Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Events Dear Boy, Events

 So this month I have been coding a "Mission Events System" loosely based on how Descent: Freespace did it.

Chief amongst this creating a system that read all of the spawnPoint data which held all the info for various events, and anything inside the mission's own custom event file, then tried to organize all of that into something which wasn't gibberish.

I can give you a quick rundown ...

   //this is where the mission relevant data is started
   //all missions related events are controlled from here
   //before we spawn the player we need to load the MissionEventFile (MEF) and all it's functions
   //to do this we need to find out how many players we have
   //treat this number as 1 for single player game and start the mission with the first client joining
   //MissionEventFile holds the missionEventList (arrayObject) and all mission event functions
   //spawnPoints inside the missionEvents folder are for spawning and events
         //1 timed or immediate spawn from player arrival; 1 = spawn immediately
         //object that we should spawn near, if spawnDistance > 0; this overrides our spawnPoint location; defaults to player
         //distance from spawnNear object in kilometers;
      //dataBlock; <<<<< spawnDatablock
         //literally datablock name for player; eg: F11Goshawk, etc. Never AiF11Goshawk though, Ai gets added later
      //dataType; <<<<< spawnClass
         //type of datablock; eg: aeronautVehicle, etc. Never AiAeronautVehicle though, Ai gets added later
         //starting engine setting as F32, default 0.6
         //0 greenFor(neutral); 1 blueFor(ally); 2 redFor(enemy); 3 yellowFor(aggressor);
         //Ai skillLevel 1-10; modified with difficulty
         //name for vehicle or wing of aircraft based on wingNum and isWing number;
         //eg: solitary isWing0 "bob"
         //eg: isWing 2, wingNum 3 "bob3_2"
         //0 = no not a wing only 1 vehicle or was a wing which has already been reduced to 0
         //1+ = is a wing, this number goes down everytime the wing is destroyed
         //wings respawn with wingDelayMin/Max time when reduced to wingMin number of remaining aircraft
         //a new arrayObject is created for the wing and all aircraft are added to this from that wing
         //eg: callsign "bob", arrayObject "bob_wing"
         //number of aircraft in the wing
         //number of the aircraft spawned in a wing, ++ until > wingNum then back to 1; this is set by scripts not editor
         //minimum number in seconds for the wing to wait before spawning another wing and reducing isWing value by 1
         //maximum number in seconds for the wing to wait before spawning another wing and reducing isWing value by 1
         //number of surviving aircraft when a new wing will spawn with wingDelayMin/Max. Default is 0, but best set to 1;
         //mainTask; 0 do waypoints; 1 dogfight anything; 2 strike target; 3 escort;
         //object for mainTask, can be vehicle, arrayObject list of targets, waypoint or path
         //type of event to happen
            //onArrive - has spawned
            //onDepart - has departed
            //onDamagePercent - damage has gone below threshold
            //onDestroyed - uses callback onDisabled and onDestroyed for second check
            //onWaypoint - has moved to waypoint position
            //onPathComplete - has completed the total path
         //object id; eg: onWaypoint = waypoint id; default blank/0/"" is spawnDatablock's object
         //delay in seconds from the eventTrigger# being completed
         //result of the eventTrigger# occuring
            //script name; function to be activated from missionEventFile (MEF)
         //target of the event to do something, specifically used for spawn;
         //if no target then it should refer to a local wing or aircraft
         //eg: scorpio wing now spawns in 10 seconds due to eventTrigger1 "onWaypoint", eventObject1 "player", eventResult1 "spawn", eventDelay1 10, eventTarget1 scorpio wing
So that's my own comment notes in the file, though some of that has since been changed ... probably.

Part of this is "wings"; groups of aircraft that spawn together and can respawn in "waves" when their number has been depleted to a certain amount.

Contextual Messaging about Events in the top left

And what are events without victory and defeat conditions? Not very interesting that's what.

Events - hurray you didn't bugger it all up!

So with all of this in place it was time to create something which looked like a proper game mission. And here it is!

Here's a quick overview of what happens:

  • Victory Condition: All enemy are destroyed
  • Failure Condition: All allied reinforcements are destroyed
  • Player Spawns Event
  • First enemy wing SCORPIO spawns with a delay in response
  • Enemy wing SCORPIO is destroyed
  • Allied wing of reinforcements spawn in response to SCORPIO onDestroyed
  • Enemy wing LIBRA spawns after delay of reinforcements arriving. Also enemy wing TAURUS spawns with an even longer delay, near reinforcements.
  • After losing 3 out of 4 reinforcements I go and help out the last one before completing the mission.

In this playthrough the reinforcements were not very effective and got pounced on early by the enemy fighters, in other tests they accounted for some kills and assists.

When the mission is over status of all aircarft is printed to the console, detailing kills, assists, damage and the such. Eventually this will be part of a debriefing screen.

So that is the month that was. Roll on July.

Monday, 31 May 2021

One Spell Pony Says Explosion

 This month I have mostly been dealing with explosions.

And vapour trails and general special effect type stuff.

And I found out that the PBR I had been using had broken metalness which was fixed on a newer engine version, so I had to redo all my PBR maps again, after having to redo all my PBR maps again last month because I had Occlusion and Roughness in the wrong RGB channels ... but back to those explosions.

