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Submitted by Olivier ZEGDOUN, posted on January 14, 2002

Image Description, by Olivier ZEGDOUN

These screenshots are taken from the game "De profundis" I just started 6 months ago. It is supposed to end as an action adventure simulator where the player takes the role of a submarine pilot in an underwater universe. It's a kind of "Elite" under the sea : do commerce and make profit, or be a pirate and steal (but in this case, watch the patrols). Upgrade your hull, equipment, weapons, and engage in non-linear random adventure.

A demo is available at

Some technical highlight:
  • OpenGL for the graphics, DirectSound (did you hear a whale ?) and DirectInput (with universal device mapping configurator available)
  • Brute force terrain algorithm with frustum culling (quicker and nicer than ROAM or CLOD on my GeForce3 so I stopped trying) "Infinite" terrain : the relief is repeating every 4096x4096 tiles, but not the object contents.
  • true 6 DOF flight model (I use quaternions to avoid the "Gimbal Lock" problem relative to Euler angles) : looping available ! (you better have a Joystick here) and nice HUD
  • Fast sphere-tri collision detection with tri-tri detection when necessary
  • Particule system (explosion, torpedoes trail)
  • This should be considered as a pre-alpha version since there is nothing exciting to do yet except feeling the ambiance, shooting some torpedoes, and going back to the base for reloading...


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    January 14, 2002, 11:47 AM

    looks cool, sounds great (the specs, not the wale;)) i'll download possibly the demo sometimes to test, but i dunno, my pc is shitty.. can't wait for my new one..


    January 14, 2002, 11:51 AM

    Good visuals. The texture on the black ship, however, isn't looking very good, especially when compared to the surroundings.

    I liked the idea of an underseas Elite :) BTW, in Elite you had to watch for patrols too. And you could sell illegal merchandise (drugs, weapons, even slaves). So the main options were merchant/pirate/drug-weapon-slaves dealer :)

    I will test the demo when I'm home. Keep up the good work.

    Kurt Miller

    January 14, 2002, 11:54 AM

    That's a pretty nice demo. The radar is particularly cool! It ran well on my P3-500, TNT2 32MB. Sticking with it for 6 months is definitely impressive; I hope you see it through to completion. It looks like it could be a really cool game.

    Jeff Olson

    January 14, 2002, 12:07 PM

    wow, i'm going to give the demo a try when I get back from my classes today but it looks amazing from the screenies!

    Jam Sandwich

    January 14, 2002, 12:42 PM

    That is really really cool - the radar is the best thing I've seen for ages

    Olivier Zegdoun

    January 14, 2002, 12:48 PM

    I am currently working on a loader that will import texture as well as model, the ship is not textured at all yet (except for the water caustic effect), should be done soon ;-)

    For the patrols, you will definitely have to avoid them if you decide to trade slave (don't forget to pressurize the cargo area if you don't want them to become fertilizer (yuck...)), or drugs.
    Or if you foget to pay the rental of your ship (yes, rental will be available too ;-)

    Thank you for the nice feedback.

    Jason Kozak

    January 14, 2002, 01:01 PM

    Very nice! Looks great, runs great (doesn't dip below 100fps on my 1.33/256/GF2GTS), and the sound is stunning to say the least (how did you get such great sounds for a personal project?).

    Your HUD design is excellent too. I really like the zoom.

    The Legend

    January 14, 2002, 01:16 PM


    Well, at least when it isn't as crappy as Aquanox :)

    Good Work! I hope it will be a complete game someday!


    January 14, 2002, 01:17 PM

    Looks very nice indeed!
    What do you use to cull your terrain? Do you use a quadtree/octree?
    And how do you make the terrain repeat infinitely?

    Olivier Zegdoun

    January 14, 2002, 01:23 PM

    Thank you for the nice feedback.
    The terrain rendering is very simple indeed :
    I have a heightmap in memory, then I render the terrain from :
    for x = GPOS.x - visibility to GPOS.x + visibility
    for z = GPOS.z-visibility to GPOS.z + visibility
    where GPOS is the current player position in the world
    then for each terrain square, I run a frustum view culling test with the average height of the square (SphereInFrustum test)
    That's it !

    To repeat the terrain indefinitely, it is just a modulo on the coordinate on the x and z (y being the height) to get the corresponding y in th eheight map array.


