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Journal of Danny Green

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Hey guys,

This is the first update of Just Death since the Steam Early Access release a few days ago ( http://store.steampowered.com/app/336210 )! I appreciate all the positive support I've received from the community so far! I'm excited about what the future holds for the game. I plan on making weekly updates such as this one, with new content/features/fixes being pushed out to you guys each week - for another year, or until the game is "done". Future updates will be more gameplay centric, I'm still trying to catch my breath from the game's Early Access release.

In this first update I'll talk about the new vehicle just added to the game, the "HiRoller" Luxury SUV. I've added a new weapon into the game - a .308 HK G3. In addition I've added drugs into the game, they are in the Headquarters purchase menu. There are 5 drug types I've created for this first pass. Also I'll talk about the fixes and additions made to the game :-) I appreciate the detailed feedback left on the Steam Community forum, and the clever finding of bugs I would have never thought of by some members of the community. Ok let's go ...

New Vehicle - "HiRoller Luxury SUV"
Just_Death_HiRoller_SUV_1.jpg
Just_Death_HiRoller_SUV_2.jpg
This is the first of about 12 more vehicles I have to integrate into the project, so expect them to be sprinkled throughout the upcoming updates. I'll also be adding more uniqueness and tweaking handling features of all the vehicles on each update, I don't necessarily log all of these types of things.

New Weapon - "HK G3 .308"
Just_Death_HKG3_Rifle_1.jpg
This weapon is one of about 40 more weapons I have already created that just need to be integrated, I can't integrate the weapons myself, I need my animator to make a few unique animations for each new weapon so in future updates there may just be batches of 4-5 weapons released at once. When the game progresses further and we start to nail down the balancing issues, I'll try to add equal "spread" of weapons, not just 4 new shotguns at once, for instance.

Buying/Selling Drugs - First Integration
Just_Death_Drugs1.jpg
I've taken the first steps of integrating drugs into the game, you can browse all 5 kinds of drugs in the HQ purchase screen. There are basically two types of drugs, gameplay-wise... Pain killers, which heal your character (previously there was no way to regain health)....and Cocaine, Weed, Heroin, and Ecstasy, which you (and/or your gang) can sell to civilians for a profit. There will be a finite amount of money available to the civilian population in an area, and some areas will recharge faster. So this will put importance on controlling territory in the game world. I will also integrate a per-server/per-game instance of a supply/demand marketplace simulation, so you can't just sell the same drugs over and over.

Please keep in mind this is the first build with drugs in the game, so only the painkillers are working at this first iteration.

Noteworthy Fixes/Improvements Since Last Week's Build
- Remove smoothing transition from character's orientation -> goal aiming orientation, should remove "warping" effects when aiming.
- Fix Melee killing people in spawn Online.
- Don't open "store" while chatting Online, cancel all interactions while chatting Online.
- Only show stationary jumping animation for now, until final jump code is in. Remove jump code -> Bunny hopping ?!?
- Spawn in random HQs online, not always same spawn location.
- Show vehicle's top speed, weight, and more information on purchase screen, still need to hand-customize the values shown to player.
- Make it so you can't exit vehicle if you'd be outside of world.
- Make it so you can't exit your vehicle if you'd collide with a building [ perform raycast on vehicle exit request ].
- Pill bottle sound when you use painkillers.
- Fix bug with >= not being in weapon purchase code Online (now you can buy a weapon if you have exact cash).
- Fix some issues with the 'use' animations of the HK G3, Tec9, AUG, and AK47 - should look a lot better online & offline now.
- Fixed bug with shooting/use animations don't 'loop' constantly online.
- Painkillers should work Online.
- Damage is reduced and randomized Online, if you're inside a vehicle, to simulate the limited protection a vehicle offers from bullets.

Highlighted Screenshots from Community
I'm really happy to see some cool screenshots uploaded by the community, I'll share a few of my favorites here!
http://images.akamai.steamusercontent.com/ugc/498016551062658808/E284BC2163D4A40BCCA58AA04D5A6CE1C66BF5D1/?interpolation=lanczos-none&output-format=jpeg&output-quality=95&fit=inside%7C117:88&composite-to=*,*%7C117:88&background-color=black
http://images.akamai.steamusercontent.com/ugc/496891188127490003/00901D4B727392F3EE6EFDBF8340919E503A9A05/?interpolation=lanczos-none&output-format=jpeg&output-quality=95&fit=inside%7C156:88&composite-to=*,*%7C156:88&background-color=black
http://images.akamai.steamusercontent.com/ugc/321250265689695688/0A812481CFA1056E5BFEA373B0D3EF2C151638F3/?interpolation=lanczos-none&output-format=jpeg&output-quality=95&fit=inside%7C156:88&composite-to=*,*%7C156:88&background-color=black
Thanks a lot guys, I appreciate your continued support while I finish this Early Access product. Patience is definitely a virtue of anyone who will want to purchase this game, so please keep that in mind. Otherwise, if you've already picked up the project, and you appreciate my work or enjoy the product so far, please leave a nice review below, e-mail me, or post on the Steam community forum.

- Dan

Hey guys, I've uploaded the trailer for my latest project, Just Death (http://www.JustDeath.com), and the Steam page is also LIVE for you to check out. If you don't know, Just Death is is an "Open-World Sandbox Crime Game" set in procedurally generated cities. There's a bunch of info on the website so check it out :-)

Here is the link to the Steam page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/336210

Ok, a picture is worth a thousand words - and you know I love posting screenshots - so that means this trailer is worth, like 1,797,000 words. Word.


I should be set to release the project, in Early Access form, in the next 2-3 days. I'm still working on adding more features to the "online open city mode" for the very first players (whose feedback I'm very much looking forward to). In addition to the 3 offline gameplay modes (Vigilante, Bank Heist, Gang War), to support the "Online Open City" mode - I've got game servers setup in NYC, San Jose, Sydney, and Amsterdam.

If you're a game developer who appreciates the sh*t load of work I've put into this, writing the engine/game and all that jazz, all by my lonesome, I'd appreciate it if you'd pick up the "Dev Support Edition" from the homepage (http://www.JustDeath.com) for a few bucks more than the regular Steam key. I'm expecting it to be in Early Access for about a year or so. I've spent ~two years on it so far, and maybe 6 years on this engine (utilized through other games obviously).

I'd be glad to answer any questions anyone has. As always, thanks for your support - and none of this would be possible without GameDev.net, so I sincerely thank you guys.

- Dan
dgreen@radioactive-software.com

Hey guys,

I've created a new website for my latest game, Just Death... you can view it here: www.JustDeath.com there is a lot of new information about the game on that website, please let me know your thoughts!

The game should be for sale on Steam Early Access soon, I'm wrapping up the final elements of the latest build.

