So, first thing’s first–let’s get right to the videos This first one is just a “tour” of the various surface types I worked on during this first pass of celestial art
This next one shows a quick “time lapse” of the shader-driven, procedural terrain and how it can be manipulated in real time:
Thanks to Michael for putting some audio to these! I have to say, while there are aspects I’m not happy with yet, and considering the extreme torture I put myself through taking to both learn GLSL and create these at the same time, I’m pretty pleased with the overall results. One thing I’m not happy with is the clouds for the terrestrial planet–they seem a bit out of scale and don’t yet have the swirling, cyclonic motion you’d expect. I’ll probably devote the second pass mainly to this.
All that said, one thing that was quickly obvious when everything was up and running–the new art really helped to provide a sense of “place”. I was no longer moving around in some WIP game art. I quickly had the feeling that I was floating above some strange planet in my tiny little ship. That first segment in the first vid is almost vertigo inducing. Both of these are good feelings to have. Michael said it really well when he saw the footage for the first time, “I think this is the first time the game has felt like it’s a real tactile thing.” I have to agree, and it feels really good to see things slowly pulling together….
So, what exactly happened to me these past few weeks. You’ll notice I was rather absent–more than usual anyway. Well, the help I thought I would have didn’t pan out, so I really had to dive into the shader code myself. This was really new territory for me. The problem with learning as you go is that as you learn new things you have to continuously go back and revised what you’ve already done. This was me over and over again. I must have re-worked these shaders five or six times. It was a constant backtrack.
Then, when I started getting them in the sim I realized they were running REALLY slow. I’m talking 30FPS down from 130 slow. So, I had to go BACK into them and figure out how to optimize these procedural noise generators. I’m happy to say I have things running above 100FPS again; but I KNOW there is more speed to be found. This is why I want to find a really good shader artist to have go at them at some point. In any case, everything worked out; but I think I’ve had no more than 3 or 4 hours of sleep every night for the past two weeks to make sure it all got done on time.
And now, a surprise–the Oculus Rift is now supported! The good news is that I didn’t have to do any code. Leadwerks integrated the Rift on their end, which means they maintain it and we reap the reward. All I had to do was add a player option to check for a connected Rift. If one is found it is then used, else I revert back to the montior. Now, I haven’t actually tested with the Rift yet as I’ve had no time. I’m told it will just work though. I’m certain that’s not completely true. For example, I’ll need to override my mouse-look code if a Rift is detected, etc, etc. All of this is on my end though and should only take a few hours to sort out once I get my DK1 Rift hooked up. The Leadwerks folks used a DK2 for their development, but I’m told either will work. I’ll get you some more details once I have a chance to try it myself….
Also, a bit of news as we get closer to the first Alpha. For Alpha we will be using ISI’s commerce system (same system they used to release rFactor2). We plan on taking the final release to Steam, too (and maybe even the Beta if all goes well with Alpha), but we want to keep the early release a bit more subdued. While it’s become common practice to sell early access to the masses, I kind of feel like that would hinder the efforts of the folks who REALLY want to help. I need direct communication with people without having to wade through a sh*t ton of BS to get it. If you come to ISI to get it it’s because you really want to have a look at RogSys and hopefully will better know what you’re getting into. I mean, it won’t alleviate the issue completely, but it will help.
Regardless, if some of the early adopters later want a Steam key I’ll make sure you get one. That said, ISI’s system has auto-updates and is very unobtrusive so it’s a good option to get us started.
Otherwise, that’s about all for now. I’m sure there’s more that I’ll think of after I’m not so tired, but that’s for tomorrow As always, comments are welcomed and I’ll be happy to chat about anything I posted above…
Take it easy…