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Journal of Danny Green

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Two new weapons, and my physics test course.

Hey guys, I just got images of the final 2 weapons in the game...bringing the total to 51.

Also I'm working on the car physics so I plopped a little race track in the middle of the city, I found one online for like 100 bucks...it should be good to fine-tune and test all the vehicle handling.


Shorty M4 with a 100 round drum magazine...

The little physics/car handling test track...I have it in-game and everything, I'll post some pics soon...and videos.

I wonder if anybody remembers the videos I posted of the cop car doing burnouts back when I was using Newton physics? I'm going to try and get Ageia's raycast cars to perform as good...




New Weapons Art & ...I can haz Porsche?

Hey guys...some new guns from my fantastic weapons artist - This makes 49 / 51 completed.

I'm working towards a point where I can start showing some more in-game stuff again...the game is in pieces now though.

I'm juggling 10 different programming tasks, but as far as the amount of time until BETA I've got all the remaining items on a single piece of notebook paper...and 25% has already been completed.

M249 - This is probably the coolest looking gun in the game, he really did a great job detailing it.



* I'm having some work done on this one, I think the handle looks too 'clean', I'd like to see some dirt / dings/etc on it, maybe make it look more faded, and it will be solid.

Now for some personal stuff...recently my car engine starting knocking. It's a '02 Celica w/ 72k miles on it...I got it new, and put about $5,000 into it, on a RMM body kit, TRD racing exhaust, stereo work, etc. etc. Anyways it knocks bad over 3000 RPM and the dealership said it's basically not worth replacing the engine for $5000... bah.

So I had to pick a new ride :-D

I was checking out the BMW Z3, Benz SLK, and the Porsche Boxster...I wanted a nice little convertible, manual transmission roadster to tear around in. Specifically a luxury german roadster.

Ended up going w/the Porsche...it's really a great car. I put about 300 miles on it in 2 days lol...now I have to get back to business heheh.

It's hard tho because I could ride around in it all day...but mostly I park it in the garage and just stare at it, and wipe it with a diaper.

Here are a couple of pictures of it...got those 18" racing wheels on it, black, low mileage, they only put 5k miles a year on it...the car is showroom quality. The engine is orgasmic above 4000 RPMs, since the car is a mid-engine rrear drive, the engine is right behind you and you can really hear it well, it's like a symphony.

It's a great car, I highly recommend picking one up, if you have the means lol.

- Danny

* Actually the car is for game research, to uh...learn how...uh...2 seat converibles handle... yea. *mumbles something about physics then jumps in car and drives away*




8/9/8 - Weapons display video [ 45 weapons of 50 ]

So yea, this was my saturday afternoon project. There are so many parts that can be tweaked.

This sort of interface is going to be used a few places throughout the game...

Here is the video link.....

[ best to watch fullscreen because of the compression artifacts etc. ]

">Link to YouTube video

Link to .avi download [ higher quality ]

Preview image -


Bleh it's really hard to see things @ youtube quality...any ideas on interesting things to add into the background, or background settings would be appreciated.

Backgrounds like the one in the video will be used for the weapons market, etc. Or maybe just for a weapons viewer so players can check out the 50+ weapons in the game.

I guess they look kinda different than the last screenshots where they were bright as hell :-o HDR fixes all of that lol.

- Danny




Quick Update - 4 new guns...

Hey guys, quick little update...I've got 4 more guns from my weapons artist...

Remember the game is played from the 3rd person view when you're controlling one of your gangsters, so I think the guns are detailed enough.

I'm holding my USP Compact right now, and my Five-Seven and they look exactly like these. :-o

The safety is modeled in the "on" position on the Five-Seven...do you think people will notice that? ;-)

These are weapons #42 -> #45 of the 50 weapons that I'm including in the game :-D Maybe I'll have more lol ::evil::

*Note I messed with the brightness/contrast of the images to show the guns details.

USP Compact...




- Danny




The Bridge [ WIP ].

I want to use this bridge as the centerpiece of one of the cities in the game. As you might know the game comes with an integrated city editor, and there are multiple cities that will ship with the game, etc.

