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November 16th Build

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So the major things I have been working on in the last week or two...the new interface...like I said in the last build I wasn't happy with the way things worked. Particularly how hard it was to allocate items to your gangsters.

That's no longer a problem, the new more compact interface solved most of the problems, IMO. I'm about to jump back into the game and have a test session later today w/the publisher, so I'll get some other opinions about how it plays.

New weapons market/inventory...

Everything from drugs - cars - weapons - items will be allocated through this inventory screen, you just drag + drop into the game world.

There is also text under the mouse cursor that tells you what will happen if you left or right click on an object, if there is an action. For instance if you're dragging a weapon from the inventory over into the game world...and you're hovering the mouse over a member of your gang, the text will read "Give item to gangster". It makes the game easier to play, since you know what will happen at each mouse click.

I still have to finish these command windows.
- Business Manager / Territory Overview
- Drug Market
- Diplomacy

I already did the weapon/vehicle windows.

I've also been working on finishing the conversion from ASM -> HLSL. Just finished that up, converting some effects like reflections and the night shaders.

One other aspect I've been working on is a new territory representation. I decided to go with a convex-hull algorithm using 16 slightly scaled points per piece of territory, I generate a 2D hull encompasing all points which gives a somewhat round look to the territory.

Here is how the territory looks at the start...with just one building.

And once I've intimidated a few buildings...

I'm going to make it look a lot better soon (not just a line list)...there are a lot of different ways to go about rendering a glowing territory system. I'm thinking axial-billboards between points, and a beam of light "sweeping" along the territory every few seconds...sort of like a radar sweep. It'll look cool, I can also make that beam of light functional...it determines when money is collected for instance.

Other than that I'm fixing a lot of stupid things, making tweaks to a lot of aspects of the game.

Screenshot time [grin]...

Here is a random screenshot of night in the city...

I did a little 25 minute warm-up session online today, checking the stability of the game.

Motion blur!

Shooting down the street.

This screenshot is screwed up in a few places, but I still think the skyline looks cool. Taken around 5:30AM in the game.

Traffic jam. The vehicle AI is stupid...It's starting to get annoying having to spend so much time tweaking the AI.

Practicing infantry tactics with my homies. Eh...the bloom effect needs to be tweaked.

Yeaaaa...back to work.

- Dan
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There are traffic jams in real life, I don't see why you'd think that they shouldn't happen in a simulation :)

You should try cheating, like not spawning any more cars to go to the affected areas (maybe the gangsters/citizens found something better to do). And there must be enough alternate routes in the map, or the AI won't stand a chance.

Anyways, just my (probably grossly uninformed) 2 cents.

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Like I said in a earlier entry... I might have stumbled upon a traffic simulation game, in terms of designing the cities ;-)

These traffic jams are caused (mostly) by the traffic AI not following the rules in a situation such as turning left on a 4 lane road. What if the traffic at the destination is jammed, then he should wait until it clears up before turning left. I have to handle these situations.

A few others as well...they just keep popping up. Coding it for 2 lane roads is trivial, it's the intersections of the 2 & 4 lane roads that is causing the problem for the AI.

Though high traffic areas do occur naturally, this requires some thought when designing the cities.

But yea, the actors don't have any problems moving around. The traffic grid degenerates into a series of choke points throughout the city after 10 minutes, I can do better than that :-).

Right now the (250 - 500) vehicles on the map are randomly spawned, and the vehicle just drives from random point -> random point.

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I would be interested to hear some of the details of how you located your publisher. Did you have to have a demo of the game in an advanced state, or did you simply have the concept? What made them decide that you were worth the risk - no offense intended :)

What type of agreement have you worked out as far as IP, milestones, testing and so on? I know you won't be able to discuss all of this, but I would be very interested in hearing whatever details you can provide.

Thanks for any info/advice!


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Well I sent e-mails out to whoever I could, and they thought the project was interesting / had some potential. The game looked a lot different when we signed the publishing contract 2 years ago I suppose [screenshot http://www.radioactive-software.com/gangwar/gw_38.jpg] at that stage it was all programmers art I made, and a very basic isometric GTA2ish game engine.

It's not really a risk for them in terms of they have control of when the game is 'ready' and I'll do whatever it takes to get it there. They are in charge of that, I'm just trying to get the kinks out of my ambitious design...I wish I'd just stuck with war-games lol, they are so much easier...no traffic networks needing network synchronization in a WW2 game.

But yea in terms of the other aspects, I don't think I can talk about that stuff publicly, and I don't want to go re-read the whole contract to check [grin]

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