I finally finished my contest entry the Cove, links to download and give it a try at the bottom of this post. I would have loved more time to work on it but the contest deadline was a nice way to ensure the project got completed.
Overall I’m happy with the outcome, I had a few memory usage hiccups in the final weeks of the project that ate up a lot of time.
I recorded 27min walk through video of a play through I did a few days before submission, start to finish. This video is a massive spoiler, there are many parts of the game I don’t shown off as it ruins the magic of discovery, they are all in here, so if you plan on playing the game through, please dont spoil the experience by looking at the video, but for rest of you and those just curious, here ’tis:
NB: You will need a fairly recent graphics card to run this, if it crashes during loading, you could try the ‘netbook’ pre-set, or most people have luck by starting with ‘normal settings then setting ‘Variations: off’ and ‘Fish Count: low’ (this should bring the RAM requirement under 1gb which is where most crashes occur). I’m sorry if it doesn’t run for you, I did as much optimising and compatibility testing as the time allowed.
Over the last couple of days I have been doing a bunch of work on the Cove: adding a fair wack of core game play elements as well as integrating video recording, which I used to capture the first gameplay footage to come out of the Cove. Here is some of the media I produced the last couple of days:
tweaked Depth Of Field results
various progress update screen shots
(best viewed in at 720p)
This afternoon I completely overhauled the lighting, textures and water effects, giving a much brighter and more vibrant look, I hope to push this feel firther over the next couple of days:
For a full list of changes see my WIP thread on the jMonkeyEngine forums.
It’s been a fair while since my last post, mostly owing to two signifigant events :
a 10 day holiday in Fiji
leaving my full time job of over 10 years to focus on game development.
But to the Cove… the guys over at jMonkeyEngine launched a competition to create a new game in the newly release jME3 Beta, which I hope enter ‘the Cove’, which has been inspired by my time scuba diving in Fiji, snorkling the Red Sea, watching Finding Nemo 1000 times and the breif work I did on the Reef a while back. As per the competition rules, I have started a WIP thread on the forums, which you could look at to see more indepth progress reports and discussions, however I will endevour to post updates here also.
some early progress screenshots taken from my WIP Thread
The competitions runs until the end of December, at which time I will shift focus back to mTheoryGame and possibly exploring the mobile platforms for income oportunities… I now need to start finding ways to make some coin to fund my game development career= )
I’ve been working on a material pattern for post isolation, its not finished yet, but so far… with a simple tweak, any material can have post filters applied to it alone rather than the entire scene. It can be used to blur only some items in a scene, use volumes to define where fog is to be draw, it’s a cornerstone of soft particles, and can be used for a post glass shader.
The scene setup above is 10 randomly placed blue cubes, and a semi transparent yellow cube that is using a very simple post filter, it offsets the scene x by 0.05%. Even with such a simple test setup it has the beginnings of a decent glass type effect.
Also I’ve been playing bags of Gears3, but since the multiplayer is horribly broken I’m finding more time to dev again ;)
I wrote a dissolve shader to use in mTheroyGame, and shared it with the jME community, this is all the supporting documention I drew up. It’s a bit of an insight into behind the scenes of working on the game. Documentation takes far longer than developing of the shader itself but its just part of development.
The Dissolve Shader uses a simple grey scale image as an animated mask to hide a material. It’s internal workings are deviously simple but immensely powerful.
Last night after I got home from dinner I threw 2 more hours at the prototype, making it a 12 hour project, which is a good round number to leave it. The extra 2 hours were really needed, and went into user input – ‘wiggle’ the mouse to swim and look around, both fish use the same mesh, the blue fish has differnt colour values and is interpolating between two sets of different characteristic parameters (position + size of eyes, size of body etc…). – I wasted so long building the fish it was a shame to not show at least a little of how it can be used. I have a 3rd set of values that look like a hammer head shark, but I had some scaling issues and I didn’t have time to fix it.
At 8am this am I started a fresh project with a simple idea after being inspired by a movie. I finished up 10 hours later with procedural coral, and geometrically and visually configurable (from within the game) fish (face size shape, eyes, head, body proportions, fin size and size, tail size and shape) These can be set at runtime and used to generate random species. Basic colour tweaking.
I didn’t get time to do any gameplay, but thats ok, it was interesting to see where an idea can end up in a day, I never set out to make anything in particular.
I’ve been doing some work on beefing up particles, I would like to use them for a bunch more stuff so some enhancements are on the cards.
All the info is really in the video, make sure you watch at 720p.
Performance is virtually the same as the standard particle. At high FPS (800+) the new particles tend to be 3%-5% slower, but are far less susceptible to frame rate drops, and over time end up running faster. BUT …. this level of performance probably won’t stand up by the time I have finished all the enhacements.
I was going to wait until I had finished completely to share this but its ended up taking a lot of time, so an WIP update video it is, so I can feel like I have actually accomplished something.
In the mad rush to plug a few bugs in the First Alpha before it went live, I pulled out a bunch of features, which I’m now in the process of putting back in : rain + wet ground, fixed up Universe charge spheres, and numerous weapon effects among others I can’t think of right now. I have also added a few new features, most notably the neon trail effect from the menu screen and a new lighting gun (with projectile collision mesh the size of a cannon ball to temporarily address some CCD issues).
There are a few more features I would like to improve over the weekend then at some point in the next couple of days I will apply another feature freeze, address a couple of known ATI driver issues and low end machine compatibility, then the Second Alpha will be ready to launch.