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

Flexman

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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 content (DLC) such as new maps and the occasional helicopter (the planned CH-47D), not to mention the odd mission pack.

 

ch_launch.jpgNo, this key won't work, it's a fakeSo there was a lot to do to make a simple one shot MMO style launcher. The back-end server stuff had to be built from scratch. The launch .EXE calls home, applies on-demand updates and preps game settings for launch. For simple security sakes I layered server-side scripts for handling the updates, admin and audit. Auditing is handled by triggers, SQL injection is futile since only one procedure is exposed to clients.

 

Any DBA will tell you Auditing is an important part of any security. If you build any kind of database exposed to the internet and you don't build your own layer on top of any default transaction logging then you're kind of asking for trouble. The database engine used here is not known for keeping detailed logs so it was necessary to build one anyway. Things you might want to think about if you ever need to create systems like these are making log indexes suitable for frequency analysis (this one method Twitter uses to spot spamming), fake open doors and keys and silent alarms. My favourite trick in the past was a fake database that gives the intruder a high and makes them believe they have walked away with the crown jewels while evidence is collected. That sort of none-sense is not required here, I kept this one functional with a tiny footprint.

 

The Pilot ID we'll be sending out is the key to your content; install once, play as you like. If you share copies around on your network you can launch 'offline' no worries, no need to be connected to the internet until you want to update. It's nice if you want to buy multiple copies for your network and support the effort put into this project but I'm poor too so I know how it is.

 

Little bit of script consolidation and testing to do before we let this loose in the real world.

4946580266235927217-4186546770895380949?l=combathelo.blogspot.com

 

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I not only anticipate but plan many updates after launch. It's not a simple game which you can fire and forget, maybe push a couple of updates and forget about it. Although I really DO (oh boy) miss making those kinds of games.

 

There are aircraft systems we didn't have time to add, the biggest being the Hellfire missile system, a major component of the platform. Many games in this genre often have updates and it's quite frustrating hunting them down. There's new maps we can offer with this but just turning on content for users in the database.

 

We take this kind of thing for granted today, I think it will improve the end-user experience.

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  • Blog Entries

    • By Josh in Josh's Dev Blog 4
      I have been working on 2D rendering off and on since October. Why am I putting so much effort into something that was fairly simple in Leadwerks 4? I have been designing a system in anticipation of some features I want to see in the GUI, namely VR support and in-game 3D user interfaces. These are both accomplished with 2D drawing performed on a texture. Our system of sprite layers, cameras, and sprites was necessary in order to provide enough control to accomplish this.
      I now have 2D drawing to a texture working, this time as an official supported feature. In Leadwerks 4, some draw-to-texture features were supported, but it was through undocumented commands due to the complex design of shared resources between OpenGL contexts. Vulkan does not have this problem because everything, including contexts (or rather, the VK equivalent) is bound to an abstract VkInstance object.

