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A bit of history

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Ysaneya

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General progress

In the past weeks, I've been concentrating on the new website. Thanks to Amshai and Choub, the layout is pretty much finished, but a lot of components are still not yet integrated ( like the galleries, videos, forums, etc.. ). Choub is in charge of this part, so don't hesitate to cheer him up ! :)

Breslin is filling the new website with content. I'm helping as I can, I've been particularly busy on the integration between Joomla and SMF forums, which is more or less working now. Unfortunately, it doesn't feel "polished" yet, and I'm afraid it'll still take many weeks to bring it to the "professional" level.

I've also been busy on the programming side, on all sorts of various topics. One of them is an experiment to port the procedural generation to the GPU, instead of the CPUs. The motivation for that is that space-orbit views aren't looking good enough to me. It seems nice in screenshots, mostly because I choose the best ones to publish, and because there are clouds covering the nasty artifacts.. but the landscape from orbit isn't terrible. It is very aliased, and the texturing is too vertex dependent, which means lots of popping when a terrain chunk gets split.

The best way to fix those problems is to generate terrain at the pixel level, but unfortunately that consumes a lot of performance, and it cannot be done practically on the CPU anymore, at least not with the relatively complex heightmaps I need to generate to achieve a good variety for a game such as Infinity. I'm also cleaning the terrain engine for better performance and flexibility, so that 3rd party developers ( once the engine is released ) can use the terrain component in all sorts of projects.

History

There's nothing more frustrating than to hear lies, or at best mis-informed people, speaking about Infinity, and how it's been in development "forever", and how it is vaporware.

For example, on "that other forum", somebody mentionned that he had been following Infinity's development since 2002. Wow, I certainly didn't expect that.

I mean, this genius has been following development of a game that didn't even exist in the mind of its creator yet ! How brilliant is that ?

Sometimes I wonder if people consciously lie, or are just terribly confused with some other game, or ... ?

The idea of Infinity was born in 2004. Before 2004, I had been busy on other projects, such as LightSpeed, a high-speed futuristic racer ( ala Wipeout ). Here is a screenshot from it:
LightSpeed

This project died due to the lack of artistic content. I had teamed up with 2 other people, a musician and an artist, but he slowly lost interest and/or was too busy with his studies IRL, and so while we achieved a playable prototype ( you could race over a whole lap, but there was no AI or multiplayer ), the project died.

The death of LightSpeed didn't happen over night. During end 2003/early 2004, I started to experiment a spherical terrain engine: the first prototype of Infinity's planetary engine ! But I must point out that I didn't have the idea of making a game yet: it was just a fun experiment, and the engine behind it ( if you can call that an engine ) was DirectX9-based. I didn't work on this very seriously, only a couple hours here and there.
An image of this first prototype

A learnt a lot of things from this first version of the planetary engine. In fact, the most valuable lesson is that it teached me what to avoid, and confronted me to problems that I didn't suspect ( such as floating-point precision to handle realistic scales ). At the same time, it became obvious that with more work, the technology could work, and that a game could be based on it.. and what better concept for a planetary engine than a space-based game ala Elite ? That day, Infinity was born, and the first line of the engine added.

The very first backup of Infinity's engine source that I have, which contains only a few tens of files, is dated 24 June 2004. This can effectively be considered the birth date of Infinity's development ( or close to it, by a few weeks ).

During end 2004, I developed the engine basics: the renderer, the scene-graph, the plugins system, etc.. and I continued to experiment various prototypes ( such as the clouds prototype ).

I started my gamedev.net journal in end 2004, but I only spoke about the engine at that time, I didn't announce the game.

I opened the website in september 2005.
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Well, a project this size is going to have a LONG development cycle and I can see how non-developers might lose hope. Infinity did start to get attention pretty early on. The important thing is that it IS getting attention and publicity is never 100% positive.

Maybe it's time to put aside graphical quirks and details for a while and start getting into the meat of the game. A trade prototype, perhaps? [grin]

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Quote:
Original post by coderx75
Maybe it's time to put aside graphical quirks and details for a while and start getting into the meat of the game. A trade prototype, perhaps? [grin]


A trading prototype is already in the works by other members of the community (without much progress, unfortunately).

I'm always continously working on various sub-systems and basic gameplay. There isn't much to say about it usually, so when I post journals, I prefer to speak of engine/3D related topics. A few days ago, I reviewed the XML loading of ships stats to transfer between the server and the client, but I really don't have anything to say on that, so I don't post about it.

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I think you're always going to get people whining and complaining, particularly with gamers. I wouldn't let the words of a few (or one) sway you as I know of at least 4 (including myself) senior level game developers that read every entry of your journal looking forward to the next one.

Perhaps it's jealousy from someone that wishes they were as good as you. Most people I know within the games industry wish they could put something out even half as good as the tech we see coming from these pages.

Keep up the good work and I think I speak for most people when I say that we're happy to wait "until it's done" for this game.

Doolwind

---------------------
Development Diary

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wot no screenshots? :)
bugger the knockers,
ppl can knock only if theyve done something similar or better, 99.9% of the cases the knockers come up empty

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I can see how someone might say 2002... I've been following this journal for what seems like a very long time (well, I suppose a maximum of 3.5-4yrs is a long time) and whilst my guess would've been that you started in '05 its not a huge leap to see people thinking you started earlier [smile]

I know of at least one other ongoing commercial/indy game project thats been going for 9yrs and counting. You've a way to go before you compete with them [lol]


Jack

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Been following for a while, event before this IOTD...the good ol' days of flipcode.

Always impressive since the beginning. A lot of very insightful information shared as well.

Highly interested in seeing how it all turns out.

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I think this game looks amazing, the screenshots in your journal are really impressive.

I find it annoying sometimes when after you've worked on something for a long time and people think there is no progress because you havn't got any new pictures to show or new characters etc because you have been working on all the really important behind the scenes stuff.

I have two examples from this week ;)

1. I was working on my current game project the other day. It is a platformer style shoot 'em up and I told my friends about it when I first started and they thought it sounded "cool".
But since after all this time I have no "cool" screenshots I get, "I thought you were making a game", or "Thought you were sending a demo to [insert top local game companies], you not wanting to do games any more?"
All after a month? Non developers just don't know the work involved.

2. In my day job, business apps, a friend was asking about my game and someone over heard and said "You make games? Make me one!" lol which is probably one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard.

I'm sure your motivated to finishing this project already anyway so I won't bother saying stick in etc lol.

Keep up the good work though.

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I haven't watched your journal since the beginning. I started somewhere around 2006 i'd guess. Based on that, I for myself guessed you're working on it since around 2000. It just looks too epic to that "young" :) still it has quite an age nowadays, and you prove the most important thing: continueing it is the only way to get finished one day.

I can't wait for that day.

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