Fog From Above and Animation Mk2

It’s amazing how a small problem has take most of your available time up.

There were 2 remaining problems stopping me getting on with making the NPC’s move and adding a monster or something to kill etc..

  • Animation
  • Mist/Fog vanishing from above

Now obviously without animated 3d models my game is completely useless. So this was the priority.

I did actually work on animation a little. Hence that you can see Mr Ranger is now replaced with a weird blockman (he nods, that’s about it). For some unfathomable reason I can’t get animation to work sensibly at all since moving to Monogame. XNA was pretty finicky about the the FBX structure so I’m sure i’ll get there in the end.

Most of the weekend was spent fiddling with ground fog/mist yet again. I just couldn’t leave it alone.. It has an annoying bug where it would almost vanish when looked at from above (since its just a billboard of a bit of fog). Using a technique call camera aligned billboarding I eventually got it to work just right. The image is of the ground fog/mist blended in with some billboarded lavender plants which looks pretty effective from any angle now.

Fixed up loads of minor stuff in my world editor and it’s nice to be able to place a bush or tweak the shadow offset on a wooden fence etc again.

Hopefully one of the helpful guys in the MonoGame community can help with the weird fbx animation bug

At least I can get on with making the game again. Kinda

Render Target Problem

rendertargets

Since switching to Monogame I’ve got everything working again except shadows and animation. I’m really stumped why the depth buffer isn’t working at all.

Hopefully the guys in the MonoGame community can help.

Animation seems like it SHOULD be working but just isn’t rendering anything but I have a few things to try with that yet.

 

Realm of Monogame

After hitting endless annoyances and really slow compile times I finally thought “Right, that’s it” and decided it was time to finally completely ditch XNA and move completely to Monogame.

This hasn’t proved too bad so far: All the code compile and the shader’s did too after a few small tweaks. I need to figure out how to use my content importers for animated models and deferred models.

I haven’t actually run the game at all since making a clean new project and getting the latest version of Monogame. From what i’m reading there’s going to be some fun with shader semantics but at least there’s an active community to ask if I can’t figure it out.

I’m still working on a food stall to go with my weapon stall. Buying in random models isn’t ideal because it takes a lot of work sometimes to make them “Game Ready” despite being advertised as being “Game Ready”. ie the food model for some reason uses 12 separate texture files and about 30 meshes which is just lots of unnecessary texture switching and draw calls for my game. So it takes a lot of fiddling get that down to something more optimal. Really nice models though, far better than I can make myself.

My “model guy” from Upwork seems to have got bored with modelling so I guess i’ll need to find a new one which isn’t ideal.

This point had to come sooner or later if I ever wanted to get this game deployed to other platforms anyway and the 32bit memory limit was just becoming impossible to work with. Also I’ll be able to use dx11 stuff like displacement shaders and textures larger than 4096 should I wish to as well. Also the performance improvements will be nice too.

Hopefully by my next post i’ll have a screenshot using just Monogame with no hint of XNA remaining.

Realm of Upgrades

Well not the most productive of weeks.

I’ve managed to finish off importing a couple of market place props (finished the weapon stall and added in a wagon) but spent a fair bit of time upgrading my development machine. My shiny new GTX 1080 graphics card was a complete pain in the rear-end to install. I won’t bore you with the details but it just simply refused to install the drivers. Eventually I found a way to get it to recognise it.

The plan next week is to get a load more of these props in and get some bones added to the peasants so they can at least stand around looking bored at least.

I also really need to make a few tweaks to the instanced model and billboard model UI’s. They’re “ok” as they are now but i really need to just be able to easily spray grass/miss/mud/pebbles where ever i want. It’s far too fiddly to use now.

I guess that’s it. Hopefully a more exciting update next week.

Flora and Marketplaces

Wow you can so easily waste fiddling with and effect to get it just right, then still hate it then fiddle with it some more.

Inspired by No Man’s Sky (I refer to that game so much because my landscape is ridiculously large too) I liked their use of Billboarding. It’s a cheap technique and looks a bit crap unless used sparingly and only in certain situations. It never really looks good from above or on large objects.

Anyway Here’s an example of some heather blended in with some mist with some rocks and trees:

blendedlav.png

I fiddled around with that waaaaaay too long. Anyway on the the actual game again.

As you can see from the featured image i’m starting to add market stalls for the player to actually buy stuff. Weapons in this case. I have a load of medieval props to import. Other kinda of market stall and baskets, barrels etc so it should really start to look like a market/village soon.

One day i’ll learn not to fiddle with effects so long it eat into the actual game making process but I sense it’s a common trap for game developers to fall into.

Next week: No more effects, just game (I’ll try).

Mrs and Mrs Peasant

It’s been a busy week building the village and surrounding area.

I’ve had to make a few tweaks to the editor UI to make it more useable but I won’t bore you with those.

I managed to resist the urge to fling in some post-processing effects I was playing with (Depth of Field and FFXA) and get on with adding some more building types. So now my village had a 3 different types of house, 2 types of shop and 1 Inn. I also added some bushes with no leaves dotted about the muddy village. I think I need some cart tracks running through the “road” in the middle of the village. I don’t think this village needs actual gate since it’s pretty small, just the basic wooden wall and a couple of guard towers will do. Which means I’ll need some guards. Who would employ 4-6 guards in a village with only about 10 buildings in it? Maybe it’s best not to dwell on such things.

Anyway I added some more pine trees and rocks about the surround areas and realised I need some nice purple/pink gorse (or whatever that flower is) and some other kinda of tree and also some large rocks (there’s only so far you can stretch my rocks before they start to suffer in quality.

So yeah then I decided my Red Ranger was getting lonely so I rolled out some peasant. They have no “bones” yet so they’re just being rendered by the static model renderer (in a rather silly looking T pose). They look pretty nice for an initial effort though.

It’s all coming together.

I really need to find some nice grass and gorse (sp) and start actually using the instancing and billboarding renderers. It looks nice enough but that will really give the hillside a more fluffy and real feeling.

surround

Did I mention this supports multi-player (MMORPG style) already? I can log on multiple copies of “Realms” and shoot myself with my ranger and he proceeds to do a rather bad dying animation. But hey at least he has the decency to die when he’s shot.

 

 

Village of Emptiness

Well the wonderfully named “Village1” is coming along nicely. It has 2 types of building (a barn and some kind of house) and a couple of props (a wood pile and a firepit).

I’ve done endless fiddling with effects as usual. Toned down the fog a little and re-added my particle ground fog from the old terrain engine which looks pretty nice I think. Voila:

groundfog

Also after playing some more No Man’s Sky I decided billboard grass still has a place in modern games. Especially from distance. Sure it doesn’t look great from above but it a cheap (framerate wise) way of adding more fluffiness to the game. I didn’t bother actually finding a nice texture for it but I kinda flung support for it in. It waves in whatever direction you want and whatever speed and it can be semi-transparent. It doesn’t cast shadows like the instanced version can but who cares to be honest. Here’s a bad example of how it would work (it would be far more bunched than this in game). It’s mixed in with the instance grass.

wavygrass

It’s a bit too patchy as I said but you get the idea.

Back to the village. I just need to rip through a load of placeholder bought models while my model guy does his thing and get them in game. I haven’t even added the normal maps for them yet but they still look pretty reasonable for cheap models.

Hopefully but the end of the weekend I’ll have the village surrounded by it’s wall and another building and some more props to make it less empty.

I’ll have to do some serious actual game design soon since the actual “what do I” parts are a bit sketchy other than a bizarrely in-depth plan of how the gathering/mining etc is going to work.

morevillage3