Here ya go, this finishes off the concept work for the Biker gang and Cuban gang...I'll just post them all so you can get the whole picture.
Cuban gang - [ might need skin lightened a bit, can handle that @ the model stage ]
Biker gang -
Spas-12 gauge shotgun [ ultra high res screen coming soon]
AK-47 shooting animation
Screenshots of a test app I'm playing with to nail down the character animation / AI / events / etc.
The shader used in these scenes is the most basic possible, it's just NdotL * color texture. This is NOT the skin shader I usually render the characters with, this doesn't even have normal mapping...this is the lowest quality shader you can imagine.
Quick 7 second video of a pistol shooting animation...
You can see the gun's slide moving and everything. It's going to be awesome once it's all in-game.
[ http://www.radioactive-software.com/urbanempires/August28/UE_Pistol_Fire_Animation.mpg CLICK THE IMAGE ]
Beretta 92f gun model
Biker B - Concept art
Here are some images of the gangster Level of Details...
It's not all smiles over here...I'm dealing with all this new artwork and having some issues merging animations across each model, since I want to have a shared skeleton between all character models.
Also my skin mesh rendering code blew up since moving from the 2002 version of the DirectX SDK to the August '07 version of it, so I'm porting over the SDK sample that loads + renders + animates my character models. Just finished that, now to adapt the skin shader effect, etc.
Yay, more new artwork. These are using my own shaders, I'll post the preview images I received from my art studio down below. These are the newer versions of the models. Some things have been modified from the older screens.
Comparison between old artwork and new artwork. The remarkable thing is my artstudios ability to emulate the old model, and just make a 'next-gen' version of it, which is exactly what I asked them to do. Sort of an homage to Asorson's artwork, all his player models are being next-gen-ified.
This guy just looks fucking badass.
Another Italian gangster...
Yet another Italian gangster...is it just me or does he look exactly like john mark karr in one of those screenshots. The perspective distortion makes it look like he has a big head heheh.
AK-47....from my weapons artist. It'll be great aiming through the iron sights in-game with a depth of field effect.
Baseball bat...probably the most complex weapon on my list, amazing polywork lol.
Here are the older character renders straight from the art studio...I de-goldified the chain, and lightened the latino gangster's skin, also hand edited some of the normal maps.
I took the box-art I posted in my last entry [the one from my art studio] and made some modifications.
Here is what I started with -
And here is my version -
I could probably fix the border between the red gangsters and the red area...I dunno just something to throw out there. I'm dying for some good box-art. My publisher denied Salsa's box-art, I can see where they are coming from now...I gotta have "a city and gangsters" in the box-art. Salsa's had neither, but it had a city theme, just wasn't gangsterific I suppose.
Mine is like a yearbook photo or someshit lol, gangster convention.
I neeeeed some killer box-art, one so good...when I see it I'll know it's the one.
Gotta keep trying to get it right.
Well there are 1000000 other aspects of the game I can work on. Having fun with the skeletal animation shaders now...generating tangents for them, blah blah blah, stuff I've done before, but now have to re-do because of my upgrade from a 2002 version of the DXSDK [ok shoot me] to the August 2007 version. Some things have changed to say the least :rolls eyes:
I've just upgraded from a 2002 version of the DirectX SDK, after fixing 1000s of compile errors and having my animation, sprite, effect, and just about every other system break down...I've sort of pieced things together.
I'm now building against the August 2007 SDK version...which means I can write PS 3.0 shaders finally....so expect some better stuff soon.
I threw the first car Sedan/Taxi/Police into the game with a somewhat basic shader and no shadowing or bloom [they are still kinda fuxeodred] but the car models look great, and I can certainly see the potential once all the other piece are there :-)
Here's about 10 screenshots, enjoy. It will start to look much better in the coming days. Also about 30 more car models will be made.
Also the damaged models shown do not include the crumple/ damage normal map that will be applied as well.
[EDIT] A quick in-game shot with an actor + vehicle...this shows the ratio of texture quality, I think everything matches up, also the detail texturing on the ground. It's all pretty clear. Next step is to finish character animation, and keep everything @ this level of quality for as long as possible.
