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Killing Horizon Update - 9/18/2013 - Massive Progress!

Posted by , 18 September 2013 - - - - - - · 2,384 views
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Killing Horizon Update - 9/18/2013 - Massive Progress! Hey guys,

I've got an update on my latest project, Killing Horizon... my epic 64-player-online-RTS/FPS/TPS hybrid! I've been working almost 24/7 on the game since the last update, guess it has been about a month. This is going to be a huge post so buckle up, we're going to hit on just about every aspect of the game. In a few words - I've got new concept art of the first levels, and have written or updated major systems in the game such as: full vehicle physics on all 4 vehicle types, dome/shield rendering, NPC indigenous aliens, volumetric muzzle flashes, finalized interior lighting system, skid/track marks on the vehicles, and about 100 other items....and if you don't believe me, check out my todo list :-l

Oh, also before I forgot, I just created a Facebook Page for Killing Horizon, so go like it now!

Concept Art
Below you will see the first 3 pieces of concept art for Killing Horizon, the first one is of the Deadpool Arena, the second is the Reactor Arena. The third larger image shows a battlefield, and some Legion shields. Any comments or feedback are welcome!
Soldiers rush across the bridge in the Deadpool Arena - Concept Art
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Legion Soldiers about to capture the Rebel flag in the Reactor Arena - Concept Art
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Legion Shields dot the Battlefield - Concept Art
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Interior Lighting System
I've not really shown any of the interior scenes or renders I've created for my game engine, so allow me to do that :-) I wrote a totally custom rendering system for the interiors centered around a shadow map atlas system. This allows me 10 shadowed lights, 10 lights per model, and unlimited lights per scene. I don't want to *nerd out* too much here talking about the technical details of the lighting system, but if anybody has any particular questions just shoot me a message, or post below! The image is labeled and should be reasonably self explanatory. I also did the modeling for the level, so ignore my programmers art :-) The 'Reactor Arena' pictured above will make heavy use of this technology. The image below shows how the system works on my 'Training Level'. I've never had an interior system like this in any game before, I want to have levels of this detail combined with my massive 9km^2 landscapes in massive 64-player battles...
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The lighting system above also lets me do dynamic flashlights etc, check it out...
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Volumetric Muzzle Flashes
I've been using just a simple quad mapped with a texture of a flash, for every single one of my games. This creates some artifacts when shooting guns from fast moving vehicles, etc. So I figured I'd created a 3D mesh for every muzzle flash in the game 8 weapons, 3 vehicle weapons, and the defensive bunkers and turrets. It looks SO much better than before :-) Honestly there is hardly anything I'd really want to change on the system. Below is a screenshot of how it looks on several of the human weapons in the game.

Vehicle Types in the Game
I've not really talked about the vehicles that will be in the first Prototype release of <i>Killing Horizon</i>, so let's take care of that now :-) I've got a Dune Buggy for recon, a Cargo Truck for transporting resources, a Battle Tank for serious business, and a HMMWV/Hummer for medium stuff. Only the Hummer and the Tank are armed with weapons right now, but I have plans for a 4 pack rocket launcher on the Dune Buggy. I'll paste an image showing all four of the vehicles on the primary Martian landscape...

Vehicle Physics
What good are all those vehicles without awesome physics to go along with it? I've written an entirely new physics system in my game engine, EVERYTHING, you name it, has physics on it. Due to optimization of the constraint placement, and exporting of all physics parameters to easier to tweak .xml files, it's been a great success! The main issue with my previous physics system [ why I had to fudge it for Gettysburg: Armored Warfare ], is because they were unstable at low frame-rates, below 24FPS the vehicles would gyrate and fly off into space. So I had to hand code a work around before the game shipped, what a nightmare. This new system is nearly perfect, and is stable down to 8 frame-per-second. I added a fake "lag" feature so I can test the game at absurdly low frame-rates. The system is VERY stable, and the Havok physics integration is nearly perfect. This will lend itself to some great videos later on. Until then please be happy with this image of a bunch of objects stacked on top of a Cargo Truck :-) ... just wait 'til you guys see this in motion...

Oculus Rift
I have the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset 100% integrated into my game engine, I'm going to post a dedicated update about it soon, until then here is an image output using stereoscopic rendering to an Oculus friendly format :-)

Indigenous Alien Mobs
One thing I thought would be really cool, is the have tons of alien creatures all over the massive landscapes, this way it wouldn't just be boring terrain, there will be hives of Creature XYZ in each environment of the game. For the Martian Landscapes, I've decided to go with the sand scorpion ;-) I've programmed flocking and AI evasion already, they are scared of vehicles and fire. LOL. This game already "feels" more fun than anything I've ever created, and it's in the PRE-PRE-ALPHA stages... here is an images of my sand scorpions btw.<br>

Vehicle Skid/Track Marks
Figured I'd break things up with the Aliens ;-) back to the vehicles...I've added about 10-15 different effects from suspension sounds, first person cameras, unique engine and screech sounds per-vehicle, the list goes on. One of the main things I added was skid/track marks behind the vehicles when you pull the e-brake, or when you lose control of the vehicle and skid. It senses the friction values passed back from the Havok physics engine, and uses those values to determine if the particular wheel is 'skidding', the obligatory screenshot...

