• Announcements

    • khawk

      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
  • entries
  • comments
  • views

Screenshot Saturday 168

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0


This week was a ton of performance optimizations and graphics upgrades.

Cascading shadow maps! Basically that means all the shadows are much sharper. It was surprisingly easy to implement and barely impacts performance.

Here's a screenshot showing off the new shadows, plus a new character modeling experiment. Just testing things out for now. What do you think?


Turns out, Blender has something called Rigify that can automatically generate an absolutely kick butt IK rig for your character, complete with blend weights for skinning. It's not perfect, especially when there are separate disconnected pieces (eyeballs, for example), but the few problem areas are easy to correct manually. Here's the character animated with the default calculated weights. I haven't touched them at all yet:


That animation is a grand total of three keyframes. I just have to move one IK control, and the rest of the body responds naturally. The rig I have now is entirely FK, meaning to get the animation above I would have had to manually rotate the joints of the legs and arms to get the hands and feet to stay planted. This is one reason the placeholder animations are so terrible. Just having an IK rig means animations will be instantly better.

Again, this is all very experimental but I think it could save a ton of time. Rigging and animation both seem like much easier problems to tackle now. If I continue with this idea I'll definitely post an article about the whole Rigify process, because there is a huge lack of documentation on the subject.

What else is new? Oh, one of my players built this insane structure using the wallrun mechanic... it was slightly exploitable. I went ahead and patched that.


More info about the performance optimizations that happened this week:

My deferred renderer now uses material IDs rather than storing specular properties for every pixel. Now I can cut the G-buffer down to 96 bits spread across three render targets:

Render Target 1

Albedo - RGB, 8 bits per channel

Material ID - 8 bit index

Render Target 2

Normal X and Y - 8 bits per channel

Motion blur velocity X and Y - 8 bits per channel

Render Target 3

Depth - 16 bit float

Normal Z - 16 bit float

Nice things about this setup:

  • I can store normals in world space, which is fast, easy, and artifact-free.
  • Storing all three dimensions of the normal (as opposed to storing only two and reconstructing the third) is nice because I can encode an extra scalar by multiplying the normal by it. The lighting system can recover that scalar later on by taking the length of the normal. Right now I just use zero-length normals for rain drops, which accept lighting from any direction rather than doing any kind of Lambert shading.
  • Lighting and objects with alpha transparency go into 64-bit floating point buffers later on, so we still get full HDR.
  • I can come up with a bunch of different material properties that I can bind to material IDs without adding bits to the G-buffer. Right now I only have two: specular exponent and intensity.

    That's it for this week! Thanks for reading.

    Mirrored on my blog

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

1 Comment

Looks really good!


As for rigging, if you want we can talk and maybe I can help you with some information.


Share this comment

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now