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Submitted by Justin Eslinger, posted on August 27, 2001




Image Description, by Justin Eslinger



The screenshots above are from our recently released tech demo, called "Tropical Storm".

Currently, the engine supports the following :
  • Huge Outdoor Levels.
  • Deformable Terrain; Dig trenches, hide in craters made by artillery fire, etc.
  • Dynamic Skeletal Animation System
  • Multiple Levels of Detail for models
  • Advanced Particle System Effects
  • Advanced Menu System (Including windows, text boxes, etc)
  • Direct Input
  • Direct Sound w/ 3d Doppler Effects and Customizable Effects
  • Direct Show for MP3 playability
  • The story is not finalized yet. Basically, it will involve a variety of realistic scenarios over the course of a campaign. Expect to storm beaches, defend against counter-attacks, and lead offensives.

    This tech demo demonstrates what we have been working on for several months. It suffers from a severe case of programmer art and animation. We are currently looking for students to fill the following positions :
  • 2d Texture Artists
  • 2d Model Skinners
  • 3d Modellers (Experience with bones/MilkShape 3d is a plus)
  • Character Animators
  • Sound Technicians
  • Music Composers
  • We are hoping to have a fully playable game for the Student Showcase in January of 2002.

    Justin "BlackScar" Eslinger
    Project Leader/Character Programmer
    blackcar@ticz.com
    Digital Awe - http://www.impact-gaming.com/digitalawe/
    (Expect a second and final tech demo within a month or so, which will include killing and playing against mutliple players!)


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    Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active. It is here for reference purposes. This thread was created on an older version of the flipcode forums, before the site closed in 2005. Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.
     
    lycium

    August 27, 2001, 02:25 PM

    really impressive stuff, how many guys have you got on the programming team?

    i like your menu system btw, much better than unreal tournament's :)

     
    Cheesehead

    August 27, 2001, 02:30 PM

    Wow, that looks extremely awesome!

    I'll download the demo as soon as possible, and I'll run it as soon as I boot windows :-)

     
    Azaziel

    August 27, 2001, 02:35 PM

    I'll agree that UT's GUI isn't the nicest thing to look at, but that's really only because the skins are rather plain. I think Epic did a really great job on that interface and it deserved the praise it got. While UT's menu system doesn't support nice aesthetic features like transparency, its implementation of most standard widgets and added flexibility of being driven by UnrealScript more than makes up for those superficial flaws.

     
    Giallanon

    August 27, 2001, 02:39 PM

    Wow !!!! Best IOTD IMHO

     
    Megahertz

    August 27, 2001, 02:50 PM

    Bah, just gimme a console. =)

    -=[ Megahertz ]=-

     
    Max

    August 27, 2001, 02:56 PM

    The explosion effect looks awesome.

    Max

     
    Cheesehead

    August 27, 2001, 03:01 PM

    Consoles are nice for debugging the game, but the end user should be provided with a nice interface to the game. So, a combination of both would be ideal in any game.

     
    elikez

    August 27, 2001, 03:09 PM

    It's good, but not the best. You should browse the archives.

     
    Spark

    August 27, 2001, 03:09 PM

    explosion? Do you mean the sunset or the sandstorm? =/
    sorry, i know you said programmers art..

     
    Louis Howe

    August 27, 2001, 03:14 PM

    Haha! I'm guessing that's more of what a real explosion would look like (depending on the explosive). High explosives don't create giant fireballs, do they?

     
    Wim Libaers

    August 27, 2001, 03:41 PM

    If you use a lot, they do create fireballs. But those only are bright for a very short time and then it's just smoke and dust. If you want one that lasts very long, you need a huge quantity. For a really big one, the 100 ton test:
    http://www.fas.org/nuke/hew/Usa/Tests/Trinity.html
    The small explosions with fireballs that burn for several seconds in movies are usually just flammable liquid propelled by black powder.

     
    Pixelish

    August 27, 2001, 03:58 PM

    Nice demo, but do not try to fire into the water with those grenades (?). Got me an instant crash...
    Besides that, really nice. Keep us informed about it.

     
    STZ

    August 27, 2001, 04:24 PM

    WOW ! Looks promising
    Im downloading it in my F: drive, because others are tightly packed with(advanced :) stuff which requires heavy cleaning.

