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Submitted by Dean Harding, posted on April 04, 2001

Image Description, by Dean Harding

War Worlds is a game I've been working on in my spare time, it's very akin to WarZone 2100, (I came up with idea before I learned about WarZone, though! Honest! I've just re-written it about 4 times since I first started)

It's still at an early stage, but basically what you get when you run it is a rolling demo, the camera moves over the terrain, and there's a whole bunch of units fighting each other.

The terrain is rendered using a technique I read about on Charles Bloom's page, which he calls "splatting". Basically, you take a chunk of terrain, and render it several times, each time you add a different layer of texture to it. My version is slightly different to his, but you can see it gives quite good results, though it's probably a little slow on anything but a GeForce. It just uses vertex lighting, which you can only see in the loading screen on the top-right (a cool effect I made up for the fun of it, it takes a screenshot and blurs it and subtracts a random amount from each pixel).

Also of note, perhaps, is the bottom-left shot. This shows the cliffs that I support in the terrain, you won't see any of these in the demo, because the units just ignore cliffs, and roll right off the edge, but you can have a cliff, which is compiled to just one triangle strip. They're not very good yet, basically all you can do with them is what you see in the screen shot. Later, I'd like to be able to have cliffs that run diagonally through a tile, which is possible, it just needs a bit of coding effort...

The units themselves are just meshes I export from 3DStudio in ASE format (I'm not a very good modeller, as you can see, but they work...). They're not lit, or anything, but that'll be something to add in the future. You might be able to see that there's three different types of turrets that each unit has. The missile launcher (foreground of the top-left picture), the machine gun (background of the top-left picture) and mortars (which you might not be able to see, since it's covered in smoke in the top-left picture).

There is a demo available for download on my website, anh/war-worlds/ I'd encourage you all to download it and tell me how it goes!

Dean Harding.

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April 04, 2001, 12:21 PM

It's called 'Programmer Art' ;-)

Really, the shots look pretty impressive for what sounds like one of your first large-scale 3d project. Keep up the good work!



April 04, 2001, 12:38 PM

Nice shot. In what way is it like Warzone 2100?

Joachim Hofer

April 04, 2001, 01:20 PM

I really like these screenshots. They look very promising. But I think the shot could look much nicer if you had better textures/models. Thatīs no offense, they donīt look bad, but a little monotonous, if there werenīt those particles, I think.
Iīm curious about how you make those cliffs. They seem to be lighted correctly, which means you use different Vertices (normals) for the different planes. I suppose that can become really difficult, if you are supporting all sort of cliffs, especially if you are using triangle strips (rather than lists)... or is there some simple trick?

Anyways, keep up the good work.


April 04, 2001, 01:27 PM

hey ..

i've downloaded the game, but i was a little bit disappointed! sorry, no offense, but it looked quite bad on my tnt2! terrain texturing was completely wrong and the models look quite bad too (mostly because of the absence of lighting). the soundsystem is also bad (but i've read that this was implemented recently, so it's perhaps in an alpha-phase). i would recommend you the fmod ( soundsystem. it's really great and runs on about every compiler and supports win95/98/2k and linux! it's easy to use and it's features and speed is just incredible.


April 04, 2001, 02:22 PM


Some things about this IOTD.
It runs nice on my PII440 GF2MX. This is the good thing.
The bad things. It seems to me that the view distance is too short.
You're texturing/rendering both sides of the terrain triangles!!
The terrain texture looks bad to me. Are you doing height based texturing or nothing but a simple blend without criteria?
'freakyboy' is right, some light on the models will make the thing prettier. And I see that you are using fmod but I don't hear nothing (under W2K).
The models are bad, you know it, but they're enough for a demo.
And I will like to see holocaustic sky over there :)

This is just a constructive comment.
Keep on work, man! I bet this project will take a better look in a near future.


Lion V

April 04, 2001, 04:02 PM

Neato shots.
Why dont you optimize it a bit ?
If you can get it to run smoothly on mid-end comps it would be very cool.

zed zeek

April 04, 2001, 05:34 PM

i feel your pain about the models bro :)
definitly addsome lighting to the models/landscape it'll make the world of difference. also the splatting looks a little to random perhaps some sort of eg perlin noise function to distribute in a more realistic manner. spot ya

Dean Harding

April 04, 2001, 06:01 PM

They're both 3D real-time strategy games, and the units are made from "parts", i.e., to make a tank, you take a set of tracks, a body and a turret. Except in my game, I've merged the body and the tracks into one, so you just pick a body and a turret.