Here is a preview image of the front page of the new website:
JustDeath_WebsiteFinal1.jpg

I'll also mirror almost all of the website's content here for your viewing convince :-)

Front Page Artwork
Just_Death_Vigilante_Promo1_Final.jpg

JustDeath_BankHeist_Promo2_Final.jpg

JustDeath_GangShootout_Promo3_Final.jpg

Gameplay Modes
Just_Death_Vigilante_Mode.jpg

Just_Death_Bank_Heist_Mode.jpg

Just_Death_Gang_War_Mode.jpg

Vigilante Mode
You awaken, the city smells like scum. Somebody has to clean it up. In Vigilante mode you play as a "lone anti-hero" out to kill all the gangsters & bad guys in the city, while avoiding the police presence. You start out in your modest vigilante headquarters where you can purchase an initial weapon. There are ways to make money around the city to upgrade your hardware. While you have the option to rob anyone in the city - you get more points & credit for killing bad guys/gangsters and taking their money and weapons in this gameplay mode.


  • Objectives: Eliminate all gangsters from the city.
  • Time Limit: Open-ended.
  • Multiplayer Unit Sharing: No.
    Bank Heist Mode
    Your crew of four professional bank robbers have their eyes on the Gang City Bank, the largest pile of cash in the city. Hit the bank, grab all the money possible and reach the waiting getaway van with the loot. Oh by the way, Gang City Police and SWAT units might have something to say about it. There is a balance between gaining cash, sending one of your crew to get the vehicle, and shooting it out of the bank. The number of surviving bank robbers, and the total cash netted are two factors that determine your ending score in this gameplay mode.

    • Objectives: Steal as much money as possible from the bank, and escape.
    • Time Limit: 2 to 5 minutes.
    • Multiplayer Unit Sharing: Yes.
      Gang War Mode
      This city ain't big enough for all of us. Fight for control over the city against other gangs. You start with a small gang inside your gang headquarters. You have to expand your gang's territory to increase your extortion income. Additionally robbing armored cars headed to/from the bank, robbing civilians, and killing enemy gangsters are good ways to generate income and grow your gang's arsenal of weapons. You'll need to keep out a watch for the city's police and SWAT forces. Each gang's score is determined by their territory, influence, weapons, vehicles, and cash on hand.

      • Objectives: Conquer the other gangs in the city.
      • Time Limit: Open-ended.
      • Multiplayer Unit Sharing: Yes.
        Online Multiplayer & Offline Practice
        All of the gameplay modes in Just Death are playable Online and Offline. In Offline Practice mode, the artificial intelligence takes the place of all human players, and is played locally on the user's computer. In Online Multiplayer mode, the player joins a game server and can play with others from around the world in real-time. There are also two separate global scoreboards, one for Offline play and one for Online play.


        Procedural Cities
        Just_Death_Procedural_City1.jpg

        Just_Death_Procedural_City_Cutaway.jpg

        Just_Death_Procedural_City_El_Train.jpg

        The core feature of Just Death is the Procedurally Generated Cities. With a feature like this, I can provide the players with almost unlimited gameplay environments, by simply changing the "seed number" used to randomly generate the world, or by changing the simplistic input splines which form the "backbone" or basis for the city generation. See the image below for a visualization of the input and output my technology can produce.
        Example input & output of my procedural city generation algorithm.
        Procedural City Input & Output
        JustDeath_Procedural_City.jpg

        One issue that has plagued procedurally generated environments for the longest time is that they always look "boring". My solution was to simulate every layer of a city individually with as much detail as possible, to hopefully alleviate the repetition. The static environment details I procedurally generate include: buildings, skyscrapers, roads, sidewalks, intersections, crosswalks, elevated train tracks, alleyways, plazas, parks, fences, traffic lights, street lights, trees, fire hydrants, phone booths, newspaper dispensers, trash bins, dumpsters, garbage bags, paper debris, sewers, vents, utility access panels, and more!
        Results of the Procedural City Algorithm
        p_JustDeath_Procedural_City.jpg

        Weapons & Vehicles
        Just_Death_Guns.jpg

        Just_Death_Vehicles.jpg

        Just_Death_Guns2.jpg

        Just_Death_Weapon_Types.jpg

        What kind of weapons & items are in the game?
        There are over 50 weapons in Just Death. The game includes everything from pistols, sub-machine guns, tactical and assault rifles to swords & knives, all the way to mini-guns and C4 explosives. Soon I will post an exact list of the weapons I've had created for the game.

        What types of vehicles are in the game?
        There are a total of 18 unique vehicles in Just Death. The game includes civilian vehicles ranging from sports and muscle cars, and SUVs to panel trucks and transport vans. There are also emergency-response and official vehicles such as Ambulances/Armored Cars & Police/SWAT vehicles in the game. Soon I will post an exact list of the vehicles I've had created for the game.

        Is there a fucking nail-gun in the game?
        Yeah bruh. Ouch.

        Are there unique elements to each weapon and vehicle?
        There are over 100 unique parameters to each vehicle. Every detail from the particulars of the engine and transmission, to the physics and aerodynamics values have been simulated, and are being continuously tweaked and refined.
        When it comes to the weapons there are about 50 unique parameters to each weapon - elements such as realistic caliber, rates-of-fire, magazine capacity, and reloading time are simulated. Also the physics and aesthetic values of the weapons are faithfully represented in game.

        Frequently Asked Questions
        What is Just Death?
        Just Death is an "Open-World Sandbox Crime Game" set in procedurally generated cities. At its core gameplay mode - Just Death is my take on the Vigilante genre. You must rid the streets of "thugs and scum" using your antihero, playing in the first or third person. Due to the procedural cities in the game, I can provide ample replayability with ease. All gameplay modes have been designed to be played both offline and online. The game is being offered on the Steam platform, as an Early Access product. I want to take into account the player's feedback while I finish development of the game. .

        What is Early Access?
        Get instant access and start playing; get involved with this game as it develops.
        Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development.

        Where do I Buy Just Death?
        You can purchase Just Death directly from me. You can also purchase the game on Steam.

        Why Early Access?
        "I want to develop the game with the players! I know this sounds cliche but I really feel that building a "base" of a product, and finalizing it around the input from passionate members of the community is something I've always wanted to do. Instead of developing this product in a vacuum, or based solely on the feedback of a few testers, and execs at a publisher - bringing the game to passionate users in the target audience and tailoring the product to their feedback should save me time, and prevent unnecessary or unliked features from receiving my attention, while important features ( to the community ) will receive a majority of my development focus."

        Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?
        "I'm anticipating the product being in the Early Access phase for 6-12 months. The actual answer is "as long as it takes" for the product to be fun, and to achieve the goals I've set for it, and those may change based on community feedback."

