Editing the Realm

Well, loads to tell.

From the picture above you can see I “slung” together a basic terrain editor. This isn’t for reshaping mountains or making huge changes to the world (ie use my terrain generator for that). This is for tweeking the odd nasty pointy hill or overly sleep slope. It was rather complex in the end since it had to find the exact patch of terrain to edit then match up the height with the heightmap (the aerial view of the terrain that determines how height each square meter of the terrain is.

I’d been wanting to do that for a while but I thought it would be too much of a pain. Then I read some post somewhere about using SetData on the vertex buffer after adjusting the position of one of them. I always thought that would be too complex but since my world is centred on the player (0,0,0) it wasn’t so bad to work out. I won’t bore you further with the details.

Other things.

I imported a load more rocks and trees. I think I really do have enough of those now.


So yeah those look nice I think (there’s some mossy ones around but i’ll probably show those in the video).

I’ve done a lot of work behind the scenes on the actual player class. He/she/it now has lots of data attached to them like their name, experience, level, health, power and I made a base skills class which initially just has a dagger skill. The thought being that each item can have a required skill attached to it (or multiple skills or none) for you to be able to use it or at least use it effectively.

That done I moved on to making a character screen, I combined the look of the Final Fantasy 14 one with the look of a more classic RPG. It will have tabs for your skills and stats, equipment and quests. I’m trying to avoid making windows open all over (ie like Everquest) and try and keep the interface as user friendly as possible.

Here is the initial layout, the tabs and data will go on the right.


I’m not 1005 happy with it yet at all but I’ll try not to get too bogged down with making it look perfect and get on with making it usable.

Well that’s it for now.

Until next time…

Rats and Shopkeepers

It’s been a couple of week since my last post but that doesn’t mean that not much has been done in term of getting the world together.

First up I worked on getting some nice dialog boxes (and a font (SpriteFont if you’re interested) and a papery texture for the font to go on. This was inspired by Final Fantasy 14 (ARR)’s dialog boxes but it’s not close enough to get me sued. Could someone sue you over dialog boxes being too similar? Probably.

Anyway after fiddling with fire some more I made the editor able to handle animated models better and fixed up a really deeply hidden bug in the instanced grass I moved on to getting some new trees and bushes in. I added total of 7 types of tree, 3 flowers, 2 bushes and 2 shrubs. That should be plenty to keep things looking interesting.

Here is a video of a few of the things I just discussed.

NPC’s can now have a ton of attributes edited as you can see from that video. I followed one of my one roam rats all the way to a mountain to see if it would roam the terrain nicely and it did. It’s amazing how watching something you wrote actually work can bring you so much pleasure.

Until next time..


Animation and Tiny Details

It’s amazing how much time you can spend on the really small things. For example my flaming brazers took up way too much more time. My fault.. I spotted them in Final Fantasy 14 and though “Damn they’re way better than mine”. So I found a better flame texture, added a surrounding glow and that improved things no end. I wanted them to start off slightly blueish and fade to the orangey color as they fade away completely….

This then led to me finding a bug where my colors weren’t even being used at all (was just defaulting from fading from white to white). That was a pain to track down but the result is much nicer flames which look realy realistic now. I’ll put them in a video another time.

The other, somewhat daunting task, is to make the NPC class support animated models. As you can see from the screenshot above, I succeeded in that. But again, this meant a fair bit of work behind the scenes cleaning up the animated model class to use the same shared texture resources as static models and also make the npc class supported by the editor with extra data (like animations and how fast to play them). A headache to say the least.

Feel like I didn’t make THAT much progress when I don’t have a pretty new video to show but I had to make the support for things for the player to interact with a lot more sophisticated or else it would just be a world of roaming non-animated rats. Not a world I’d want to live in anyway..

Until next time.

The Village of Tarin

Ok so after another game design meeting we came up with a name (Tarin) and a basic layout for the starting village. 3 or 4 homes, a tavern for weary travellers and a farm (producing some kind of corn/wheat.. or something).

I’ve added a few props around such as barrels, a water trough, some creates and boxes. It’s funny how adding a few small things really makes it start to look like a village.

I’ll be adding in some more of this stuff along with scattering some instanced pebbles and soft-billboarded whispy grass to really add some realism to it next time.