Characters are rigged for full facial animation. There are 36 more of them, spread across 9 gang types + cops / SWAT / civilians. They should all be done in the coming months.
I'm also getting MANY animations done, and many variations of each animation [ie: 5 running animations, etc].
Anyways, this shader is 60 instructions, Pixel shader 2.0 tops out @ 64 sooo for animation, shadows, etc. I need to bump my game up to support Pixel Shader 3.0 [basically ditch my ancient version of the SDK for the newest].
This shader is a modified version of Joel styles' excellent skin shader.
The game will require Pixel Shader 2.0 [any game you buy today requires the same thing by Q1 2008 it should be no problem].
I'm also working on adding Xbox360 controller support, I think it'd be great to have a pressure sensitive mechanism for controlling the vehicles, etc.
More info & pics later, should be in-game / animated in-game in the next day or two. That means video time ;-)
P.S. sorry about the one sentence-on-a-line style, my margins are so fux0red 2k^2 images, un-thumbnailed. Meh.
[EDIT] Here is an image of one the first Italian gangster, I'm probably going to have to supply custom shader values per-model.
There doesn't seem to be one set of shader parms which works for all models/skin types.
Here is the latest image of car #2, the modern roadster.
The car is still not finished...the interior is temporary, there will be side exhausts, and roll hoops behind the seats.
I love the detail on the wheel rims also the detail on the rear tail lights.
I see this car in-game with a 2-tone paint shader...I can't wait to get delivery of this one. I'll post more works in progress as they come in.
Sorry about the slightly blurry .jpg, that's how my artist sent it to me, it's kind of a tease I suppose heh.
I'm also working on all kinds of things engine wise...hope to have some in-game screens soon. I have the character models setup for full facial animation HL2 style...also the first run and idle animations for the Russian. After a little bit of pain I have everything exported into a .x file my game can load, and things are looking real good. Expect some in-game screens soon.
I've been playing with FX Composer 2 as well...it seems that it'll load up these new .x files just fine, which is great. It's a huge improvement over FX Composer 1 in so many ways, I could go on for paragraphs about the many ways it is superior, but I'm sure there's an article about that somewhere lol.
Also here's my latest photoshopped avatar...yea my face just got back from vacation in the bahamas. This is what happens when I fracture my toe and can't hit the club....I photoshop myself in exotic locations.
*sigh* I'm such a nerd.
I'm gonna stick with the whole seasonal avatar thing, ya know...put a Santa hat on in December, maybe an easter basket in the mouth.
So I got the first delivery of the character models from the studio I'll be using for all 30+ of the new character models.
They are quite interesting...much more "character" and exaggerated than I was thinking...but that can easily be adjusted.
The Russian is my favorite.
The Italian needs some facial work [make him prettier hah] then he'll be great.
The Black gangster has a few problems. He looks super evil...he looks like an evil boss, not a street thug. The underwear / belt needs to be lowered. Also the nose/brow should be made smaller & more natural.
The technical quality is out of this world, all the detail in the 2048x2048 color/specular/normal maps really shows when you're looking at them in photoshop...and will show in-game.
I'm having 30+ more of these created! I can't wait to see them...and play with them in-game. There are now 8 gang types in the game.
See for yourself...comments are appreciated!
Also a small screenshot of my car shader in-game...also showing the detail of the vehicles.
I'm evaluating two studios to create my 30+ next gen player models. In the last entry you could see the first model delivery from one studio [well he's actually just an artist]...and now I have the first artwork from the other studio. Expect their first next-gen model early next week.
I'm having them do all the concept work / animation / rigging for the new characters also.
I told them to create concepts for the 3rd Latino and 3rd Italian gangster. There are 3 models per gang, and 8 gangs in the game. Also 6 civilians, and a Cop + SWAT team model on the way. And you guys get to see concepts of them all :-)
I'm excited...anyways...on to the concept art.
Here is the concept for the 3rd and final Latino Gangster...
And here is the concept for the 3rd and final Italian Gangster...
