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Damn... Nobody left to kill me.

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Back to Work

Time to get final project rolling. Heres my todo list for tomorrow:

1. Finish NB2 Tutorials
2. Work on NB2 Game Framework
3. Catch up on NB2 Mailinglist

Ive spent the last few days mostly playing games. Saturday I was _really_ sick. I dont know what It was, it felt like the flu - I had a high fever, nausea, ect.. but it only really lasted about 24 hours. I just hope my ferret doesnt catch it...

The two main games Ive been playing are Warhammer 40K: DOW and Painkiller: Battle out of Hell. The painkiller expansion is freaking amazing. The art is very much my style, and the gameplay is very refreshing old school FPS.. theres not even any reloading or crouching!

40K is really fun as well. I have been playing chaos only online, and against the cpu. I get completely owned online. Its terrible, I suck horribly. I dont know how these people build units so quickly, its ridiculous... very fun nevertheless, but hopefully my skills will increase eventually. Cant wait for the tyranid mod to finsish. They are my favorite 40K race. Im almost tempted to play some tabletop 40K... maybe if there is an escalation league going on here. Prolly wont have any time though.

Well, time for bed. Hopefully tomorrow will be very productive.

Nekromunda Mod?

Im downloading the developer tools for Warhammer 40k: DOW right now. Im thinking a turn based Necromunda mod would be really cool, if its technically possible. Along with the standard art tools you get access to a mission scripting language, called SCAR, which is just lua from what I can tell so far:

"SCAR stands for "Scripting at Relic". Our script files utilize the Lua language which is an open source programming language. Lua has been used at Relic for several generations of games because of its versatile nature and fast implementation time."

... Anyway, if your interested in a working on a Necromunda mod - hit me up for some discussion! Heres a link to the developer wiki

Time to dig into some docs...

l/o '05

New years eve... just another day I say! Today I flew back to Florida from visiting MD. By some miracle of GAWD our connecting flight through the Philadelphia airport went smoothly, as well as our flights with the doomed US Airways. Walked in the door here at about 7:30, and ive been cleaning the house ever since!

Actually I took a couple of breaks to browse amazon for some fresh reading material for the new year. I will definatley be ordering ShaderX3. Im really exited to dig into it. I also want a a good book on C, and it seems "The C Programming Language" is everyones best reccomendation. I also _really_ want "Real Time Rendering" and some opengl reference manuals (programming guide, shader languge, extensions guide).. and I actually almost had all these in my cart at one point! But then I faced reality and ive trimmed it down to just a couple new books. Still deciding on the final ones though...

If I finish cleaning up here in time tonight I am going to start on my web site. Its a goal I intend to keep =) Im thinking of writing it in notepad to learn some html. Should be pretty easy, but I might get lazy and break out dreamweaver. I should have 3 or 4 programs ready to go up and a couple papers. Nothing too exiting, .. yet ;)

Well -

Happy New Year GameDev :)

-gf

holidaze

Vacation has been going so-so. I havent completed nearly as much work as I had hoped, but that always seems to be the case with holidays and whatnot. 0% work completed with nebula and the new final project :(

All of the free time that I have had during break so far has been reading various low-level programming and linux books, and playing Dawn of War and MK: Deception with my brother.

Tonight I got some coding done. Ive been explorating around some low-level win32 stuff. Starting off with dissecting the PE file-format. Working on a neat little console program that pokes around active modules. Using a cool library argtable to take care of argument parsing.

So coding wise I got some stuff done today, even if I was interrupted 50 times...

I think my new years resolution is going to be to put together an online resume site. Just a place to show some of the few apps ive written, and maybe host some of the docs ive written as well. This way I can also make use of my web space here at gamedev :)

_suhleap

Man, I am beat. Im trying to get back into a more 'sane' sleeping schedule. Waking up at 9pm and crashing at 11am/12pm was starting get a little... wierd. I must say though, I have learned alot this past week. The main focus was Cygwin; I am so addicted!

Working in a linux'ish environment all week has been extremely refreshing. I think something different, and a break from the norm was what I really needed. Ive learned alot about linux development, gcc, and cvs. This is _really_ cool stuff that I have been wanting to learn for a while. I have plans to port Ars Moriendi to linux and mac if we can turn out a stable enough release, and my current team has plans of porting to linux as well. Such an awesome week, I learned about so much cool shit!

