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Gang War Stuff

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dgreen02

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Got some more pictures of the game. I've been 'stress testing' the engine lately (ie: spawning 100s of gangsters in a field and letting them blindly kill each other). The AI is coming along nicely, I've got the pathfinding working perfectly as far as I can tell. Also, I added a cool little debug window, and node diagnostic ability to the game...I'll put a screenshot down below of it :-) It's really cool to see them all moving at once in the game. Next up on the chopping block is to make them able to recognize friend/foe and react accordingly, they need to recognize cover (crouching behind cars/objects, and returning fire), also the ability to know when they are outnumbered and should retreat. I should have this behavior in the game in a few days.

I almost had a potential bottleneck in the game, seeing as the character models are approximatly 1100 triangles each in their highest LOD form, and there can be up to 50 members in each gang. That means there's the potential for 100s of high LOD gangsters to be in a very close area. Basicly I had to come up with this dynamic LOD system that detects high concentrations of characters in a small area, and scales the LOD accordingly so the game runs at a pretty constant speed. This is in addition to the standard LOD system I use, that displays progressivly lower quality versions of the model as the character's distance from the camera increases.

In the game worlds right now there's 3200 dynamic, moving, thinking citizens...up to 150 gangsters...2400 moving vehicles...and 19000+ objects like newspaper dispensers,pay phones, etc. All of these entities have a Tokamak physics representation that I basicly put into a sleeping state when they excede a certain distance from the camera, or enter an idle state, or meet some other restrictions. I havn't really run into any problems yet with this system, though there is a barely noticable "hop" of the object as it's reinserted into the simulation from a sleeping state.

One other thing I'm working on now is the conversation system in the game. The player will have the ability to have somewhat freeflowing conversations with other characters (think The Sims level of interaction, where you bascily pick from a list of possible actions/things to perform/say on/to an object/civilian/car/etc.)

This poses some problems for the voices associated with the conversations. I really don't want to have to pay for every possible word/sentence in the game to be recorded by a voice actor. This would make it nearly impossible to add new sounds/conversations to the game, and it'd be rather expensive.

I'm really leaning towards creating some sort of fake language I could play to cover all voice interactions between characters...I guess like they did in The Sims, but they didn't have speech bubbles in The Sims, I'm going to have them transcribing every conversation in the game.

The other thing is I've already had order confirmation voiceovers made for each gang type (Aight boss!, "Yo this punk is dead!", etc.) as well as generic male/female civilian voices, and some cop stuff ("Freeze scumbag!..."Drop the gun!", etc.) It'd be rather inconsistant to have those voices in plain english, and the other ingame conversations facilitated through a fake voice & speech bubbles. I hope I can figure this one out.

*end 3:00 AM ramblings*

- Dan

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Looking good. It's always interesting to read about problems within games, you should write up a paper or something regarding the dynamic LOD for the GPG series of books.

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Thanks. Oh the lod thing is nothing special :-) Basicly just have a "cost" associated with each level of detail and a "total scene cost"... as you render each character update the global scene cost with the cost of the character....and decrease the minimum level of detail distance as this 'total scene cost' increases. Also you can scale the system in the order of how many triangles per scene component you want to have. I'm not sure if other people do this, but it works pretty good in my situation, at least in motion, it's somewhat noticible in some still images :-(

Of course if the user has a killer rig, they can scale this LOD system up so they don't really notice any artifacts.

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Wow this looks cool! [grin]

As for the voices, you could just post asking for people to say a few things for you - at least for the civilans (odd sentences here and there)... see if anyone will do it in return for having a credit in the game for being a voice.

Heck I bet quite a few people would do that just for fun. Even if you replace them later on with better audio, it would still give you a feel for what's what.

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Looks like South Cental on a Friday night. Keep up the good work! and really consider the GPG writeup too.

-- Eric 'Wackatronic' Tomlinson

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It just gets better and better [wow]

About the voices, consider the game Spiderman 2. (btw, I love that game)

I noticed that many of the NPCs say the same things, yet they sound completely different from stereotype to stereotype.

My guess is that they used a very general voice actor to say a phrase once, then, through code, they used voice modulation to make the same dialogue sound different for each type of person whether they be a male/female, child/adult, civilian/thug.

But if you went with the fake language, I think that would make the game pretty funny, so I hope that's what you’re going for. I tried annunciating some of those gang phrases of yours in a mumbling/grunting sort of way, but I sounded like an ape :P

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Thanks a lot. I appreciate everyone's input...since I'm the only one really working on this game I don't really have a "team" of people to discuss the game with, so I appreciate all your comments/support.

- Dan

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Dude, thats awesome!! Also I think it would be cool if you incoporated some of the stuff from the game, Crime Fighter, from the old days. It was amazingly awesome, I like it much more than Grand theft auto, which was in my opinion, too restrictive in the way it dealt freedom. Play the game [Crime Fighter] and youll see what I mean. It does it far better. My dreams may come true yet...

Unlike the name of the game announces, you don't fight against crimes, but you try to commit as much of it as possible. For example you can play pickpocket, raid supermarkets and hotels, steal cars, raid banks, attack mail trains, and so on. As soon as you have a high standing in the criminal underworld, you are also able to sign on gangsters that join your gang. These gangsters then can be trained or equipped with weapons like machine guns. Your aim is to seize the power in the underworld. But it's very challenging, especially if you're playing with more than 2 players. This game is very addicting, if you don't mind the 2D graphics.

--Review from the site


I think Ill play now myself too... btw I cant wait for your game to come out, especially if it does end up doing some of the stuff crime fighter did. *Drools*

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I had a look at that game, it seems very cool. Almost all of the things you can do in that game will be in my game also, my interface and the way you interact/give orders will be a lot more streamlined than their interface...probably just because their game is so old. It looks intersting though, thanks for the info.

Also there's an old game called "Legal Crime" that's a lot like that game, and my game.

- Dan

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Your voice problem. I've been thinking about it and I think I have a solution. You really want voice for things like "Stop, Police!" or small snippets from different gang members. That kind of thing is quite important for the overall realisation of the world, but conversations don't really need the voice acting.

Instead, what you could do, is create a number of movement animations for the person talking. When their part of the conversation comes up they just play the animations as if they are talking while you read the text. This should be simple to do, still achieves the same goal (make it look like two people are realistically having a conversation) and gets around the cost of finding good voice actors.

I think Jet Set Radio did this (but with voice acting as well). The characters on-screen would move when it was there turn to talk, doing a little animation. It worked really well.

Hope this helps
ukdm

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ukdm, thank you for your input. That's pretty much the system I've decided on...for some reason I was thinking it necessary to have some audio associated with the conversations in the game. Almost to give the user a feel of position relative to the characters.

I already have the voiceovers for sentences where the position would matter...for instance if a police officer was behind you, and yelling at you...if there was no audio associated with that particular voice then the user would have no idea the police officer was even there since the voice bubbles wouldn't be visible.

Thanks for the input, I'll have some screens soon showing the conversation system in the game.

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