Friday, 27 September 2013

Champagne Time!

Well You Gone And Did It!

Another little milestone on our rocky road to rapture. The daily views on my blog just topped 1000, the highest ever since I started at the beginning of 2013 and a worthy of a celebration drink.  I had planned to visit Wigan Friday afternoon and watch a good old game of rugby, but a huge email inbox, a pending blog and plenty of work ahead forced poor Lee back into his seat.

The project is starting to glow with the promise of what can be achieved, and it's an exciting time for me at the moment. I just can't put it down!!

Progress News

I was all set to continue my experiments into large scale dust bowls and sand storms, complete with sounds and subtle transitioning effects when Rick took one look at the early prototype from last night and suggested no further work be done on it. I personally saw great potential in the idea, but Rick wants his finished product a.s.a.p, so we move on.

I thus moved onto integrating the latest in-game engine stuff back into the main IDE editor, effectively allowing levels to be edited and then instantly previewed as though it was the final game.  To this end, I created a new and final prototype to hold the engine in-game pipeline to replace the current weapon prototype which was assuming this role, and also started the actual final map editor module which would replace the grid edit proto which I use to quickly compile and test editor features. These two steps easily consumed six hours of work, but the code is well ordered, neat and ready for expansion.

A Hiccup

Although I can now paint the terrain, jump into a gloriously shaded world and run around it, I cannot leave and come back to the same view. Returning to the editor from the game just shows a black screen and has something to do with my post process reversal code not working. Nor are the weapons added to this new system yet. It all works nice if I switch off post processing in test game, but this is just a stop gap.  The solution for a new day is to step through the rendering behavior when back in the editor mode and find out specifically which part of the post process system is irrecoverable. Once that is done, I can quickly add weapons and be back to where we should be.

Beyond that, finishing off terrain saving, allowing levels to be created and stored with everything we have so far, should be a good result for Sunday. With that, we can start making screen shots and videos as the new terrain content comes in.

Signing Off

It's been a series of very long days, and I am hopeful to get a few more hours in the garden to take a break from this monitor this weekend. I have a meeting on Wednesday to show the current visual progress of the product, and despite my prediction that the main game engine and IDE would not be integrated by then, it looks like it just might be.

A Note From My Ego

Here is a photo of me presenting a 7 minute ramble to the highly select fellows of the Intel Black Belt dinner in San Francisco, representing Wales by entirely failing to affect a Welsh accent.  Can you tell how many glasses of beer I drank in the 24 hours preceding this shot?


  1. I do hope you didn't have your hands in your pockets whilst speaking.....did you?

    I am SO excited right now for Reloaded!! That new Reloaded image/logo/thingy lacks a sense of "purpose" (it has no recognisable icon or symbol), but it entirely makes up for it with its awesomeness! :D

  2. @Clonkex

    Am also getting very excited for Reloaded now. I can't wait for the BETA now.

    Lee really knocked it out of the park in the last few days. FPSC is about to enjoy a very bright future and its amazing to see what has been achieved in 9 months.

    I am going to guess that Lee drank 10 pints before giving his speech!.

  3. Zero pints, because Lee would never do something so silly! :P

    So is this post alluding to the fact you have "finished" almost, with FPSReloaded? :(

  4. "So is this post alluding to the fact you have "finished" almost"

    Ha! Finished? Well, ok you did put it quotation marks, but really I think that word comes nowhere near Reloaded right now. However we are getting close to a beta release, me thinks.

  5. I always get painted as the bad guy in Lee's blogs! :-)

    The main reason I asked Lee to stop work on the dust effect is so he can focus on other areas that need to be completed and tidied up. Dust will be in at some point down the line (it does look great).

    Lee and the team are on a roll now. I think from now we'll keep seeing very exciting updates and info. The tough stuff is handled (I think).

    1. I agreed with your decision! I thought you were the good guy this week. :)

    2. Me too. I felt like the dust effect was unnecessary and should be done further down the track. So yeah, you're the good guy this time :)

  6. I would not say bad ;) Let's paint you as an anchor (at least I think that's what they called you), keeping the good ship maverick from dashing upon the nearby cliffs and forever sinking the fortunes of all aboard. On, and the word '"finished'" is presently banned from the TGC offices, replaced with 'c.a.n.i beta' :)

  7. Sounds about right to me. I agree with Rick for once :-)

  8. While a full-blown sandstorm would be really cool, it is not really necessary for initial release in my opinion BUT I do however think that at least some random hovering dust particles are almost just as essential as shaders to make a game really come to life in todays' world.

