Yeaaa I know this isn't "game related", but it's still cool. So here are some of my pictures of "The patriot weapon of choice"...the AR-15. I just got that wording from this YouTube video [ ">Link to YouTube video showing a ton of hooked up AR-15s ].
That video proves there are people out there who love this rifle as much as I do. Though based on some of the video's comments, they are probably not people I would want to associate with ;-).
I personally believe citizens of the United States should be able to enjoy their 2nd amendment rights, and their passion for firearms/weapons [ to whatever degree ] without being looked at suspiciously. Little punks like the kid who just shot up the mall in Nebraska are going to make things harder for people like me to enjoy our weapons in a safe and legal way, and without getting odd looks.
The little p*ssy killed himself before the cops even showed up, I guess mowing down grandmothers who were doing their Christmas shopping took it all outa him...having people actually shoot back would have been waaay too much. Scumbag.
If you can't tell, I'm a supporter of gun rights :-) I hope that doesn't scare anyone.
Also some might find it ironic that I'm creating a game with a gang-theme, well guess what...after this game I'm going to make a wargame, and there will be explosions, weapons, and death! I have the *sarcasm* rare ability to separate reality from the video game world.
Anyways, with that out of the way...I give you more screenshots [ errr pictures ] of my AR15.
Click For a High-Res version and tell me this gun isn't beautiful! :-D
I LOVE the reflex sight...I'm waiting on a rail that I can mount on the handle so it'll be closer to the eye, I could always just take the handle off, but I really like how the gun looks in it's current state.
Bottom line, a reflex sight is like the coolest thing ever.
Back to the gun...
Yeaaaaa. I wish I had time to go to the range more often...ugh.
I've got some new artwork to post. I've been coding a lot as well...same ol' same ol'...it's a lot of work.
On to the slide show...
First off after much pain and work I've finally got the lightmaps generated for the Bank interior...no other WIPs...you gotta wait until I write the shader for the new interiors. I see a reflective floor on this model.
Yes...the mini gun. I'll post two work in progress shots below it.
Old mini gun WIP2
Old mini gun WIP2
Here are some more weapon models...again there are 40 in the game.
I was playing around with some kind of layered volume fog, could be adjustable etc....I think it would be cool to see the clouds moving below while in the RTS view...it would be unrealistic, but still I think it would be cool looking. The fog texture is very dense in this screen.
Some work in progress vehicles...
One of the landmark buildings in the game...the church.
I designed the beginnings of the new [ 3rd iteration ] of the RTS GUI/Display...I've got some good ideas for the rest of it.
On a totally un-related note, here is a picture of one of my latest 'real-life' weapon purchases, I've got lots of other toys. I
I've been designing this level/building interior over the last 2 days. It ties into the new gameplay system that I've finally decided on. More info later.
Anyways, everything you see here [ all 20,000 triangles ] were hand placed in Milkshape 3D over the last 2 days, about 20 hours of work. I'm also coding, and managing all other aspects of the project. Lots of work has been going on in terms of the vehicle physics as well.
On to the slide show....all this is WIP...
Here is how the building started out...
Building's exterior created by an art studio I contracted...
I then designed a plan for maximum strategerie...said plan was quickly thrown away when I had more ideas.
Some assets created for the scene.
Un-lit textured view...all this is in Milkshape3D.
My head hurts....
Here are some more older lightmap shots...all WIP stuff...
I designed the entire interior using only a single 2048x2048 texture.
I believe this is the most efficient way of doing things, though others may argue against it. IMO this method provides a trivial way to adjust texture resolution/quality, and minimizes Draw() calls. Though 2k^2 textures are hell when it comes to lower speed/bandwidth cards, a simple D3DTexture9->SetLOD() call, or pre-sizing all textures into separate directories fixes the problem. I'm tired of re-sizing them by hand so I've written a routine to package up to 5 levels of detail for all textures automatically. When loading the textures I just append whatever directory name into the texture's load path.
Lots of work is going on...should have some interesting stuff soon.
I'm still going full steam ahead. Though things are taking longer than expected development wise [read delay in BETA]. The physics and AI aspects need more work so I'm spending hours a day working on that, trying to get things to be the best they can.