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      --Get the primary display local displaylist = ListDisplays() local display = displaylist[1]; if display == nil then DebugError("Primary display not found.") end local displayscale = display:GetScale() --Create a window local window = CreateWindow(display, "2D Drawing to Texture", 0, 0, math.min(1280 * displayscale.x, display.size.x), math.min(720 * displayscale.y, display.size.y), WINDOW_TITLEBAR) --Create a rendering framebuffer local framebuffer = CreateFramebuffer(window); --Create a world local world = CreateWorld() --Create second camera local texcam = CreateCamera(world) --Create a camera local camera = CreateCamera(world) camera:Turn(45,-45,0) camera:Move(0,0,-2) camera:SetClearColor(0,0,1,1) --Create a texture buffer local texbuffer = CreateTextureBuffer(512,512,1,true) texcam:SetRenderTarget(texbuffer) --Create scene local box = CreateBox(world) --Create render-to-texture material local material = CreateMaterial() local tex = texbuffer:GetColorBuffer() material:SetTexture(tex, TEXTURE_BASE) box:SetMaterial(material) --Create a light local light = CreateLight(world,LIGHT_DIRECTIONAL) light:SetRotation(55,-55,0) light:SetColor(2,2,2,1) --Create a sprite layer. This can be shared across different cameras for control over which cameras display the 2D elements local layer = CreateSpriteLayer(world) texcam:AddSpriteLayer(layer) texcam:SetPosition(0,1000,0)--put the camera really far away --Load a sprite to display local sprite = LoadSprite(layer, "Materials/Sprites/23.svg", 0, 0.5) sprite:MidHandle(true,true) sprite:SetPosition(texbuffer.size.x * 0.5, texbuffer.size.y * 0.5) --Load font local font = LoadFont("Fonts/arial.ttf", 0) --Text shadow local textshadow = CreateText(layer, font, "Hello!", 36 * displayscale.y, TEXT_LEFT, 1) textshadow:SetColor(0,0,0,1) textshadow:SetPosition(50,30) textshadow:SetRotation(90) --Create text text = textshadow:Instantiate(layer) text:SetColor(1,1,1,1) text:SetPosition(52,32) text:SetRotation(90) --Main loop while window:Closed() == false do sprite:SetRotation(CurrentTime() / 30) world:Update() world:Render(framebuffer) end I have also added a GetTexCoords() command to the PickInfo structure. This will calculate the tangent and bitangent for the picked triangle and then calculate the UV coordinate at the picked position. It is necessary to calculate the non-normalized tangent and bitangent to get the texture coordinate, because the values that are stored in the vertex array are normalized and do not include the length of the vectors.
      local pick = camera:Pick(framebuffer, mousepos.x, mousepos.y, 0, true, 0) if pick ~= nil then local texcoords = pick:GetTexCoords() Print(texcoords) end Maybe I will make this into a Mesh method like GetPolygonTexCoord(), which would work just as well but could potentially be useful for other things. I have not decided yet.
      Now that we have 2D drawing to a texture, and the ability to calculate texture coordinates at a position on a mesh, the next step will be to set up a GUI displayed on a 3D surface, and to send input events to the GUI based on the user interactions in 3D space. The texture could be applied to a computer panel, like many of the interfaces in the newer DOOM games, or it could be used as a panel floating in the air that can be interacted with VR controllers.
    • By Josh in Josh's Dev Blog 0
      Putting all the pieces together, I was able to create a GUI with a sprite layer, attach it to a camera with a texture buffer render target, and render the GUI onto a texture applied to a 3D surface. Then I used the picked UV coords to convert to mouse coordinates and send user events to the GUI. Here is the result:

