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Journal of Danny Green

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Warbots Online - BETA Download

August 12, 2009

Game's website - http://www.warbotsonline.com

BETA Installer download link ( ~650MB ) -

BETA Readme.pdf download link (~1MB ) -

F.A.Q. (Questions and Answers)

See the previous entry for many screenshots, and links to 3 High Definition videos (720p) posted on YouTube. Please let me know your thoughts, at the very least I could use as many people to download the game and install it and see if it runs [grin]...

The game takes up about 2GB unzipped, and requires a sorta-modern-computer to run...see the F.A.Q in the above link for more information.

It's the first release of this particular game, and any game I've made to the public in ~5 years :-o So be gentle lol. This game has taken about 10 months, $1,000s of dollars, and many years off my life-expectency to produce up to this point lol. There is a full credits list in the ReadMe.pdf, there are a few people I contracted to do artwork for me, including an art studio. I'm still looking for a publisher for this particular project, we'll see how that goes.

I'll be including a multiplayer patch in the coming days, so we can frag eachother...I've already got game servers up and running in Raleigh, London, Dallas, and Atlanta. This release is mostly to test hardware compatablity, and to help me fix major compatablity issues.

I've tested the game on 32-bit XP, 32-bit Vista of all flavors, and 64-bit Vista Ultimate.

I'm going to work on the updates for the game's homepage, and the Radioactive-Software homepage, and then probably sleep. Thanks again if you can d/l the game and help me out with testing!

- Dan

P.S. These are the controls for those who can't be bothered to read the .pdf




Name Change...

Long story short, the name of the game has to be changed. No longer Gang War: The Urban Gang Simulator.

I've surfaced this issue previously, and got some really good input...especially from Salsa ( heart for yuo

What do you think?

Personally I think from a marketing perspective it could work out, and would do quite well...but for some reason I have trouble shaking the association with Ali G, and baggy flamboyent jump suits. It makes the game somewhat of a joke in my mind. Though with proper marketing that can be overcome.

My second issue with the name is that it just doesn't sound right in practice.

Ex.) Do you play the new Respect game?
Have you seen that Respect game?
See you online in Respect later tonight.

It needs some kind of sub-title or something...

Then there are my "mental" issues with changing the name of the game. If I'm not 100% happy with the name of the game I can't bring myself to put in the kind of hours / time necessary. Obviously to get the game to this stage has taken a rediculous amount of work on my part & it would be a nightmare for me to not be satisfied with the final product, in every regard.

Hmmm....any thoughts on this issue would be greatly appreciated. Any alternate names, any possible arrangment of subtitles, etc.

Actually here is my working list from the last name-change post [in October 2006] just for reference... [ https://www.gamedev.net/community/forums/mod/journal/journal.asp?jn=323649&reply_id=2801502&PageSize=15&WhichPage=1 ]

- Danny




Which gun should I add??

I was going to add a M16A2 into the game, but since I already have a M4 I think that would be a waste...so I've got one open weapon slot.

Here is the current list of confirmed weapons...

*Spelling mistakes are not intentional!!! Please point them out!
/end sarcasm *points to copyright laws*

1 - Glocck 17
2 - Bereta 92f
3 - Kolt .45 [silver metal color]
4 - Sig P220
5 - Walter P22
6 - Uzi
7 - MACK-10
8 - Deagle
9 - Car-15 / M4
10 - C4 explosives
11 - Grenade launcher (with rotating chamber)
12 - Sawed off shotgun
13 - Street sweeper 12 gauge shotgun
14 - Spaz-12 shotgun
15 - AK-47s [short edition w/folding stock]
16 - MP5k
17 - Steyer AUG
18 - Silenced Walter PPK
19 - Butcher knife
20 - Hunting knife
21 - M21 sniper rifle
22 - Hand grenade
23 - Baseball bat
24 - .38 special
25 - G36 Commando
26 - .357 Magnum revolver
27 - Tauruas PT940 [shiny silver]
28 - Mossberge 500 shotgun
29 - 1920's Tommy gun w/cylinder clip
30 - ???????????????????????

Soooo what's #30 gonna be? Any ideas or obvious missing weapons would be appreciated.

- Danny




Name Change?

So I had a mantastic discussion with Salsa in my last entry...apparently the current name of my game sux0rs [grin]. So I spent a few minutes typing up a list of potential names, already taken names, and a word bank of 'Gangsterific' words.

My publisher brought up the idea of changing the game's name after Konami released the *ahem* less than average game, called 'Crime Life: Gang Wars' which is the epitome of the 'trying to cash in on the gangster genre boom' game, average rating 2.0/10.0

Needless to say I'm hoping to do a little better than that with my game. I'm bringing some fresh elements to the table in terms of combining the RTS/Action genres, and including complete multiplayer (not just some ad-hoc bullshit). I'll spare you guys the list of uber-features my game has (which you should know by now if you follow my journal).