It's sort of like a Battlefield/Counter-strike, server/map topology if I had to sum it up. Dedicated servers, multiple maps, integrated in-game user map sharing, etc.

I will have a juicy update and show some of the other things that I've been working on once the bridge is delivered to me and I can get it integrated.

So yea, here is the bridge my env. artist [ David Miranda ] is working on :-o

Yea...my artist is being a cocktease lol...it looks finished, SEND IT TO ME *drools*

Rest assured. It will be teh sex.

- Danny

*waves hand in the background oh oh oh* I created the road texture :-}




Yay, 400,000 journal views...

Yes. 400,000 plus journal views. This calls for an animated .gif


Wait for it...

Waaaait for it...


I'm uh, glad I could waste so much of your time over the last few years with my ramblings. Game update comin' in a few days...BE READY.

- 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




Finished Sex Shop + More Screenshots

So the latest building is in-game...it's a sex shop. Yea I said sex shop, big whoop, wanna fight about it? xD

David did the model and I did some texture work and created the logos, now playing, etc...

This building looks plain during the day, but at night it will be animated and should look amazing. I'm in the midst of rewriting the night shaders, etc. to work well with the HDR lighting. Also to add multiple light support to the normal mapped/animated characters...

I've also had some sucess with my texture caching system its now controlled totally by a console variable, and I'm getting some pretty good results...it's a constant balancing process between resolution, capping the texture per frame load rate, asuming a base HD speed, making it all fit in 32-bit application address space, bleeegh...

Here are a few screens of the sex shop [ more later in thread ]...

[In Editor]

[In Game]

Some assorted screenshots of some artwork I made including the underpass...also a church that I contracted from a studio in the U.K.

This is NOT how the buildings will look at night rofl :-O I'm working on that whole aspect, it needs a lot of tweaking in regards to the HDR etc.

That's it for now.

- Danny




Down here at the pwn shop xD - Video, etc.

Where to start ;-) [ edit: all in-game images are shown @ 50% texture quality because 32-bit operating systems suck :-p ]

I've got a lot of new artwork etc. for the game. David, one of my buddies is helping me with some environment art. I've also got my usual artist on some new cop and civilian models.

I'm coding away on things like a more robust texture LOD/caching system...it needs constant refinement. The game now has 5GB of texture data that can theoretically be visible at all times. fun ;-)

Also spending time on the multiplayer and gameplay/objective aspects of everything...

But yea...Here is a video of the pawn shop...click on my profile thing for more videos...


Some more detailed images of the pawn shop...great texture work, and baked in Ambient Occlusion imo. There are like 7 more buildings slated...I can't wait to see how they turn out :-O

In-game WYSIWYG editor...

Here are some screenshots of the cop...I'm having another variant of the cop created as well. There is also SWAT etc. that you can control if you select the police gang.

This guy guards the bank... xD

I created a new GUI showing the weapon/ammo/health/etc...the heart beat is animated.

Assorted screenshots...

Okey that's it for now...I'm still working as hard as I can towards something that is publicly testable!

- Danny




Environment Art Update #3 / Bowling Alley

Finished Bowling Alley & step-by-step construction screenshots.

These are all in-editor shots, with basic lighting & texturing, no shaders...

Here is the step by step construction...

Also as a bonus here is a random screenshot of a vehicle in-game near the docks on one of the cities...

Next is either a butcher shop [ with back alley ]

Or a Coffee Shop...

Then probably a Pawn shop [ with back alleys, etc. ]

The bowling alley is 3 of 10 new art pieces I'll be creating, scroll back for the others already done in the last 2 days.

It took about ~15 hours of work for this one. 7 textures, 4 1024x1024 pages, and 3 512x512 tileable textures.

The high-LOD version of the building is 3,600 triangles.

- Danny




Bridge/Underpass Artwork

Ok Here is today's Environment WIP / Art Update

Today I've modeled/textured a small bridge/underpass tile for the cities. I'm going to start on some more buildings in a few minutes after a break. Check out the gun range in the last post for an idea of the quality, etc.

