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Graphics Engine update progress....

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dgreen02

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I'm pretty much re-writing my entire graphics engine. I'm re-doing the sky system...right now I'm just rendering the atmosphere & fog. Though in a few days I'll have dynamic billboarded clouds, and the sun/moon implemented and casting light on the scene.

The new atmosphere is basicly just a bunch of 1D textures that I transition between smoothly that represent the different times of day. I've got 256 textures for the entire day, so it looks rather nice. I've got all kinds of things I'm going to implement to make the skys look awesome, it will be coming together in the next few days.

I'm going to rewrite the light rendering code. I'm going to use the same lighting system for everything including the sun, street lights, traffic lights, vehicle head lights, store signs, etc. All lighting information will all be rendred to a texture, and then down sampled and blured, and displayed over the scene...almost like a glow effect. I'm going to get started on this tommorow.

The real time shadows are going well, I'm pretty much done with them. I've still got to add dynamic shadows on characters/vehicles that are rendered using hardware skinning, this is just a matter of comgining the two shaders though. Right now everything looks great with static meshes. I'm basicly rendering to 2 2048x2048 shadow maps, one representing the entire city...one representing the players local area. It works out quite well.

Here's 2 screenshots of how the cities are looking at this early stage....btw I'ev still got to re-implement the glass transparency.

Back to work.

- Dan

Early, without fog:


Fog added:


Another screenshot showing the new fog/atmosphere
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Really not much because the geometry is so simple. I update the local shadow map 30 times a second, I update the global shadow map covering the city 3 times a second, so it's impact is negligable. Also, the city is stored in static vertex buffers that are updated whenever the user moves the camera 15 meters, or rotates 15 degrees, so I can easily render the visible parts of the city to either shadow map.

Really the game runs the same :-)

Though I've only got one ps2.0 capable computer to test it on, when I get into beta I'll be very curious about the performance on other computers. Though I'm sure it will hold up.

- Dan

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For your maps (Which look like they would be quite big) do you randomly generate them or do you use a map editor and manually place everything?

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Well I have a map editor, and I have algorithms (rather simple at this point) to generate cities. All the ones in these screenshots are random, though they're just grids of city blocks.

In previous versions I had a random map generator that would create rivers/oceans through the city, as well as a random highway system (4 lane roads). All this stuff will be making it back into the game soon enough.

- Dan

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Awesome screenshots, you're making lots of progress! Seems like you're having a blast making your game look pretty.
Are there transparent windows in the houses, did you model indoor scenes? I can't remember, did you mention if one can enter (some special) buildings?

What is on your to-do list regarding gameplay?

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I've modeled the interiors of EVERY building in the city :-)

I'm glad you like the way the game's looking! This is just the tip of the iceberg, once I add the glow effect on all light sources, and get the reflections on the vehicles...as well as some reflective/refractive water...the game will look great!

Gameplay list: everything is pretty much inplace, though I've still got some work to do on multiplayer...and I've still got to create the "Master Server" which will tell players what games are online at the current time. That stuff is pretty straight forward, shouldn't be any real bottlnecks/showstoppers there.

- Dan

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Your sky looks a bit empty now (missing some clouds), but it's a real improvement compared to what it was before.

The shadows look good, too. Maybe some screens are a bit aliasing, what about taking high quality screens with antialiasing and anisotropic filtering ?

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Wow, every building. That's awesome! Could you show us a small screenshot on what we can expect inside? Will there be any kind of interaction in them? Do you have a mall? :-D

What do the civialians do in the city? Do they just walk around or can we expect to see them sitting on benches or looking at shop-windows? Will they interact in groups, e.g. a couple of women shopping together? Do they act randomly or do they follow a plan?
For exampe: be on the street at place X in the morning, drive to place Y, be in the mall in the afternoon, walk along the beach in the evening, disappear at night.

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Updated screenshots with clouds ;-)

Yea this could do with some FSAA that's for sure.

There are a few screenshots of the insides of buildings here: http://www.gamedev.net/community/forums/topic.asp?topic_id=347017

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Coolio. I didn't expect the inside of the buildings to be that detailed in a game which was primarily supposed to be a strategy game. Neat. :-)

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