Next up are some people to speak to. So I’ll need to wheel out Mr and Mrs Peasant (and get them doing a couple of basic animations. Oh how I hate animation.. Maybe I can hire someone for that part because my own efforts will certainly not be professional enough.

Until next time weary travellers.


A Village of New Beginnings

Ok more world building.

First off I had to fiddle around a lot to find some nice buildings that weren’t too modern or too basic, that were, in fact, just right. And I think I did. The new buildings fit in nicely to Noobadventurer Town. Since this is a small “hamlet” it will only consist of 2 or 3 houses, a farm house with some corn (possibly chickens? Who knows..) and a small tavern with a room or two for wear travellers.

I will use the more modern and opulent buildings (behind in the featured image) but in the larger walled city on the hill (I really need some names for these places!).


Here is another style. A more white-washed plaster look and a different style of window. I can change the style of the thatch too but I just want to get the village basically laid out first.

I all looks a bit bare right now but i’ll populate it with general town junk soon and some weeds and flowers dotted about.

For those that are interested in that kind of thing, these buildings don’t even have their normal and specular maps in yet and they look pretty good already I think.

I have to keep tweaking various things I hate about my world editor as a I go which is slowing me down but eventually I’ll get to a point where it’s pretty user friendly.

Ok. Well, until next time…

Realm of 2018

Well belated Happy New Year to you all.

Unfortunately I’ve been mostly busy with either other (much more boring) projects or world editor changes (and a few quick optimisations along the way.

Also there’s been a few game design meetings with the lovely Sarah where we flesh out the map of the first realm. The realm has been halved in size to 25 square km. 50 was WAY too large for a beginner “zone”. The first realm will have a large castle on a hill with a surrounding walled town but that’s not where the player will start. The map will have 2 small villages which the player can start in.

There will be a large forested area which will contain a dungeon down a tunnel in the south west. The south east will be a massive valley containing a encamped population of some kind of agressive but semi-intelligent monster. Goblins maybe? Ok a bit unoriginal.

There will be a road network connecting the towns and villages. One road in the north-east will lead to a dead end eventually where the roar will peter out into ruins and a graveyard which is where the second dungeon will be.

Ok so that’s the first realm designed. I’m in the process of getting in much better quality textures and models to make this all look rather lovely, hopefully you can see the improvement in quality already in the screenshot above.

No movie this time but I’ll try and get the first town down by the next post.

So nice to be not fixing bugs and

My villagers will need animating too…

Until then.

Going Off on a Tangent

Oh dear I appear to have gone off on tangent.

This had to be done at some point but I’ve been fiddling with shadows again. You see, there’s this annoying little jiggly effect that happens on the shadow edges of objects with sharp edges (like the building above).

There I was adding in the hotbar abilties to make a ranged magic attack and melee attack (being able to set the damage, check the range etc, add in a self heal/cure) when I decided to fix the annoying shadow problem.

There are huge volumes on real time shadow rendering and I can see why. After some more reading I tried various technique for getting rid or reducing the “shimmer/jiggle”. Most people seem to call it shimmering, mine looks more like a jiggle which I think should have been a clue.

Anyway I used a technique called Texel Snapping which I seemed to have used correctly and it made pretty much no difference. I contacted a couple of people on GameDev and various game development blog and no one could see anything wrong with my code. The ighty MJP from GameDev suggested the problem lies elsewhere (elsewhere to how I’m generating the shadow maps) and it seems he was right.

I found an old test problem I originally wrote to test my models in a little world with lighting and shadows and slung in my new “anti jiggle/shimmer” code. Boom! Perfect shadows. Even if I i deliberately stretch them out so they’re poor quality they still don’t jiggle or shimmer.

Well so where does that leave me. Amazing shadows in my game? No. Amazing shadows in my test harness and I’ve learned loads of techniques for making them soft etc using DX11. None of which fixes my Jiggle.

So now I have 2 versions of my lighting/shadow engine (both in Monogame – I had to convert the old test harness from XNA first). 1 jiggles, 1 doesn’t.

I need to find the difference. It’s there somewhere. My engine is kind of huge unfortunately.

Hopefully I’ll be back to actually writing the game again soon.

Another 2-3 weeks on shadows. Argh!