        What is the current state of the Early Access version?
        "The industry nomenclature for the state of the product would be "Pre-Alpha", or "Alpha", depending on how many new features the community would like me to add to the product. The game has 3 major gameplay modes, and all are playable in Online and Offline modes. The game server technology is a constant work in progress, as is the game client. Some features are rough around the edges, and there may be crash bugs in the product. Also some visual elements of the product are in a somewhat early stage, and can be improved in the future, based on user feedback."

        Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?
        "I anticipate the price of the product increasing gradually, as the quality and amount of features/content increases."

        How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?
        "I love interacting with players/users and seeing what they think of my work, in a POSITIVE way. I've developed this game and engine by myself, from scratch. For a multiplayer "Open World Crime" type game, this is a huge undertaking. I have no illusions about the complexity and challenges of creating such a game. I've spent many years working on this and very much look forward to having constructive conversations with a mature gaming community as the product progresses in quality and content. Thanks a lot!

        Virtual Reality
        Just_Death_Game_Virtual_Reality_1.jpg

        Just_Death_Game_Virtual_Reality_2.jpg

        Just_Death_Game_Virtual_Reality_3.jpg

        Does the game support Virtual Reality?
        Yes. Just Death was actually designed over the last few years from the ground up with virtual reality in mind. I've found some elements to be extremely immersive, for instance if you switch to first-person mode, and use the positional-head-tracking of a VR headset to put your eyes behind the weapon sights, you actually have to close one eye to aim. Obviously the interiors of the vehicles are also very nice with a VR headset. Based on feedback from early adopters, and players I will decide how much further to pursue integration of virtual reality.

        What VR Headsets have you tried it with?
        I've only had a chance to integrate the Oculus DK1 and Oculus DK2 into my game engine. I will try as many HMDs as practical.

        Is the VR mode in the game hard to setup?
        You'll need to edit some configuration files, and run a specific version of the firmware on an Oculus DK1 or DK2. I am not officially claiming full VR support because at this time ( January 2016 ), there are only developer versions of VR Headsets on the market. These Dev Kits inherently come with a slew of issues and hurdles to get things working on each user's unique computer configuration.

        World Editor
        Just_Death_World_Editor2.jpg

        Just_Death_World_Editor1.jpg

        Statistics
        These stats are pulled from Steam, using the Steam Web API. Bullets fired, and every stat are updated nearly once a minute from Steam.
        JustDeath_Website_Stats1.jpg

        Gallery
        JustDeath_Website_Gallery1.jpg

        User Guides
        JustDeath_Website_Guides1.jpg

        - Dan

Just Death is an "Open-World Sandbox Crime Game" set in procedurally generated cities. At its core gameplay mode - Just Death is my take on the Vigilante genre. You must rid the streets of "thugs and scum" using your antihero, playing in the first or third person. Due to the procedural nature of the environments, I can provide ample replayability with ease. All gameplay modes have been designed to be played both offline and online. The game is being offered on the Steam platform, as an Early Access product. I want to take into account the player's feedback while I finish development of the game.

Below is a piece of concept art, for each of the 3 gameplay modes. The first is Vigilante mode, where you clean up the streets from scum and bad guys. The second gameplay mode is Bank Heist mode, which you can rob the bank with friends, and escape the procedural cities. The third gameplay mode is called Gang War, you fight for control against other gangs for control of the city.

Concept Art
Just_Death_Vigilante_Promo1_Final.jpg
JustDeath_BankHeist_Promo2_Final.jpgJustDeath_GangShootout_Promo3_Final.jpg



The core feature of Just Death is the Procedurally Generated Cities. With a feature like this, I can provide the players with almost unlimited gameplay environments, by simply changing the "seed number" used to randomly generate the world, or by changing the simplistic input splines which form the "backbone" or basis for the city generation. See the images above for a visualization of the input and output my technology can produce. One issue that has plagued procedurally generated environments for the longest time is that they always look "boring". My solution was to simulate every layer of a city individually with as much detail as possible, to hopefully alleviate the repetition.

Procedural City Screenshots
p_JustDeath_Procedural_City.jpg
p_smallJustDeath_Procedural_City.jpg



If you want to read more about the project, or purchase the game please visit www.JustDeath.com and check it out! Here are some screenshots of the game, these are Pre-Alpha screenshots and will increase in quality as the game nears completion.

In-game Screenshots
JustDeath_Screenshot1.jpgJustDeath_Screenshot2.jpg
JustDeath_Screenshot3.jpgJustDeath_Screenshot4.jpg



Stay tuned to www.JustDeath.com for more updates!

- Dan
I've got a new update on my project Killing Horizon [ http://www.KillingHorizonGame.com ], a 64-player-online-RTS/FPS/TPS hybrid wargame! In addition to some great new Concept Artwork, I've implemented a new visual style for the in-game rendering, which is centered upon a 100% dynamic-time-of-day system. Battles can start during the day and then continue into the pitch black only illuminated by the sparsely populated mining outposts. I feel like the new style, while a bit different from the colorful concept art - really goes a long way to creating the feeling of a desolate mining planet on the Battlefield style maps.

While I may prefer this visual style - I wouldn't let the rest of you guys down, who might not enjoy that kind of thing - so I've made this 'dynamic-time-of-day', a map-author-selectable option. The visual styles of a certain map/level is a selectable environment option from the game's World Editor when the map is created and saved. This functionality is a precursor to the detailed/varied environments I want to deliver later in the game's life cycle.

In addition to reworking the primary "look" of the default environment in the game, I've also made progress on a number of other, more gameplay relevant, features of the project. Implementation of a spline based road system, optionally imported from .svg ( Scalable Vector Graphics ) files, which is basically a XML-like markup of shapes/lines/splines...that system had a lot of interesting elements to it's implementation. I also spent some time on an evolutionary/procedural rock formation tool/system that, I can use to add variety to the game environments. Plus a few other miscellaneous things!

New Concept Art
Below you will see the next 3 pieces of concept art for Killing Horizon. The first one shows a Dropship assault - I feel this image represents the game best. The next image shows the dune buggy racing across the martian landscape. The third image shows a Legion posiiton being attacked by Rebel rockets being launched from attacking dune buggies.

Killing_Horizon_Concept_Art_Dropship.jpg

Killing_Horizon_Concept_Art_DuneBuggy.jpg

Killing_Horizon_Concept_Art_RocketAttack.jpg

New Visual Style "Dynamic-Time-Of-Day"
Like I said before, this new 100% dynamic time of day allows me to have the lights on the mining facilities 'click' on at a certain time, and really adds to the feeling of immersion you get in the game [ multiply it with the Oculus VR dev kit ]. These screenshots are at a very low texture resolution ~10% of actual size [ again this type of thing doesn't matter with a lower resolution VR dev kit ]. I snapped them on my dev machine a while ago. Trust me, I will go through and pile on the post-processing and anti-aliasing and create 'glamor shots' later on ;-) haha... if you want to see more, please visit the game's website @ http://www.KillingHorizonGame.com ...