So far Ageia's PhysX vehicles seem to be many times more stable than with Newton or any of the other physics-libs I've integrated. With a few more days of work it should be looking great...can finally get some drive-bys goin' on, and some action. I'm going to do these great looking car models some justice, physics/simulation wise.
Also, I'm literally surrounded by test computers and large monitors at the moment...it's kind of freaky. I've spend probably well over 10k-15k on new hardware etc...I have many brand new high-end / low-end test machines all on one gigabit network switch and KVMed through two of my monitors...including this monstrous Samsung 30" that makes the lights in my house flicker.
Seriously. I sit in a brand new black leather Lazy-Boy all day staring into a picture frame of a monitor @ 2560x1600...I can now never go back to regular office chairs, and 15" monitors. I got a couple of quad core machines, Dual-core AMD 64s and Core-duo Intels, and some old-school single core Intels. The whole gamut of video cards from ATI/NVIDIA...RAM ranges from 4GB to 1GB. I now have 11 new (as in purchased for my company/project) computers in my fleet...it's pretty cool to see them all arrayed.
They will be helpful in testing multiplayer locally, and for eliminating hardware issues. The way I see it, the more machines I can get my grubby paws on, the better off I am.
I'm also renting high end dedicated machines & hosting in London, Dallas, and Atlanta to handle the game's servers. Though I still have a T1 here in Raleigh to act as the Master Server.
I will take some pictures of this scene soon, it's interesting.
Anyways, here are the screens of the new weapons...I want to have videos of the 'new Ageia PhysX' car physics soon.
In the interest of trying to re-gain my journal's margins [lol] I'm going to post thumbnailed screens like this from now on....
Well these are from my homepage....CLICK THEM!!11
The screens are @ 1920x1080 with 4X FSAA, HDR lighting+bloom, soft-shadows [25 samples per-pixel], and a basic depth-of-field effect. I'm working on getting the motion-blur back into the game and I'll have a much better version of the DOF effect soon. Also these screens are taken @ medium texture quality [ 1024x1024 textures, since using 2048x2048 textures for all vehicles/characters would require GBs of video memory ].
But yea, I'm happy with the 50-60FPS @ 1280x720 w/full settings.
There is lots of other stuff I'm working on, not just flying around taking screens of teh seksy vehicles.
I've started/finished the gang select screen last night.
I recorded a short video of it in action...from the start of the game to the gang select screen. In multiplayer if you're the boss of a color/slot you can change the type of gang, which will spawn this window.
I even have the light on the right side flickering to add a nice little effect to the screen. Download the video and check it out.
Download Urban Empires - Gang Select Video [ DivX 7MB ]
Preview Image -
Also in the video you can hear the beginning of the epic theme song created by Massive Productions. It's about 12 minutes long, and it really sounds awesome.
I've also received all of the game's voiceovers and I'm in the process of integrating them into the game. The final count is 966 different VOs / Files. Only 170MB...I was expecting a 1GB hit at least lol. They were created by Voices In My Head Productions, [Mechwarrior, Thief, Freedom Force, etc.]...they sound so awesome, and will add a ton of character to the game! Though you'll have to wait until the BETA to hear them :-X I couldn't be happier with how they turned out.
I've also completed work on implementing full 3D sound effects using FMOD, so OpenAL is no longer used in the game. I'm about to implement the 3D geometric acoustic effects that FMOD supports.
Oh yea, here is a scaled up version of the gang select screen, hence the blurriness...don't worry it's 100% crisp in-game. Also regarding the crossed out gang, I might make it so there can be only 1 of each gang type in the city, and there will certainly only be 1 police gang per-city. Once somebody selects the gang, I might mark it out and make it un-selectable. That image is from when I was playing around with various overlays, you can see the hilighted overlay is different in the video, and the crossed out gang overlay looks much better also.
The PR Department here at Radioactive-software asked me to add this to the post.....
">CAUTION - THE SURGEON GENERAL OF GAME DEVELOPMENT WARNS THAT SCROLLING DOWN AND VIEWING OF THE FOLLOWING IMAGES IS EQUAL TO 29 ORGASMS.