And just for a reference...here is a piece of concept art created for the original set of player models 2+ years ago. They emulated this concept art style which makes their work even more impressive!
Like I said earlier, I'm evaluating 2 different art studios to create the 30+ next-gen characters for the game. I've received the first character from the first artist yesterday. 3000 Triangles & 2048x2048 color/normal/spec maps.
I just finished writing a pretty basic shader to handle the color/normal/specular maps as well as diffuse/ambient/specular lighting. It took me like 5 minutes to write the shader and it'll probably be good enough [though there is no skinning, I can just modify my old shader for that].
Right now I'm stuck using an archaic version of the DXSDK which limits me to Shader model 2.0 (not 2.0_a, 2.0_b, but the oooold one). This is because any other .x files fail to load in-game w/ new versions of the SDK. I'd have to re-create/export all the old prop assets [streetside objects, guns] to fix this. I'm getting everything else re-done, so I might as well re-do that stuff @ uber quality, right?
Anyways, if I do that I'll get access to Shader Model 3.0, and I can do all sorts of fancy subsurface scattering on the skin blah blah, and god knows what other effects.
I really think it might not be necessary though, judging from this little composite screenshot...This Shader Model 2.0 quality, but the assets are of such high resolution it makes up for it, and I think it looks quite next gen :-)
Anyways, it's just a screenshot of the model from FX Composer overlayed into a screenshot of the game. Obviously becuase of this, the lighting doens't match up...but it shows the potential.
I have at least 2 more models coming from this artist, and 3 models [based off the same reference material] coming from another studio.
It looks kinda distorted because of the FX composer viewport.
And here is a screen of my workspace, also showing the model in FX Composer, where I grabbed the screen.
I guess the next step is to get it in-game, too bad it's not rigged / animatable...so it'll look odd.
[EDIT] I couldn't resist. If the Gamespot.com kiddies are gonna compare my game to Crysis I might as well do it for them.
Now it's just a simple matter of bringing every other aspect of the game up to par lol. It looks kinda distorted because of the FX composer viewport.
I'm evaluating artists/studios to create 30+ next-gen character models for the game [7 gang types, cops, civilians, etc.]...I just got a model from one of the artists, it took him about 2-3 days to crank this out, I think it's astonishing.
This artist also created all the tree / foliage models that I'm using in my game...
I'm probably going to get two sets of character models created and go with the best set...that might sound wasteful but it's well within my budget and I think it'd be the best way to ensure I have top notch art assets in the game. I can have my cake and eat it too...in a sense.
On to the screenshots...
The old gangster used as a reference...
[EDIT] Here are the 2048x2048 color and normal maps for this character so you can see the detail...
I get delivery of the first next-gen car on Monday of next week...so I can't wait for that. It's actually 3 cars...a police car / taxi / sedan.
As I noted in my previous entry, I'm having all of the art assets re-done at "next-gen" quality...I have some teaser images showing the geometry quality differences between the old cars, and the new cars.
I have 16 unique cars in the game currently, when the "upgrading" is done, I'll have 24 unique car models.
This prototype car will serve as the base for the Police Car / Taxi / Sedan in-game [that only counts as 1 car type].
In addition to re-doing all of the vehicles, I'm also working on getting 7 gangs created @ high quality. Check out my last entry for the whole list ;-)
But yea, I made two mistakes with this game...I had the art assets created @ the beginning of the project [2.5 years ago], and I picked a ambitious design. I'm not going to sacrifice the visual quality or my vision for the game...so work goes on :-)
Anyways here are some images...my "car guy" rocks, excellent use of geometry, I would have put the polycount somewhere around 8.5k-9k triangles, he got it down around 7000 which is impressive for the quality. I can't wait to see the other 20+ vehicles :-D
These are not renderings, they are in-editor shots. I'll post some pics of it textured in the coming days, as well as some in-game shots. I have to write a sexy new shader for these new cars :-)
Here you go -
Some wireframes to show the polywork...very nice.
Oh yea, I'm also re-writing the network architecture, and switching from Newton -> Ageia PhysX.