The first image shows a Legion base/shield through the fog-of-war, as viewed in the RTS mode. The second screenshot shows a Rebel sniper outside a command point. The third screenshot shows a command point, full of resources, with a Rebel shield in the background.

So the main difference between the below screenshots and the ones in the last update/entry would be the sky and lighting system. In the below screenshots the sun ( or nearest star, hell I could have 4 suns... ) is totally dynamic and moves across the sky in real-time...when it gets dark due to the sun/light source being below the horizon - the lights ( if there are any ) on the vehicles and environment props 'click' on. I can't wait to further explore this ... I'll post a lot more about this in the future.

*NOTE: THESE ARE PRE-ALPHA WORKS-IN-PROGRESS
Killing_Horizon_Legion_Shield_Fog_Of_War.jpg

Killing_Horizon_The_Impossible_Shot.jpg

Killing_Horizon_Command_Point_1.jpg

Vehicle Physics and Ragdoll Physics
I've tackled the physics in a big way, essentially re-writing the entire system(s) over a few weeks. It really produced great results. I'm running very smoothly on my min-spec machine with 64 player controllers and ~16 vehicles, +100s of props. All of that is occurring on a massive, physically simulated terrain and environment collision mesh [ dynamic/keyframed]. It looks like everything is holding together and all kinds of funny situations can occur using the dynamic testing tools I've integrated into my game engine. I'll let you guess what happens when you drive a battle tank into a dense crowd of human soldiers ...

Killing_Horizon_Tank_Physics_Ragdolls_Test.jpg

Road System Progress
One issue I've had with my previous game, was the massive landscapes not being connected in any meaningful way. Also the sheer size of the maps was a huge issue. My solution is two-fold, first I've got an entire "Dropship" system for delivering soldiers and equipment around the battlefield, see the above concept art. I will discuss the Dropships at a later date. The second element to solve the size of the maps is a decent infrastructure/system that defines, and allows, clear movement/flow between "points of interest" on the battlefield.

Some of the screenshots below are taken from OLD version of my World Editor, but they show the imported .svg road path, as well as AABB bounding information which is useful for AI navigation, and various other algorithms. I basically generate a AABB around the entire 'road' (spline), and it's point-list representation 'clusters'(vertices). The pathfinding implications of such large maps and detailed accuracy is pushing the limits of the systems I'm using, but I've got some soutions worked out.

Enough yapping - here are some images of my road system in-game/in-engine/in-editor ... the last 3 screenshots show what it looks like when I generate geometry down the spline/road curves and apply a "road" texture. I plan on having many available road textures, and options for the map/level/world authors. The last 2 screenshots ALSO show some environment settings other than the "dynamic-time-of-day" I've described above...

*NOTE: THESE ARE PRE-ALPHA WORKS-IN-PROGRESS
Killing_Horizon_SVG_Road_System.jpg

Killing_Horizon_SVG_Road_System_AABB_1.jpg
Killing_Horizon_SVG_Road_System_AABB_2.jpg

Killing_Horizon_Road_Mesh_Render_Test.jpg

Killing_Horizon_Road_Atmosphere_2.jpg

Killing_Horizon_Road_Atmosphere_3.jpg


Procedural/Evolutionary Rock System Progress
I've also been making progress on rock formations to represent shapes in between the 100,000s of small rocks placed around the world - and the large mountains made up of the terrain. I needed to be able to blend an arbitrary mesh with my terrain's hieghtmap system. I started by generating a procedural evolutionary skeleton beneath the rock and "shrink wrapping" the mesh around the procedural skeleton, that got very complicated very quickly. I will describe it in detail someday... I designed the rock subdivision gene pools and rule sets to be randomly generated. This system while cool, took a lot of work and produced mediocre results.

So I've still got that all into the game, but I've switch to a MUCH simpler noise based solution. These are totally randomly generated with the click of a button, within the World Editor. You specify the size and the noise model and strength of the rock formation ... the tool then builds and randomizes the rock. You can slide the "bump" around the terrain in real-time :-D

These rocks are about the size of a *very* small house.

*NOTE: NO SHADER IS APPLIED TO THIS ROCK
Killing_Horizon_Procedural_Rock_No_Shader1.jpg

*NOTE BELOW REPRESENTS THE UN-MODIFIED STARTING MESH FOR THE ROCKS
Arbitrary_Mesh_Blend_Terrain.jpg

1,000,000 Views @ Gamedev.net Developer Journal
Wow, I guess it has been since 2005 that I've been tracking my game development journey and progress on Gamedev.net [ https://www.gamedev.net/blog/289-radioactive-software/ ] ... recently when I logged in I noticed the journal has surpassed 1,000,000 views - so thanks a lot for all the support guys. I hope people out there can take *something* away from all my entries, and posts about my work.

GameDev_Net_Million_Views.jpg

I've personally received so much information and support from the Gamedev.net community I really want to thank you guys again for everything. Also, if any member of the Gamedev.net community ever has questions/inquiries about game development - I'm always available to talk, if you want to e-mail me questions [ dgreen@radioactive-software.com ] or post anything in the comments section below, or on my website's forum [ http://www.RadioactiveSoftware.com/forum ] I'll be sure to get back to you ASAP. Anything I can do to give back to the game development community that has given me so much.

Thanks a lot, I'll keep you guys updated on all the progress of the project! As usual please keep updated on social media!!

Facebook- http://www.Facebook.com/KillingHorizon
Twitter- http://www.Twitter.com/Killing_Horizon

- Dan
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
Killing_Horizon_Concept_Art_DeadpoolArena.jpg

Legion Soldiers about to capture the Rebel flag in the Reactor Arena - Concept Art
Killing_Horizon_Concept_Art_ReactorArena.jpg

Legion Shields dot the Battlefield - Concept Art
Killing_Horizon_Concept_Art_ShieldBattlefield.jpg

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...
Killing_Horizon_ShadowMap_Atlas_System_Overview.jpg

The lighting system above also lets me do dynamic flashlights etc, check it out...
Killing_Horizon_Flashlight_Rendering.jpg

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.
Killing_Horizon_Volumetric_Muzzle_Flashes.jpg

Vehicle Types in the Game
I've not really talked about the vehicles that will be in the first Prototype release of Killing Horizon, 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...
Killing_Horizon_Vehicle_Types.jpg

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...
Killing_Horizon_Full_Vehicle_Physics.jpg

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 :-)
Oculus_WIP7.jpg

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.