Anyways...Here is the 'list' so far...I'll be kicking around ideas for the next few days, but this is what I have so far (obviously I need you guys to let me know if I left anything out, or if you have a crucial name suggestion) -

Let's start out with the names that I can't use -
Grand Theft Auto
25 to life
Crime Life: Gang Wars
Saints Row
True Crime

Alright...now my current name -
Gang War: The Urban Gang Simulator

Some Potential names (in no particular order) -
Mob Rule: The Gangster Simulation
Crime Empire: The Gang Simulator
Mob City: The Gangster Underworld
Underworld : The Gangster Simulation
Blood Respect: The Gang Simulation
Crime Overlord
Hood War: The Gang Simulator
Thug Life: RIP Tupac...Respect ;-)
Gang World
Crime World
Crime City
Gang City: The Urban Gang Simulator
Gang Empire
Felony Wars: The path to perdition ;-)

Any my already incomplete 'word bank' which I will be adding to -
Black Hand
Cosa Nostra
The Mob

Yea...as you can see it's easier said than done to come up with an original name for a Gangster game, in this day and age. At least I'm not making a WW2 game, the only genre that might be more overcrowded.

Alright, I need feedback/suggestions, don't cop out on me now GameDev [grin]. I am trying to have the 'Urban Gang Simulation' bit (or something similar) in there, just because there is no denying the type of game I'm making, if thats in there.

There has not been a gangster simulation since 'Gangsters' back in '98 so that market is wide open. Also since most companies are focusing on the PS3/360 the PC market is begging for a sweet gangster game. My game is still quite unknown (and will stay that way until BETA+) so I don't think changing the name at this point will be a problem.

Personal Note
I've also just got my hands on a Logitech G15 'Gaming Keyboard'...yea it set me back like $100 bucks, but I'm a fan of it for sure.

This baby has got a LCD screen, and illuminated LCD keys as well! Yes they also included the C++ SDK so I'm gonna crank out some stuff for this bad boy (not just "Gang War" specific, but lots of other stuff). I was planning on coding up a Winamp plugin for it...but it already came with a perfect one, also you can switch to a clock/calander mode. Also it can tell you when you have a new e-mail!

In addition to that, it also has a mode that displays your system CPU/RAM usage. This is like the coolest thing I've got in a while (in like 2 weeks hehe). I could go on and on...but I highly recommend picking one of these up. Having the ability to scroll through your winamp playlist while in-game via the LCD screen is just too sweet. Before I was messing with the global-hotkeys, and some games blocked that functionality. I'm a happy camper though...honestly I can't think of any other gadgets to buy at this point in time...but I'll come up with something...don't worry...I'll come up with something.

- Dan




Warbots Online working title ... Big Update xD

[ Warbots Online ]
Hey guys, yea I've been using 'Warbots Online' as a working title for the game I've been posting about lately [ mostly because www.warbotsonline.com is available xD ]...but yea, that's the name I'm going with.

The game is basically 64 player per server online combat. Gameplay modes - teams, deathmatch, command point control, ticket based play, etc. Players build their own mechanized robots from a set of chassis and weapons, the maps take place in 3 different environments [ grass, snow, desert ]...it's a pretty standard game, should be fun when it's finished in a few weeks...

Most players drive the robots etc...I on the other hand will be driving around in this xD -

I don't feel like typing up all kinda of info about the game right now, I'll save that for the website later.

I've been working on this game for 1 month and 29 days. I'd hoped to be done by today...but I'm very close.

I have about 9 items left on the to-do list.

Really, here is the to-do list...the game is like freakin' done man...

Anyways, as soon as the offline portions are done I might release a stripped down version of the game for free [ only giving access to maybe 10% of the stuff ].

I also need to find a publisher for it.

Finished Respawn Bunker
Yes with the addition of the light shafts from the spot lights, the building is done IMO...

Early Gameplay video
Ahhh I keep recording videos and uploading them to youtube, but then the next day I add cool stuff into the game, and it's already out dated...but there will be a gameplay video VERY soon.

Here are some preview images of the latest video, it's really wild lol...

Respawn bunker testing xD
So I had this ferrari model sitting around, I figured I might as well use it. [ other than as my exclusive in-game vehicle online lol ]

It's kind of like bringing a knife to a uh...robotic missle and machinegun fight xD

A new vehicle type
Not sure if you noticed but I added a new vehicle type into the game...a 6 wheeled job. I'm still working on the mechs, and the hovercraft, etc...

That's it for now guys! Videos, more info, and a website coming soon...

- Danny




5 new Character concepts + 1 new box-art

Check 'em out guys...Total there are going to be 3 models per gang type, 9 gang types in the game.

Also civilians + cops + SWAT. Lots more concepts coming.

Props go to my art studio.

Japanese Yakuza




Japanese School Girl gang (P.S. they're deadly)

A box-art concept from my art studio, with some tweaking it could be amazing...I really love the hand+bullets...I think it's great.




New Name : Urban Empires

Urban Empires
Yea, so it looks like it's final.

The game will now be called Urban Empires say good bye to Gang War.

Don't worry it's still going to be "Age of Empires meets GTA with multiplayer" [grin]

Again just as a 'tease' here is the logo drafted up by Salsa back in Oct '06.

I'm actually contracting Josh/Salsa to create a much higher resolution logo for the game/website/desktops/etc, as well as some variants. I can't wait to see how it looks. So basically the final logo might look a lot different. My publisher is also creating some logos for the game.