LAST CHANCE TO GIVE UP
YOU ASKED FOR IT...lol ;-)
Work in progress speedster or "Python"...will be removing the passenger side rollbar. Imagine drive-bys in this car...with the passenger leaning over the top of the windshield with the tommy-gun while the car speeds around town. In multiplayer...one person will drive the other can gun. Also the HDR lighting/reflections in-game will look amazing on this car...
Pickup Truck... For the Biker gang...
Some weapons... Meat Cleaver
1920s Tommy-gun...I messed with the contrast so the details would show up nice, the gun will be black in the game...like the real weapon.
Street cop character model...SWAT is still my favorite :-)
The game is approaching the point where I can take some gameplay videos of it, so stay tuned.
I started work on what has become 'Urban Empires' with a blank directory on November 3, 2003 [thanks to comments in source files heh]. Exactly 4 years ago...I was in college at the time, once I signed the publishing contract in 2005 I started working on the game fulltime.
The game was first called 'Agent 51', and then 'Gang War', and now it's 'Urban Empires'...
I'm going to continue work until the job is done, which should be in the relative immediate future...then it's on to game #2 and iteration #2 of the engine, etc.
Meh...I'm going to give in, and post a few screenshots of what I'm working on :-D
SWAT/Police is now a valid gang type to choose from.
They will play totally different than regular gangs. I'm not going to type everything out...but trust me it will be sweet. But basically it's the same: ie: Police chief is boss...you can control the street cops, but you can't give them orders [this is to prevent griefers, though it might change]. You can order SWAT around city, and have them crack down on gangs...though you'll be getting beat up on by all gangs. The police 'gang' can never loose, their units respawn @ the Police HQ once they die. There is a lot more...but I'll leave it to your imagination. It's a unique gang type...I can't wait to be the SWAT and whooop some ass online, counter-strike style. Pile in the SWAT van bitches, I'll drive. heheh.
*NOTES ABOUT SCREENSHOTS. The following 2 screens are grabbed from cropped 1920x1080 screenshots...I've since added an extra box filter to the depth of field shader, so it's not as pixelated anymore...it looks freakin sweeet @ 1920x1080.
All screens were taken with 25% or 50% of the highest model texture sizes...so things get A LOT higher resolution. Plus there is no anti-aliasing on any of these screens.
Soft shadows are shown in these screenshots...up to 49 samples per-pixel. Obviously this is SM3.0, I use a variable number of samples based on the distance to viewer.
Also scope out the new pimp-mobile...
Ok that's it for now...must resist urge to post 40 screenshots lol....'cause I could :-p
I'm contracting another art studio to design some environment/building artwork for me, so that is going to improve majorly in the coming weeks. Up to this point I've created all of the buildings in the game. Also in these screenshots there are no street-side props/furniture, and the cities are just auto-generated city blocks. I'm working on adding new road types, etc...it's just so much damn work.
I'm done with the graphics engine as far as I'm concerned [for the BETA at least]. There are 2-3 fallbacks for 5-6 different visual aspects of the scene....was fun to code them all up :-/
Back to it...some 'action' screens coming soon...muahahaha.
Just got a preview of the landing page that Fileplanet/IGN/Gamespy will use for my game's BETA, and it looks sweeeeeeet. I want to hire their artist hehe :-D
I guess you have to be a Fileplanet/IGN subscriber to be part of the BETA...not sure if that costs money. I have a few hundred extra keys, and if you've e-mailed me in the past, I still have your e-mail and will contact you. I gave them 30,000 keys for the BETA but I don't know how hard it will be to grab them after it starts.
So anybody who has been following the game for a while and wants to get an easy in to the BETA, drop me a line 'dgreen _ at _ radioactive-software.com' with the word BETA in the title and your name, location(country), comp specs, etc...and I'll add you to the list.
I was supposed to be ready for BETA drop today. About a month ago I saw the trainwreck coming and got a much needed delay [of the trainwreck lol]. It's really an absurd amount of work.
I'll be hosting servers in London & Dallas [with my master server here in Raleigh] I suppose for the BETA...it's not hard to spend $1000s on server hosting. I have a nice chunk of change alloted for server rentals, but it is slightly more expensive than I originally thought.
