Thursday, 29 January 2015


Our new project management software Wrike has a pie chart and bar graph which shows the contrast between newly submitted tasks and tasks completed, and today we beat Week 2 in terms of completed items which was pretty cool!

My remaining tasks with a day to spare is to solve the Windows XP BSOD which relates to an issue with the engine crashing out on one of our alpha testers, and to make a build for the weekend and also transfer final files for a Steam build too, which is timely as I am pretty knackered from the last two days and looking forward to an early night's sleep for an early start Friday when I plan to start work at 7AM to get a little more done in the final day of 'functionality' development, from here on in it's all testing and minor tweaking.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Games Day - Three Done, Two Nearly There, More To Come

In addition to the various fixes afforded today, I took a serious look at the game levels we will be bundling with the core product and after I got the light-mapper to work again, the speed of the games where pretty good and I had a lot of fun running around as a player rather than a fixer, and aside from some AI and Performance tuning I think we're on our way to creating a great game play experience.

Also participated in a multi-player test this afternoon which successfully uploaded a new level to the Steam Workshop, hosted that game, joiners informed through the software that they need to subscribe to the item, which was then downloaded locally for them, and the game could be connected and run, complete with custom content in an encrypted package to protect the artists assets, and once again I see this as being one of the most fun and engaging features of the product, despite it being one of the last things we elected to add.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Some Great New Sample Levels Joining The Build

Another great day of fixes, and following on from a 15 hour day yesterday I only had a handful of issues left to deal with before the next big build, which mainly includes taking new assets, testing them and adding them to the core asset collection to be part of the installer, and including the new (very cool) levels that will be provided as samples for new Reloaded users, and example shots provided below as a taste of what is to come.

One tip suggested by Rick to share is that when you lightmap your scenes, and have a dynamic shadow such an animating tree casting on the floor, and your entity is not being shadowed that sits under the tree, make sure you set the Entity Shader Technique to HIGHEST as this is the only one which supports shadow-shading.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Content And Sample Game Levels

With the bulk of the 'functionality' work concluded last week, this week, the third since the start of 2015 will be about adding content, game samples and testing everything as we layer on the final fixes and polish before a major build for some serious testing during February.

Many of the sample levels created for us by third parties either through competitions or directly as a contribution sometimes dipped into legacy or custom content, and so we are painstakingly bringing those into the core asset library, renaming them, putting them in the correct category folder and using a cool new hack I created, the old levels can be instructed through a .REPLACE feature, to swap in the location of the new entity to replace the old one, avoiding the need for the level artist to have to go in and manually replace anything, which I thought was a very nice time saver (and sanity saver).

Friday, 23 January 2015

Flea Swatting Stage

After the monster UBER Character work yesterday and last night, today was a little nicer with some opportunities to squash little bugs and tweaks, which has gone well so far, so the plan is to continue getting the list down to reasonable levels, and then make a test and build for the internal alpha testers for the weekend.

Finally finished at 3:30AM last night, but the Uber Character can now hold any weapon style, and when stood can pivot his upper body around to face and shoot you, and transition to normal animations, plus blend the two states together using a special frame override which can impose static frame poses onto a running model animations, which I thought was a nice touch!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Coding To Rocky Theme Tune

You just know no bug is safe when you're casually playing movie themes in the background, and then the Rocky theme tune comes on, so it is perhaps best for the bugs that all of today I was working on the Uber Character task, which involves adding Rocket, Shotgun, Uzi and Assault Rifle animation sets to the character animation system which was estimated at 6 hours and looks to be taking entirely that allocation.

I also added a sub-task to this goal, which was to use the new animation frames created to pose the upper body of the character for twisting and firing, and I was about to start writing new DBP commands to override an animation with fixed animation frame poses, when I discovered a SetFrameEx command that I must have written years ago that does exactly that, which I thought amusing and very very useful indeed, thanks TGC!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Crashes Be Gone

A crash that has been plaguing the software for sometime has now been squashed, and turned out to be the rather simple fact that the Steam API needed to be totally closed down when the executable was terminated, or modules would be left hanging and dire consequences ensued.

As Pool Night is 'Singles Knock-Out' I have decided to stay at home and have an evening of 'more work' which according to my task list on Wrike means I start the code which will allow the Uber Character to hold ANY weapon style (pistol, shotgun, uzi, rocket, none), partially to give this character template life in the first build to help future character artists but mainly to provide the necessary character for the multiplayer gaming where each player can naturally select and run around with any weapon, and you want to see that in a good way, so it's my mission for the evening and hopefully I can get another task knocked off before the final 'function' week is over and we move tentatively to internal testing of a near-final build that will eventually become the Early Access release on Steam.