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5/7/2010 - New HDR Pipeline, Sky/Cloud Rendering, (AWESOME)

 
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dgreen
The One


Joined: 24 Sep 2005
Posts: 6811
Location: Raleigh, NC

PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2010 7:39 am    Post subject: 5/7/2010 - New HDR Pipeline, Sky/Cloud Rendering, (AWESOME) Reply with quote

*COPIED FROM GAMEDEV.NET JOURNAL*

Overview
Alrighty, where to begin...first off I removed my last two entries, I'll try to cover everything that was in those entries here.

I'm not posting these images of my technical works-in-progess for people to extrapolate my design intentions, and critique my methods, design choices, etc. There are 1000 factors behind the scenes ... please understand that I can't always talk publically [ NDA ] about the exact reasons why I'm working TOWARDS something, or posturing my games/technology in a certain way. I don't have the time to explain everything so please keep your 2 cents about my game design decisions to yourself Wink [ unless I ask for it lol [grin] ]

Ok ... that said, I've been too busy on many things...my secondary work machine died on me yesterday. I took it to the shop to have a new HDD and Windows7 OS installed after the issues are fixed, not sure how long it will be. Luckily I have a fleet of computers here so I can continue working on stuff Wink

HDR pipeline rewrite - I've been luggin' around 10,000s of lines of code from 2007 era of my technology. I stripped all that stuff out and rewrote my whole HDR pipeline in a matter of 3-4 days (using what I'd learned since '07). It's much faster now, and I've finally got Multisample Antialiasing (MSAA) working on everything again! This makes me very happy. My tech now uses RGBE format or full 64-bit render targets - the tonemapping and bloom have also been rewritten from ground up.

The hardware requirements for my games are still the same, I've specifically kept my main work-machine's hardware almost unchanged for 3-4 years.

Sky/Cloud Rendering System - So for many years I've been trying to get an interactive / volumetric cloud system into my games. This is such an advanced field it's not exactly trivial to get some great looking clouds rendered especially (IMO) due to all the issues alpha blending presents when combined with transparency, and shadow-mapping. I spent a few days writing he whole volumetric cloud approach, and but was still not satisfied, so I rolled back to a simple billboard approach I've been using for years. It can later be extended to support volumetric clouds using instancing/imposters [ as in the papers by Harris, et. al ]

So here are some screenshots of the dumbed-down cloud rendering system on the new 100km x 100km terrain ... since I removed the last two posts in my journal, I'll type up a bit on the major changes in Armored Warfare after these screenshots...







Changes to Armored Warfare
Thanks to those who helped my test the last few versions of Armored Wafare - I've recently expanded the maps to be (100,000m x 100,000m) verses the old (~2,000m x 2,000m) map sizes. I'm not going to type up all the advantages this has to my games in terms of ability to handle more units at better frame-rates, gameplay enhancements, etc...

The other big change I've made is the addition of a Real-time Strategy mode into the game. Any player in the multiplayer server will be able to give orders to units, or control a unit. There is a rank/hierarchy in-game to prevent griefing, and noobs from ruining the game. This gameplay is similar to Urban Empires ( my gangster game, www.urbanempires.com ). Merging RTS/Action in a large ( 32-64 players ) multiplayer setting. All the netcode, has been written since 2006, I've done-and-redone these systems more times than I care to count - making massive improvements each iteration.

Small changes include things like addition of real-world units [ tanks, ships, jet fighters, etc. ], more realistic maps and scenarios, and a few other things.

Imagine this build of Armored Warfare from 4 months ago, merged with the above landscapes I've developed ^^^^ I can't wait...


Geomipmapping Wireframe
Here is a wireframe overlay of the GPU based terrain rendering system I've written...


Misc Screenshots
Some of the early real-world units in the game...

Here is a wireframe overlay of the GPU based terrain rendering system I've written...

Some older screenshots of the cloud/sky/environment...


Alrighty...I typed that up pretty fast, sorry for any typos ... that was my first *real* journal entry in a while lol.

- Dan
_________________
I run this place.
"Some muckety-muck architecture magazine was interviewing Will Wright about SimCity, and they asked
him a question something like "which ontological urban paridigm most influenced your design of the simulator,
the Exo-Hamiltonian Pattern Language Movement, or the Intra-Urban Deconstructionist Sub-Culture Hypothesis?"
He replied, "I just kind of optimized for game play."

