Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Visuals and Explosions

Spent the day on smaller tweaks to get the Escape Demo level further along to ensure the best bits remain and the worst bits improved.  It's looking much nicer now, plays faster and hopefully a few extra functions can be added before we're ready for the public beta release.

Also wanted to repeat something that was posted in the comments, and also to clarify that all the shots from the last few weeks have been on LOWEST settings only. That means no normal maps, no specular, no real-time shadows for entities and none of the extra finesse that can be spent with a high end shader. My goal was to get it playing fast and looking good at the lowest settings, and then I can re-introduce the higher end features as I move up the food chain. This way the visuals will remain consistent and use the same light balancing no matter which shader technique you choose.

Right now I am finishing off the integratable prototype for the new explosion system that is finally going in to replace the one we are currently using. The current explosion is a bit 'epic' right now, and probably needs scaling down but I can go that once it's in game and I can get a sense of scale. The new explosion is pretty cool though with two fire decals, two smoke decals and two debris effects based on physics particulates.  Looks good in the lab so should look great in game, with the only obstacle being the reduction in what we call the intersection issue (a flat camera facing plane cutting into another surface at an angle and creating a strong line contrasting the explosion decal and the scene).

I have also freed up and de-prioritized some task items to preserve the original functionality list I had a week ago, which include enemies inside buildings, material system and cleaning up the entity property fields so they are 100% relevant to the engine (a long time coming).  As much as performance and visuals was challenging and fun, it's nice to do other things now and again, as a change is as good as a rest!


  1. This all sounds wonderful! I can't wait to play with the next update.

  2. As I suspected, Lee had not added the bump / specular mapping back in yet which is great news because if the graphics are looking this good just with diffuse textures and lighting, we are in for a treat once the shader quality gets ramped up to highest.

    The color balance is so much better now, Reloaded has definitely just gone up an order of magnitude in visual quality and I'm now running out of things to complain about. Lee has earned a few beers on me.

    I'm also glad Lee is focusing on consistency with the graphics so this level of quality is maintained as the other features are re introduced or added. The environments are looking far more realistic now and having taken a while to get on the right track, we need to stay there.

    I'm very interested to learn more about the new material system and what this can bring to the table. If we can get normal and specular maps really contributing to scenes I think the future for Reloaded is very promising.

    1. +100 Much less stuff to complain about now, all looks far, far better than it used to. I don't offer alchoholic beverages, but Lee's certainly earned a big bottle of sarsaparilla! :D

    2. i am happy with the progress, although . . . . . . . on previous post there is a lot of shader shadows picking up the vertex lines on the mesh making the diffuse look odd. note the house furthest away, the windows are all shadow issue laden, tops, and on the facing window on the furthest is a light triangle in the midst of the shadow, and some nice vertical line shadow rips.this happened in x10 lighting, it seems to pick up the mesh and runs home to mama and does odd things with the shadows etc. hence the previous picture on tuesday. i am believing lee is onto this one. but it is much better but on my models in .85 it splits my models on lighting. bit fishy. but i believe lee can sort it out. before he goes off efx for months

  3. Guys I found a shadow Glitch, I believe its just model related...

    To see it your self look at the post below this one then...
    look at the building on the left
    then at its top window
    to the left of the window a > shadow is coming from it.
    I believe this is an issue as I have never seen a shadow quite like it in real life :P

    1. Yeah I saw that, but it'll just be a random Z-flicker glitch. Happens with all shadows from time to time.

    2. But like you say, I've not seen it happen IRL! :P

  4. That does look good now and a quality composition too boot at that angle.

    I had noticed the fps in the screen shots previously referred too and thought that they were very low given what Reloaded has to be able to do at the sharp end though never mentioned it while the engine is being so heavily developed.

    Hopefully we shall see at least some little improvement on previous results our end which would be nice given that we could do that and still make the other improvements going on.

    That would be some progress and worth waiting for.

    Anyway Yes the screen shot looks very good. I could hang it on a wall or "desktop"