      This can be used for GUIs rendered onto surfaces in your game, or for a user interface that can be interacted with in VR. This example will be included in the next beta update.
    • By Josh in Josh's Dev Blog 4
      I started to implement quads for tessellation, and at that point the shader system reached the point of being unmanageable. Rendering an object to a shadow map and to a color buffer are two different processes that require two different shaders. Turbo introduces an early Z-pass which can use another shader, and if variance shadow maps are not in use this can be a different shader from the shadow shader. Rendering with tessellation requires another set of shaders, with one different set for each primitive type (isolines, triangles, and quads). And then each one of these needs a masked and opaque option, if alpha discard is enabled.
      All in all, there are currently 48 different shaders a material could use based on what is currently being drawn. This is unmanageable.
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      shaderFamily: "PBR.json" Or in code:
      material->SetShaderFamily(LoadShaderFamily("PBR.json")); The shader family file is a big JSON structure that contains all the different shader modules for each different rendering configuration: Here are the partial contents of my PBR.json file:
      { "turboShaderFamily" : { "OPAQUE": { "default": { "base": { "vertex": "Shaders/PBR.vert.spv", "fragment": "Shaders/PBR.frag.spv" }, "depthPass": { "vertex": "Shaders/Depthpass.vert.spv" }, "shadow": { "vertex": "Shaders/Shadow.vert.spv" } }, "isolines": { "base": { "vertex": "Shaders/PBR_Tess.vert.spv", "tessellationControl": "Shaders/Isolines.tesc.spv", "tessellationEvaluation": "Shaders/Isolines.tese.spv", "fragment": "Shaders/PBR_Tess.frag.spv" }, "shadow": { "vertex": "Shaders/DepthPass_Tess.vert.spv", "tessellationControl": "Shaders/DepthPass_Isolines.tesc.spv", "tessellationEvaluation": "Shaders/DepthPass_Isolines.tese.spv" }, "depthPass": { "vertex": "Shaders/DepthPass_Tess.vert.spv", "tessellationControl": "DepthPass_Isolines.tesc.spv", "tessellationEvaluation": "DepthPass_Isolines.tese.spv" } }, "triangles": { "base": { "vertex": "Shaders/PBR_Tess.vert.spv", "tessellationControl": "Shaders/Triangles.tesc.spv", "tessellationEvaluation": "Shaders/Triangles.tese.spv", "fragment": "Shaders/PBR_Tess.frag.spv" }, "shadow": { "vertex": "Shaders/DepthPass_Tess.vert.spv", "tessellationControl": "Shaders/DepthPass_Triangles.tesc.spv", "tessellationEvaluation": "Shaders/DepthPass_Triangles.tese.spv" }, "depthPass": { "vertex": "Shaders/DepthPass_Tess.vert.spv", "tessellationControl": "DepthPass_Triangles.tesc.spv", "tessellationEvaluation": "DepthPass_Triangles.tese.spv" } }, "quads": { "base": { "vertex": "Shaders/PBR_Tess.vert.spv", "tessellationControl": "Shaders/Quads.tesc.spv", "tessellationEvaluation": "Shaders/Quads.tese.spv", "fragment": "Shaders/PBR_Tess.frag.spv" }, "shadow": { "vertex": "Shaders/DepthPass_Tess.vert.spv", "tessellationControl": "Shaders/DepthPass_Quads.tesc.spv", "tessellationEvaluation": "Shaders/DepthPass_Quads.tese.spv" }, "depthPass": { "vertex": "Shaders/DepthPass_Tess.vert.spv", "tessellationControl": "DepthPass_Quads.tesc.spv", "tessellationEvaluation": "DepthPass_Quads.tese.spv" } } } } } A shader family file can indicate a root to inherit values from. The Blinn-Phong shader family pulls settings from the PBR file and just switches some of the fragment shader values.
      { "turboShaderFamily" : { "root": "PBR.json", "OPAQUE": { "default": { "base": { "fragment": "Shaders/Blinn-Phong.frag.spv" } }, "isolines": { "base": { "fragment": "Shaders/Blinn-Phong_Tess.frag.spv" } }, "triangles": { "base": { "fragment": "Shaders/Blinn-Phong_Tess.frag.spv" } }, "quads": { "base": { "fragment": "Shaders/Blinn-Phong_Tess.frag.spv" } } } } } If you want to implement a custom shader, this is more work because you have to define all your changes for each possible shader variation. But once that is done, you have a new shader that will work with all of these different settings, which in the end is easier. I considered making a more complex inheritance / cascading schema but I think eliminating ambiguity is the most important goal in this and that should override any concern about the verbosity of these files. After all, I only plan on providing a couple of these files and you aren't going to need any more unless you are doing a lot of custom shaders. And if you are, this is the best solution for you anyways.
      Consequently, the baseShader, depthShader, etc. values in the material file definition are going away. Leadwerks .mat files will always use the Blinn-Phong shader family, and there is no way to change this without creating a material file in the new JSON material format.
      The shader class is no longer derived from the Asset class because it doesn't correspond to a single file. Instead, it is just a dumb container. A ShaderModule class derived from the Asset class has been added, and this does correspond with a single .spv file. But you, the user, won't really need to deal with any of this.
      The result of this is that one material will work with tessellation enabled or disabled, quad, triangle, or line meshes, and animated meshes. I also added an optional parameter in the CreatePlane(), CreateBox(), and CreateQuadSphere() commands that will create these primitives out of quads instead of triangles. The main reason for supporting quad meshes is that the tessellation is cleaner when quads are used. (Note that Vulkan still displays quads in wireframe mode as if they are triangles. I think the renderer probably converts them to normal triangles after the tessellation stage.)


      I also was able to implement PN Quads, which is a quad version of the Bezier curve that PN Triangles add to tessellation.



      Basically all the complexity is being packed into the shader family file so that these decisions only have to be made once instead of thousands of times for each different material.
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