All elements of the city are modular / tile based, as you'll see later...I designed to fill an area of 4 city blocks [ 2x2 city blocks, 7x7 tiles...a city block is a 3x3 tile area, with NO roads. That's why it ended up being 7x7 for the intersection/roads ]

Here is how it looks [ in the Editor, with most basic lighting/no shadows/etc...it will look waaay better in-game, in the middle of a city xD ]

Basic shading

Textured & basic shading

Wireframe & Tile Modularity [ I can fill in the city blocks in the in-game city editor, so it won't always be the same buildings ]

I guess I'll do this for the rest of them, take screenshots at each milestone so you can see how I constructed it.

Construction #1

Construction #2

Construction #3

Construction #4

Construction #5

More updates soon, maybe late tonight, or 2morow.

Also thanks a lot to Hypnotron for the epic list of potential building types, last post xD If anyone has ideas of cool buildings, etc. they'd like to see, post 'em! I'll be doing about 1-2 new buildings/tiles a day for the next week or so.

- Danny




New Environment / Building WIP

I've been working on this one for a few hours...it's the first of many new buildings I'm creating for the game...

I'm really tired and don't care to get into the specifics of all the stuff I've been up to...but I'll try to post more frequent updates...I've been slacking off with the progress updates.

This building is a gun store / shooting range, cleverly called "Dan's Shooting Range"...

This building is about 70% done, should be done tommorow and the next building should be nearly completed as well...I'm thinking a car wash...and I've also got to create some new alley ways and write an interior shader for these types of interiors, which has a very specific set of requirements.

Like I said before I'm working on like 10-15 different things right now...more updates soon xD

- Danny



It's about 90% done now...




Multiplayer - 64 people per server / etc.

I'm working on all kinds of fun stuff right now :-D Here is a quick update/some info on a few random topics -

Multiplayer, 64 players per server
I've decided to make the game support 1-64 players per multiplayer server when I re-code the multiplayer in the coming weeks. There can be 3 - 7 gangs per city/server. There can only be 21 members in a gang. So in a server there will always be AT LEAST 63 potential player slots...the other dude can spectate until someone drops lol.

I'll have 3-4 + crysis-server spec'd servers running around the world at all times, as well as some other servers & a master server to make it all work [ yes I'm paying for it all, it's free for you].

I can make cities 8X bigger than I've shown so far, it's a simple slider bar in the city editor.

It's all planned out, etc...I just figured I'd let you guys know, and give you a little preview of the in-game ranking system. Ranks are assigned first come first server in the multiplayer lobby. In-game the ranks will shift around as players do more to help the gang they will rise in standing, and the ranks will shift around and generally settle.

Each player's avatar will appear in their place on the ladder to powah'...or there will be an generic AI avatar in the place of the ? mark avatar.

Rank will play a big role in precedence, ie: the boss can control any player at any time, etc. and the hierarchy also applies to giving orders, etc.

Yes, 5 minutes in photoshop ftw. There will be 2 of these, one for the gangs and one for the cops/swat team.

System Overview
I've had to create many different applications to make all this work out. Here is a little collapsed screenshot of the Urban Empires project...

-The 'UE Account Manager' is used to edit / delete / modify the multiplayer accounts/stats (from any computer). This application is not distributed with the game.

-The 'UE Auto Updater' is used to update UrbanEmpires.exe and to pull down new art assets, etc. from my master servers. When you click the UE icon this app is run, it allows me to update the game hourly if needed, it sort of 'wraps' around UrbanEmpires.exe(the game client). This application is distributed with the game.

-The 'UE Game Client' is the main game .exe, in other words, it's teh sauce. This application is distributed with the game.

-The 'UE Game Server' is the dedicated game server application used to host a game (even locally). This application is distributed with the game.

-The 'UE Key Gen' is the key generator for the game. This application is not distributed with the game, sorry lol.

-The 'UE Master Server' is used as an intermediary server which sends clients lists of active game servers, and also handles stat tracking, etc. All game servers attempt to register themselves automatically with the master server. Master&Game servers stay in constant contact with eachother. This application is not distributed with the game.

