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Let's Make a Game - Procedual Content Creation (part 03)

About: This is a short series for the Leadwerks community on the process of creating a simple game using procedural content.   This week we implement the map creation process discussed in part 02 then add the mesh generation and a controller to fly around our level. Then we'll have the first iteration of our procedurally generated map.   Part 01 Part 02       Starting with the Map class.   Map:Create Function...first iteration, no corridors.   Simple nested for-loop to generate a ro

Flexman

Flexman

Dave experiments with pit lighting

The art-gnome at Combat-Helo has been playing with bloom and glow shader materials for the cockpit and came up with instrument night lighting. I thought it was a cool use of extra texture stages and materials with Leadwerks engine, it's an easy effect to add. With additional green point lights around the pit it should look pretty close to the real deal.     Here's a real shot with night lighting. Panel back-lighting and small point lights.     Source

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Flexman

Some more architecture

I think these have been on the SimHQ forums for a couple of days but I've been too busy to post any updates. Here AD has been adding some gardens to the Friday Mosque and adding it to the city. To overcome scale/zbuffer issues of having a large scene, AD has buried the the tiled gardens into the terrain, just like the river sections. The gardens sit on a large slab that is quite deep, this also accommodates uneven terrain.     No paved road surface currently. While Leadwerks supports

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Flexman

Smoke ribbons, when emitters are too slow

Particle engines are commonly used for fire and smoke effects adding a lot of eye-candy for little effort. Every frame an emitter creates a number of billboard sprites along a vector. Normally this is not an issue when movement along this vector between frames is quite small.   But what if you're talking about something that moves really fast between frames? Such as a rocket launcher or space-ship? Fellow Brit and indy developer Cliff Harris of Gratuitous Space Battles fame ran into the same p

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Flexman

Let's Make a Game - Procedual Content Creation (part 01)

About: This is a short series for the Leadwerks community on the process of creating a simple game using procedural content.   A short while ago I was approached to write a book on terrain generation using dedicated tools for a variety of game engines. There's a lot more to game content than just terrains. Josh's recent blogs on CSG got me thinking about one of my favourite games and had me itching to re-visit the genre.       This series is an exploration of topics I don't normally exerci

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Flexman

Building a city, Herat

Another update of map progress on the SimHQ Combat Helo forums. Showing how the City of Herat as a sprawl of densely packed compounds and commerce is being built. Using blocks of prefabs and arranged on a grid. This is a selection of my favourite.   Meant to be viewed from a low altitude, the prefabs do a good job of keeping the eye busy. Here is half a city already with parks and minarets to add. All built to be frame-rate friendly.   And a mini-game for your base, the "Hello World" of

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Flexman

Baked AO, ambient occlusion

Today we looked at a neat little program called SMAK which is a neat little program for generating normal maps for low poly models by using high poly models. It also can bake ambient occlusion shadows onto your diffuse textures.   This is also a feature of 3DMAX so Dave tried a little experiment.   Before, no baked AO   After, with baked AO You might want to click on those images to see the full sized renders. Certainly the cockpit area could benefit, and the buildings we have with ground

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Flexman

Exterior night lighting

These are placement tests for the Apache model in the editor, getting a feel for colour, levels, position, range and angle. The left nav light (red) on the Apache model needs to have the fullbright material applied to be visible in dark conditions. One pilot was telling me that the ground on the left side on the helicopter appears brighter than the right with night vision. Interestingly our night vision shader amplifies lighting levels based on final pixel colour and gives a boost to red values

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Flexman

New video finally ... free flight

Finally a video showing the free flight mode we really wanted to show at Summer Sim 2010. Thanks AD for doing an amazing job of making it all look good.     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6ILqIQDaio     Sorry about the lack of blade-cam, LUA object reference problem. Will get it sorted.

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Flexman

Not a good sign - drive IO failiure

Another disaster strikes, PC wont boot at all. Strange thing happens on the BIOS screen, the moment any attempt to detect any drives (and I tried a few different drives that I know were fine), a bright underscore character appears under the circled comma (picture above).   So apart from my laptop I'm now without a working PC and no means to fix it atm :/   Source

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Flexman

Environment, weather, day cycles, iPhones, everything.

It's not going to win any awards for realism but we have a rudimentary ENV environment class that handles time-of-day ticking and updating scene elements accordingly. Lighting, colouring, fog, sun position. Currently it's using computed light values which renders lovely post apocalyptic scenes, the colours are terrible IMO, looks like a nuke's gone off. A lookup table will be better and an exercise I'll leave for later. Also I added some data structures for moving weather zones around the map. T

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Flexman

Another art-dev diary update

Updates to the green-zones, incremental improvements to the billboards, painting 'shadow' under vegetation. Dev-diary update at SimHQ   It's looking great considering how much detail we can't use. Currently we can't use the 2.32 engine due to lack of LOD distance control, and loading the levels with all the vegetation takes three times as long in the new version due to the extra processing required for veg culling. The detail in our production level map shows little performance difference

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Flexman

Camp....insert name here

AD has been working on a new FOB which will be the "other" main camp you'll be deployed at during the course of the campaign.   It's a triangle arrangement used by some forward operational bases. Here the CH47s are ready to be deployed.     And finally..   Don't have a name for the camp yet.   Source