Right back at the beginning of Unnamed Victoriana South China Seas Dieselpunk Dogfighter I created a system of damaging individual aircraft parts, thus degrading performance related attributes like turning, speed, etc. Now I neeeded to actually make it look like something was happening when this actually happened. I threw in a small explosion with a nice little puff of dark smoke to let everyone see that a damage limit had been reached. When this happened a mesh element would be swapped for a more damaged version so that the player could visibly see their aircraft being steadily shot to pieces.

Here is test to show all the parts of an aircraft that can get blow clean off

 I came up with a somewhat hacky solution of hiding the destroyed area and then spawning the blown off part of that area as a static object, so that I could use the same skin texture as the aircraft and give it a spnning animation, and mount that onto a projectile that was gravity heavy.

And of course if an aircraft takes way too much damage all over rather than having a single part get blown off, it just explodes. Whilst some of the debris is made up of model meshes, most is in fact animated sprites for small metal plates tumbling through the air.


I also made some Dazzle Camouflage skins for the three aircraft types I had previously modeled.

Dazzle Camo; The Rule Of Cool

This brings us to actually sorting out some sort of gameplay mission, and for that I started working on an Event System. I have been thinking of taking a cue from the old space shooter Freespace and FRED, FReepace EDitor, as to how missions are put together. It had a drop down editor for logical arguements which acted as cues for events, thus preventing someone from filling it with absolute gibberish. The premise is quite simple, if x happens do y. Most of this is about spawning new waves of enemies or ships as well as keeping a general tab on mission objectives.

I have come up with a system based on using scriptObjects in the mission for each aircraft or ship or active thingy, all stored in a named folder in the mission editor for ease of finding, which then accumulate to an array on the load game event, waiting for the events to be checked against array list and ticked off one by one. 

The idea is that something occurs - eg1: player connects - the Event System looks to see if anything else needs to be done - eg1: enemy aircraft wing spawn 15 seconds later.

eg2: Enemy are down to 25% numbers, second enemy wing spawns.

eg3: Second enemy wing is destroyed, large enemy formation arrives. Timer starts for player to survive for 120 seconds.

eg4: 120 seconds later, allied wing of reinforcements arrives.

eg5: All enemy destroyed, mission accompished.

And so on and such forth. Minus timers the Event List is entirely passive and is just checked against when something happens that was stored in the array from the aircraft scriptObjects in the editor. This seems to be the best result for low overhead.

So, that was the month that was, and next month we will hopefully have a fully working Event System and actual playable mission which I intend to be a homage based on the first mission of Freespace: The Great War.

Friday, 30 April 2021

Satsuma Camouflage

 The pub is open and the wind is cold. It's a Bank Holiday weekend, of course the weather is going to be terrible. I had a huge scone with jam and cream.

This month I have been modeling planes, 3 of them, and 9 different skins for 9 different factions. Part of the way through I discovered that the PBR map - known as a ORM map - actual stands for the order in which PBR goes into the channels and that I had got my Rough and my Occlusion the wrong way round. This explained why my ambient occlusion didn't look very ambiently occluded ... Having fixed this for all 4 damage levels, I could continue modeling new planes.

The Nakajima Type 91-1 actually did come in orange. I have no idea what Japan thought they could hide this amongst, perhaps tubs of satsumas? Here it is with the Tokugawa Shogunate emblem replacing the Japanese flag due to Deepest Lore™.

This thing really doesn't look safe and has a pretty poor damage rating, but it is agile.

Previously I had completed the Curtiss F-11C Goshawk and so set about making various skins for it. You will probably spot the theme of 19th Century Qing Dynasty due to Deepest Lore™. Here comes a lot of image spam.

Chinese Republican "Dare To Die Corps"
Cuba because it was an actual thing so I though why not ...
Qing Dynasty
Kansu Braves - referred to by the Western MSM as "The 10,000 Islamic Rabble" but was actually the Qing's elite fighting force of Islamic soldiers sworn loyalty to the Empress Dowager.
The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom - a ... wait for it ... Theocrat Anarcho-Communist Absolute Monarchy led by a guy who declared himself the younger brother of Jesus. Unlike Jesus he murdered 20 million people in 14 years.
Black Flag Army - Cantonese bandits who created hell for the French in Indochina.
Fists of Harmonious Justice - Boxer Rebellion
Five Banner Alliance - more anti-Qing, anti-foreigner secret society
Damage models for the Yellow Flag Army, pirates of Canton - sporting the pirate flag from AIrship Dragoon
Plikarpov I-15bis from the Imperial Russian Air Service, poor maneuverability but fantastic quad Maxim machine guns.
Polikarpov I-15bis in Chinese Republican colours

Overhead damage models of the I15-bis (top) and F11C Goshawk (bottom)
Testing vapour trails, which needed a bit of "fixing" for the source code

Here's a video of me testing vapour trails in combat.

And that was the month that pubs finally reopened.


Next up, more skins for the Nakajima, and perhaps one more aircraft before attempting to make an actual game senario with it all. Toodlepip!