-The 'UE Package Reader' is an application I created to create / edit the game's custom .pkg package file format. It is used to protect the game's assets and also to keep the game directories clean (instead of having 6000 files on the HD, I'll have about 50 that are distributed with the game). This application is not distributed with the game.

Graphical User Interface
Here is a screeshot of the game's main menu [ I'm still working on it :-D ] you can see the GUI system I've created for the game as well as the internet radio. I don't think I've posted screenshots of this stuff for a long time.

GUI is totally skinnable, 6 - 7 skins will ship with the game. I wrote the whole GUI system from scratch. It's 1000s of lines of code, and after years of work is pretty refined / solid interaction wise. I use the same GUI system for the in-game management windows, all the way to the City Editor.

So here you go -

Back to work I go!

- Danny




Physics Test Course & More Civilians

Yea so here is today's progress on the crowds & physics... etc.

I've created a new physics test map...this also allows me to re-integrate the city selection functionality into the game. I've also gotta get mini-map generation working again under the "new" framework that was started August of last year....I can re-use a lot of it thank goodness, like 70-80%.

This is the part I hate about game-development....making sweet jumps in various vehicles while 1000s of civilians chase you around lol...

And yes, I've made all 3 jumps on the test course so far...I need to make more complicated ones :lol: ...I'll jump the whole city...lol, or a lake or something.



Btw. The city editor is shipping with the game so you can make any kind of city/etc, you want to, and upload/share it via the global lobby. I'm making it as easy as possible for players to share their cities with other people.




7000+ Civilians / "Semi-Instancing"

Yea if you've been following the game you've probably been wondering where the hell the civilians are at. I've recently got them back into the game...but with a twist. I coded a light weight character class for the civilians, and based their rendering around a sort of "semi-instancing", it's not true hardware instancing...but is the most efficient method of throwing many characters @ the hardware [while being able to change some aspects of the rendering, per-character, like shader-LOD]. Each instance being rendered using a SM 3.0 shader w/normal mapping, shadowing, specular lighting, etc...up close, and a very simple fallback SM2.0 shader for distant rendering.

There are 3 2048x2048 maps associated with each character type [ color map, normal map, specular map]. For the civilians I made a slight modification and packed a mask into the alpha channel of the normal map that modulates the color of the character's texture by a shader constant representing the desired color.

For instance here is how the final texture color is calculated in the pixel-shader for a civilian character...where NormalSampler contains the character's normal map w/ the mask packed into the alpha channel. i.Tex0 are the vert's UV coords, and DiffSampler contains the character's diffuse/color texture. g_InstanceColor is a global shader constant containing the desired color.

float ColorMod = tex2D(NormalSampler,i.Tex0).a;
float4 Tex = (((1-ColorMod)*tex2D(DiffuseSampler,i.Tex0))+(ColorMod*g_InstanceColor));

So let's try it out with 7500 characters in the world...heavily CPU limited by DrawPrimitive calls in most situations. Very simple AI, they just chase the camera. The whole system falls apart when they all congregate like this, but it looks cool 8)

By having more "actual" models to "instance" I can increase the variety. I have 4 more character types to implement, I can seed their animation controllers with a much different time to remove the lock-step appearence of the characters.

Since the game is completely multiplayer based your next question is probably: how the hell are you going to sync all these civilians across the 18 potential clients per-game server. Over the last few years I've been playing with several techniques to optimize the network traffic in the game...but there is still no way something like this would fly in the real world.

What I've done is made the crowd density a server-side parm with a much lower default value than the client's. Also if you're playing on a LAN it might be possible to sync the characters no problem, so I'll make it completely adjustable.

//1000s of SWAT characters all @ full detail...

//Older tests with SWAT model....

//Here is some more fckin around with an Irish Gangster




Video - AK47/ Unlimited ammo...weeee

Ayee...I've been tweaking a lot of stuff, removing the glow from everything that is visible in the old screenshots....I'm much happier with the HDR lighting etc. now.

This video just shows a character moving around while constanly firing an AK-47. I got brass ejection into the game and HDR muzzle flashes, I also added the firing animations and recoil while encoding this video, it really makes things look a lto better.