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Flexman

Stuff you thought was going to be simple but wasn't

Swimming was one.   Setting up controllers in XPlane is another.   Yes the things you thought were going to take a few days which turned into a week and a bit (you could almost say 'two weeks'). Josh at Leadwerks gave me a leg-up on how to put an MMO style launcher together and I've almost done wrapping up all the security for the necessary database, key code generation, CVS style updates and all the stuff we need to match individual content to clients. We'll make available downloadable cont

Flexman

Flexman

US Army presents "Mast Bumping"

I know it's a little late for Valentines Day. Excessive flapping, bumping and separation is discussed in this priceless US Army video from 1980. If only they had "RotorCam ™". The Apache has a fixed rotor, mast bumping isn't an issue but it's all part of helicopter theory.       I've been forced to continue hunting for other employment to deal with a mounting debt crisis. As a result work was put on hold the past two weeks (hence the lack of updates). I apologise for letting my post sli

Flexman

Flexman

Avionics and cockpit update

Quick update. Busy working on a lot of small things. We have a cockpit update coming to update MPDs, internal and external night lighting. MPDs taking to the TStores class and working towards having a number of cockpit functions up and ready for the start-up. Dave added the CP/G throttle panel too (which removes the power switch and engine startup).   Experiencing a problem with fps slowdown over time again. Mostly down to repeatedly running combat-helo, stop, edit, re-run. FPS drops to single

Flexman

Flexman

Out-takes, when cockpits go bad

My Dennis Norden bit. Out-takes from today. Most programmers we have a few wilco tango foxtrot moments from time to time. Here's a few from today. Starting with "How not to render lights to a buffer."   The canopy glass makes for an interesting effect. Next, an interesting effect you REALLY don't want to see....ARRRRGHHHH....   This is me getting a transform wrong. You can almost see the join between the high detail cockpit and the Apache exterior model. Mind the gap? I did fix this by c

Flexman

Flexman

Tricubic Studios Ltd.

Formally announcing the foundation of the legal entity Tricubic Studios Ltd. developers of Combat Helo, associated content and iPhone/iPad games / applications.   This doesn't change very much, it grants us a recognised identity for trading, taxation and investment. Plus we get a chance to develop an insipid company website. We plan to have our first mobile platform release ready for the summer. More details on that in a few weeks. Blog updates will continue at this location.   Source

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Flexman

GEOWEPS - Gratuitous end-of-week post of screen-shots

Airbase preview at our SimHQ forum.   Gluing the airfield into place has been an interesting job, using terrain 'visibility' to cut out terrain chunks and fit it into place. Shindand airfield is used for medical and humanitarian flights, it's currently VFR only and no lighting system. We might modernise it a little for our scenario.   Most NATO flights will come and go from here. A node system for AI aircraft to follow the taxiways and tank-off/land will be added.   Multiplayer options sta

Flexman

Flexman

Can you tell what it is yet?

Dave's been busy building the unsung hero of Afghanistan and other operations around the world.   Rolf: Can you tell what it is yet? ;-)   It's a non-flyable but will feature prominently in the game as you'll be tasked to provide armed escort for supply, insertion and extraction missions.   Much time has been spent correcting smoothing errors. Brilliant work. We'll be adding the same functionality to the rotors and rear door using LUA scripts. This morning we were looking at the various fl

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Flexman

ENG rebuilt

Been pretty ill this last week, progress has been sporadic. I took time out to rebuild the engine code so it's now the same for all Apaches, AI and player alike.   Pilot feedback from screen-shots and videos also allowed me to rebuild the whole engine start-up and ENG display page. Automatically switches to in-flight mode. Things blink, change colour, are boxed appropriately. Couple of bits left to do, the biggest headache was dealing with all the fiddly scale changes and adding new code to si

Flexman

Flexman

Tuesday - map almost completed

Spent a lot of time today house cleaning. No not code, literally the house. It's amazing what teenagers can do to your treasured Monty Python DVD collection, it's not funny. Stop that, it's silly.   I over-complicated the map drawing and stripped it down. Added functionality to the TSD page for controlling the map scale. I'm happy that it will work with 3rd party maps too. Oh I just noticed in the screen shots the scale index is off by one.   The green colour is from the low elevation rang

Flexman

Flexman

Building bridges and instrument lights

Dave sent me his first bridge work for crossing the Death Star trench across our terrain.   Pictured below is an editor scene showing it in place with some of our other 3D assets rolling across it.   Five brickwork textures were used to break up the surface detail with colour matching used to make it blend with the terrain textures.     Last night I finished playing around with the cockpit night lighting thanks to Bushmaster and his reference photos and nudging to fix the colours. Three

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Flexman

Multi-player address book

Before I code the address book, what do you think of this arrangement?   I'm trying to keep interface items as simple as possible as I hate coding fiddly bits. But these things are mandatory for modern multi-player games.   Source

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Flexman

World of Warcraft - Blizzard has internal leakage

Just wanted to report this to the blogosphere. I'm not a Wow player (I have an account but I don't play very often) but my wife friends across several raiding guilds play from time to time.     They've all been subjected to hacks. And I think the leak is at Blizzard.     Over the past few weeks, everbody we know, including friends of friends have had their accounts hacked. Including mine, which was inactive, but had an "authenticator" (a hardware device that generates a new 6 digit number

Flexman

Flexman

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