...hopefully next week will turn out some serious headway with Nebula2 :)

more bitchx

The ascii characters were all whacked out in bitchx for a while last nite, but I got it fixed before i crashed. Just had to change the codepage before starting the console. Now I can enjoy glorious old school ascii art...

_doh

Woa, didnt get much done that was on my list for the night. Got really sidetracked with cygwin and bitchx somehow. Managed to get it compiling from source pretty easy, but bitchx usage is taking some time to remember and get used to all over again. But its cool stuff, cause now i get to run linux again (kinda)! I have slackware booting on this laptop, but since i smashed up my network port ive had to rely on my wireless.. which is something i havent been able to configure with slack. So.. messing with linux got a little tedious after a while.

Anyway.. I justify all this work because we are going to port our gp project to linux! Started a cygwin/bitchx tutorial for the group as well...

---

+Subscribe to Nebula 2 mailing lists cvs/discuss
-Polish Nebula 2 cvs access and sdk compile tutorial
-Write Nebula 2 build system tutorial
-Study HDR lighting model
-Study Nebula 2 toolkit
-Inquire about Nebula 2 toolkit/cvs integrations
-Subscribe to Nebula 2 mailing lists cvs/discuss
-Polish Nebula 2 cvs access and sdk compile tutorial
-Write Nebula 2 build system tutorial
-Study HDR lighting model
-Study Nebula 2 toolkit
-Inquire about Nebula 2 toolkit/cvs integrations

Ok.. I had to write these out here so I might have a better chance of getting all this stuff done. Im giving myself until 6am.

Wish me luck!

A new project!

My involvment in the development of Ars Moriendi came to an end for the most part this past Tuesday. I was assigned some work to make up 10% of hours missed in APD, and they did not feel that the work that i completed (40pg networking tutorial w/source code)was sufficient enough to make up for the time missed. I was assigned to write about TGE networking and how to implement our object heiarchy. Both were to be in tutorial form. I didnt have time to complete a obj heiarchy tutorial that i felt would have been beneficial to my team, and i figured the exhaustive networking tutorial more than made up for my time lost. This didnt turn out to be the case. They would have rather had me write a few pages for each tutorial instead of only completing one quality tutorial.

This is all fine - ive spent almost 3 months developing this game with my team. This includes game design and tech. Ive taken my team very far, and they have a definate edge because of the work that i have done. Our build on the first day of GP was better than what many groups have turned in for Alpha, and was as good as/if not better than some final projects. This was told to my group by several GP lab instructors. Im going to miss all the guys on my team, and they have all been really great throughout this whole ugly process. Theyve fought just as hard as i have to try and keep me in the group, and that really means alot. You guys fucking rock :)

So, moving on and picking up the pieces...

I am meeting with a friends group on sunday to discuss my joining up with them. My good friend Fabio has a team with no real tech guy yet, so i think ill fit in well ;) If i join up with them, i will be restarting APD with them in january. Im already exited about working on a new project!

Currently Im looking into the Nebula2 engine. It looks damn sweet, and from what ive seen so far has a really nice dx9 shader framework. Nebula2 isnt a game engine by any means, which is cool cause ill be able to learn more about rendering, faster. If we end up using this id like to write an opengl render path with a glsl framework. Ive got another two months before development starts, so i should be able to do some cool stuff. The main goal is to have tech mostly completed by the first day of GP so that we can start on gameplay. But here i am getting ahead of myself already... This week is all about research, hopefully by sunday i can nail they tech well be using. I thought about writing my own engine, but the risk is too high with my current expectations. I know i can write a renderer at this point, im just not sure it will look as good as i expect our final project too.

Yesterday during Asset Production Lab Sergio showed off some cool behaviors hes working on implementing for the zombie AI. Some rudimentary flocking stuff, nothing groundbreaking yet, but this marks the first step forward for our AI system. Now to get gameplay, physics, and interface going!

Less than two weeks are left in Console Development, weve got a PS2 VU programming lab, our research projects, and a written & timed coding final exam to knock out.. oh, and our Gamplay and Tech docs are due at the end of next week too!
From the beginning I have said that our bottleneck would most likely end up being assests. Therefore we have been doing our best to tackle this problem early on.