    Still congratulations are in order. This is a good milestone and you have really come far down the line. The rate of development on this project is something you don't see very often!

  9. I had plans on doing a desert themed game when FPCR comes out, but I'd happily wait any day for the thorough development of the engine.I also agree with Rick, lol you're not the enemy :)

  10. Great work lee and rick and co.
    regarding that sandstorm talk -
    lets face it - stuff like that will probably be in around v1 Release of Reloaded
    and no i dont think its a must have feature for the upcoming beta

    There are much more important things that need to be taken care of
    and so far - speaking for myself
    am totally happy with the progress here and am glad to be able to whitness
    R`s transformation into a actual engine

  11. The sandstorm started off as a small super-subtle (almost un-noticeable) dust bowl that briefly glanced across the screen at mid-distance. The scene still has some sharp polygons in there and I was looking for a way to soften it up without putting Vaseline all over the screen (or using any more bloom). If anyone has any video links of other games that successfully recreated the 'dust blowing past the player', comment them here so I can learn learn learn :)

    1. Hello Lee,
      you may have a look at game "Spec Ops: The Line" is all in the middle of the desert, with desert storms inside game, you may have a look at it and take suggestions/impressions/ideas: (interesting scenes from 6:40)

  12. Is the sand dust bowl going to be able to be colour changed. So it can double up as snow whirling. Keep up the good work. And hopefully the goodies of cameras. moving lights on entity etc will join the game. Have you checked lafettes desert oasis. He has got flowing surface water directional maybe worth a look. And are you going to add skyscroll so we can add rolfys pack to animate the skies or something :). Note these are suggestions not demands. And maybe give inspiration to envisage a greater reloaded. :)

  13. I was going to ask for masses of locusts, army ants and more and make them all wholly destructible together with destructible everything else down to the minutest detail but we can give that a miss for now - perhaps later.......

    seriously can we concentrate on the Core engine/editor and main FPS game components please? I mean obvious major element ones like AI and physics, water improvements and alike unless they are all in and done and dusted perhaps.

    There are thousands of small details you could add I guess if game users needs for all the core elements they may need are catered for.already.

    Dust would be nice to have of course - animated skies as someone else again mentioned above - and weather, putty water and terrain - all kinds of things lists as long as your arm - but they are not core necessities right now are they.

    We don't have a player so if anything dust at the feet of AI characters would be good.

    I don't know how things are going to be implemented in Reloaded exactly? Sand storms, snow storms, base of streams if you have them, waterfall mists and water droplets and
    alike would be fantastic if Reloaded can handle it all?

    Are not these things needing a "Particle System" - do we have one? Do we have a manageable and editable Fog system perhaps with user editable ranges fall off, density and so on?

    So many things :-)

    Can I have it all and more please :-)

    OK just the sand storm then :-)

    1. Ouch, say it like it is!

      But I agree. I think Lee's missing the point here. Don't give us the product, give us the tools! So, please, give us a very extensive particle system to let us make our own weather effects rather than giving us a sandstorm. I think this is where FPSC did poorly, in that it was very much inflexible. This the the chance to make an engine that is capable of so much more with the right minds, so please don't miss the opportunity!

  14. My thoughts are still turning to real time dynamic shadows in Reloaded.

    Its been missing from FPSC for so long I can't wait to fire up the BETA when it arrives just to sit back in my chair with a beer and stare at how amazing everthing looks.

    Just imagine dropping in an entity then going back into the game and seeing a real time dynamic shadow cast from it onto a bump mapped terrain floor. Its going to be insane.

    I think Lee has already sorted the really difficult problems in Reloaded so now its just going to be about integrating everything and adding all of the polish to give the whole experience that AAA look and feel.

    Also the fact Lee is focusing all of his efforts on Reloaded next year to build upon the success this year means that FPSC could really be a major player in the future for the PC gamer and enthusiast.

    I agree with some earlier comments that it would be nice to have some control over the player attributes such as speed, jump height etc to make Reloaded experiences feel more unique from each other.

    Also I still think Depth of Field would be a nice addition if integrated with Airmod so you can use it when aiming with weapons etc. Its a cheap effect but it adds something if used in a subtle way.

  15. I agree with user control over player attributes. If not in beta then in v1. I will be interested to see how the room and building system will be for beta, exciting stuff. A final thought, will the beta have the ability to compile a final build of a game level or levels?

  16. Kyle: I'm pretty sure in the beta the building system will be exactly the same as it is in FPSCx9, only with a few minor improvements. After the beta then Lee will start working on the new building system he had in mind. Right, Lee?