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jsuffolk

Member Since 09 Feb 2003
Offline Last Active Jun 22 2014 07:41 PM

#5076490 What is your poly budget?

Posted by jsuffolk on 09 July 2013 - 08:15 PM

XNA

750,000 on my most detailed model, with lots of culling. Mid size ships are between 30,000 and 70,000, can have several dozen of these on screen during large battles

 

On low-end hardware (HD4000) my GPU-accelerated fractal algorithm for planets is set to draw just a little over a million triangles, whereas on high-end PCs it can be cranked to push over 4 million triangles.

 

Various other effects (particles effects, stars/parallax) render several thousand more tris.

 

For mobile devices (e.g. HD4000) in total I push somewhere between one or two million triangles (unfortunately this comes at the cost of pushing 1080p framerates under 20 fps, though 720p is still very smooth). On more powerful desktops with good graphics cards I can push 5+ million on 1080p with no framerate drops. I haven't yet tested this on any ultra-powerful desktop machines, my hardware is a little dated. I suspect some new machines could do millions more tris.

 

My game is highly GPU-bound in terms of performance, CPU makes little or no difference except for load times (NOTE: load times can be pretty awful for complex models on low-end machines).




#5064457 Bizarre Terrain Glitch

Posted by jsuffolk on 24 May 2013 - 06:19 AM

Worked like a charm!!! Thanks, that was a lifesaver after pulling my hair out for a few days! Next up: mipmapping the surface noise on the GPU and switching the surface from normal mapping to relief mapping!

 

Just in case you're curious the algorithm basically uses this GPU gems piece on a planetary scale in a manner similar to CDLOD. It works extremely well for planetary LOD with just 2 passes (1 CPU, 1 GPU), able to push > 3 million tris on a couple year old GPU with no framerate dips and can be adjusted for older hardware by changing the value of a single constant. Morphing's a little tricky, though.

 

http://http.developer.nvidia.com/GPUGems3/gpugems3_ch05.html




#5053237 How do you design a HUD?

Posted by jsuffolk on 14 April 2013 - 02:23 PM

I've had 3 HUDs throughout the life my game due to poor planning, here are my lessons learned:

 

My first HUD one was very cartoony, and just didn't match the look and feel of my game. Make sure your HUD graphics match the theme of what you want your game to be.

 

My second attempt was more fitting for the style of the game, but took over way too much of the game's screen real estate. Don't dedicate much screen real-estate to your HUD. Making it translucent can be nice too in some cases so you can still get some view of the obscured areas.

 

My current HUD is very simplistic and designed to obscure as little screen real estate as possible. Light translucency is used so you can always still see what's behind the HUD.

 

Use animated touches when things in the HUD change. For instance in my game the new weapon icon appears larger at first and shrinks back to normal size over about 1 second. Somehow this small effect makes the weapon changing experience much better. Health meters don't instantly change, but rather the lost health turns yellow and shrinks at a linear rate. While a city builder has neither health nor weapons, I'm sure there will be parts of your HUD that can be enhanced with a simple animation.

 

I've attached a screenshot showing the 3 HUDs

Attached Thumbnails

  • Screenie7.png
  • WaspsScreen.png
  • TeleportingBossByPlanet.png



#5041200 Sci-Fi vs Whimsical Story for 3D Space Game

Posted by jsuffolk on 09 March 2013 - 11:32 AM

The StarFox series is largely the inspiration for my current space shooter under development. I currently have about 30 or 40 minutes worth of single player gameplay culminating into a cool boss battle, and while my game's a lot of fun, recently my geek coworker play testers have been suggesting I add a story to give it more "depth".

 

However, since I see StarFox as my game's primary inspiration I suggested that the story take a whimsical approach with similarly cartoony characters. Unexpectedly, my geek coworkers didn't like the idea. They suggested that for the PC/XBox markets where I intend to release my game most players interested in a space fighter game would be more sci-fi geeks, than kids and parents looking for the whimsical family plot of StarFox on the original Nintendo 64.

 

I've never been much of a sci-fi fan (blasphemy, I know) and always thought StarFox's success had lots to do with it's appeal to a broader spectrum of gamers than just sci-fi fans. Any thoughts on the subject?

 

Additionally, an idea I've been toying with is making the game episodic: releasing short episodes 1 to 2 hours in length with compelling cliffhangers rather than an extended 13 to 30 hour game, much as a comic book is to a full book. One motivation is that it's taken me sooo long to reach 30 to 40 minutes of content that a full length game seems nearly unattainable, but at the $5 price point I intend to release my game it seems reasonable to expect less content too. This also would give the ability to focus more on quality than on quantity, which is something I feel strongly about.

 

However, my critical coworkers again find fault: they don't believe a 1 to 2 hour game provides enough time to get players to feel attached to the characters and story, nor to sufficiently advance the gameplay to where the players have enough options for weapons and upgrades that the game feels truly deep and dynamic. Any thoughts here either?




#5009446 Stock Art Model Problems

Posted by jsuffolk on 11 December 2012 - 10:24 AM

No amount of moving the near/far planes fixed it. However, there was a simple fix:

Added a line to my shaders to use a logarithmic z-buffer as described here:
http://blogs.xnainfo.com/post/Logarithmic-Depth-Buffer.aspx

Since every object uses the same z-buffer it must be applied to every shader, though.


#5004007 Third Person Targeting Aids

Posted by jsuffolk on 25 November 2012 - 03:43 PM

So my games a third person space shooter and coming up with an intuitive targeting has constantly been a challenge. Since I use an elastic third person camera algorithm, the camera may not always be right behind the player and an ordinary crosshair does not work (shot will not go where you point).

I first experimented with a 3d crosshair, and while it looked half-decent and fulfills player expectations for some sort of targeting aid I found it did little to actually aid targeting as the target direction is actually an angle across the screen not a single point.

Under_Fire.jpg

After I was unsatisfied with this approach and was trying to cut down on UI chrome I ripped out targeting completely for quite a while (no crosshairs or other aids, just the radar). While you eventually got used to figuring out where your shots would go, it was now virtually impossible to shoot fast enemies at a distance because of how difficult it was to lead the shots appropriately.


StarFighter.png

So I switched to another targeting cue, this time I use color-changing targeting cues on each ship that turn green when targeted, red when not (yellow is a transition color since the colors are linearly interpolated). This accounts for the amount you need to lead your shots, and seems to work well in almost all scenarios in terms of actually aiding targeting.

AttackingCarriers.png

However, when I sat a few of my friends in front of this game, nobody intuitively knew what the targeting aids meant. Since they don't light up green when you point at the enemy because you need to lead your shot it's not exactly intuitive. Further, it seemed the yellow color may have added to the confusion (perhaps I should just do a hard transition from red to green).

Then there's the inaccurate weapons. Some weapons (e.g. missiles) are by-design somewhat inaccurate, have non-linear velocity, or carry the players velocity into the shot somewhat. While the latter two can be accounted for by messing with the predictive equations, due to inaccuracy, even if you've done everything correctly and it lights up green you may miss (you also may miss if the enemy takes evasive action).

While I could probably explain targeting in a tutorial stage, I'm wondering if I'm just better off without targeting aids at all and maybe I should just do away with the UI chrome for targeting and leaving it up to the player to figure out.

How do you feel about targeting aids? Is there another option that might work besides the ones I've already explored?

Attached Thumbnails

  • StarFighter.png
  • AttackingCarriers.png



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