Today my publisher and I also looked over about 6-8 different box art concepts, some of them look really cool, especially for a days worth of work. I can't wait to see the final product, and hold the box in my hand [grin]

So what have you been working on the last 3 weeks?
I've been totally distracted building the game's website and I've recently decided to implement my own custom rolled account server / stat tracking system, in addition I have to have a place for people to buy the game, a place for people to register their accounts / CD keys, etc.

I'm running this server myself out of my office right now I've got a dedicated T1 for the master/account/game servers, as well as the web/smtp server for sending e-mails and running the Urban Empires website. I should be finished with all aspects of the account creation / in-game integration by the end of the week. Overall I'd say the site is about 60% done :-/ I'm gonna have to bust some ass to get the site finished by this weekend, and then spend next week finishing the in-game stat integration, and polishing the game, + creating some more polished maps that take advantage of the new terrain.

Aw cmon' please tell me you have some new screnshots of the game after 3 weeks of no entries
Ok fine, I've actually put in some time on the engine before focusing on the website. Unfortunatly a lot of stuff is still in pieces / needs polishing. So I'm only going to post low-res screenshots :-p

ZOMG AIROPLENAE. Yes, now I can fly around the cities. It took half a day to implement.

ZOMG AIROBOATPLANE WATAR. Yes, now I can get into a boat and cruise through the in-game channels/rivers. It took half a day to implement.

I'm also workign on some other aspects such as a dynamic grass system to spruce up the terrain.

A funky debug shot...horrible work in progress, taken on a Geforce 7600, not my usual 8800.

These screenshots are embarrassingly early, I've only had a few days to focus on the game. I've been spending all my time developing the game's website since it'll be so closely tied to the game itself.

You'll be able to view lists of all active servers, browse user-created cities, all player stats, top players...etc...all from the site. I'm building this all from the ground up whilst learning how. I'm really not a PHP/MYSQL guy...but I'm learning. It's a welcome relief from trying to syncronize multiplayer vehicle physics over a network *shudders*.

Oh by the way, here is an in-model-editor shot of the speedboat...I made it myself...and just for contrast, one of the game's car models is beside it. It should also be noted that the ACTUAL triangle count of that boat is ~1970 tris...it was unoptimized at the time of the screenshot.

I'm working on a lot of stuff right now...and will have a juicy update as soon as I can get the site/datebase/game integration done, I can refocus on the game engine.

Stay tuned.

- Danny




Need ideas for 3 more weapons!

DONE means they are already created, if not then they are in the works by my gun artist.

Here is his latest work for me, a FAMAS F1...

Real Deal -

Game Model -

I need help filling in the last 3 slots...any requests?? :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

NOTE: These are just reference names, the guns are renamed in-game, as in Counter-Strike, Goldeneye, etc. The actual guns' names are not going to be licensed.

DONE 1 - Glock 17
DONE 2 - Beretta 92f
DONE 3 - Colt .45 [silver metal color]
DONE 4 - Sig P220
DONE 5 - Walther P22
DONE 6 - Uzi
DONE 7 - Mac 10
DONE 8 - Desert Eagle
DONE 9 - Car-15 / M4
DONE 10 - C4 explosives
DONE 11 - Grenade launcher (with rotating chamber)
DONE 12 - Sawed off shotgun
DONE 13 - Street sweeper 12 gauge shotgun [ Protecta Assault Shotgun ]
DONE 14 - Spas-12 shotgun
DONE 15 - AK-47S [short edition w/folding stock] and full sized version?
DONE 16 - MP5k [short edition] and full sized version?
DONE 17 - Steyer AUG
DONE 18 - Silenced Walther PPK
DONE 19 - Butcher knife
DONE 20 - Hunting knife
DONE 21 - M21 sniper rifle
DONE 22 - Hand grenade
DONE 23 - Baseball bat
DONE 24 - .38 special
DONE 25 - G36 Commando
DONE 26 - FN P90
DONE 27 - .357 Magnum revolver
DONE 28 - Taurus PT940 [shiny silver]
DONE 29 - Mossberg 500 shotgun
DONE 30 - 1920's Tommy gun w/cylinder clip
DONE 31 - Katana Sword
DONE 32 - Nail Gun
DONE 33 - Crowbar
DONE 34 - Taser
DONE 36 - Vulcan Minigun
DONE 37 - HK G3
DONE 38 - Suitcase [w/ money & bag of drugs as seperate items]
DONE 39 - Tec-9 w/Laser scope
DONE 40 - Barrett M107 .50 cal sniper rifle
42 - HK USP Compact
43 - FN Five-SeveN
44 - Dragunov Sniper Rifle
45 - L85 A1
46 - Makarov pistol
47 - Chainsaw
48 - ??????
49 - ??????
50 - ??????

Funny thing is that I own like 25-30% of these weapons in real life lol.

Any ideas/requests would be appreciated!