Dean Harding

April 04, 2001, 06:03 PM

For now, the cliffs just have a uniform light, it's just luck that it looks right in the screen shot :)

I'll probably calculate normals for the lighting sometime in the future.

Dean Harding

April 04, 2001, 06:07 PM

The view distance is meant to be short, since you mainly look down on the game anyway, there's no need for a long view distance (it also means I don't have to do any LOD)

I know it renders both sides of the triangles :) That'll be fixed, don't worry :)

The texture is "drawn" on by an artist, but since a) I'm not a good artist, and b) It's specified in a separate image file (for now), it's not easy to get it to look right.

Lighting is being done now (along with about 500 other things!)

Not sure why you don't hear anything, but sound is still in a it-works-for-me-that's-good-enough stage. Plus I only have the one explosion sound anywy - you're not missing much :)

Dean Harding

April 04, 2001, 06:10 PM

Yeah, I think that's also partly due to the textures, they're don't scale down well (or my code for scaling down isn't very good, that's probably more likely)

Don't worry, I'll be catering for more "low-end" systems before long, what I've got now is basically just a hack to make it work.


April 04, 2001, 06:43 PM

Why are u people so skeptical ?
what's going on with you ?

It's not so bad. Well, I could say it's nice.
However, it's nothing unusual that I get 'instruction at 0x000000 referenced memory at 0x000000' error. I use win2k, but this program was obviously designed for win98.. and not for my video card.

However, you guys please be NOT SO SKEPTICAL.
I think that everything here wants just to criticize poor guy. Why do u do so ?

And stop complaining about models !
I really dont know what is it, but it's nice. And to be nice is the most important thing. I thinks those models could even have the smell of pheromones, to attract women. Maybe they would like to ride, it would make things much better.


April 04, 2001, 06:45 PM

Well, that is one of the worst comments I have seen, except maybe those from MC BAXTON


April 04, 2001, 07:00 PM



April 04, 2001, 07:08 PM

Well, anyway it's better than mine cuz I stand for MC Baxton myself


April 04, 2001, 07:12 PM

Don't worry too much about my comments. You have an advantage over me that is to have something that works and can be published as the IOTD.

To be clear, I like your program, but this doesn't make me not able to remark some points that dissapoint me. If you already know of all of them, well, that's really good (for you and us).

So, I'm waiting for a playable demo. Not so far to be released. Sure.



April 04, 2001, 07:24 PM

Hi. Not bad so far.

I think it might not be worth the effort to do vertical cliffs in your heightmap renderer. That's not what they're best for and probably wouldn't add much to your game. Perhaps just steep surfaces would suffice?
Well I guess it's up to you.

And yes, I myself have recently seen the benefits of adding lighting to my own engine, nudge, nudge...

Unfortunately I can't try out your demo (mac user), but do your tanks tilt to match the slop of the ground beneath them, or are they akways level?

Dean Harding

April 04, 2001, 08:48 PM

They sit on the terrain properly (well, not really, but it's close enough for me)


April 04, 2001, 10:06 PM

hey man, whats all this complaining about the art? since when did this become an art community? I go to for that...

anyway... the tanks/poor modeling.... I cant say I do any better in 3d studio/blender/milkshape/whatever... guess I'm just incompetent when it comes to that...

the demo did fine on my TNT2, win2k, 192 meg ram.... Only froze a few times because of my mp3 player in the background and my continual pounding on the escape key trying to exit(hint, hint.. took a while to alt-f4 it... then of course I read the readme after I had seen the demo to see that I could of exited using the ~... smart of me, wasn't it?

well, good luck and cya later...


April 04, 2001, 10:21 PM

>The texture is "drawn" on by an artist, but since a) I'm not a good
>artist, and b) It's specified in a separate image file (for now),
>it's not easy to get it to look right.

Instead of "drawing" the textures, have you thought about procedurally generating them using plasmas, Perlin noise and other fractal algorithms? I have seen (and implemented) texture engines this way and the result generally look good - artist touch up can make them even better.

Dean Harding

April 04, 2001, 10:29 PM

You could add "bind esc quit" to the end of config.ini file as well. :)


April 05, 2001, 06:41 AM

The terrain splatting method can work well with TnT2/Voodoo3 level hardware (and probably TnT/Voodoo2) if you work at it a bit, despite what it says in Charle's doc. Although, you can't get the triangles in so much.

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