Killing_Horizon_Indigenous_Aliens.jpg

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...
Killing_Horizon_Vehicle_Skid_Track_Marks.jpg

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.
Killing_Horizon_3D_World_Cursor_Debug.jpg

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...
Killing_Horizon_New_Cursor_Console_Search.jpg

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
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.
Oculus_Rift_VR_Development_Kit_1.jpg

The contents...
Oculus_Rift_VR_Development_Kit_3.jpg

It's alive!!
Oculus_Rift_VR_Development_Kit_2.jpg

Wow...ok back to "work"... :-D

More coming soon..

- Dan

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.


Killing_Horizon_Taking_Cover.jpg
Killing_Horizon_New_Animations_1.jpg
Killing_Horizon_New_Animations_2.jpg
Killing_Horizon_New_Animations_3.jpg



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...


Killing_Horizon_AI_Nav1.jpg


Killing_Horizon_AI_Nav2.jpg


Killing_Horizon_AI_Nav3.jpg




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.


Killing_Horizon_Arena_AO_Example.jpg



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.

Killing_Horizon_Deadpool_Concept.jpg




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

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 ;-) ...



Killing_Horizon_Logo.jpg



Killing_Horizon_Legion_and_Transport_Vehicle_1.jpg


Killing_Horizon_Rebel_and_Arena_Mode_1.jpg


Killing_Horizon_Terrain_View_1.jpg

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!!
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 ....

Gettysburg_Armored_Warfare_Steam.jpg


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
Hey guys,

The day has finally come! The Steam page for Gettysburg: Armored Warfare just went LIVE! I never thought the day would come heh. All the hard work I'll finally have a published game, release date is March 27, 2012!!

Check out the Steam page here! http://store.steampowered.com/app/200630/

As usual, please LIKE the game on Facebook and I'll travel to your location and perform a happy dance. http://www.facebook.com/GettysburgArmoredWarfare

I'll have a development related update soon, with some suprises for you guys :-)

- Dan
GDC 2012: Gettysburg: Armored Warfare opens up for modders!

Radioactive Software adds support for Steam Workshop to game

GDC SAN FRANCISCO - March 9, 2012 - Paradox Interactive and Radioactive Software today announced that it will support the mod community with its forthcoming game, Gettysburg: Armored Warfare through an editor and full toolset to be shared via Steam Workshop. The hybrid multiplayer Third-Person Shooter (TPS)/Real-Time Strategy (RTS) game brings fast paced action to the PC in an alternative reality version of the American Civil War. Developer Danny Green will work to enable the community to utilize the game's tools and Steam Workshop to build and release mods based on the game's powerful Radioactive Engine.

"My producer [Gordon Van Dyke - Paradox] and I share a strong commitment and love for the modding community, my goal is to make Gettysburg: Armored Warfare a great platform to create gamers dream add-ons and scenarios," said CEO & Lead Programmer Danny Green. "I'm excited to see how far they can take it", he continued.

Developed by Radioactive Software, Gettysburg: Armored Warfare is scheduled to launch soon, exclusively on Steam.

Check out the video here!

[media]
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More about this game
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GettysburgArmoredWarfare
Twitter: http://twitter.com/armoredwarfare
Web page: http://www.paradoxplaza.com/games/gettysburg-armored-warfare
Forum: http://forum.paradoxplaza.com
Hey guys,

I'm super busy getting a bunch of last minute stuff ready for the game's release in March. I don't have time to create a bunch of media at the moment, BUT I did find this video I posted up a few months, but it was private.

[media]
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It basically shows me flying around a battle of a few hundred soldiers, and the game is paused so I can see the particles, and the animations frozen in time 8-)

Lemme know what you think! Also if you like the game be sure to LIKE it on facebook! http://www.facebook....garmoredwarfare and/or follow it on twitter! http://www.twitter.com/armoredwarfare

Thanks a lot!

- Dan
Hey guys,

I'm returning from the frozen land of Stockholm, Sweden :-o I was there for my publishers convention, Paradox Interactive Convention 2012, in a Swedish castle showing the game to a bunch of press. Sorry for the lack of updates lately, I've been super busy finishing up my latest game Gettysburg: Armored Warfare You can view the website here - http://www.armoredwarfare.com this is the game I was showing. If you want much more frequent updates, I post on the game's Facebook page as often as possible - http://www.facebook....gArmoredWarfare

A quick summary of the game would be - This guy goes back in-time to change the outcome of the American Civil War and you get this Steampunk mix of future technology and 19th century technology. The game is a RTS/FPS hybrid supporting 64 players per server gameplay, full stat and achievements through the Steam platform, cloud storage of custom armies, and a full featured world editor accessable in-game.

Since I wrote all this technology and the game in the last year, the game pretty much from scratch it's crazy for me to see it all working like this on BETA test servers all over the world, especially on Steam platform. I have a 64 player test session tomorrow, we are using a 3rd party QA studio to handle all the testing.

Gettysburg_Armored_Warfare_Battle_Banner.jpg

There has been so much happening in terms of the game and the technology behind it. The biggest thing I'm happy about is the achievement of 64 players per server, and the announcement that the game will be for sale on Steam platform in March of 2012. As somebody who grew up playing Counter-Strike and other Valve games on Steam...it's just awesome :-D

There are two key gameplay modes :
- Deathmatch ( 64 players per server, shared units, RTS orders disabled ).
- Army Skirmish ( 4 players per server, each controlling their own army, full RTS orders ).

You can also play the game offline practice with AI bots. I've included AI bots on the dedicated servers as well ... imagine running around in Battlefield with bots ? :-p

Gettysburg_Armored_Warfare_Heavy_Soldier_Banner.jpg

64 Players Per Server. *does happy dance* I'm very happy to have achieved data rates on par with some of the best games I've seen. I can syncronize up to 1024 units among all 64 players in the server. Data rates are about 10kbps-20kbps up from the server to each client, with the clients only sending about 2-5kbps up the the server in average situations.

Gettysburg_Armored_Warfare_64_Players_Per_Server.jpg

PRESS - As you can imagine there has been a great amount of press from Paradox Interactive Convention 2012...I will link you guys to some of my favorite ones so far, there are a bunch I'm leaving out, just google for the game 'Gettysburg: Armored Warfare' if you want more :-o

Gamespy/IGN Preview of Gettysburg: Armored Warfare : http://pc.gamespy.co.../1217105p1.html

Rock, Paper, Shotgun preview of Gettysburg: Armored Warfare - http://www.rockpaper...rmored-warfare/

Great Interview with Angry Joe - http://www.blistered...iew-gettysburg/

RTS Guru Interview with me - http://www.rtsguru.c...anny-Green.html

GameTrailers videos - www.gametrailers.com/game/gettysburg-armored-warfare/14430/

Games Radar video walkthrough - http://www.gamesrada...e-preview-demo/

RTS Guru preview of Gettysburg: Armored Warfare - http://www.rtsguru.c...re-Preview.html

DESTRUCTOID posted a video of an interview in the castle - http://www.destructoid.com/gettysburg-is-an-alt-history-take-on-the-civil-war-220524.phtml

Gamers Daily News 3 page preview of Gettysburg: Armored Warfare - http://www.gamersdailynews.com/article-3243-Gettysburg-Armoured-Warfare-First-Look.html

[media]
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Angry Joe giving me the treatment -

Angry_Joe_Interview.jpg

Oh HAI a picture of a tank ...