If anyone wants to see my personal collection of toys, please click the below image to go to my forums and check out pages 1 and 2 for lots of pictures, "gun porn" lol. I've got a lot of assault rifles, etc, and a few pistols as seen below. I actually just got a Sig Sauer P226 the day after I took this picture :-]

Also here is a video from a few months ago, of my brother and I having fun at the range. I'm the dude with blonde hair, he's the 6'8 dude who makes me look like a midget even though I'm 6'2 lol.

Just click on it to watch since I don't think we can embed youtube vids in our journals??

- Danny




Traffic jams and killing fields

The game is pretty playable now that I eliminated the crash bug that was nagging me for weeks.

Enemy gangs fight against each other. You can hear distant gunshots of enemy gangs fighting and you can tell by the way the crowds of people run away where the gunshots are coming from, it looks pretty cool in motion.

I really want to give impression of a chaotic environment once gunfire starts. I have a "cops" like camera shake as you run through the city, and the civilians/cops react to gunshots. News choppers circle areas of interest, you can view the action from the news chopper in a TV sort of presentation.

I still need to add some kind of visual indicator as to which direction gun fire is coming from, and there's a lot of polishing to be done.

The vehicle/traffic AI is pretty much done...they still have violent pileups every now and then, but they're pretty cool looking :-D I'm going to add a particle system for sparks, as well as full damage modeling on the vehicles.

The traffic resets pretty nicely after a pileup like the one below, once the player turns around and is a certain distance away, the cars resolve the traffic problem.

- Dan




Mmmmm Weapons

I've just added 10 new guns into the game, I managed to crank these out at the rate of 2-3 per hour. Now it's just a matter of deciding what weapons to add into the game....and writing unique code for weapons that need it.

I'm a programmer by nature, but I've got to create all the item/city artwork for the game as well. My budget doesn't allow me to have these created by a 'professional artist', so I've got to roll up my sleeves and do them myself.

If anybody has suggestions about any other guns I should add into the game, let me know :-)

Alright, back to work...I'll hopefully have a video of the grenade launcher and these new weapons in action tommorow or the next day.

- Dan

//Collection of all the weapons I've got in the game right now

//Here are some larger images of the guns I made today.
//I think they're pretty good quality-wise, considering that the game is always played in the 3rd person perspective.
//They should never take up more screen space than these screenshots, in-game.

//Most of the guns are ~300 triangles with a 256x256 texture.




Chop Shops.

Ah so I finally get a chance to create some new artwork! I had a nice discussion with my producer over at Strategy First today, and one of the items that came up was the idea of 'Chop shops' around the city so you could sell stolen cars/parts for money, etc.

Also I haven't really ever talked about the whole process I have to go through to create new content for the game...so I'll do that in this entry as well...I have screenshots from the whole 6 hour creation process of this building.

Here's the (90%) final product...

*****NOTE THE 'COCACOLA' signs will be gone later tonight, I don't plan on leaving them in-game. They were part of the reference images I took in downtown Raleigh.*******

The service station is about 90% complete, I still have to texture the area around the building, as well as add more stuff to the interior. I've already textured and created the objects I just have to place them into the building.

I really like the bloom effect in the screenshots, though if you think it's too much let me know. Here's a screenshot showing the contrast.

I'm suprised it looks this good without the use of HDR. (If anybody still thinks this looks overexposed....I'll have a 'Disable super sweet bloom effect because I suck' option in-game for you to use :-p I took it down about 30% from the screenshots I posted last entry.

Here's the process that I have to go through to create the buildings for the game...

Here are the raw images I used for this building, taken in downtown Raleigh years ago.

Step 1: size the building onto a blank grid of tiles, and started designing the back.

Step 2: Finish the fence around the back.

Step 3: Add roof.

Step 4: Use textured box to 'cut up' the texture to add geometric detail.

Step 5: You can see the details I added first, the gutter, signs, etc.

Step 6: I cut up the front of the building based on a side view of the textured guide cube.

Step 7: I textured the cut up wall, and put it into place on the building

At this point I also threw it in-game and started to fine-tune the scale of the building.

Step 8: Added glass and door groups to the building, in prep for the interior groups.

Step 9: Started to texture/create the interior 'shop' portion, and 'garage' portion. This is where I stopped, after this it's just creation of various assets that go into the building.

All buildings in the game use a 512x512 texture for the exterior, and a 256x256 texture for the interior, as well as a common glass texture shared between all building assets.

Comments are welcome. I hope somebody found this interesting :-)

- Dan




Motion Blur Video

Hey guys...I've uploaded a small 6MB video of the motion blur effect I'm working on. The video compression pretty much ruins the effect though :-/ short of uploading a 100MB uncompressed frame dump...I'll keep looking for a better video compression algorithm (this one uses MPEG4-V2). It's funny, that encoding the motion blur video using MPEG4-V1 seemed to play all kinds of tricks with the compression...its like the codec is detecting the similarities created by the motion blur, and canceling out that whole area to save data.

Anyways here's the download link to the aptly named video file:

[EDIT: Framerate is kinda fast in this video...[/EDIT]
Download Gang_War_Motion_Blur_Work_In_Progress.avi

I realize it's probably futile to post screenshots of this effect, but here's one anyways ;-) Also notice the window reflections which can be adjusted per-texel with reflection maps. These screenshots are grabbed from the video above.