If anyone knows of a good, or prefered [*cough* cheap] game server hosting company...post and let me know. I'm still shopping :-D
I have some 49-sample-per-pixel soft shadowing going on...looks niiiice still get 50FPS @ 1280x720...I somehow got shadow mapping working on my whole city using only two 1024x1024 textures, it's just cascaded shadow maps massaged to hell...it'll probably need an update later on...but it's a perfect base for some soft shadows. With that number of samples the shadows look so good. I've got a 8800GTS w/2GB RAM in my target high end system...and my goal is 50 FPS with everything enabled...which should be quite do-able.
The game is totally HDR-ified now...I'm still messing with the bloom values, etc...could play with those numbers forever.
Physics and multiplayer are my main focuses now.
Anyways just a quick update, I have a lot of work on my plate. Oh yea, I can't post screens, etc. 'til BETA...sooo that's why there aren't any :-p
Don't be suprised if my next journal entry has a link to the BETA signup...but I'll probably make a few entries before then :-)
Just got the animations for drive-by shootings today, so now some fun stuff can start goin' down :-)
Things are progressing in other areas....I'm about done with the 3-lane road artwork, as well as the elevated train system / artwork.
I've scrapped my old shadow system...going with a soft-shadowing algorithm of some kind, possible screenspace blur as well on the shadows.
There are 100 other things graphically, gameplay wise, etc. I'm working on. It's intense.
I'm not going to post screenshots of the game though...it is really starting to look cool X-), once I get some top notch shadows going on I'll be set. I might have to go with global-soft shadowing for static geometry, and *gasp* per-object shadows, and blend them in screenspace to avoid double shadowing. That should provide nice resolution, etc. Obviously the fallback will be projected blob shadows and soft shadows on geometry, fallback after that is regular shadow mapping + blobs, then you can turn off shadow maps all together.
I also just got the city editor working again, so I can create some 'interesting' cities, not just auto-generated city blocks.
Man I'm burnt out. Ya know, burnt to a crisp. Yet I keep on working towards my vision.
*posts screenshots of gameplay*
Anyways, a graphics technique has recently caught my eye, I saw the IOTD here, and I remember reading about it in the Crytek paper...'Screen Space Ambient Occlusion' [ SSAO ]. It is an interesting screen-space algorithm that in theory generates ambient occlusion data based off the depth [ and maybe the normals ] of the scene, the Crytek paper is frustratingly sparce on information...so I relied on the description in the IOTD and there was another source out there [ just google for SSAO ], which has some good info.
I decided to spend a few hours playing around with it, to see what it could get me. I was disapointed with my results...constant banding issues, bleeding of shadowing off objects, and depth value issues I'm too busy to spend hours working on.
Though I did stumble across the beginnings of a toon-shading algorithm of some kind...actually it's basically just edge detection with some fudged ambient occlusion, but still...I thought it looks interesting and could maybe give me a fresh visual direction to go in.
Just food for thought...one of the 100 things I'm juggling right now...I'm not interested [ or allowed? ] to post day to day progress on the game anymore...so I'm just going to post things like this every so often.
Anyways...down to the screenshots.
First off...here are 2 new weapons for the game [ remember there are 30 total ].
Now down to the SSAO -
Here is a screengrab from the Crytek paper. How SSAO is supposed to look.
My two failed attempts...after an hour or so...
Now the fun stuff...I stumbled accross this...[Ignore the frame-rates...I'm rendering all the other aspects of the scene as well as the SSAO, they're just not visible.] Plus my new monitor @ 2560x1600 kinda slows windowed apps down with 20 other things running in the background on my measly 8800GTS. Final composite...on a car.
Anyways, if you've been on any major game news sites they have mirrored my publisher's press release, etc.
This is my favorite article though...
Some of the comments by readers are gay lol, one dude said the game looks like Battlefield 1942 lol ( wtf? ).
lol...They called me revolution studios, and linked to my information page which clearly says radioactive-software.com and they added hair model at the end of my description lol.
This is funny.
Search google for "urban empires" game and you'll see all the news posts, I read a lot of them it's funny to see how they all screw up in some way. Guess that just comes with it.
slash hair model. gotta add that to my sig *runs hand through hair* yea baby. hahah
Anyways, major progress visually & gameplay wise is underway, 24/7...it will look like a different game in a week so I'm not worried. I do think it is too early to release screens, it had to start sometime. I don't think I can post stuff on the dev. journal any more, unless I run it by my publishers PR...BETA should be in the next month-ish so watch out for it. I'll still try to update the journal with various progress...we'll see.