This video basically shows the HDR tweaks I did...and a little bit of how the gunplay will look [ I was not aiming, I was using the orbit cam the whole time, sorry if you get dizzy lol].

Expect more videos showing massive battles etc..."soon" :-D

I'm still working heavily on the AI/Squad tactics/cover etc. that the NPCs need to use to dominate.

I'll put up a video soon of me fighting off a stream of enemy gangsters to show what the combat will look like if you're fighting a NPC (either in multiplayer or offline practice).

Download video here - [ my comp can only record @ 11-14 FPS @ 1280x768...still have not hooked up my monster computer yet]
Click to Download 11MB .wmv Video

Preview Images [let me know if the muzzle flash looks white, or yellow on your monitor IN THE SCREENSHOTS...it really makes all the difference in the quality imo] ...




Dynamic Debris/Trash

Yes I've added dynamic debris/trash to the city...as part of my 5 classes of objects in the game.

- 1) Items which can be picked up and used by the player (guns, drugs, etc.).
- 2) Dynamic debris...which is newspapers, bags, paper, cups, small debris that is spawned around the player and has a wind impulse applied to it to simulate a dirty city. These are not synced in multiplayer, and are just a visual thing and don't effect vehicles, characters or other objects.
- 3) Streetside objects...things like fire hydrants, newspaper dispensers, trashcans...
- 4) Plastic cones ( yes they are their own type of object )
- 5) Alley props...things like cartons, crates, dumpsters, garbage bags, etc.
- 6) Bullet brass/shells (fades away after 20 seconds)

Actually 6 now, I added a new class of object for the bullet brass/shells that eject from the gun.

Exciting I KNOW.


The debris/trash density is a client side variable, and can be tweaked via console...if you like it dirty ;-)

The only classes that will NOT have interactive physics of any kind is the dynamic debris.

The only classes that will NOT be synced over the network are the dynamic debris, and the bullet brass/shells. Everything else is synced by the server and will look the same on all clients.

Some more videos soon, I guess thats what you guys want (besides the BETA lol)...again, screenshots taken @ 50% environment texture resolution and 25% object/vehicle texture resolution (downsized from 1920x1080 source image)....

- Danny

Hmmm tell me if you think the sky is too bright...the images look different on every monitor. Some say it was too dull, so I tried to make it brighter. Compare with the screens in the last post to see before/after of the sky/HDR lighting.

[edit] More screenshots...w/4X the trash density as in the above screens

Prop/object testing




March 24, 2008 - Urban Empires Update + Screens

I'm working on a lot of stuff right now including :

- iteration #2 of the dynamic debris system
- iteration #3 of the dynamic civilian system
- Various RTS aspects
- Vehicle movement tweaking
- Mini-map stuff
- Blah blah blah blah

I've spent most of the last week working on memory issues, I slammed against the "2GB" 32-bit OS limitation. 32-bits = 4 billion values, XP/Vista allocate half of the memory (2GBs) to the application, and the other 2GB to the kernel, so I only get access to 2GB when it comes down to it. Closer to 1.6GB in practice ( using Get ProcessMemoryInfo fuctionm using the WorkingSetSize member, seems to be the only relevant piece of info in that struct). I've coded a visual memory usage graph that can run 24/7 so I can watch the memory grow. I've also added timestamps and RAM usage to ALL debug/logging statements to give me a better feel for what's going on with the game when looking over the logs.

The resulting lame memory limitation, coupled with the increase of the # of in-game vehicles to over 40, and the number of weapons/characters nearing 40...considering I have 5GB of texture data alone...I'm in some trouble.

The problem with my scenes is that everything can be visible at once...never a good thing.

Using this 1.5GB limitation I've settled on a nice 690MB idle @ the main menu, and in major gameplay usage goes up to the 1.5GB mark with 100s of characters in the scene (each with their own animation controllers, etc.).

I've been tackling so many issues lately because of this...it makes my head hurt :-p

Ususally the game will be cruising at aroung 1.06GB of memory usage...this is with the city textures @ 50% quality (no normal mapping), and the vehicles/characters/weapons/props at 25% quality (considering 100% is 2048x2048 color/normal/spec maps on everything).

