Sunday, 25 October 2009

Lights, Lightmaps, Levels, Lorries, Lying Down Animations

Grasping at straws for another "L" word in the title. Licensed Fraps could have been it.

Level geometry complete-ish, lit, lightmapped, populated with stuff.

Stuff has mainly been pipes, lot of brass stuff lying around on walls and ceilings, to make the corridors look a little less bare. Various signs, some helpful with directions, some for comedy. I've also repolyed my cars and trucks, so that they look somewhat better but still stay away from overt realism. And I've got some simple flashing two-tones.

It was looking a bit clean, some damage decals took care of that

I'm a great believer in dog-legs and multiple height overlays in level design, giving the player the chance to see places that they want to go, have already been, alternative routes, and places which they can't get to but adds to the ambiance, illusion of immersion.

Multilevel Crossover Madness - with the opportunity to jump/fall through damaged railings onto other catwalks

There's two seperate routes through from the start and finish of roughly equal length, various chances to crossover and swap them by jumping, falling, not looking where you're going. Both routes are a mile long and come together for a final sequence, plenty of signposting to avoid running around endlessly in circles - because being frustratingly lost is not fun.

Lightmapping has been great, and the ability of pureLight to design everything at once in Blender and then export it in position -rather than lining it all up as I had previously in the world editor - allowed me to add more stuff, like pipes to the walls without having a nervous breakdown about placement.

Feeling decidedly unfit, I embarked on a masochistic hike over the roughest part of the Yorkshire Wolds, and only just made it back alive. I did however grab some nice reference pics of the area for future use, and the abandoned medieval village with ruined church at Warram Percy. linky

Ooooh, spooky

Having worked out how the particle editor functions for a bit of smoke and fire and with my intro levels geometry pretty set, I've turned my attention back to the gameplay, player models and AI. Crouch and prone animations have been done, and the necessary changes to the code implemented to get them to work and also to get the side/back animations for swimming. Still a few things require sorting out, rebuilding of the joints to deform better, some decent arms and hands, etc.

And needless to say the weapons also need a bit of an overhaul. Not just with a few extra polys here and there but also some scripting to get them to work via magazines rather than just an ammunition pool. Save that they're fairly done though.

Choice of comedy hairbands

And to the AI. I've got some pathfinding crammed in, and it seems to work fine, regardless of the day I spent trying to destroy it by getting the wrong end of the stick. So my AI will need a bit of an overhaul too from their ancient origins back when I made my first demo in TGE some 16 months ago. No doubt this will take a bit of brain work, and it'd be useful to have a look in the code and see what controls the stances available to the AI, so that I could script a doPose(crouch); function and the like. It'd be nice to force the AI to hit the dirt when they're getting shot at, rather than constantly crawling around in a scary way as they default to the prone stance for reasons only known to themselves.

Trapdoors never have enough amusing warning signs on them

And after all of that it's scripting actual in-game play. And sort out a gui, mission progression, bits inbetween, a savegame() function, a ton of other things, and a new demo. Don't hold your breath on the last one ...

Did I mention lightmapping? And licensing FRAPS - no more 30 second vids with a watermark then.

A quick run around in Advanced Lighting as a test. 44 seconds.
Link for HD

And an abbreviated run through in Basic Lighting - no spec, no normals, just a crappy PC. 8.28 minutes.
Link for HD

And this brings me to something else - moozik. It ain't the sort of thing I can do myself, so I've been spending lots of time listening to licenseable royalty free tracks, mostly from sites that I've seen linked in blogs here. Looped twice to fit the length of my vid is "Time" by Milkman-Dan, here used with non-commercial/share/attribute license. I also noticed that he's listed on for licensing.