Camera is moving backwards in this one, try to imagine it lol

Rest assured it looks very cool in the game, I'm still working on removing a few artifacts though...as well as add support for motion blur on moving skinned meshes (should be done tonight, just gotta write a couple of new shaders)...but overall I'm happy with it.

Back to work. I'll try to get some better screenshots of the effect.

- Dan

Edit - OK last edit for the night lol

I thought this screenshot was cool and should show you guys all the samples this blur shader is taking, it has a lot of potential...I'm already loving it in-game, I need to clamp it, and get it to work on moving models and it'll be great...doing this at 1280x1024 does kinda slaughter the framerate though lol. It's still playable [grin].

Obviously the blur isn't this intense at all times, it works on a per-pixel basis, using velocity buffers, which track the movement of each pixel between frames.




First person mode, new gameplay, and much more...

Hey guys, I'm very happy with some of the stuff I've come up with in the last week or so. As usual I'd appreciate any feedback / etc.

I've added the option for players to exit their warbots and play the game on foot with a machine gun...the catch is that the players have a communication device that they can use to give remote orders back to their vehicle. Scenario 1) A group of about 50 baddies is standing in your way, you can now jump out of your vehicle, start putting bullets into the crowd and order your robot to smash through them & surround them at the same time. Ragdoll physics, and destruction ensue. It's really awesome to see, I'm itching to put some videos of this out there :-D :-D

Until then - you'll have to survive on gratuitous amounts of barely compressed un-thumbnailed resized 1680x1050 screenshots 8-) Another thing I'm very proud of is achiving 40-70 FPS in my game @ the highest settings. You can barely see the FPS readings in the bottom left of each screenshot.

If you have a 56k connection still...you might want to close the webpage now...

Okey for the rest of you who are still here .. this is a list of the major things I've added into the game since the last journal update -

- First person gameplay / control mode.
- Robust soldier imposter rendering system.
- Replaced the soldier's dorky lasers with machine guns [ weapons go flying out of their hands when people get ragdoll'd ]
- Added 'Proving Grounds' map
- Dense grass rendering
- Fixed physics 'hopping' issues that people were experiencing.
- 'Curved' road rendering, by using a alpha/(min/max) hack.
- Fixed mirrored mini-map...blah blah blah...
- I'll post the huuuge list of things at the bottom of the entry.

The Proving Grounds

This is the level I've created to help test various aspects of the game...from physics, to rendering, to tweaking the weapon recoil on the gun range. This is also the 'Training level' in the game where players can learn the controls without getting pwned.

I modeled it after the U.S government's tank testing facility in Yuma.

The real facility again...

First Person view & gameplay
The players can now dismount from their vehicle and do work seperatly. Some of the orders the players can give their vehicles include - move to location, come pick me up, attack x, defend x, follow me...things like that. *Insert night rider hasselhoff joke here plz*

This is probably one of the coolest things I've ever done lol. I'm really excited about the gameplay potential/etc...especially since there are up to 1000 soldiers per world [ down from 6000 in the last BETA release ], and 64 vehicles/human-players in each multiplayer server.

I will divulge more details, and post many videos in the coming days :-D Then I'll be including this stuff in the next free public BETA release. If you haven't downloaded the last one, get it from the Warbots homepage!

I animated the 1st person view models so he removes his hand from the SMG's foregrip before pulling out the com device.

Without further...on to the good stuff...screenshots of the com device in a few different lighting situations [ it is animated, videos soon ]

*PS I'll be reworking some aspects of the hand/com device models so they look a little better... programmers art :->

Human Imposter System
Yup, just a standard imposter system...really helps improve the frame-rates by rendering distant soldiers as billboards :-D If anybody has any questions about this stuff I'd be glad to answer them.

These images just show the imposter texture overlayed on the scene, and the imposter triangles visualized.

First Person Gun Model Design / Features
This is a screenshot from Milkshape3D showing how I setup the first person gun model.

It is fully animated in the game, and the controls are as tight as any first person game I've played. [ I've been playing Crysis for a hour or two every few days so that's probably what I'm most influenced by lol ].

This is a list of a few of the features I can remember off the top of my head that I've coded into the game for this first person mode to work...

Aaaand now for the promised splattering of recent screenshots... :-D
Iron sights...

More screens of the proving grounds test level... [ will be included in the next BETA release ]

A couple screens from the Beach Assault map...

As promised here is the list of items completed since the last PUBLIC beta release...#2 is coming soon!!

- Dan




Final rain effect....behold

Ok well I finished this up on friday & I have a video of it as promised...

Click here to download 24MB MPEG video of rain effect

Here are a bunch of screen grabs showing different parts of the video...it looks better in motion, so click this picture, watch the vid, and let me know what you think!

Here is a better resolution image [that wasn't taken from the video]...showing the lightning, and rain particles.

I ended up using a few layers of rain particles, they might be a tad hard to see on the video due to compression, but I use 2 scrolling layers of rain particles pre-rendered into a texture. I also spawn about 1200 dynamic rain particles around the camera. The effect is a nice thick sheet of rain, and it's not too bad performance wise, actually no FPS difference here because I'm re-using the same reflection texture for the river/ocean water with a offset.