I have some systems to substitute-in the higher quality textures for controlled/important objects in the scene, etc....

Anyways here are ~30 resized screenies of the game...I'm running extensive tests to see how many civilian characters I'll be able to get away with in a scene...more info to come.

It's very close to being testable, this is the 3rd time around, creating many of these systems so I'm tired of doing it....but now I have a game engine I'm really happy with.

As usual if you want in the BETA, e-mail me ( dgreen aaatttt radioactive-software.com ) BETA in the e-mail title & with:
- Name
- Location
- Comp specs
- Experience testing games
- Any other stuff you wanna tell me

I'm also working on art production for my next title., right now it's assembling reference images, getting the specs to the artist, proto-typing assets, etc...

Okey...I've put in my 18 hours for today...time to faceplant on my bed.

- Danny


Ohhh yeaaa, I think I found a solution to the 32-bit memory limitation ;-)

-dualboot XP 32-bit & Vista Ultimate 64-bit
-Triple SLI, 3 8800GTX, 2+GB dedicated video memory total
-8GB titanium RAM @ 800mhz
-2 HDDs, a terrabyte samgung for XP, and a 200GB Raptor @ 10,000RPM for Vista
-Nvidia 780i motherboard
-Blu-ray burner/reader, DVD burner/reader, CD burner/reader
-Coolermaster tower 1k power supply [ this case is FIN' HUGE]
-Insane thermal cooling unit for CPU
-Placeholder Q8800-soemthing-quad-core processor...was only like 300$...will replace soon.
-Some other crazy shit I'm forgetting...

The gear -

50" 1080p plasma, PS3, etc...

Where all the magic happens...

Final deal...I've gotta KVM a buncha stuff and I'm really busy so I have not even powered it on! rofl. *runs away*




City Props / Object physics

I finally got around to implementing all the streetside/city props into the game. I decided to take my time and write a generic object system.

There are 5 types of "objects" as far as the game is concerned...all of which are handled by this new system, so I can get rid of the old ones. It's also quite generalized so I can re-use it for my next X games.

- Items which can be picked up and used by the player (guns, drugs, etc.).
- Dynamic debris...which is newspapers, bags, paper, cups, small debris that is spawned around the player and has a wind impulse applied to it to simulate a dirty city. These are not synced in multiplayer, and are just a visual thing and don't effect vehicles, characters or other objects.
- Streetside objects...things like fire hydrants, newspaper dispensers, trashcans...
- Plastic cones ( yes they are their own type of object )
- Alley props...things like cartons, crates, dumpsters, garbage bags, etc.

Each type of object has it's own logic associated with it, but all objects (can) have physics associated with them....which brings me to the point of this post...creating random piles of 1000s of objects!

Yea...this is the 3rd time I've been around this stuff with the same game, and I'm much happier with the results for the 3rd and final pass.

Here is a little 3MB .wmv video showing how it looks in action...

Click here to download PropPhysics2.wmv (3MB)

[Edit: Ok now that I look at the video again, it's way too short...I'll have a longer one soon, I gotta focus back on the AI for now so it might be a few days.]

I unfortunately had to delete all my old videos showing the prop stress testing...so I figured I'd put a new one up :-D

There are only about 3,000 objects in these screens/videos, I've tested the limit up to about 10,000, but 3k should be enough for any environment, assuming 500 of them will be dynamic, I don't think there will be more than 2k streetside objects in a single city.

Also, all this stuff works over multiplayer, the objects are synchronized over the network between clients.


Dropping boxes on cars ;-)

Yes, It's a lot of fun XD

Random screenshot of a the speedster...

Plain white texture on the objects, showing the HDR lighting/bloom.

I added a way to visually debug the PhysX scene...

Also I've got a new female civilian character model in...

I'll have more updates soon...next update will probably focus on the AI work I've been doing.

- Danny




Some Urban Empires Environment pics & Next game....