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noobgamer100
Tah Newb


Joined: 08 Mar 2010
Posts: 46

PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2010 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wait....... it has drivable boats? anyways, teh new gameplay.... map... size... whatever looks awesome.... so, now we have x50 bigger maps.... Holy shit.

EDIT: Let's just say the maps are big. i mean huge...
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dgreen
The One


Joined: 24 Sep 2005
Posts: 6811
Location: Raleigh, NC

PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2010 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

noobgamer100 wrote:
Wait....... it has drivable boats? anyways, teh new gameplay.... map... size... whatever looks awesome.... so, now we have x50 bigger maps.... Holy shit.

EDIT: Let's just say the maps are big. i mean huge...


I might have them controllable ... it's really easy to do using the new entity system I wrote a week or two ago. Worst case scenario destroyer will spawn dropships and have AI controlled guns, and the zodiac ( small boat ) will probably be controllable.

Maps are huge, it's great ... only problem will be rendering millions of trees and other foliage Cool I have ideas though ( lots of imposters and instancing )
_________________
I run this place.
"Some muckety-muck architecture magazine was interviewing Will Wright about SimCity, and they asked
him a question something like "which ontological urban paridigm most influenced your design of the simulator,
the Exo-Hamiltonian Pattern Language Movement, or the Intra-Urban Deconstructionist Sub-Culture Hypothesis?"
He replied, "I just kind of optimized for game play."

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noobgamer100
Tah Newb


Joined: 08 Mar 2010
Posts: 46

PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dgreen wrote:
noobgamer100 wrote:
Wait....... it has drivable boats? anyways, teh new gameplay.... map... size... whatever looks awesome.... so, now we have x50 bigger maps.... Holy shit.

EDIT: Let's just say the maps are big. i mean huge...


I might have them controllable ... it's really easy to do using the new entity system I wrote a week or two ago. Worst case scenario destroyer will spawn dropships and have AI controlled guns, and the zodiac ( small boat ) will probably be controllable.

Maps are huge, it's great ... only problem will be rendering millions of trees and other foliage Cool I have ideas though ( lots of imposters and instancing )


hmm.... 2 more things, lol. Are there going to be random generated maps? and is there going to be a level editor like in UE?

NOTE: I guess your entity editor, whatsoever is like on Unreal Engine 3.
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dgreen
The One


Joined: 24 Sep 2005
Posts: 6811
Location: Raleigh, NC

PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

noobgamer100 wrote:
dgreen wrote:
noobgamer100 wrote:
Wait....... it has drivable boats? anyways, teh new gameplay.... map... size... whatever looks awesome.... so, now we have x50 bigger maps.... Holy shit.

EDIT: Let's just say the maps are big. i mean huge...


I might have them controllable ... it's really easy to do using the new entity system I wrote a week or two ago. Worst case scenario destroyer will spawn dropships and have AI controlled guns, and the zodiac ( small boat ) will probably be controllable.

Maps are huge, it's great ... only problem will be rendering millions of trees and other foliage Cool I have ideas though ( lots of imposters and instancing )


hmm.... 2 more things, lol. Are there going to be random generated maps? and is there going to be a level editor like in UE?

NOTE: I guess your entity editor, whatsoever is like on Unreal Engine 3.


Random maps - You can generate your own [ random, or from GIS ] terrain and import it via the level editor. Terrain map sizes are 2049x2049 pixels.

Level Editor - There will be a fully functioanl map editor with both Armored Warfare and Urban Empires. It shares the same camera/interface as the RTS mode, so it's easy to add into the game.

With 'warbots online' ( what I used to call Armored Warfare ), the levels were totlaly randomly generated - and they were kinda boring. I pretty much need the level editor to make interesting levels.
_________________
I run this place.
"Some muckety-muck architecture magazine was interviewing Will Wright about SimCity, and they asked
him a question something like "which ontological urban paridigm most influenced your design of the simulator,
the Exo-Hamiltonian Pattern Language Movement, or the Intra-Urban Deconstructionist Sub-Culture Hypothesis?"
He replied, "I just kind of optimized for game play."