Gettysburg_Armored_Warfare_Tank_Banner.jpg

Anyways, the trip to Sweden was amazing, had such a great time meeting all the press and cool people at Paradox, they really are probably the best publisher in the world for an independent studio / team / dude like myself! I love them.

Again, sorry for not stopping by in so long ... I've been so damn busy with all this stuff. I plan to become a lot more active in the community again once I finish this project. Until then you can follow the game on facebook - http://www.facebook....gArmoredWarfare

I'm also starting to use twitter for a change - it makes it easier to release quick status updates - http://twitter.com/TheRealDgreen

If anybody has questions about anything in terms of the tech, or anything regarding the game in general I'd love to answer them...I've gotten so much out of this community over the years I'll do anything I can to give back to it :-)

- Dan
Hey guys,

As some of you know my latest game Gettysburg: Armored Warfare has just entered BETA testing. The game is being published through Paradox Interactive. You can check out the facebook page here http://www.facebook....gArmoredWarfare basically the game is the U.S. Civil War with a mix of 2060s future technology brought back to the 1860s, in a 64 player-per-server RTS/FPS hybrid gameplay.

I've not really tested my technology with over 6 players at once, so this was a big moment for me. We only had about 36 players on hand for the session, all of them got into the game and the server ran for over 2 hours and many map changes without any crashes or anything like that [ server side ]. There were the expected client side issues that I've known about for a while. It was very exciting to finally see large numbers of players testing my game.

Of all the 10-billion things that could have gone wrong with a piece of technlogy like this, I'm actually very happy. Considering everything was written from scratch, the client, master servers, game servers, etc. There are a lot of things I'm testing for the first time in a heavily saturated real-world scenario. So overall I'm happy ... with enough iterations I know I can nail this whole 64-player-per-server-multiplayer-thang. ;-)

I will try to post more entries here now that I've stopped serious uber development.

Also I want to say I'm sorry for not keeping with my previous record of development updates, since I've got a serious publisher for this, I can't just post my day-to-day work like I used to.

I'll be in Stockholm in January at the Paradox Convention showing the ( hopefully final ) version of the game to press, and all those in attendence.

I do have a screenshots or two for you guys though, I don't think we've actually posted official screenshots of the game yet ... so here is one for you ...
Gettysburg_Armored_Warfare_Tank.jpg

Here is a screeenshot showing 32 players in-game, there were 36 I SWEAR 2 GAWD.
Gettysburg_Armored_Warfare_BETA_Session.jpg


Also here is a Chrismas-eeyyyy concept drawing for you guys :-)
Gettysburg_Armored_Warfare_Christmas.jpg

Until next time ...

- Dan
Paradox Interactive, the publisher for Gettysburg: Armored Warfare just posted the official announcement press release, a developer inverview video, and we also released 3 new concept arts and the feature list for the game. The link to their site is HERE I also updated the Radioactive-Software homepage with the announcement. If you want me to love you long time, LIKE the game on facebook!

Here is the video interview of me :-) This one was recorded in NYC in January, so the in-game footage is a bit dated.
http://www.youtube.c...h?v=h2SVmBo6izY

Here is the press release ...

[quote]GDC, SAN FRANCISCO - March 1, 2011 - Paradox Interactive today announced Gettysburg: Armored Warfare, a free-to-play, online action game that brings futuristic weapons to an alternate reality of the Civil War. The hybrid Real-time- Strategy (RTS)/ First-Person shooter (FPS) game will offer 32 vs. 32 battles with multiple game modes as Union and Confederate troops fight to change the course of history. Developed by Radioactive Software, Gettysburg: Armored Warfare is powered by Paradox Connect, and scheduled to launch later this year.

"History is a great setting for any game as it adds familiarity and an understanding of the motivations behind the opposing forces," said Tom Soderlund, Project Lead for Paradox Connect. "Throw in tanks from 200 years in the future as well as other modern weapons and you have a really interesting twist on history. That's what we're bringing with Gettysburg: Armored Warfare when it launches later this year."

About Gettysburg: Armored Warfare
Gettysburg: Armored Warfare is a free-to-play online game that merges RTS and FPS gameplay. With technology brought from 2060 to try and change the course of U.S. history, players will enter an alternate reality of the war as they fight for the North or South in 32 vs. 32 skirmishes. The game features persistent statistics which will showcase the best players in the game and offer modification and customization of player avatars.

Main Features:

  • Free-to-Play
  • 64 Players per server
  • 4 maps ( 9km x 9km in size )
  • Over 1,000 controllable units on the battlefield at once
  • Play as Union or Confederate
  • 10 Unit types
  • Modifications & upgrades for units
  • Persistent Point/XP system and Stat Tracking
  • Upgradable avatars ( Using points/XP )
  • 3 Unit game modes ( Only 1860s, Only hybrid 2060s, and All types )
  • Paradox achievements
    [/quote]We also released some new concept art showing the Heavy Soldier!
    Heavy_Battlefield_Illustration.jpg

    Confederate_Heavy.jpg

    Union_Heavy.jpg

    That's all for now!

    - Dan
This is a first official 'Developers Diary' for Gettysburg:Armored Warfare. My name is Danny Green, President/Lead Programmer @ Radioactive-Software, [ http://www.radioactive-software.com ] well I'm the only employee, so errrr... Those who read my blog on GameDev.net [ http://www.gamedev.n...ctive-software/ ] know that I love to post a lot of screenshots/images, so after 5 years and close to 1mil views of that, I'm not going to change :-p

I'll start out with an overview of the game+tech since this is really the first dev entry I'm making for the game on the Paradox Interactive site [ the game's publisher ]. To re-iterate, Gettysburg: Armored Warfare ( G:AW ) is a RTS/Action hybrid free-to-play online game. The tech supports 64 players per server, 9kmx9km terrains, 1024 controllable units, 2.4mil pieces of foliage, 100k+ fence/walls, a procedural farmland generation system, high resolution art asests [ 10,000+ tris, 4096^2 texture maps, etc], an integrated server browser + in-game lobby for chat/matchmaking, and of course a dedicated server topology! I really want to take advantage of all the things that make PC gaming great. Custom servers, dedicated servers [ sorry console gamers, host-migration doesn't exist in my world...], etc. Also, as usual it's worth mentioning I've programmed this entire thing myself, this represents about 4 months of work on the Gettysburg direction.