Shield Rendering , 3D World Cursor and Decals
If you noticed the awesome shield in the concept art at the top of the post, that's good. I'll post an image of how it looks at the bottom of this paragraph. Also you'll notice the debugging lines that represent the trajectory of the current weapon. Also a 3D world-space cursor at the ray-hit point. This is a great way to do aiming on the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset, which I've fully integrated into my game engine. Will make a separate post on the Oculus btw. You'll also notice in the below screenshot, another new feature to my engine, which is decals on dynamic objects like vehicles and animated aspects of the scene. Now you can rake a vehicles windshield with bullets and they will stay there.

Console search system, and a new mouse cursor
This is probably the nerdiest part of the whole update. To get the cursor to show up properly on the Oculus Rift, I had to move it into a 3D plane, which is 2D during regular game rendering. This means it can now be a fancy image/effect. Also I have an in-game developer's console, and I was always forgetting the names of my in-game variables and commands...so now I have a real-time strstr() output of all commands that macth a subset of the string typed into the console at the time. So typing "gv_" would show all the game variables in the engine. Check it out...

Well like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. So I just saved my ass some time. Thanks a lot if you've read it this far. Please register on my site, or follow the game on facebook. I'm self publishing this one so I'll need all your help! Thanks.

- Dan

Oculus Rift VR Development Kit...

Posted by , 19 August 2013 - - - - - - · 940 views
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Oculus Rift VR Development Kit... Finally received it today! This thing is totally awesome, will include a write up with my next developer journal update, also will have full integration into my game engine. I've already got it half way integrated, at least the detection part...had that done before it got here :-p

Mmmmmm, the 720p screen is good, but 1080p will be a nice upgrade. ( divide by two to get total resolution for each eye ... 720p = (1280x720) /2 ... 1080p = (1920x1080) /2 ... ) but the effect is so cool it's not a big deal at all. Actually I think the native resolution for this version is 1280x800 so each eye lens gets 640x800 resolution.

The first time I put it on I had a nerdgasm after a few seconds LOL, had to take it off. Looking down and not seeing my legs blew my mind haha...

Check out some nudes ...

Carrying case = awesome.
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The contents...
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It's alive!!
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Wow...ok back to "work"... :-D

More coming soon..

- Dan

Killing Horizon Update - 8/15/2013 - AI, Animations, Prototype Maps, etc.

Posted by , 15 August 2013 - - - - - - · 470 views
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Killing Horizon Update - 8/15/2013 - AI, Animations, Prototype Maps, etc.

This is first update for my new project, Killing Horizon http://www.radioactivesoftware.com/content/killing-horizon ... the last week was a mixed bag of progress on nearly every aspect of the project. Primarily improving the AI ( which has been totally re-written for this game ), I also cleaned up a lot of the animations for particular weapons/items by adding unique versions for most of the weapons/items. Still missing a few unqiue reload animations for a few of the weapons. Once I get those animations in-game, I'll be animation-complete for the prototype's 7 weapons. I also made progress on 100s of other areas of the project.

New Animations
Below are a few images of the some of the new animations I added tonight. I transitioned from a sort of "squatting" animation into a more realistic "take a knee" kind of animation.

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Artificial Intelligence

I've also been making a lot of progress on the AI, and the way the computer controlled character's handle attacking eachother. For instance one situation I've noticed on my little test map is that there were deadlocks on the center of the bridge, for instance if a AI bot can see an enemy through the fence - but their bullets are colliding with a fence, the bots would just empty their mags at eachother :-p

I create a threshold value, that basically says "if the bot has made X attempts using weapon Y to hit their target, and has not been successful in Z tries ... give up on this position/target and continue with your previous task/navigation target for W seconds". Even making such a simple change to the way the bots act has created great results.

The pathfinding is nearly perfect, but sometimes they do get stuck...I need to add a similar heuristic that says "ok I've been trying to get to this navigation node for X seconds and I'm not there, I need a new path, etc." ... that will improve the only real remaining issue with the AI in these enclosed arenas. As you can probably tell from some screenshots of the game, it supports MASSIVE terrains and worlds. Getting that level of AI throughout will not be easy, but I've got a lot of ideas, regarding "islands" of detail around command points, and other areas of interest.

I'm a visual kinda guy, here are a few images of the AI Bot debug display...

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Prototype Maps

I've been thinking how I can quickly iterate through level design without spending a ton of time designing art assets for the levels I create. My new world editor is great for placing entities and objects on the already placed level geometry, but I wanted a way to just throw together some geometry and bake some ambient occlusion into it - then throw it into the game. I'll probably add a grid or some kind of Tron looking effect into the shader. I'll also have to have big flashing letters saying this is just a prototype level and not final game graphics lol... Texturing is what takes me the most time when designing a level, so if I can just mock-up a bunch of levels, include them in the latest version of the game and get some feedback from players on which ones are their favorites - that'd be great for me.