I'm still working on a lot of stuff...trying to get all the art assets re-done @ "next-gen" Also more gangs, I must have more variety in the game here is the list I'm looking at now -
I'm having about 23 cars made from scratch [I only had 16 models before, so I'm getting some new types], that are going to be amazing...I'm using the same guy as before, but this time about 7X the polycount, and 8 texturemaps per-vehicle, combined in a shader. Things like a damage map, a color map, decal map, etc. I'll write a nice new car shader with reflection/fresnel/blingbling to make 'em look sweet. Also since the color map is now independent from the decal map, I can have unlimited vehicle colors.
Also I'm increasing each game server's capacity from 6 people to 18 people. I've unfortunatly had to ditch Newton as my physics engine. I'm integrating Ageia PhysX right now, I have a PhysX card in one of my test computers so I'll be able to test that whole shebang....too abd whenever I try to create my city geometry as a "hardware" terrain mesh, it doesn't work :-/ Which has essentially forced me into "software only" mode....but still it looks to be a lot more stable than Newton [but Newton is made mostly by one guy, so it's still amazing, and is a great library]. Though I'd be a fool not to take advantage of a $50,000 physics library, made free, that everybody elses uses.
What else...basically just trying to get all that done whilst keeping in my BETA timeline.
Also I've been having fun trying to find some investors for my company / project [though it looks like I might not need them at the moment]....if anybody out there is looking to get in on the ground floor of Radioactive-Software send me an e-mail, we'll talk [grin].
Fun stuff...I'll try to post updates more frequently.
Over the last 2 weeks I've been working on the "Global Lobby". What I posted 2 entries ago, in the video was a total skeleton...the whole thing has been fleshed out much more since. It's been a lot of work, requiring a few more computers to be added into the mix [luckily I've got 5 static IPs and a T1 connection in an office to test it [grin]]. So now I have the master server/account server running on a seperate machine. I have my website / database computer and I have one box just running game servers.
What has really changed in the last month or so, is the level of integrated community features, also many new persistant aspects have been added into the game.
There is full stat tracking, and database integration into the game. While the game servers have always maintained a 24/7 connection with the master server, I've made it so the clients now do the smae. They report their status, much like a mini-instant-messaging system.
I want to integrate the 'clan' aspects that usually develop outside a game...so that's what the "Gangs" are for. There can be up to 9 people per gang. Also I'm going to up the maximum # of people allowed in a server from 6 to 18, that should be done next week.
I'm really searching for a perfect way to allow players to "challange" eachother in-game. It'd have to go through the "boss" of the gang, the person who created it. You can send a "join gang request" to a gang if you want to join them.
Your personal account gains "global respect points" much faster if you're a member of a gang. Though it requires a 50,000 respect points to create a gang, so you'll have to slug it out in unranked matches until you either join or create a gang of your own.
All this stuff is still very much in the works, I'm just sort of blurbing it out. Seraching for a perfect way to tie it all together.
Another aspect that I want to allow a lot of user interaction is the "City Browser", users will be able to upload their created cities [limit 3 per user @ at a time, stored in the global database]. The maps can be downloaded/previewed in the City Browser. Also maps can be ranked on a 5 star system. I'm thinking of the many ways for people to screw this system up, ie: upload 4 empty cities just for the f*** of it...there are many other gotchas in designing these types of systems so I'm quite hesitant when implementing them.
Anyways, in keeping with tradition I will now splatter un-thumnailed 1280x1024 screenshots with blatent disregard for bandwidth or margins. 8-} j/k
At startup, the user is presented with the message of the day....They can choose which windows they want open, etc.
Money if you can guess which window was the most complex to design :-/ Seriously...take a second and stop reading and glance at the screenshot below and see which one you think would take the longest time to design, go on...look down.....ok....ready for the answer? Yea it was the Open File dialog box. That thing was a pain, but I'm happy with how it came out...an almost exact duplicate of the Win32 OpenFile Dialog Box :-] Probably took me 18-20 hours of work to get it perfect...I'll post a video soon...:-D It's cool to change the file wildcard, and see it updated in real-time...windows should adopt that feature.