Hey guys, I can't leave ya hangin' with no screens for too long [grin]. Here is a collection of screenshots showing the environment and vehicles. It doesn't show gangsters/civilians/planes/boats/bridges/water/streetside objects/props. It does show the environment and the vehicles. Hey I gotta leave something for the BETA? Don't wanna spoil it :-D

E-mail me - dgreen (Ahhhttt) radioactive-software.com if you wanna be in the BETA.
- Name
- Location
- Comp specs
- Experience testing games
- Any other shit you wanna tell me

Re-sized 1900x1080 HD screenshot, looks amazing on a 50" plasma....flying around the city is really fun X-D

Yea, the BETA is fast approaching....this is my schedule (in code form)....

while(1/*FinishingGame > EverythingElse && CurrentTime {
20 hours of work
drink beers
sleep for 8 hours
CurrentTime plus plus

Also I've released some very early tentative information about my next projects...

*Copied from my Forums*



To Serve Man is an episodic online first-person horror/survival/sci-fi game that takes place in a totally procedurally/randomly generated game world. Yes I know all the kinds of games that are out there, but there is nothing like this...

Sorry I don't have time to explain further, and I won't get into specifics until I have a working alpha for the first one, and that will be many months from now. But rest assured these games will rock...I have so many ideas. I'm quite excited about the whole series. It will be split into 3 stand-alone episodes/games -

I. To Serve Man - The Night of the Kronos
II. To Serve Man - Clash of Worlds
III. To Serve Man - On the Brink

Each episode is a theoretical outcome of the previous episode, at any time the alien invasion can be stopped. Each of the episodes 2 and 3 represent a "what if the humans lost the last one". The games will be independent and will use the same engine, but take place in entirely different environments. I can't wait to do this. They should be released in 6 month increments. We'll see how things pan out.

But yea, this is what I'll be working on after Urban Empires :-p Now I've got enough work to keep me busy until 2010 ahaha.

I'm very busy working on Urban Empires, but have started the art production phase. Here is the first character model that was created. The Kronos, a hunter/killer alien.

This is an in-engine screenshot using the Urban Empires character shader. I will modify it once I get some time, make him more slimy, reflective, etc....this is a few minutes of work throwing the model into the game engine. The major issue I had to resolve was the animation/model structure so that art production can continue while I finish Urban Empires, which is art-complete.

Keep an eye on this project! I've got a vision.

- Danny




Countdown 'til BETA...

Ok I'll let you know when the BETA is coming, the only catch is you have to decode it, I'm evil [evil]...have fun you clever bastards...I give it 1 hour lol.

Free signed & shipped copy of the game to whoever can figure it out first...[grin]


Muahahaha aha hahahah ahhh...ah. Aw :*(

Oh, btw. I'm intentionally not posting images/info/etc on the blog or my forum/site anymore until the game enters open BETA testing :-/ Sorry to anyone who is following the project!

I will write a very detailed post-mortem on the game with all the hairy details, and info on some interesting algorithms I've developed recently for the project.

- Danny




Urban Empires - January 13, 2008 Update

I've got some more work in progress images of the terrain/environment....should be about done with it. Also coded up an effect for when the camera/player is under water. Players can now swim.

There is so much stuff I'm working on...so stay tuned.

Environment WIP -

New drug / suitcase models that will allow some non-territory based gameplay to take place...like selling drugs, and robbing banks. You actually have to keep track of all the drugs/money. It's going to be dope ;-)

Only drugs in-game will be Heroin, Cocaine, Pot, and Ecstacy.

Some new guns...

That's it for now, more progress soon!

- Danny




Terrain/Environment update #1

I'm going to be making a lot of progress on the terrain/environment in the next few days, so I'll try to post pixtures showing :

- (Done)Volumetric/per-pixel fog will allow volumetirc layer of clouds above city, also simple distance based fog.
- Get grass back into the game
- Add many props, newspaper, garbage, etc. to enhance city
- 3 lane roads, el-train, etc.
- Add refraction to the water shader, and depth fog to make it look great :-D
- New building shader for the bank/federal reserve building, which you can rob...I have to write a special lightmap shader to handle interior rendering, etc.


- Danny




Happy New Year! Some new artwork / Update.