[EDIT] Also just realized I have over 200,000 journal views. *turns on eurotrance music* it's time for a sex party!!11ffffffff
I've got a new update with a lot of new screenshots of the game. Right now the game is very much in a transition stage, with deadlines fast approaching I'm trying to get as much in there as I can before major testing begins.
Visually I'm happy with the new direction the game is taking, it's about 75% where I want it to be...I'm working on a lot of new city artwork and most of the other artwork is about 30% complete so there is still a lot of content that will be showing up.
Soon I will begin my 3rd pass on the physics, netcode, gameplay, etc...then the game should be ready for some testing :-) I've basically re-written the graphics engine over the last 2-3 weeks. As well as updated every major system in the game.
Here is the link to the official press release by my publisher - Strategy First Press Release - October 2, 2008.
This was copied straight from my homepage... http://www.radioactive-software.com
I'll have a better dev journal update in a few days. Neeeeed Sleeeeeep.
Yes, multisample anti-aliasing. Fun stuff...you probably noticed the jaggies in the screenshots in the last entry...this is the solution. The catch is that I'm using a 64-it floating point render target for the HDR/Bloom/etc., and most cards out there [ all except Geforce 8 series? ] don't support any kind of anti-aliasing on floating point render targets...I'm not real sure, but the fallback is that the user has to deal with jaggies...oh well.
Until recently, when I began doing a lot of graphics development I never appreciated anti-aliasing....but it really does help the image quality immensely...it's not so visible in motion or at higher resolutions, but in still screenshots it is a necessity.
Here is a comparison showing the game w/ and w/out 4X MSAA enabled.
A collection of 4 short videos (.wmv format), click the image to download the video...
Well I finally got the first 10 of 30 weapons in-game...arg. I spent many hours double checking / rewriting the tangent generation code as I thought that's where the problem was. Then it turned out I was just passing in the wrong handle to my effect file...*shakes fist at fate*. Important thing is that I have weapons in-game now, plus level of detail functionality...so I can render 1000s of these essentially for free [if they were somewhat evenly spaced throughout the game world, not all within 25 feet of eachother].
The HDR allows me to do all kinds of lighting effects I couldn't before, like sharp highlights on the weapons...*contemplates adding bloom effect to weapon's metal*...naaah. Anyways I'll be tweaking the weapon shader to make it look even better.
And another screenshot of the vehicles...I fixed the shadow aliasing/resolution issues...*cough single 4096^2 shadow map texture for entire scene*, still on any modern card filling 4096x4096 texture w/a single instruction pixel shader should be nothing, especially since the city geometry is sitting in nice static vertex buffers. Well at least I still get 70+FPS @ 1280x1024, so it's not the limiting factor in the scene at least, there are 400 vehicles and 100 weapons in the world.
Just made more renders of the 4 new un-rigged player models I received yesterday...might as well show them. I think the Yakuza model is really awesome, I can't wait to see the other 2 Yakuza gangsters.
I should have an update w/some early in-city shots later tonight.
I'm still basically re-writing every aspect of the game engine, obviously borrowing from my old framework where I can. Should have the city and some new city artwork up and running in the next few days.
I got soooo bogged down in integrating the 2007 DXSDK version, from my old 2002 version, literally everything broke...I've been working on this crap for weeks. I've also simultaneously based my "new version" of the engine around a full 64-bit HDR pipeline [ sorry people with old video cards lol, there ain't gonna be any fallbacks ]...also a new character animation system.
I'm re-writing the input/control system to support all the new animations [ turn-in-place animations, strafe, walk back, etc.] I'm also going to use XInput to add full support for SexBox360 controllers in the processes [ pressure sensitivity, rumble/vibration, etc], though unfortunatly I will not add generic joystick support...I'm going to re-do the whole "control/input area" of the game in the next few minutes.
There is a hard-beta-date coming up...and yea. That's all I'm going to say.
