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Ahhh. Much progress has been made since the last update. I'm working on creating some new cities for the game, using the City Editor.

This new city I'm working on has a totally new feel to it. It would be quite easy to crank out cities, but I'm also going through and creating a lot of new art content to give each city it's own feel. I think if I can include 3-4 nice diverse cities in the game at release [with more to come + full featured map editor] things should be good.

I've also made 100s of little tweaks/bug fixes there were so many little things that nagged me, specifically dealing with shadow map biasing/artifacts. I had to code a lot of special cases to make some things go away.

Also I made a optimization pass on the game, with MAJOR results, with a 40-50% speed gain. I mentioned this earlier, basically I can get away with cheap ray casts [as few as 4 AABB+ray tests per visibility test] and so I added this basic line of sight code in to cull out actors/vehicles/entities that are obscured by a building.

I've also removed the 30 FPS cap. and the game routinely goes above 60+ frames-per-second at lower detail. I'm excited I get a constant 25-30 FPS at 1280x1024 with 2 2048x2048 shadow maps, reflections, reflective water, 4X FSAA, all the bells/whistles. This is on a 2.8GHZ P4 + 1GIG RAM + ATI X700. Expect videos of the game soon :-)

I was close to implementing some kind of occlusion culling for the city, in addition to the frustum tests I have in there now, but it's really not worth it. I already make heavy use of LOD algorithms, so it's actually faster just to throw the triangles at the video card instead of doing any kind of occlusion testing. Especially given the way I organize my vertex buffers [only update them every few frames, unless necessary due to a significant change in camera orientation].

I'm making a lot of progress in other areas, but I'm tired of typing...so it's screenshot time...btw. my journal is not < 1024x768 friendly :-)

//I really enjoy playing the game now, I can't wait to get it to some testers :-D
//This is a scene from the new map.

//Same scene at dawn

// ""

//Mini map dump of the city. As you can see I still have to fill out more areas. This is a 'Medium' sized city, it's 30% larger than the cities previously shown in my journal.

//Above the scene


//Maybe I should have flown around the city a bit more ;-)

//Each of your gangsters now displays his status inside a box above their head, it gets bigger once you mouse-over. I'm still toying with this, though it's quite helpful.

//Debugging the water reflections. I'm rewriting the shader, the waves weren't looking as good as I wanted. In this screenshot waves are disabled ;-)
//A 512x512 reflection texture provides good results, IMO.

//Screenshot from Milkshape3D as I slave over this bridge :-) It came in at 1500 triangles.

- Dan
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Hey man. Lookng great as always. Keep up the damn fine job and stay motivated!

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Awesome progress. This is definitely an indie game that I'm looking forward to buying off the shelf. [smile]

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Looking as awesome as always
One questions though ...does your map editor allow you to create slopes and hills? The cities look amazing but just a little flat and I was wondering if this was a design decision you made.

Love your work,

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Guest Anonymous Poster


You mentioned having four maps at release, does this mean the game will have updates? If so, will they be free updates, or come in an expansion pack kind of thing.

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AP - I'll try to release as many free updates as possible, but if I'm going to spend a lot of time creating new city buildings/artwork I'll probably go the route of an expansion pack.

ViLiO - I appreciate it man...yeaaaa the cities are a little flat. I've been kicking around some ideas about how to make it work, but I've really made some assumptions about the cities since the game's conception, it would be hard to change that now [but not impossible]. The main reason is that I'd be difficult for me to blend the buildings with the terrain. I've assessed the situation many times and it looks like the cities will be mostly flat in this game, though I'll try to create a few hilly tiles to mix it up.

Thanks for the comments guys!

- Dan

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You amaze me with every new journal update. I don't know how you manage to be so productive and still create such a high quality product. Congratulations! I really hope you'll get recognized for this, maybe earning you some job you've always wanted?

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Gaheris - Thanks a lot man. Well....this is the job I've always wanted :-D Hopefully I'll be able to make enough money to survive while I develop my next game. If not, I suppose I'll look for a in-industry job.

My ideal situation would be to just invest 2X the money in each game, and keep climbing the ladder until my company would be a leader in creating games....it'll take years and years but I'm up for the challange.

- Dan

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If you're doing something of this quality by yourself, which I know you are ;), you won't have ANY troubles making it.

Fantastic work, as always!

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