     
    Thunderbird

    August 27, 2001, 04:31 PM

    I just tried it. Very nice!! I especially liked climbing that mountatin and looking down at the terrain. Btw, I shot a gernade into the water against the other guys warning... and nothing bad happened. It just exploded like normal.

    Constructive Critisim

    The model popping is a little obvious, but I think that is due to programmer art.

    A hand on the gun would be nice when in first person mode. The gun just floats in empty air.

    I wanna be able to kill the commando following me;)

    The menu doesn't work for me. I can't see the mouse cursor, and some menus don't show (although the text does).

    A crosshair would be nice for first person mode (and maybe third person mode too).

    You should edit the physics engine for underwater. When I shoot my gernades, they just fall like normal. Also, you might want to blend the screen with a bluish color so that it looks like you are underwater, rather than just flying with a plane of water overhead.

    Just my thoughts, take them or leave them.



     
    .-wXm-.

    August 27, 2001, 04:47 PM

    Love that dust falls from sky when blowing ground..
    One thing.. When throwing a granade in the water the "dust" get blue/white sure thats right but when "diveing" and throwing the "dust" gets brown.. Not to hard to fix i guess but easy to overlook :)..

    The rest looks realy good.. I much like the terrain..

    Keep it up..

     
    BlackScar

    August 27, 2001, 04:58 PM

    Thanks a lot guys! We appreciate all the feedback!

    Lycium - We currently have 3 programmers, including myself, all together.

    Spark - I know, from that picture, the explosion doesn't look the best. I tried to time it just right, but couldn't get any results worthwhile. Besides, I thought the soldier in that specific pic looked interesting :)

    Pixelish - Could you please send me an email describing your computer specs and operating system? I would very much so like to find the root to this problem. Thanks for posting it!

    Thunderbird - Thanks for all the suggestions! I'm working on the new skeletal system right now, so the popping should be a little less of an eyesore. The animations I made for them didn't help either though. :)

    -We'll probably have an arm next time around in first person. We was actually debating on wether to draw the entire model or not (So you could look down at your body). But we're still working on finding a good solution.
    -In the next tech demo, you will be able to kill the guy following you! hehe
    -Could you email me with your graphic card specs?
    -A crosshair is planned as well. We're also trying to think of a good way of doing this. (Since there will be alot of factors when you shoot)

    Again, thanks for all the feedback!
    Later

     
    maddoc

    August 27, 2001, 05:16 PM

    Wow I'm really impressed!

    I Like the changing sun!

    How do you do the deformable terrain?! I just played
    Red Faction and I ask myself how do they do it and how do you
    do it?! maybe the same way?! ;-)

    The potential behind your game is really awesome!

    > "We'll probably have an arm next time around in first person. We was actually debating on wether to draw the entire model or not (So you could look down at your body). But we're still working on finding a good solution"

    My suggestion is to draw just a bitmap as the model in 1st person view, I believe Trepasser did it the same way. That means if you look
    down you see a bitmap of the 3d Model (only the parts you expect to see ;-).

     
    Jeff Quesnelle

    August 27, 2001, 05:56 PM

    Hmm... this comps not GREAT, but I should be able to get better than 1.5 FPS on AMD-K6 2 533 with a VooDoo3.

     
    Revolver

    August 27, 2001, 06:03 PM

    How do you do the deformable terrain?!

    Well, deformable terrain is a special case. It's certainly a lot easier (technically speaking) than Red Faction, since Red Faction has to do some sort of real-time CSG.

    For each node in your terrain, store an offset to the portion of the heightmap it uses. At runtime you can use the locale of the explosion to identify the relevant portion of your heightmap. Darken a small spot on the hightmap, and then regenerate the affected terrain node(s). You might need to handle things differently for CLOD terrain, but that's of no interest to me.

     
    Jonathan Brenner

    August 27, 2001, 08:46 PM

    Hey, I'm one of the programmers (terrain, effects, etc...), and you're right, you should definately not be getting only 1.5 FPS.

    Have you tried setting the bpp in the glwindow.cfg file to 16? That might be the problem, since you have a Voodoo3.