Several previous final project groups have had a load of trouble getting animated models into torque. After browsing over Danny Ngan's DTS documentation everything seemed pretty straightforward as to exporting models into TGE. Granted, it does seem a little wierd at first all the little hoops you have to jump through when creating your scene - but if all the little rules are followed properly then the process goes over just fine. After all, there are alot of TGE projects out there without the default Torque Orc ( whom i have grown to hate with a passion )running about.

So the question now is, with an a full asset team of animators that graduated from the same school i will be getting my degree from, why do these previous GP groups have so much trouble getting animations into thier games?

The conclusion that I have come to is that it must be a communication problem. While I do feel that the asset team should learn how to use the exporter properly, for whatever reason, they are not required to. What ends up happening is the asset team finishes a animated model, hands the maya/max/whatever scene file over to the programmers, and from there it is the programmers responsibility to get it into the game. This is usually not a problem if you have a robust exporter.

However DTS has several requirements as you build your scene, and your model. For example, you must have at least three nodes somewhere in your model that have specific namings; these nodes are used to cast rays when the player dies, so that the model conforms to the terrain properly. Without them the game will crash when you die. This is just one example, but you can see how not communicating something like this to the artist can start to introduce problems later on.

So for the past couple weeks or so it has been Mich's job to completely own DTS. Hes building comprehensive documentation, exporting various test models, and preparing to elimate the asset issue associated with Torque here at Full Sail.
With the first week of Asset Production behind us weve got ourselves a snazzy company name, Malignant Ent., and also picked up two new team members. Our current roster is as follows:

Mitch - Project Lead / Doc Specialist / Asset Lead
Geoffrey (ME!) - Technical Lead
David - Gamplay Specialist
Sergio - AI Specialist
Steve - Gamplay Tech
Greg - Physics Specialist

Dont ask whats up with the titles, i guess the convey our general responsibilities!

Our team has meetings scheduled everyday of the week, this past monday i handed out our game basecode and got everyone set up and ready to write some code. So.. Development has officially started on our game! Now we just need a name for it :)

Ok, ive been meaning to get this development journal here started for a while, and i figure while im waiting another 20 mins for a fresh copy of TGE to unzip would be a damn good time.

So first off, im going to treat this as a 'development journal' which means ill post about the progress of our currently untitled multiplayer survival horror project for full sail. We have been working on documentation, ideas, and getting a codebase together for about a month. Getting a head start is great, but it has been taxing. Last month we started Console development and had RT3D programming. Console is a two month course and RT3D is one. Both are fairly intense courses, RT3D moreso because of a huge lab the extends the enire course of the month.

So continuing with Full Sails lovely scheduling system courtesy of ZOTAS, RT3D was 9am-5pm and then console 5pm-1am alternating days, 5 days a week, with a four hour lab on sat. With all the work on final project and keeping up with the massive RT3D tank lab, i didnt show up for lecture much, which terribly hurt my written test grades.

On the upside, I got a hell of a lot of shit done for our final project. Ive got a pretty good handle on torque and tscript. Ive spent alot of time assimilating necessary resources and learning how tools work. The main resource I am trying to wrench in at the moment is for pathed interiors which is fairly crucial, and a huge chunk of coding id rather not write myself ;P So well see how that goes when this massive zip finishes extracting.

So what about this 'Multiplayer Online Survival Horror Game'?

Well it definatley has the potential to kick some serious ass. It s modelled alot like RE: Outbreak but weve got alot of cool features of our own design in there as well. It scenario based gameplay with a global set of generic characters. The idea is that you can drop these characters into any scenario and the players will have to work together to trigger a win condition. There is a finite set of win conditions and the players will have to find the specific condition for a given scenario. Hopefully that all made sense ;P

Some example player types are security guard, schoolgirl, child, priest. Zombies, ghosts, and other variations are in the pipe for enemies. My fav is the zombie dog with the 'kid seeker' variation :)

In the coming weeks well see how much of this potential gets filled as our team enters Asset production and then final project. Stay tuned for details, and wish us luck!

-gf
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