    Olivier Zegdoun

    January 14, 2002, 01:28 PM

    Hehe, thanks !
    I agree : i have been waiting for AquaNox so long and I have been SO disappointed by it (I was a great fan of "Archimedean Dynasty").

    Why is there no roll and this -90 / +90 movement limit (they use Euler angle I guess, not quaternion) for the "flight" model.
    It is so short and linear : no free mission (like in Privateer or AD), no commerce available, and where are the turrets ;-) (I loved spending time to equip my sub with powerfull turrets and guiding software)

    Well, I realized the only solution was to develop my own game then, instead of waiting for someone to do it one day ;-)


    Olivier Zegdoun

    January 14, 2002, 01:33 PM

    Thank you very much.

    I grabbed sounds here and there on the internet, and reworked them with GoldWave (using mainly a low frequency band filter) to give them an "underwater" touch.

    I'm waiting for someone to record some voice now since my english accent sucks ;-) (I'm french)


    Wim Libaers

    January 14, 2002, 01:36 PM

    Very nice. Immediately reminded me of Subwar 2050, must be the planes under water effect. Are you also planning to have real missions, or just trade/smuggle scenario's? Multiplayer?
    Also, how are you going to do the weapons and sensors? Realistic style or more like a spacesim?

    Rasmus Christian Kaae

    January 14, 2002, 01:48 PM

    Those ships look like airplanes ;-) Otherwise it looks nice!


    January 14, 2002, 02:08 PM

    After the air and space, underwater is another great opportunity for 6DOF. I like it. :)

    The graphics are great! Lovely ripples and the HUD is great.

    One thing though: are you supposed to be able to travel way faster than torpedoes?


    January 14, 2002, 02:16 PM

    Looks like Archimedean Dynasty to me. The only game I ever used my joystick with. Was fun. Suffered from a 1D plot though - an elite concept would definitely be an improvement there.

    Wim Libaers

    January 14, 2002, 02:40 PM

    Nice zoom (although I don't see the point of using that Dragunov-style range estimator when you have sonar ranging).
    And after banging the sub hard enough, you don't shoot straight anymore. Also some problems with collision detection, it's possible to get stuck.
    Do you have a sea surface? I tried going up at full speed, but didn't get out of the water. Or perhaps I didn't wait long enough?
    Oh, by the way, I mentioned Subwar 2050 earlier, it's here
    I wouldn't expect it to run on a modern OS, but the manual (also available there) might provide some ideas ;-)

    Olivier Zegdoun

    January 14, 2002, 02:46 PM

    Well, I intend to put a speed limit in order to be able to fire a torpedoe first (if you want to let a chance to the torpedoe to leave the tube).
    Next, the speed of the sub will be decreased (unless you use supercavitation over 60 mph), and the speed of the torpedoe will be increased, but depending on it's type.



    Olivier Zegdoun

    January 14, 2002, 02:51 PM

    Don't tell anybody yet but you may be able to surface and transition from submarine to airplane. Watch your speed though when going back underwater to avoid a big Splash ;-)

    This is only some of the high spec available subfighter. The first one you will be able to rent (not even purchase) will more look like an ugly box with one helix !



    January 14, 2002, 03:17 PM

    I really like the radar with height information!
    Keep up the good work!


    January 14, 2002, 03:20 PM

    Looks nice, love the sound fx.

    Just a thought, maybe it would be even more atmospheric if you have shallow and deep areas, and change the lighting to give the depths a cold dark forebidding look and make the shallows brighter and friendlier.

    Keep up the good work!


    January 14, 2002, 03:34 PM

    I tried it out on my TNT expecting it to be more of a slide show since you decided to go with the brute force terrain. Surprisingly it ran very well, typically over 40 FPS. I'll offer a few critiques about some things that appear to need addressing.

    1. The ship model pokes through the terrain a rather significant amount when colliding.

    2. The caustics on the ship don't match up well to the caustics on the terrain, and relatedly, the caustics appear to move with the ship rather than the ship moving through the caustics.

    3. On a few collisions I actually went through the terrain, and saw things from beneath the terrain before being snapped back.