You can't rush this kinda shit, and I'm not gonna. I'm going to make sure the game is everything I want it to be. If I'm gonna have this thing out 1st Qtr 2008 I will have to work 24/7 for the next few months...I've been restin' up [relativly] by working ~10 hour days, I'm gonna have to take it back up to 18 to really make this happen...but god damn it's stressful.
AND...also I just realized that my bitangent/tangent had to be mirrored in my skin shader...soooo if my old character renderings look a bit off...that's why.
Anyways...the point of my post...some beautiful character artwork from one of my art studios, as well lots of other misc. art stuff...enjoy :-)
Don't worry, the art is only about 30% completed :-) Lots more to come.
*NOTE these were taken in FX Composer, which has a screwy viewport that distorts a lot of stuff.
Yakuza Gangster A
Cuban Gangster C [ OK this guy looks so familiar.... ]
Cuban Gangster B
Angry Japanese School Girl Gangster A
Showing the detail in the M4. 10 of the 30 weapons are completed right now.
High-res version of the elevated train I'm having designed for the city...based off a Chicago 2200 model... Train
Irish Gangster C Concept Art
SWAT Team Guy Concept Art
The state of the game...right now I have my HDR + Character scene in the background. The game has close to a 1.5 GIG footprint already, probably 1.1 GIG of that is in textures. If I load all textures [30 weapons, 20 cars, 35 characters] @ their highest resolutions I'm @ ~5 GIG, sooooo yea.
I'm setting the min/rec system requirements the same as Bioshock or any Unreal 3 Engine game.
Notice the face looks much better since I noticed the tangent/bitangent had to be mirrored.
Ok So I've been messing with facial animation issues for a few days, so we decided to just bag facial animation...there were many complex issues aligning the facial bones. Since there is a common skeleton for all actors, the difference in facial bones was causing all kinds of artifacts. We would have to custom make every animation for each character, etc. and end up with 2000 .x files....ugh.
Lots of other issues but I finally got everything somewhat together...the skin shader looks totally different with the HDR/Tonemapping so I had to spend some time working with that.
I was going to implement PSSM shadow maps, but now that I think about it I can get better results with a totally custom setup, or just slightly modified cascaded shadow maps, so that's what I'm going to do.
I'm working on a new movement system, WASD strafes, or moves forwards/backwards, mouse rotates...but I'm having "foot shuffle" animations created so the character doesn't just rotate in-place, I'll play one of eight animations based on the difference in rotations...it'll look really good. The animaitons should be done tommorow so I can play with it.
I'm going to start phasing in the gameworld stuff as well.
I've been spending some time working on "ONE WAY" 3 lane roads for the game, getting the traffic AI to work on arbitrary 2 way 4-lane roads was a bitch, this way there is more sidewalk space anyways.
I'm also making an elevated train which should help break up the flatness/2Dness that is inherent with using a tile based system.
Or you could just skip that all and look at the screenshots...
These guns are still being worked on, there are one or two minor issues I want to be fixed/added to them.
Work in progress on the new roads / environment...
I might as well dump the artwork screenshots out...I can't just keep them for myself :-D
I received one other model, though I sent it back for slight modifications, I'll post it soon, it's a re-make of an older latino gangster model.
Irish gangster A - My shader
From the artist
Cuban gangster A - My shader
From the artist
Biker gangster A - My shader
From the artist
Concept Art - Irish Gangster B-
Citizen Female A -
Citizen Female B -
Citizen Female C -
Citizen Male C -
Weapons.... .38 Special
I had a crazy idea about some new kind of shadow algorithm...or rather a better way of packing shadow maps...using an atlas and rendering the shadow weighting values into one of the atlas corners, and using the other 3 as normal shadow maps of increasingly larger size, the last one being the entire game world, they would not be updated every frame, and I think if the texture atlas was large enough, say 4096x4096 it might work out quite well...still you'd have to render the scene 3 times....arg I'm tired of typing...lets just say I've been thinking a lot about it lately, and I wish I had time to explore this idea I had, but I'm probably just going to do an improvement of some kind of frustum aligned CSM, with 2 textures...it can look good w/ a 2k^2 and a 1k^2 if you place them correctly, and also I can avoid 2 scene draws by sorting the geometry by shadow map.