The sky is rendered in 4 layers...
- The sky color texture applied to a skydome.
- The normal sky clouds placed around the skydome.
- A set of 3 scrolling "rain cloud" textures applied to a extra skydome, and faded in/out.
- 8 rotating sets of "lightning" clouds.

Here is a image showing the "lightning clouds" in relation to the skydome inside the model editor...

And, don't get too excited about the lightning it's a static texture...I was planning on generating the lighting dynamically using axial billboards, random branching, etc. it probably would have taken hours to code up, and wouldn't look as good as this texture does since it's only visible for a split second.

Also, I didn't go all the way with animated/dynamic water ripple textures. I didn't have time to add a animated water splash for particles when they hit the world That would probably make things look even better and will most likely be added in the next few days.

Other than that, there are about 8-9 different parts to this rain effect that get faded in/out. Well I'm happy with the way it came out. Any comments on the video would be appreciated.

- Dan




Graphics Engine update progress....

I'm pretty much re-writing my entire graphics engine. I'm re-doing the sky system...right now I'm just rendering the atmosphere & fog. Though in a few days I'll have dynamic billboarded clouds, and the sun/moon implemented and casting light on the scene.

The new atmosphere is basicly just a bunch of 1D textures that I transition between smoothly that represent the different times of day. I've got 256 textures for the entire day, so it looks rather nice. I've got all kinds of things I'm going to implement to make the skys look awesome, it will be coming together in the next few days.

I'm going to rewrite the light rendering code. I'm going to use the same lighting system for everything including the sun, street lights, traffic lights, vehicle head lights, store signs, etc. All lighting information will all be rendred to a texture, and then down sampled and blured, and displayed over the scene...almost like a glow effect. I'm going to get started on this tommorow.

The real time shadows are going well, I'm pretty much done with them. I've still got to add dynamic shadows on characters/vehicles that are rendered using hardware skinning, this is just a matter of comgining the two shaders though. Right now everything looks great with static meshes. I'm basicly rendering to 2 2048x2048 shadow maps, one representing the entire city...one representing the players local area. It works out quite well.

Here's 2 screenshots of how the cities are looking at this early stage....btw I'ev still got to re-implement the glass transparency.

Back to work.

- Dan

Early, without fog:

Fog added:

Another screenshot showing the new fog/atmosphere




Another screenshot

I've been making this gas station all day long, I think it's looking pretty good. I've also been adding animated flocks of birds, and news choppers which will be used as a camera angle.

- Dan




Just Death coming to Steam!

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

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

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

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

- Dan




Armored Warfare - A Touch of Realism

Hey guys...I've been very busy lately working on a lot of things. A lot has been going on behind the scenes, most of which I can't really talk about...but long story short I've made some modifications to Armored Warfare.

Some of the bigger changes include:
- Expanding terrain to 100km x 100km real world size
- Writing a Geomipmapping system for rendering large terrain ( using vertex texture fetching )
- Rewriting all physics system ( adding support for Bullet AND Havok )
- Create uber-awesome entity managment system which is currently making things 10x easier than it's ever been to work w/my engine.
- Added realistic vehicles to the game, the futuristic ones shown previously are still here ... they're unlocked later
- Emphasis on large Real-Time Strategy combat/managment, with ability to control any unit at one time.
- Finally got my normals fixed up w the Nvidia Mesh Mender library.
- 64 players per server still, only 2 teams per server.
- Focus on realistic campaigns on large terrains, control of cities instead of generic cmd points.
- Control of land/air/sea/human units.
- Joystick / X360 controller support in planes/choppers.
- And more! ;-)

Lots of stuff like this...I will be steamrolling progress in the coming days so stay tuned.

I bring gifts of screenshots and a taste of things to come ... look for a new Armored Warfare BETA with all this new stuff in the coming weeks/months...

- Dan

Vehicle showroom...currently packed ;-)

Apache helicopter flyin' around...( basic shading )

100km x 100km terrain...it's huge.

Another screenshot of the main menu visualization...

F15E Eagle flying over the terrain. ( basic shading )




Test Session screenshots + My new setup

Well I just finished a test session w/my publisher today...things went well. I'd like to think my game is about as fun/stable as any pre-BETA game could be...I posted about 24 screenshots in the header of my journal so you can see it at various points in the session. Sorry for the low quality, I was running in debug/windowed mode. It's not often I get to see 6 people in a server...since I've only got 3 computers that can really run the game.

Here are a couple of my favorite screenshots:

Also I took some pics of my new setup. I had to move back to my parents house in Raleigh just for a few months while I finish up the game. Before anyone says any smart ass comments...I'd like to point back to my college days when the bitches flowed like water' and the Jagermeister ruled supreme. There was a few years in there where I was livin' it up...so I guess this is just karma coming back :-D

Seriously my only purpose in life right now is to finish this game. I've been taking time off college for a year+ now and I think the game should be done in the next 6 months...then I can move on to the next stage whatever that may be.

I could literally do my 'job' in a cardboard box, as long as I had my computers. Fortunately I don't have to live in a cardboard box...I get one step up -

It's so weird to see all my pimp-gear crammed into this tiny ass room...