    4. Would be nice to actually be able to surface. :p

    5. What do the varying colors on the terrain sonar mean?

    6. How can I find the base again when I've moved far away and become disoriented?

    Some of these are likely obvious to you I know. :) Overall, great job!

    Olivier Zegdoun

    January 14, 2002, 03:44 PM

    I see you know your stuff ;-)
    I borrowed the dragunov style idea from a HitMan screnshot ;-)
    In fact, it is not very usefull here, I will rework it.

    Could you indicate me where you did get stuck ? (was it in the base docking doors ?), I got trouble finding a good way or boucing clear of obntacle.


    Olivier Zegdoun

    January 14, 2002, 03:53 PM

    Glad you didn't get a slidesjow on a TNT ;-) Just curious, in which resolution did u try ?

    1. in external view you mean ? If so, yes beacuse I use a Sphere collision detection for the moment instaed of the true ship model. under construction here...

    2. Right : I need the caustic effect to "slide" on th ehull when moving the ship : I have no idea on how to do it, maybe texture matrix transformation (using a translation on texcoord ??) I will give it a try...

    3. In external view probably yes (I don't what to do since the camera is behind the sub, and then could be below the groundlevel). In pilot view : this shouldn't occur (if it does, let me know, I will increase the frustum view margin)

    4. Don't tell anybody yet, but I intend to add a transition from submarine to airplane for some subs. No surface yet though...

    5. As in Commanche : RED is ground level higher than your current position (potential collision warning), ORANGE is same height level, and GREEN is below your height level (you're clear)

    6. Zoom out the radar map (Home/End by default), when unzoomed at the maximum, you should be able to lacte that little blue spot and go home safely. Otherwise, you're lost... (i will add a waypoint system soon)

    Thank you for your nice feedback,


    January 14, 2002, 04:25 PM

    very very cool... i just think a optional 3rd person view and some better keyboard based controls would be nice :-)

    and yes, the radar rocks

    Wim Libaers

    January 14, 2002, 04:29 PM

    There are several points where you can get stuck. The most reliable by far is the other sub. Increase speed to maximum and smash into the rear of the other guy. That always works. Very hard to get out of that.
    The underwater base is another good place. Very odd, sometimes collision detection works well, at other times I can just go straight through the yellow-black poles or get a significant part of the ship driven into a wall before a collision occurs. The angle of impact seems to matter, going straight often doesn't work, but odd movement angles tend to be more successful. However, in these cases it's rather easy to get out. When stuck in the other sub, it took some effort to get loose, perhaps because of the complexity of the model.

    You could fix this, or just make the sub explode when it goes to far into something else (makes sense). Or rebound violently, if you want very strong subs. Bouncing away will get harder in cramped locations though, when you bounce away from one thing only to end up into another. It's a complicated problem, one simplification is, if a collision happens, to move back in time to the first point of contact and decide behaviour from there.

    And for texture coordinate generation applied to underwater caustics:

    By the way, I was playing this on a P3 450MHz, 384MB RAM, TNT2 Ultra, at 1027x768. Got about 40fps, remaining the same with textures on or off. Good performance.


    January 14, 2002, 04:36 PM

    oops.... i found the 3rd person view.... it has some clipping problems though, still nice. Also wanted to report a speed profile:

    my system:
    AMD XP 1600+ (1.4 ghz)
    Windows XP Home
    512 DDR RAM

    constant 110 FPS at
    1600 x 1200 x 32
    Distant Visability: 500
    Plankton Density: 80%

    Very very nice, keep up the good work.. .FIX THOSE CONTROLS!


    January 14, 2002, 04:49 PM

    That's shaping up into something looking fairly professional. Good work.

    I was just wondering if you could point me to a resource that discusses the fast sphere-tri collision algo you used, and quite possibly the tri-tri collision algo.

    Again, good work, it's looking great!


    January 14, 2002, 04:51 PM

    I ran it at 640x480 @ 32 bpp, on a 700MHz Duron with Win98.


    January 14, 2002, 05:32 PM

    Nice demo.

    Looks good. Really like the sounds.

    Only had two problems, The controls didn't seem to work unless I specifacly click the "Configur" button before playing. And also when I used a screen resolution higer than my desktop the Start bar (or what ever the heck you call that thing) appears in the middle of the screen and doesn't go away.

    I have an 700 AMD Athalon with a GF3 running Windows 98.

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