The Realm is Growing

Oops. Well it’s been a little while since I posted an update but sometimes that’s a good sign.

I’ve been so busy making it I forgot to document what I’ve done. Anyway, excuses aside as you can see from the featured image the world has grown a fair bit. You can barely see little Tarin behind the rocks and trees that have sprung up around it.

I had to make some changes to my editor to make it more useable on a grand scale. Making the camera that can sweep and swing around the terrain, cinema style was one of those (which I took that screenshot with). That made it easier to “spray paint” where i wanted things generally then switch back to first-person to place them carefully. That only really applies to things like instanced models and the texture type used on the terrain.

Talking of terrain I could resist adding bump mappnig to the terrain. Amazingly this wasn’t too tough. My engine already supports normal and specular maps but those are used by the geometry generate by package like 3DS. The challenge I had was to generate the tangent/binormal data for my computer generated meshes. That wasn’t THAT bad and with a little help from the great guys at http://www.gamedev.com it was up and running pretty quickly.

Here’s a before:

bumpmapterrainbefore

And after:

bumpmapterrainafter

You might need to zoom in a bit to see how it’s working but its basically adding a more bump look to the road texture (and fading out to not use this technique for other textures since I don’t want bumpy grass for now. Would be nice to use displacement maps but that’s a nice-to-have really. I shouldn’t really be adding subtle (but nice) visual effects at this stage anyway really.

Anyway now the world has a fairly long road that runs from the starting village of Tarin all the was to the larger village/town of Serah. The new villge will have 2 storey buildings and some slightly more modern ones. Perhaps some better shops than just the odd stall.

For now it’s just a flat plaza… I’m going to dot around some bushes, trees, flowers and rocks all the way either side of the road first.

Besides that, and those of you who follow me on twitter @skyemaidstone will know this already, I’ve been working on player skills and a trainer to buy the knowlege from with knowledge points:

trainer

playerknowledge

The first screenshot shows the trainer (The Sage in Tarin in this case who has some basic skills to teach you) and the 2nd shows you the abilities you learn from each of the skills. My player knows all the skills for now. How it works is in order to effectively use a short sword (for example) you’d need the Light Swords skill. So when you equipped a short sword a few abilities will show up. However if you learn Light Swords Expert then equipping a short sword will give you more abilities and perhaps even some combos. Skill points are just earned from questing for now but that won’t be the only method. We don’t want to force our player to do every quest in the game although some will be required obviously. This isn’t going to be a first-person shooter after all.

Ok hopefully next time I”ll put together a video of the trip from Tarin to Serah.

Until next time…

 

Misty Ruins and Ghosts

Hello!

Ok much progress was made which is always rather nice.

I had to make some editor tweaks to make things easier on myself but I won’t bore you with those.

I couldn’t resist adding a post-processing effect. You’ll notice in the video below everything has a slight blur where the bright/dark areas have a large change. This effect is called bloom and it simulates how our eyes handle bright light. There’s a slight bleeding of the bright color into the dark. It’s a fairly cheap effect to do (in terms of processing). I was a bit of a brain ache to get it to work with both the deferred rendering and the forward rendering parts of the game but hey.. I think it adds something.

So anyway enough technical stuff. After being inspired by some ruins I was wandering around in real life. I found some nice ruin models on one of the various model sites and took probably far too long importing and tweaking them. Along with a bunch of tombstones, gravestones and broken rubble. On of this I made an old ruined road (with the help of my new color map editor) an added in the essential ground mist/fog that’s always in graveyards (although I’ve only ever actually seen that on TV if i’m honest).

Here’s a little video of the ruins so far. The player is using the ghostly shader for now while I get it just right:

 

So yeah I found a nice bunch of ghostly models to use but then I realised I have no way of drawing an animated transparent model… So yeah I had to add that which took a little longer than I’d hoped. Kinda looks fairly ghostly at least.

Once I’m happier with that i’ll add in my ghost model and give him a particle effect of trailing faint mist.. maybe green mist or something, We’ll see what looks good.

My player needs some skills so I’ve finally got around to designing a nice Skills UI with my “project manager” (the person who keeps me from fiddling with shadows for 6 months). So I’ll be adding that. But I need someone to teach you these skill.

So for that i’ll need a old man (a sage). Every good RPG needs a wise old man. I’m in the process of importing a sage and giving him a  ruined shack to live in.. That will be at the end of the faint path from my previous post. That means the character screen with need skill tabs and I’ll need to make a UI for the sage for you learn the skills as well…

So much to do, so little time..

Until next time!

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.

morerocks

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.

characterscreen

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.

Flaming Braziers, Trees and More

So loads of updates and it’s really starting to come together as a small village.

As you can see the tree are back from the first tests and as you can see from my YouTube Channel there is now fluffy grass to go in the patchy grass around around the village. I think the effect works really well and it a combination of soft particles and billboarding for those that enjoy the technical side of all this. I’ll be adding bushes, rocks, patches of pebbles and scree (I think thats a word) which will make use of the Instanced renderer shortly.

What was great fun to add was some flaming braziers. That’s the right word for those isn’t it? Looks too much like Bra to me? Same spelling? Anyway.. those flaming pots as lights to welcome you to the village. I have quite got the light sphere to match up perfectly with the particle effect; it’s a little too intense and white but it’s nice to finally get to use the deferred lighting I built all those months ago.

I started to add in the peasants but that’s not really ready for public consumption yet.

I think the village need a vendor of some kinda. Some guy/gal selling stuff from under a canopy or from a tent.

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.

tarin1.png