Yeaaa...go on...snoop around. Note the Jagermeister bottles, relics from ages passed. Ok I just turned 22 but I don't think things will ever be as sweet as they were a few years ago.

The control center...Yea the DVD player is connected to the HDTV as well as the main 5.1 mounted on the walls. Also I've got a seperate 5.1 system on my desk for my computer. I've got 3 computers in this room, counting the laptop on the shelf. Wireless keyboard + mouse for the comptuer that is hooked up to the HDTV, etc. etc. Like I said earlier, I never have to leave this room except for the occasional beer and to hit the gym.

Another angle of the desk. Yup...this is me.

Closer view of the good shit. Note the fan...Computers aren't the only thing that needs to be cooled off. That thing comes in handy for those grueling 20+ hour coding sessions.

But yea, It kinda sucks that I gotta live here for a few months...but at least I can wake up every day and chase my dream 24/7 which brings me more happiness than anything I can think of (ok...ALMOST anything...but I won't be getting any of that for a while).

- Dan




Blur/Glow shader (Part 1)

This will hopefully be the final effect I gotta add into the game. It will add a blur/glow effect into the scene. I'm using a few 256x256 textures to generate the glow/blurred parts of the scene and then upsampling them to the screen resolution. Standard stuff based off the famous "Tron 2.0" glow paper on Gamasutra that everyone has read by now.

Interestingly enough I havn't added the blur parts to the shader yet, the upsampling provides enough filtering to provide a small blur, and it already looks pretty damn good IMO. It sort of provides a fake HDR look by using additive blending. I'm going to use the previous frame's glow texture to simulate a motion blur as well.

I can't stand even looking at old screenshots after seeing this lol. It already looks so much better, and once I get the blurring in there it'll look fantastic.

These screenshots are still a heavy work in progress I gotta adjust the exposure, and add the blur, and do a few other things...but wow I think it already looks so much better than before!

Just scroll down to a previous entry if you want to be amazed at how much this effect adds to a scene.

//I want to drive that car. Grrrrowl. I love this screenshot.

//*Insert illegal immigrant joke here* I really like the reflections on the glass in the background.

//I miiiight have to tone down the exposure value a little bit.

//The effect is more subtle in this shot.

//I tried for so long to get a great shot of this scene, this is the best I could do. It looks so much better in motion.
*Note the increased 'bling' on his chain. Interesting.

I'm about to start working on a virtual showroom for you to buy cars from, and have them delivered to your HQ. This should be interesting. It'll provide a nice break from shader work. *shudders* Just kiddin' I like writing shaders.

- Dan




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

Hey guys,

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

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

Concept Art
Below you will see the first 3 pieces of concept art for Killing Horizon, the first one is of the Deadpool Arena, the second is the Reactor Arena. The third larger image shows a battlefield, and some Legion shields. Any comments or feedback are welcome!
Soldiers rush across the bridge in the Deadpool Arena - Concept Art

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

Legion Shields dot the Battlefield - Concept Art

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...

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

Volumetric Muzzle Flashes
I've been using just a simple quad mapped with a texture of a flash, for every single one of my games. This creates some artifacts when shooting guns from fast moving vehicles, etc. So I figured I'd created a 3D mesh for every muzzle flash in the game 8 weapons, 3 vehicle weapons, and the defensive bunkers and turrets. It looks SO much better than before :-) Honestly there is hardly anything I'd really want to change on the system. Below is a screenshot of how it looks on several of the human weapons in the game.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Dan




Gang War Stuff

Got some more pictures of the game. I've been 'stress testing' the engine lately (ie: spawning 100s of gangsters in a field and letting them blindly kill each other). The AI is coming along nicely, I've got the pathfinding working perfectly as far as I can tell. Also, I added a cool little debug window, and node diagnostic ability to the game...I'll put a screenshot down below of it :-) It's really cool to see them all moving at once in the game. Next up on the chopping block is to make them able to recognize friend/foe and react accordingly, they need to recognize cover (crouching behind cars/objects, and returning fire), also the ability to know when they are outnumbered and should retreat. I should have this behavior in the game in a few days.

I almost had a potential bottleneck in the game, seeing as the character models are approximatly 1100 triangles each in their highest LOD form, and there can be up to 50 members in each gang. That means there's the potential for 100s of high LOD gangsters to be in a very close area. Basicly I had to come up with this dynamic LOD system that detects high concentrations of characters in a small area, and scales the LOD accordingly so the game runs at a pretty constant speed. This is in addition to the standard LOD system I use, that displays progressivly lower quality versions of the model as the character's distance from the camera increases.

In the game worlds right now there's 3200 dynamic, moving, thinking citizens...up to 150 gangsters...2400 moving vehicles...and 19000+ objects like newspaper dispensers,pay phones, etc. All of these entities have a Tokamak physics representation that I basicly put into a sleeping state when they excede a certain distance from the camera, or enter an idle state, or meet some other restrictions. I havn't really run into any problems yet with this system, though there is a barely noticable "hop" of the object as it's reinserted into the simulation from a sleeping state.