Smaller 800x600 @ Medium shader quality...note ~500 FPS mmmmkay.
Of course the most important window of all...the SERVER FINDER!
Overall I'm about 55% completed with all the work I slated for the game on May 10th 2007. So I'm about 5% behind schedule...that means things must get slashed...we will see...I have some more stuff planned that might not make it into the game :-/
Also check out the Urban Empires homepage/website - This has consumed much of my time
I've had to cut some stuff from it, but eh'...I'm pretty happy with it at the moment. I'll probably change it around in the near future though :-]
Ok that's it. I'm going to be at the DGXPO Game Expo in Raleigh this weekend...showing Urban Empires :-D, and just hanging out...drop by the Radioactive-Software booth if you're in the Raleigh NC area, or are going to be at the expo.
I'm contemplating allowing gang [in the user created clan sense] -specific skins to be uploaded to a central server to be used in multiplayer matches.
It's really quite easy to create skins since no detail needs to be in the actual texture, just color...so you can just use flood fill and pretty much anyone can make a skin.
Example skin created by Arular -
It's very easy to add new skins to the game, I'm contemplating making it an actual feature...
Anyways, This has forced me to post some in-engine shots...you can see the work in progress on the terrain / dynamic grass system.
Arular made a pretty good skin...here is how it looks in-game...
What if you had to choose a gang specific skin @ the beginning of each round...ie: you first choose Black, Italian, Latino...then you choose a skin for your gang. This will allow user-created gangs to have original skins since they'll have to choose a gang type which will never change, and they could then create a custom skin for that gang, instead of having to create 2-3 skins for each body type.
I just got the skeleton of the 'Global Lobby' put together, and the new "Server Finder" window which is waaayy better than the last, and is easily extendable [sorting, etc.].
The video goes from Main Menu -> Global Lobby -> Server Finder. You'd just have to click "Join Server" to enter the selected server [either the lobby, or as a spectator if the game is in progress].
Also since the last video, I've added a slight camera movement, and a slightly animated light to spice things up a bit.
Here is the video download link - Menu Work-In-Progress Video (16MB MPG)
Click the preview image to download -
If you watch the video you'll see the transition from the Main Menu -> the "Global Lobby" I'm thinking I should probably create a new scene for the global lobby. Something along these lines -
Obviously the scene would be fully 3D, either in a city scene, or a dark "Tron like" scene...for now though I'll probably just use the same alley scene I'm using for everything unless I get "inspired" :-)
I should have more progress on the Global Lobby tommorow and in the coming days...I also have to re-do the client-side game-server lobby to account for the new 18 man servers. So much to do, so little time :-)
Also I'll be showing my game @ the upcoming DGXPO game expo here in Raleigh from June 22-23, so if you're in the area stop by my booth and take the game for a spin :-)
I'm starting to get back into development on the game engine / game client. I've been spending a lot of time on the database / account aspects. I'm still working on those parts but I'm going to start integrating all the account stuff into the client.
I have plans for a 'global lobby' where you'll be able to search for available servers, see who/how many players are online, message other players to setup matches, and handle all the user created gang stuff.
Anyways that's a different story. I'm also working on the game's website which is 90% done.
As a little warmup exercise I decided to use the rendering path used for basements / illegal businesses and create an alley scene which will be in the background @ all times when you're not actually playing a game. I was thinking I'll have civilians / cops / traffic cars driving by randomly. It should look pretty cool.
I've recorded a video and uploaded it here - VIDEO DOWNLOAD 18MB .MPG
Preview Image - Click to download video -
Here is an image of the final setup...It'll probably be tweaked some, we'll see.
Here are the steps of creating the alley scene over the last day or two...
Logo test...it's interesting I converted the logo created by Salsa into a 2-tone bitmap, then used a program called Font Creator to create a .ttf font containing the logo, this way I could use Milkshape3D's "Create geometry from font' plug-in to import the logo...it worked out pretty well.