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noobgamer100
Tah Newb


Joined: 08 Mar 2010
Posts: 46

PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 6:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dgreen wrote:
noobgamer100 wrote:
dgreen wrote:
noobgamer100 wrote:
Wait....... it has drivable boats? anyways, teh new gameplay.... map... size... whatever looks awesome.... so, now we have x50 bigger maps.... Holy shit.

EDIT: Let's just say the maps are big. i mean huge...


I might have them controllable ... it's really easy to do using the new entity system I wrote a week or two ago. Worst case scenario destroyer will spawn dropships and have AI controlled guns, and the zodiac ( small boat ) will probably be controllable.

Maps are huge, it's great ... only problem will be rendering millions of trees and other foliage Cool I have ideas though ( lots of imposters and instancing )


hmm.... 2 more things, lol. Are there going to be random generated maps? and is there going to be a level editor like in UE?

NOTE: I guess your entity editor, whatsoever is like on Unreal Engine 3.


Random maps - You can generate your own [ random, or from GIS ] terrain and import it via the level editor. Terrain map sizes are 2049x2049 pixels.

Level Editor - There will be a fully functioanl map editor with both Armored Warfare and Urban Empires. It shares the same camera/interface as the RTS mode, so it's easy to add into the game.

With 'warbots online' ( what I used to call Armored Warfare ), the levels were totlaly randomly generated - and they were kinda boring. I pretty much need the level editor to make interesting levels.


Ok, awesome... Now i wont be asking questions.... before the next update, haha.
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dgreen
The One


Joined: 24 Sep 2005
Posts: 6811
Location: Raleigh, NC

PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 8:11 pm    Post subject: Unique way of rendering clouds... Reply with quote

*COPIED FROM GAMEDEV.NET*
Hey guys, I was working on my cloud system earlier today and decided to rollback to my old billboarded solution ... this is temporary until I get some more time. I have to put all my focus on the gameplay and more important parts of the visuals/engine so I can finally release "Armored Warfare".

Here is how the clouds are looking, I sort of came up with this hack/cheat of improving standard billboarded clouds in the last few hours...


I didn't take any screenshots of the old billboarded clouds, so I'm going to reference this one from my online gangster game [ http://www.urban-empires.com, Urban Empires ]
*This old screenshot is from 2007.


The clouds look 'alright', but I wasn't satifisied because there was really no form of light scattering, or 'silver lining' on the clouds. I was thinking I could possibly fake it using several channels of the billboarded cloud.



Here is the pixel shader code I wrote to render the clouds, very friendly indeed...
Code:

//CloudAtlasSampler = texture contatining clouds
//   Alpha channel = Cloud transparency
//   Red channel = Blurred cloud center darkening value
//   Green channel = Cloud lining/rim value
//   Blue channel = unused / saved for future effects
//Input.Lighting = normal vector of billboarded cloud
//g_SunVector = Sun's worldspace vector
//The "*0.75" "*0.9" are unique color scaling values for my game engine, to

float4 CloudPixelShader( CloudVS_Output Input ) : COLOR
{   
 
   float3 SunColor = float3(1,1,1);
   float4 Texture = tex2D( CloudAtlasSampler, Input.TexCoord.xy );
   float3 RimLighting = abs(dot(g_SunVector, -Input.Lighting))*Texture.ggg*SunColor;
   return float4(((max(0.9,Texture.rrr)*0.75)+(0.5*RimLighting))*0.9,Texture.a);

}



Some pics of the result ... not bad for the nearly non-existant FPS hit. Plus they are lit dynamically, and scroll around the world. This would be a good base to render some truely volumetric clouds over.





And here is a debug shot, to show how low poly and cheap the whole effect is, IMO it looks pretty good, though is obvioulsy not 100% realistic.


Until next time...

- Dan
_________________
I run this place.
"Some muckety-muck architecture magazine was interviewing Will Wright about SimCity, and they asked
him a question something like "which ontological urban paridigm most influenced your design of the simulator,
the Exo-Hamiltonian Pattern Language Movement, or the Intra-Urban Deconstructionist Sub-Culture Hypothesis?"
He replied, "I just kind of optimized for game play."

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