One other thing I'm working on now is the conversation system in the game. The player will have the ability to have somewhat freeflowing conversations with other characters (think The Sims level of interaction, where you bascily pick from a list of possible actions/things to perform/say on/to an object/civilian/car/etc.)

This poses some problems for the voices associated with the conversations. I really don't want to have to pay for every possible word/sentence in the game to be recorded by a voice actor. This would make it nearly impossible to add new sounds/conversations to the game, and it'd be rather expensive.

I'm really leaning towards creating some sort of fake language I could play to cover all voice interactions between characters...I guess like they did in The Sims, but they didn't have speech bubbles in The Sims, I'm going to have them transcribing every conversation in the game.

The other thing is I've already had order confirmation voiceovers made for each gang type (Aight boss!, "Yo this punk is dead!", etc.) as well as generic male/female civilian voices, and some cop stuff ("Freeze scumbag!..."Drop the gun!", etc.) It'd be rather inconsistant to have those voices in plain english, and the other ingame conversations facilitated through a fake voice & speech bubbles. I hope I can figure this one out.

*end 3:00 AM ramblings*

- Dan




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

Hey guys,

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

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

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

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




Police station / jail...

In addition to starting a lot of final work on the real time strategy aspects of the game, I started working on the 'legal system' in the game. You have the option of surrendering to police officers, your gangster will go to jail for X amount of time based on the crime, he can wait it out, or you can pay to get them out. The whole time they are in jail they count against your gang member count, and you loose if all your gangsters are in jail. Also paying their way out of prison is expensive.

You can take control of your gangster when he's in jail, though you'll just see him standing in the jail cell :-D

I was debating between a Alcatraz style prison, or a downtown type police station / jail combo. I decided to go with the latter after seeing this image...I believe it's from a batman cartoon or comic. I really like the whole gotham city look associated with the batman series.

I really liked the way the stairs were setup...my police station was a near exact copy of this one, but the colors didn't look right so I had to go a slighty different direction....

Here is how mine looks @ a few different times of day...hmmm I guess I didn't include a night screenshot, I'm sure I'll have one posted soon enough though.


//Up high

//Inside Ms3d

Here is a little screenshot showing the way I'm going to do the jail cell, I'm going to implement smooth fading between scenes as well to make the transition to the jail better.

Obviously the jail cell hasn't been started yet...

Hopefully a update regarding some fianlized aspects of the RTS system tommorow...

- Dan





Recently I've made it so the people inside vehicles are visible. I'm going to make it so you can order up to 4 gangsters into a single vehicle. Vehicles will serve much like a transport does in any other RTS. You'll can also order vehicles to do drive bys.

What you could do...is tell the vehicle to "drive by" an area and then control one of the passangers yourself....and let the computer car drive around, and you can do the shooting yourself if you want. This will really benifit you because you'll have much better judgment than one of your dumb henchmen.

They will check for a police presence before opening fire and things like that...but you'll be much better off doing the major orders yourself just to limit the risk of sending more than one of your gangsters to jail at once. Gangsters that are in jail count against your "population limit"/gangster limit, and this could have a huge impact early on in the game.

Here's a screenshot of what the vehicles look like with the doors/trunks totally animated. You'll be able to transport things in the trunks, things like dead bodies, drug shipments, the piles of money that your gang is making, etc.

The size of your gang is limited by your gang's "Respect" level (cheesy I know, but hey...if you have any better ideas...I'm open ;-) ) Respect is one of the resources that you'll have to manage. Respect/Money/Property/Guns/Cars/Drugs, beeeotch.

Another area that I'm making some interesting progress is the interaction between people. This is very straight forward from the commanders view...but when you take control of one of your gangsters I really want the player to feel like they can do anything. I'm going to have tons of things you can do to civilians (in the 3rd and 1st person modes) for instance....

As you walk closer to a civilian and have your cursor over them, the Actions menu will pop up in the left side of the screen, it will look something like this...

1: Get Attention
2: Talk
3: Shout
4: Rob
5: Extort
6: Intimidate
7: Search
8: Sell drugs to

..And so forth, some of the commands will have submenus that pop out of the side. For instance the Talk menu would branch out another menu that will have all the things you can say to the person.

You'll navigate these menus with the 1-9 keys.

I hope to make a somewhat realistic conversation possible...most of these actions will only apply in some situations...ie: if you try to extort a random civilian on the street they'll laugh and walk away.

But if you use that action on a shop owner inside his business with 2 other gangsters, all brandishing weapons.... the results will be much different...you'll increase your gang's respect points, and your territory will be expanded to include the business you just extorted....but only if it's close enough to your territory. If you try to extort a business too far from your headquarters given your current respect level, the order will fail, and the shop owner will probably call the police, and/or the gang that's currently extorting them.

I've still got some holes in the gameplay I've got to patch together, but I should have most of this in a playable state within a few days.

I've recently got the speech bubbles all figured out, as well as some generic indistingishable voices to match up with the text that's in the speech bubbles. The bubbles are now scaled to match the extents of the text. Overall I think it looks/sounds pretty good.

And here's an image of the territory overlays I just added into the game, this is one way to tell who owns what parts of the city. The smaller pictures show what the gangsters look like inside the vehicles.

- Dan



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