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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

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

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Flexman

Let's Make a Game - Procedual Content Creation (part 02)

About: This is a short series for the Leadwerks community on the process of creating a simple game using procedural content.   In part 01 we looked at one theory of generating random maps in the style of old school dungeon crawlers. This week we'll put that into practice to generate map data, room geometry and mesh colliders. The easy part was adding a flying physics based camera to act as our first-person flown "spaceship".     Again I want to flag I'm not a LUA expert, this is not a LUA t

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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

Saitek Instrument Panel test

Had a quick play with Saitek's DirectOutput SDK, results are mixed but not bad. The MFD resolution in Combat-Helo is a native 512x512 and the Saitek Flight Instrument Panel is VGA 320x240, there's a bit of difference.   Sampling the buffer down to a smaller surface and then adding a suitable BMP header to send over to the device. Remarkably easy. I'll have three more please Saitek   BUT please can you make an FIP version two with a 512x512 square ratio display? Or at least increase the ve

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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

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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

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Flexman

Mossie concept art

Just a short post since I'm busy being pulled in a dozen different directions; I got roped into helping someone create a short health and safety film, drafting a project proposal, raising finances and even managed to fix a long standing bug in Combat-Helo. Now the sensors, line of sight and all that guff is now WORKING again, Hooray. A quick background on that, an engine update needed to fix some occlusion issues slightly changed the Model hierarchy in a subtle way that changed how actual filen

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Flexman

Saitek X65 - A Tale of Two Joysticks

I've been using this for testing and making profiles for Combat-Helo since the weekend. This is a really odd stick. It's perhaps the best built joystick out of the box I've ever had the privilege of using. And quite a looker too. The textured metal feel, the metal triggers and even a couple of the HATs. Oddly this level of build isn't consistent with several hats made from what feels like a poor quality plastic. But it wasn't broken or badly assembled, and nothing has broken yet.   If you didn

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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

Mobiles, mobs and states

While waiting on fixes for the flight-model and control inputs, putting some game into the game we talked about ranges and how performance measuring was going to work. In addition we wanted to add a little variety which required working mob AI.     So nothing fancy but I managed to rustle up a simple finite state machine FSM to get some tanks and cars running around. Our design uses a group formation system (a group is a number of individual units that share common logic, e.g a tank platoon)

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Flexman

Nothing serious but one reader sent in this...

From an Australian gaming mag (and those guys are tough cookies) at the bottom of a review of Take On Helicopters...     Thanks for the mention guys the picture is a bit out of date though, but what the hell.   Source

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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

CH-47D - work commenced

For the record, practical work on the detailed CH-47D interior started yesterday.   The CH-47D is a great machine better suited to the environment in which it will operate in Combat-Helo. The Chinook (prn: shin-uk) is a surprisingly nimble and small helicopter, not the large lumbering giant as is often perceived. What you may find surprising (I did anyway) was that it's about the same size as the Apache. See the comparison image below.   Apache / Chinook size comparisonIn Afghanistan, the CH

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Flexman

CSEL (Combat Survivor/Evader Locator)

Dave completed more of the survival equipment, looking really good. The concept is simple, if you need to perform an emergency landing and leave your helo, the CSEL can be activated and will mark the location on everyone's tactical situation display. The signal flare may be use to mark your position visually.   More up close pictures in the SimHQ thread here.         I spun off a new shader to do the MPD video mixing. The symbology layer needed to mask the video layer using its alpha c

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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

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

NTS Next To Shoot aka TAB targeting

[NTS] Left Upper button. Next To Shoot is the ubiquitous video game cycle through targets. Or TAB target if you play MMOs.   I've touched upon how radar works in this blog entry from August - Radar - A Discussion   The Apache can automatically selecting priority targets based on some sort of criteria. This short blog post touches on how I've elected to do this. Again if you're familiar with the 1996 classic, Janes Longbow 2 there's nothing unfamiliar here.   The TSD (tactical situation di

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Flexman

HMD flight symbology

More flight symbology added today. Raining almost non-stop and my cars wiper motor has failed, so wasn't going anywhere.   We added a couple of items that make it possible to do some precise flying.   Velocity Vector Acceleration Cue The Velocity Vector is the blob on the stick that originates from the cross in the centre of the HMD. This is a representation of the direction and speed of your aircraft. Think of these as "top down" views with your aircraft in the middle, forwards move

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Flexman

US Army showcases AB3 - Apache Block II to Block III in video

US Army released video showcasing the new Block III Apache in a virtual training environment.     The video covers in a nutshell...   Weight reduction Improved software upgrade pipeline Increased engine power 701-D engines and improved drive system Better digital battlefield intergration UAV commanding IFR certified instruments Reliability and servicing improvements RFI range triangulation Maritime classification Awesome new logo Further reading  

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Flexman

Happy New Year - Another year older...

I (Richard H) take the opportunity to indulge myself in a little year-end editorial and pick out some of the personal highs and lows of the past twelve months. Warning: may contain rambling, digression and woeful inaccuracies.   Is it over already? What happened this year?   2011 a year where the most wanted man in America was shot (along with 4 other people that nobody seems to remember) by US Navy SEALs. A year where governments attempted to convince themselves they have any kind of contro

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Flexman

TSD started, avoiding work for a Split Second

Another little progress update but first a diversion. Yesterday I took some time-off to brush up on gaming skills and really enjoyed Disney Interactive's "Split Second", one of the few car games I keep going back to since I typically find racing games tedious (lack of skill and patience on my part). However this game is almost pure adrenaline and I find my self coming back to try and shave off 2 seconds while avoiding exploding aircraft and collapsing control towers. Split Second is actually the

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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

Atmospheric screen-shots

AD made some atmospheric screen-shots when playing with lighting and environment settings. SimHQ Diary Starting with the only major airbase in the region. AD is responsible for some Strike Fighter mod aircraft models, one of which is a Tornado GR1 (?). Which he's used here. I don't think these will be in the game unless we get permission from the original mod maker to use it. But it does look nice.     This is our early version of Camp Stone complete with a half-court basket. You wouldn't

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Flexman

Units, Events and Triggers

I'm putting together specifications on the mission side of the game. To me, the bit that you 'play' is every bit as important as the simulation side, and while it's taken a back seat for now, things are getting to the point where it's time to get on and make it all work. Going through some of my older material on this, it needs to play like Longbow 2, have the crew management elements from Gunship 2000 and strategy elements from tactical board games on guerilla warfare and a bit of a story eleme

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Flexman

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