In terms of gameplay/setting, I don't think anybody can deny the game is pretty unique, the way I've been describing the backstory in a few sentences is as follows - "Essentially, in the year 2060 this evil Tony Stark esque guy goes back in time to change the outcome of the U.S. Civil War so that the South wins...the government finds out and sends back their own technology creating an arms-race in time. So we have this fusion of 2060s and 1860s technology, with a steampunk twist". There is no campaign in the game, only offline practice with bots.

A lot of people probably see the title of the game and go "wtf? tankz in the civil war, omg, rage. Gen. Lee is turning over in his grave, hhhhhhh, etc". I can understand where they are coming from especially since there hasn't really been multiplayer RTS/Action civil war game similar to this, er...ever? One thing I'm going to do with the game is making it so the server operater can determine what types of units are usable in the world. There will be 3 options:
1) Only realistic civil war units ( 1860s ).
2) Only hybrid futurisitc units ( 2060s ).
3) All types of units available ( 1860s + 2060s ).
This means players can turn the game into a pure civil war game if they don't like how the game was meant to be played ( option number 3 ).

Currently the game is still officially 'PRE-ALPHA' status, which means that it's still very much a work-in-progress. I've already implemented Paradox Connect technology into the game, meaning I can login to my servers using my Paradox Forum login information. We're going to start really testing the multiplayer outside of my offices in a few weeks.

What am I working on right now ? Too many things to list, today I got the futuristic hybrid rifle, code named 'X-122' it's a 5.56mm M16A4 type assault rifle. So currently there are 2 infantry weapons in the game, the X-122 and the Springfield 1855 rifle carried by vanilla confederate and union soldiers from the 1860s.

Screenshot time!


Yes this is my favorite part of any blog entry, let's get started...remember all of these images are PRE-ALPHA and some of the stuff shown is still a work-in-progress, or was added into the game a few hours ago...

Here is an image of the hybrid confederate armored soldier with the X122 AR... ConfederateSoldier_X122_Weapon.jpg
Here is an image of a 'vanilla' Union soldier with his Springfield 1855 rifle.
UnionSoldier_Springfield.jpg
Confederate hybrid armored soldier with X122 rifle.
ConfederateSoldier_X122.jpg
Hybrid Union armored soldier with the X122 rifle.
UnionSoldier_X122_3.jpg
UnionSoldier_X122.jpg

Screenshot of the RTS view where you can give orders to your squads...
RTS_View1.jpg
RTS_View4.jpg

One more screenshot of the X122 rifle ;-p
ConfederateSoldier_X122_Weapon_2.jpg

Here is the last screnshot showing some WIP art assets - hybrid tank, civil war cannon, civil war gatling gun, and a bridge that will be used in the environments.
Other_Units_Gettysburg_Armored_Warfare.jpg

Well that's all for now, If you have any questions or comments just post them below...

- Dan
For some time I've been quiet about exactly who is publishing my latest game "Armored Warfare", well the answer is the Swedish publisher Paradox Interactive! I just got back from their 2011 New York City event. I was demoing the game to 30+ press ( and people like Valve/Steam ), and they also made an announcement about the project. Basically the game is now called 'Gettysburg: Armored Warfare'. The game is a RTS/FPS hybrid supporting 64 players per server. The Gettysburg twist is one that I think people will either love, or hate. Essentially, in the year 2060 this evil Tony Stark esq guy goes back in time to change the outcome of the U.S. Civil War so that the South wins...the government finds out and sends back their own technology creating an arms-race in time. So we have this fusion of 2060s and 1860s technology, with a steampunk twist :-) The game is online only using Paradox-Connect technology, so the story is almost irrelevent except for explaining why these types of units exist ( there is no campaign mode in the game ). Here is a link to the facebook page ... check it out and LIKE! it hahah :-) http://www.facebook....180953878604592 also twitter - http://twitter.com/ArmoredWarfare

EDIT: The game also won 'Best in Show' from Strategy Informer [ http://www.strategyinformer.com/editorials/10636/best-in-show-paradox-interactive-convention-2011 ]

Gettysburg_Armored_Warfare.jpg

I can't wait to post images of the game, I've got to work within the framework of the publisher, so no-more posting updates the night-of as I've been doing on my projects for the last few years :-) I'm very happy with the work I've done so far, and the reactions of almost all the press has been fantastic - especially the technical aspects ( which is what I was showing, a tech demo ).

Well - I'll give you guys a bit of a preview - here is an image of the procedural farmland rendering system I wrote a few days ago ( actually in one night )...
Armored_Warfare_Procedural_Farmland1.jpg
Much more to come soon...

Paradox NYC Event 2011
I had a great time in NYC all last week...I took a bunch of pictures of the event, and my trip so I'll share some with you here...

We stayed at the Hilton NYC on the Avenue of Americas. This is also where all the press events were held. The view from my room...
Hilton_Room_View.jpg


Paradox Convention 2011!
Paradox_Sign.jpg

Paradox taking over 8-) The room where all sales presentations take place...
Sales_Presentation_Room.jpg

My lil' presentation table...
Radioactive_Software_Demo_station.jpg

Paradox Interactive Banner
Paradox_Banner.jpg

CEO, of Paradox ( and all around cool guy ) Fred Wester giving some opening comments...
Fred_Opening.jpg


About this time I was busy presenting to press for 2 days...


Me relaxing after the first day event ...
Hilton_Bar.jpg

There was a big party on Thursday at the Aspen Social Club...
Aspen_Club1.jpg

Well I have a bunch of other pictures and things I'd love to post ( *shakes fist at new image limit on journals ... *), but that is basically the event...I had a really great time. It's nice to finally announce Paradox Interactive as my publisher, and I'm really looking forward to working with them!

- Dan
Wow, I was shocked when I hit the site today, quite a change I must say! Hopefully staff will get all the kinks out ASAP and polish the site until it burns our eyes from awesomeness. I'm working hard on my game, Armored Warfare...there is a big event coming up this month where it should be announced, so I'm crunching to get it ready. I will keep you updated.

*looks around for post entry button* Ah...

- Dan
The last few days I've been working on a real-time world editor for the game. Specifically I've been working on the terrain and entity tools.

Entity Tool - Ability to place objects ranging from helicopters to barrels, and buildings. There are translate, rotate, and a 'face cursor in world-space function so far.

Terraform Tool - Adjust terrain up/down with adjustable brush size.

Here is a link to the video I uploaded showing the two tools -

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This also opens up the ability to have destructable terrain, the Havok physics representation is updated in real-time. The texture locks on the GPU version of the heightmap are the bottleneck at the moment. I'm really excited about this :-o

I'll be improving the editor and adding a lot of stuff like trigger boxes for gameplay events, more customization of the environment/time of day, and all the standard stuff like road and fence tools. Hopefully I can get 2 more videos of the editor uploaded showing different tools and the overall progress without getting into game-specific content ;-)

Here are some screengrabs from the video for those who don't wanna watch it :-p

Terrain Editor...