Then I started experimenting with different lighting setups...I was certain I was going to go with something w/ red in it...though it turned out that it didn't look that good [as you'll soon see].
Inside 'Light Map Maker' a free program I use to generate the lightmaps.
As you can see the red-light didn't look at that good [this is just ModelTexture*Lightmap, nothing else].
Yea, hand painting the lightmaps for the trees was fun...
Again you can see the red isn't working out as I'd hoped...
I'm much happier with this look...
And here are some 'spare' parts of the scene...
That's all for now hope you found that to be interesting [grin]. Any comments are welcome as usual. Download/Check out the video above!
*In Dr. Evil Voice* Ladies and gentlemen welcome to my secret underground lair.
Yea this is basically so I can test the new 18 man servers locally [instead of the old 6 clients per-server setup]...I had to get another rig for my "work area". I also have a office w/3 comps in it and a T1 line which handles all of the servers. This stuff is just for testing the clients.
I guess I'm going to throw together a "ghost" client mode where no textures/sounds are loaded, and cars/people/objects are represented by bounding boxes. I can run 6 ghost clients on each computer, I should be able to test 18 man server functionality right here.
2 of those computers are loaded w/2 GIG of RAM and DualCore @ 2.4GHZ and they each have a Nvidia Geforce 8800 in them. The other computer is alright it's got a 7600GS 512MB + 512MB of RAM...but yea I just dropped $2k to get another beastly machine so I should be able to test all functionality from here now :-)
Plus I now have Vista, and games like Test Drive Unlimited / Battlefield 2142 look amazing @ the native resolution of this new 22" monitor[1680x1050]...the desktop / "Areo" looks freakin' awesome though. I love the blurring around the edges of the window...
Game-wise...I'm still waist deep in designing the database/website/account backend...should be done in next few days...I'm having to learn PHP / MYSQL whilst implementing this stuff...I have a few thousand lines of code in already and it doesn't look like there will be any showstoppers. I've already tested it w/12,000 accounts, and I have a Win32 managment app that I run to handle everything behind the scenes.
Not that you guys would notice ;-) Since the BETA hasn't started...but I spent a few minutes changing around the game's main menu....
Before everything was handled by the in-game GUI, and the camera circled an area of the city where a battle was going on. It was a bad idea because people w/low end computers don't get the same effect as I do with everything enabled.
ENTER - FULLY 2D menu system.
By removing the background elements of the game, I havn't changed anything, but I did boost my FPS to 2000+ and it'll allow me to make things 'cleaner' for when the user first sees the game. First impressions are a "big deal" apparently.
Anyways here is my little mock-up...click for larger image...
So yea the clouds in the background will be animated/scrolling. The layered scrolling clouds will either make or break the screen & effect. I'll probably add a "thunderstorm" effect in the background too. I'm sure it'll look cool in an hour or so.
I'll have a slideshow of the game's best screens going in the bottom right...and of course some badass mouse-over effects for the main buttons.
Also you can see an example of the in-game GUI, the options menu...in that screenshot.
Since I'm going to be adding a lot more gang managment / online / community features to the game I'm going to re-do the in-game lobby to allow for 18 players per-server...and also a "community" lobby. This will be increadibly cool if I can pull it off.
Yea...now I just need some perfect music to set the spooky yet epic mood...
Well I'll get a small video of this together sometime soon. I'm still focusing my efforts on the web/database side development with an in-game "side project" here and there. BTW I'm working on a dynamic grass system and it's looking really nice...
I was also a little off with my time estimage of "TOTAL WORK HOURS" left until the game's done...it's actually 693.5...yeaaaa, so re-adjust your calanders.
If you havn't seen the thread I created in the Lounge regarding the game's box-art...click the image below and let me know what you think!
Also I've just re-evaluated the entire project and have associated a time-to-complete value with all of the 100s of things that still need to be implemented. It's 3 pages long size 10 font...all I'm going to say is-
Work time projections until "feature complete"
Total work hours - 670.5 Total work days - 83 Total work months - 2.7
Mark your calenders for the BETA ;-)
I also have a "poll" going on over @ my forums Over Here