Ah I had a pretty good New Year/Christmas/Holiday and I hope everyone else did too!

I've been stepping away from the project for about a week so I've got fresh eyes now. Unfortunately I'm kind of sick at the moment...combined with the New Years partying uggghhhh. Still work must go on.

My focus is on the environment and I should have some fresh screens with some quite different looking cities than before [ in a good way ;-D ]. I'm hoping I can pull off everything, the cities/world should look way better if I can.

I've got a lot of new animations for the game, probably 60+ animations now, might end up somewhere around 75 different player animations all said and done.

You'll be able to take hostages and use them as bullet shields, I've got swimming animations, some jumping animations, reload, unique fire animations for guns like the P90, minigun, MP5, AUG, etc.

I've also got the Taser and the Striker/Protekta/Streetsweeper/Badass Assault Shotgun...

These make weapons 42 out of 50 total, I believe.

Yes, I will have ">"Don't Tase me Bro" sound effects in the game, as well as a verlet-particle taser-string with a tasering animation...throw in a shader/layered scrolling texture to give the look of electricity all over the body. It will be teh win.

I've also got 3 new player models, in-game shots soon. Like I said, I'll be focusing on the new environment artwork [refraction/depth fog on water shader instead of just reflection, 3 lane roads, many new buildings, elevated train, hills, etc. ].

Ugh, back to work...or trying to at least.

- Danny




ZOMG 250.000 views! & Texture Cache/LOD system

Noiiice, I guess that's some kind of landmark in journal-land?

I wonder who will be the first to get 1,000,000 views :-O

'Tis the season to pimp some sweet new artwork...

Too bad I don't have any great new in-game screens or artwork to show in this post [ just scrooolllll down the last few entries ].


This image of the game's Vulcan Minigun will have to do. Click on the picture to watch the classic Predator scene staring Jesse "Future Gov." Ventura along-side Arnold "Future Governator" Schwartzzeneggeraaaaa;hdddfffff...go on. Click it.

Mini-gun's Model Specs -
1024x1024 Color-map
1024x1024 Normal-map
1024x1024 Specular-map
~8,000 triangles

On a similar note, my characters have > 40MB of texture data each. To load all game textures @ their highest resolution would require ~4GB of RAM.

I devised a Texture LOD / caching system to handle the situation.

Basically, before, I was maintaining 3 directories High/Low/Medium, hand re-sizing the source 2048x2048 character, vehicle, environment, weapons, etc...that was a major pain.

I have come up with a ~250 line solution using windows find structures and the fantastic DevIL library. I esentially have my source 2.5GB directory "LOD1", and use FindFirstFile()/FindNextFile(), DevIL and some ShellExecute() commands. I kick off the process by running the game's .exe with a -Generate_Texture_LOD cmdline parm. It's all done as a pre-process to running/releasing a build, I generate 4 other directories which hold 0.5, 0.25, 0.125, 0.0625 scaled versions of the source texture. It takes about 3-4 minutes to re-size all the textures [ they are mixed, tga, bmp, jpg...some with alpha channel ].

This results in a memory usage of ~2.5GB down to about ~10MB.

@ the start of the game, I un-cache all texutures [ load the LOD5 version, which is trivial and takes 0.01 seconds or similar negligible ]. On-demand in the game I load all needed textures @ the user's selected texture resolution. So only needed textures are loaded into RAM. I also un-cache textures that are unused after X seconds. I could extend it further by using D3DXTEXTURE9::SetLOD() calls [ which would only give me control over the video RAM, it would still be loaded into regular RAM ] and determining the screen size & texel ratio and manage the loaded texture LODs that way.

I also have a hard ceiling on the number of texture loads per frame, so there are now no real "locking load times" that screw up multiplayer on slow machines as the game/netcode loops are never getting hit in that situation.

Anyways it was a pretty basic setup and I'm quite happy with the results, obviously the memory usage has gone down nicely. On average ~200MB in the lower texture resolutions [ 512x512, etc.], which is cool and keeps me
But yea, still cranking on other parts of the game, stay tuned for an update soon with some good stuff.

Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas!

::drunk christmas weekend emoticon::

- Danny



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