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Project: Project Taival

Dev Diary #015 - After Dark



Hello and welcome to this weeks Dev Diary!

This weeks topics are;

  • Some performance perspective.
  • Progress on the video graphics.
  • Some reveals on the mobile game.

PC Under Pressure

Despite how much I like working with After effects, I must say yet again - it's very tiresome how slow it renders everything. I got curious about how big of a part my CPU could have in this, so I ran a simple benchmark after overclocking my CPU to have some more performance out of it. After the results, it becomes painfully clear how much my CPU can bottleneck the productivity. For those  who haven't read my earlier Dev Diaries, I currently have this old AMD processor, that is less than 1/3 the speed of the current gen Intel CPU's, even after overclocking.

When compared to GeekBench results, my CPU got a multicore result of a tad over 9200, while the top Desktop CPU score for Intel Core i9-9900K was well over 33900 - over 3 times faster. Single core performance for my processor was a tad above 2300, while the Intel Core i9-9900K has a tad over 6200 - around 2.7 times faster. Performance has sure gone a long way in 9 years, even though the performance gains has shrank down dramatically from generation to generation. For future proofing though, I plan on buying either the 16 core or 32 core Threadripper, once I can afford it. The same kind of thinking paid of when I designed my current PC and went for "too many cores for gamers" -direction. There is no guarantee that the same kind of foresight would pay of as much as it did back then, but more cores will probably pay of until the next big innovation comes to markets - optoelectronics maybe?


After "the Slow" Effects


I wasn't able to do the planned mist/fog in time for this Dev Diary, but I tried another approach, while fiddling with the settings. I managed to make the "3D Fog" effect look like a thin layer of snow. by cranking the settings of the effect to highest values possible. After that, i turned the layer in 3D and aligned it on top of the ice layer, just a tad higher in 3D space. Then I copied the layer and positioned it a tad lower than the first snow layer. After that, I made it somewhat translucent and turned all the settings down on the "3D Fog" effect to make the bottom layer of snow look darker, which adds some contrast to it. I might just go with this setting for the video, as it does not need to be perfectly the way I envisioned it - and my fingers are itching to get back to the game project ASAP. Here is a closeup to compare the ice effects;


For the last iteration i also made a higher quality texture for the floor, which was a mixed bag of success and failure. The higher quality version had more detail, but the it was too clean looking, even after making normal- and bump maps for it, which doesn't really show up from under the snow. Another bad thing about it was, that it brought up details that made it look even less 3D, even with the normal & bump maps. All in all, the original, grittier looking texture that was stretched from a 1920 x 114 image looked the best to my mind - thus far. Here is the clean version of the high resolution texture with normals and bump maps;


The high resolution texture would work better, if I redid it from scratch, but I need to weight if that would be worth it or go with the combination of high res ice texture and snow. I might be doing the fog effect still, but while doing research on it last week, I couldn't find any tutorials on how to do realistic fog without extra plug-ins, that cost too much for my budget. I'll still be researching my options.


The Mobile Title - Teaser Tips

I have also been doing intensive mechanics research with Stellaris, on what makes the game enjoyable and which elements would make it even more so. There are several other games I will look into for research (and entertainment, can't kid you there), but more on those later on.

I can't tell much details yet about my results, but I will drop some clues as a teaser- the following games have some or many aspects I would have wanted to see in a game for as long as I can remember; 

  • Foundation - Launched early this year, it is a Medieval city builder with modular buildings and you start as a lower tier lord of a king.
  • Stardew Valley - Farming within a small town with warm and welcoming atmosphere has been surprisingly entertaining and therapeutic pass of time, even as a virtual experience.
  • Minecraft - I haven't played Minecraft ever before, but I have played several games inspired by it and building what ever I like with my imagination being the only limit is one of my guilty pleasures.
  • Kynseed - Similar to Stardew Valey, with a darker theme. Never played it, but the continuity it offers have been one of my inspirations as well.
  • Outward - One of the ideas in this game is closest ever (thus far) to one of my long-been-brewing ideas for a game mechanic.

There are many other games that have inspired what I have planned for the mobile title and not all of them might work in a mobile environment - which is why I plan on making it in a multiplatform experience eventually, where you can play the game on mobile and manage your city to some general extent and continue on your PC. This will require some help to pull it off, but to be clear, that is a long term goal. the immediate goal is to have a playable alpha version of the game within a month form the start, in it's simplest playable form.

That's all for this weeks Dev Diary. Thank you for tuning in and I'll see you on the next weeks edition :)

You can check out every possible mid week announcements about the project on these official channels;

• YouTube • Facebook • Twitter • Discord • Reddit • Pinterest • SoundCloud • LinkedIn •


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