     
    Tristan

    August 27, 2001, 09:35 PM

    very cool stuff... I like the absurbly powerful exploding grenades :o) One thing, with the sun moving... the lighting on the terrain doesn't recaculate. I guess you haven't added that feature on yet..

    When I was developing my LOD engine, I thought about a moving sun, but then I couldn't be bothered and needed to document my program (stupid school)... and then I moved on to looking a dynamic lighting..(main reason, cause I am just another one of those ppl that follow carmack blindly)

    Oh and I forgot I got some exception error somewhere after sometime.. Spec Celeron 533, 268 RAM, GeForce 2 MX.

    Tristan

     
    Kieth Conner

    August 27, 2001, 09:40 PM

    good stuff :)
    I decided to make the mountain a volcano, and started grenading itonce I got up top- after a while. I fell thru the hole, as it wsa so thin.. but I didn't fall far- any movement put me on top of the hill.
    deformable goood :)

     
    Jonathan Brenner

    August 27, 2001, 10:02 PM

    I'm responsible for the terrain, and yeah, you caught me, the terrain lighting is baked into the texture. We left the sun movement in the demo anyway because, well, it looks cool. In the actual game though, the time spent in a mission will probably be short enough that any sun movement won't cause the shadows to look too wrong.

     
    [-WD40-]

    August 28, 2001, 12:24 AM

    Nice to see a demo which is less than 5 mb!! Almost all commercial demos now average the 60mb if not 100mb...I'm on cable but still...come on! optimize!. One word, ..well 2... WELL DONE!

     
    Raspberry

    August 28, 2001, 05:35 AM

    but... its sooo slow.. ;)
    okay, i dont mean to be picky, but when the game runs at 120fps, i would expect the GUI to run at a frame rate, at worst a quarter that rate. When i move windows round in UT gui on my machine, it seems to look more like 3-5fps :(
    Dunno if this is just me, but i was expecting something with the same response as a linux window manager (cos there is no GDI overhead).

     
    LordDaha

    August 28, 2001, 05:52 AM

    I don't think it's the purpose of the game, but :

    Try this : start shooting craters at the edge of the water and gradualy move away from the water. This way you can dig yourself a river :-)

    Or : How deep can you go, just shooting grenades at your feet.

    But seriously now, the demo definitly has some potential.

     
    Flous

    August 28, 2001, 06:33 AM

    Hi,

    Nice tech demo man, I really love it.
    One thing I'ld like to note though, is that there are black lines across the terrain (presumably from the lightmaps).
    I actually think I know why this is. :) I have a Radeon 32 DDR, who's drivers implement Opengl very thouroughly, Meaning that in Clamp-mode the texture-border color is taking into account when filtering the texture. By default this color is set to 0.0, 0.0, 0.0, 0.0 (completely black) which is why I see some black lines.

    The solution is actually very simpel: Use the following extensions in stead of GL_CLAMP as your texture parameter -> GL_CLAMP_TO_EDGE
    This extension is available if "GL_EXT_texture_edge_clamp" is in the glExtensions-string. I think you should always use this extensions when available, because you never know how future cards might make their gl-implementation. Cards ARE supposed to do it like the Radeon does, so take that into account.

    Greetz, Flous

     
    Peter Mackay

    August 28, 2001, 08:26 AM

    I tried it at home last night, and you can dig very far!

    I ended up floating in space!

     
    defor

    August 28, 2001, 08:56 AM

    hello! nice IOTD! i read your project 'features' and it sounds impressive. anyway, would you explain us what means that 'Dynamic Skeletal Animation System'?
    i haven't seen your program running, though. i've got no appropriate configuration here (just only P200MMX, Voodoo3, 64MB).
    Dynamic means you're recomputing skeleton configuration dynamically (real-time) based on physical laws?

     
    Punchey

    August 28, 2001, 09:03 AM

    Yes, grenades and such are very brief flashes and a very brief, loud bang/pop followed by a bunch of dust/dirt/whatever is nearby hanging in the air. Even very large explosives (more than you'd use in a grenade) are this way. You're right when you say that the fireballs you see in movies are mostly just burning liquid and are usually not the least bit realistic. My hat's off to the guys who created the explosion effect in this game. It's very good indeed! The dirt really looks like real dirt hanging in the air!

     
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