SO much fun, and when you can modify your levels and re-play within 'minutes' I think a new kind of social experience will be born and a great foundation will be established for the Reloaded universe moving forward.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Meeting Day

Been a long day of meeting today, but some good progress shown and a clear plan drawn up for the V1.009 public release and the ensuing work thereafter.  A little bit zonked from all the talking so will check in this blog post a little (a lot -Ed) on the light side and make it up to you guys and gals on Wednesday when I will have some code related news to share.  

Last task of the day is a quick sketch to Simon laying out the minimal menu system we will be using for the V1.009 version of the ConKit. It's functionally cool, but needs a nice front end to hide the programmer art not appreciated my most onlookers ;)  More news tommorow as I work on adding multi-level support to the standalone executable which adds another large piece of the final jigsaw for V1.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Grenade Day

Guess what I worked on over the weekend. That's right, custom character bone animation issues (and grenades).

As fun as it was, the serious decision was that the multiplayer work will need grenade single player sooner than I needed it, so it went in, and they are great fun.

Today I have been trimming down the entity properties choices, and making the ones that remain work fully. This has been wanting for some time and I am glad to finally get around to it.  Just have to do sound and sound set, plus rocket ammo quantity, and then I should be done.

Meeting all day Tuesday where progress will be discussed and next plans, and will include the imminent release of V1.009 which I know is now much anticipated. My goal over the next week will be to ensure the installer I build is solid and does not break anything currently working in V1.0085.  There have been a LOT of feature additions since the last public build so will be spending plenty of time with our internal alpha testers.