Entity Editor...



- Dan
Hey guys,

Today's topics include:
- Terrain Tangent/Normal Smoothing
- Multithreaded loading of textures in background
- Entity Imposters cast shadows
- Foliage Imposters account for terrain lighting

Terrain Tangent/Normal Smoothing
I'm sure some of you noticed the sort of 'stairstep' artifacts on the terrain rendering in recent screenshots ... since I'm packing the height/normals into the RGBA channels of a single texture and using vertex-texture-fetch to sample them inside the vertex shader. So when saving the map I do a pass to render all these values into a single texture. Before today I wasn't doing a smoothing pass - and I wasn't doing any filtering inside the vertex shader when constructing the normal ( I'd have to do 4 samples of the height and construct the normal - so I write it into the R,G,B channels then construct the tangent/bi-normal inside the vertex shader ). The solution was to do 9 samples when saving the normal/height texture and average the normals which produced much better results ;-) I should have taken care of that a long time ago.

Multithreaded loading of textures in background...
For a while I've had a texture caching system that keeps a 32x32 or smaller version of all textures possibly needed in the game. When the system gets a request for a high resolution version of a texture it loads it into memory and lets the system know the high res version is available. This worked alright for a while - until I started using models with sets of 2048x2048 color/normal/specular maps all over the place. Then it started to become an issue loading 48MB a piece. If a high resolution texture isn't referenced x seconds after it's been loaded the system un-loads it. So you can see how constant stuttering from texture loads could become a problem. The issue is the Direct3D rendering thread has to pause so the texture can be loaded using the D3DXTextureFromFile() functions.

My solution is to use multithreading - because the D3DDEVICE can only be referenced from one thread at a time (unless you specifiy the multithreaded flag on device creation, which slows everything). The key is to start another thread, load the texture file from the hard-drive into memory, and then once the thread returns and you have the raw data loaded in memory - call D3DXTextureFromMemory from your D3DDEVICE thread. This virtually eliminates thrashing/stuttering from loading resources in the background of the game. I limit the system to starting 1 background texture loading thread. I find that causes the smallest impact on the rest of the game. When running 3-4 background threads at once there were still noticeable hickups in the rendering system.

This system allows me to easily manage many gigabytes of texture data.

Entity and Foliage imposter shadow stuff
In addition to the above stuff I went through and added some more touches to the imposter systems in the game. All of the entity imposters [ for soldiers, tanks, controllable objects, etc. ] now cast shadows into the world. The foliage imposters now take into account the terrain lighting below them. I choose to use this influence instead of just doing shadow mapping, I find the results are much more pleasing to the eye - though they aren't 100% accurate.

On to the screenshots...

Here is an image showing how the terrain normals look now that I'm using a totally different method to compute them, plus a smoothing pass on them.


Here is a comparison screenshot showing how the foliage imposters looked. before/after taking the terrain lighting into account.


Imposter debug screenshots - this is how the imposters look with alpha_clipping disabled - so you can clearly see which ones are imposters and which are geometry. Also visible are the shadows cast by the imposters in both screenshots...

With clip() enabled inside the pixel shader.


Here are screenshots showing the new/smooth terrain normals compared to the old normals...
NEW...

OLD...


Until next time...

- Dan
Hey guys,

I've uploaded a HD video showing the RTS/Action hybrid aspects of the latest game. This is a similar system to what I created for my gangster game Urban Empires. You can give orders to your units/squads and then take control of any unit and complete the order you gave in the RTS mode. I've had the idea to do these kinds of games back in 2005. This would be the 3rd iteration of the technology. Hopefully the 3rd time is a charm and this game can go out the door as planned :-)

A lot of the order visualization system are placeholders. The per-unit waypoint lines that are being displayed are going to be replaced w/a much "sexier" per-squad order visualization. You're currently able to arrange your units in "formations of formations" similar to games like the Total War series. The squad orders will be represented in a way similar to these games. The projectile/particle system is a WIP - as are parts of the pathfinding, AI and NPC animation code. Some parts have just a few days of work into them.

The models being used in this video are not the final ones - once the game is announced publicly things will make more sense, and I can show some relevant artwork :-)

You can view the RTS/Action hybrid video here -
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Be sure to watch in 720p!

Here are some preview images of the video -



Until next time :-)

- Dan
Hey Guys,

Here are some videos of the Havok ragdoll physics I've coded into the game in the last week or so.

Gravity is still a work in progress - I think it needs to be increased. I'll take care of that. Other parts of the engine have recently received a refactor / facelift so some things are rough around the egdes.

I've tried for a few years to get some good looking ragdolls - up until this point I think the best ragdolls I've had were in my game 'Gang War' using Newton Dynamics physics engine circa 2006. The recently written ragdoll code is replacing some Havok based ragdolls - but they didn't properly blend the current animation state of the visual model with the physics representation for a smooth transition. I also use triangluar shapes for the rigid body representation of each limb - the shapes are defined via 3D model so it's easy to tweak the ragdolls.



This new system supports up to 32 dynamic ragdolls at once - with no more than 1024 units on the battlefield this should be sufficient ( since ragdolls are a client side effect that doesn't affect the gameplay / character controllers / etc ). I'm pretty happy with how they turned out - though the effects will be much more realistic once I go through and add pre-limb bullet detection and apply an impulse to the limb in question. Another feature of this new ragdoll code is ability for breakable limbs - simply not creating a constraint will detach the limb from the ragdoll with no other changes needed.

Video links:
Video #1 -
">VIDEO 1 LINK

Video #2 -
">VIDEO 2 LINK

Video #3 -
">VIDEO 3 LINK

Here are the screenshots:




- Dan

Animated Flags, Ragdoll physics and Large armies..

Hey guys,

Here are a few screenshots of a combat prototype I'm working on. Some of the new features include: Animated flag rendering, ragdoll physics, and a 1000 soldier army. I'm getting a lot of new stuff done w the game, I can't post any of that until it's announced in the coming months. It will be a lot different than these screenshots though ;-)





I also finished all major work on the ragdoll physics system. They now seamlessly blend between animation->physics representation. I can just _not_ create constraints between ragdoll body parts to simulate arms/legs getting blown off...plus creating no constraints at all - and swapping the visual models gives a gib effect.

Here are the ragdoll physics as viewed from the Havok Physics remote debugger. Range of motion is still not correct in this screen.


Another feature is location based damage - visually demonstrated by my Minecraft army -_- I'm using the hitbox model as the visual model 8-)



- Dan
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