Work in progress Concept Art

This is still being worked on, I think the sky should be more like the martian background I have in the game. This image is also stylized more-so than the game. This has a darker look/feel to it. I really love the draining and water going down into the "Deadpool" ( yes that's the name of this arena :-p ) ... I'll post an updated version of this piece of art once it's finished.


That's all for now! I'll have another update very soon!

If you like Killing Horizon please follow me on twitter - http://www.twitter.com/TheRealDGreen or sign up for an account on my website http://www.RadioactiveSoftware.com

- Dan

Announcing 'Killing Horizon' + New Radioactive Software website!

Posted by , 05 August 2013 - - - - - - · 608 views
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Announcing 'Killing Horizon' + New Radioactive Software website! Hey guys,

It's been a very long time since my last journal entry, I've spent the last ~13 months working on a new project. I've not really shown it anywhere - but it's about time to do that. :-) My next project is a game called Killing Horizon you can read about it on my webpage here - http://www.RadioactiveSoftware.com/content/killing-horizon - I will post the current information and some screenshots below - so feel free to scroll down :-) Also if you really want to stay up to date, follow me on the tweeters - http://twitter.com/TheRealDGreen

Speaking of webpages - I've had the same old one for 13 years, so I created a new one :-o The new website is www.RadioactiveSoftware.com please poke around the site, and let me know if there is anything obviously missing or is bugged - the News System is something I'm still working on. The CMS I use - Drupal, doesn't really support news feeds/news items that well IMO, but we can talk about that later :-p

I will be self-publishing Killing Horizon so I'm in complete control of the release, and all other aspects - I'd like to get players involved ASAP to help me shape the game and avoid obvious issues and flaws with the design. That is something that plagued my last project, Gettysburg: Armored Warfare - we should have had the players involved during that project's development, and a million other things. That's also a topic for a later journal entry or maybe a post-mortem ... respecting the NDA of course... On that topic, like I've mentioned on the Steam forums - anybody who purchased Gettysburg: Armored Warfare will receive a free copy of Killing Horizon - and my assurance that the situation regarding that project will not be repeated.

With that out of the way - back to my new project, Killing Horizon - I'll be posting a ton of updates on this project in the coming months and weeks - and to the early adopters I will be releasing weekly playable builds. I will be posting public videos on Youtube and articles here on my developer's journal, and on my website showing the game's progress. Over past year I've re-written the entire terrain system, physics and AI are all totally new and waaaaay improved over anything I've done in the past. More on all the improvements in future entries.

Here is a set of preview images of the project's current state - there is a bunch of weapons, vehicles, environments, etc. not shown here ;-) ...

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Quoted from the site -

Killing Horizon is an online hybrid Real-Time Strategy/3rd Person Shooting game where players can fight for control over large battlefields, gathering planetary resources to expand their faction's hold on the planet. There are several gameplay modes ranging from territory control, and resource gathering, to arcade-like Arena Combat modes to hone your killing skills. The game supports up to 64 players-per-game server, and features an advanced order management system where players can issue orders to each other and gain global experience-points for successfully completing them. Instead of having a single commander, the team's orders will basically be determined by the team and players' willing to complete them. The game also features a wide variety of weapons and vehicles you can use to annihilate the enemy!

I'd like to develop Killing Horizon directly with the players. I'll be offering a generous "early adoption", "pre order" version of the game, which will allow you instant early access to the project (plus a full version when completed), and allow me to work directly with you to develop the game into exactly what, you, the players want! I'll be posting weekly updates and Developer Journal updates on the progress of the project. I will also post new builds of the game to the early adopters on a near weekly basis. To stay updated please create a free Radioactive-Software Account and stay tuned to this webpage!

I think that pretty much summarizes it, I have more information on the project here - http://www.radioactivesoftware.com/content/killing-horizon

Stay tuned to this journal for more information on Killing Horizon!!

- Dan

P.S. Ahh.. good to be back on GameDev.net - site is looking spiffy!!

Gettysburg: Armored Warfare Released - #1 selling game on Steam!

Posted by , 27 March 2012 - - - - - - · 3,072 views
gettysburg armored warfare
Gettysburg: Armored Warfare Released - #1 selling game on Steam! Hey guys,

As you know I've finally launched my first game on Steam! You can check out the website here http://www.GettysburgArmoredWarfare.com/

If you guys want to buy the game for the modest price of $9.99 and support your local developer, go here - http://www.gettysburgarmoredwarfare.com/buy.html ! As some of you know I've programmed this entire game from scratch myself, and appreciate the support! Thanks a lot.

It's also reached the top of Steams' sales charts for today! ( pics or it didn't happen ) here you go ....

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Back to the forums to help support the release! Thanks for everything guys, I have gamedev.net a shoutout in the game's credits.

- Dan