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Re: DirectX
Buzz created Re: DirectX on Wed Oct 23, 2002 6:51 pm
i think we should start coming up with ideas for the maps

[ October 23, 2002: Message edited by: Buzz ]

Beroc-Lord_of_Destruction on Thu Oct 24, 2002 2:50 am
Further Explanation....

Someone might want to keep a record of this....

Independent Map pieces

OK... basically... here is an example of what I am talking about... Here are 4 map squares... let's call em h00,h00 h00,h01 h01,h00 and h01,h01.... each piece... though it doesn't quite look like it... is 1000 meters squared.

In order for the map part to work... each piece has to match... exactly the piece beside it... if not... you leave holes....(I hate holes) Any road, or valley, or river... must transfer exactly from part to part. The red Verts along the sides show how they would have to be exact.... course.. it helps if you create large sections at a time using Max or something. but parts can be generated in just about any program... we just have to keep track of maps and stuff... so that everything remains clean...

Basics of a MAP file format....

Byte-Number of materials
Matieral code
)per number of materials

byte-Object Count(3 for map pieces)
byte-object type(1 is mesh, 16 is references, 17 for lights)

(for meshes)
byte-name length
string-name at byte length
byte-number of LOD's (1) for maps
integer-number of vertices(max 65535)
(vertices data)*integer
integer-number of faces(max 65535)
(faces data)*integer
) per LOD

(for references)
integer-number of references(max 65535)
byte-filename length
string-File name at byte length

(for lights)
integer-number of lights(max 65535)
light data

OK... for the moment... I am gonna assume all materials are bmp's, and you can have more then one bmp per material... so you can have things like alpha maps, and bump maps... though I am not quite sure if that is possible yet.

As far as a reference.... It is a pointer to another 3d file... like a building... or tree, or something like that. So you would have the opportunity to use the same building or tree over and over again... Some code will probably have to be implemented to tell what the basic properties of that reference is... like weather it can be knocked down or moved in some manner, or special properties.

At some point, I will build a bunch of scripts into Max 5 to handle the setups of maps and refernces...

Other points....
Given that a map can be a maximum of 256x256 units, maps can be exceedingly large. It is a good point that we will be foreced by the GRD file to limit our map sizes.... We are forced to a paultry 4 gig max size per MAP file.... so use it wisely......(LOL... sounds like overkill, but it isnt if we create a 256x256 map... that roughly comes out to 64k per square)

OK... some decisions will have to be made about maps.... The GRD file will not limit the low side... other then the map cannot be 0 in width or hieght.... Do we make one big map... so that people have to go from one city to another to complete tasks, or a single map per quest or sieries of quests... It depends for load time, and going back and forth to a menu screen.... How in depth are we gonna get with quests.... or will it be an open architecture? Will our character, or characters go from one city to try to assasinate a leader, or will he have the ability to raid convoys.... if so... what will he get? how will he get it? How do we figure out if a quest is completed....

Wow... so many questions... so little time...

Beroc-Lord_of_Destruction on Thu Oct 24, 2002 4:32 am
I am about to become the most vaunted person on the forums.....

What I have to say may come as a shock, or suprise.... One of the things I kinda pride myself on is solving problems.... And Low... a problem has really surfaced.... We are without a programmer. Not that I am suggesting that I will program, but I will do some other things.... Learn DirectX is one of em.... but that isn't the point.... What I am gonna do is to figure out the best, fastest method to have "Our" game talk to DirectX, and devise a method of displaying meshes in a timely fashion.

That being said, here is one soloution, which should work very nicely... if not suprise all of you c2 players for just how easy maps can be done....

GRD file format: Short for Grid, this format will simply give locations in memory where various parts of a map are stored....

  • Byte-Gives the maximum X coordinates for a map.... from 0 width to 255 width...(this breaks down to 0-255000 meters) Each unit here is 1000 meters
  • Byte-Gives the maximum y coordinates for a map.... from 0 width to 255 width...(this breaks down to 0-255000 meters) Each unit here is 1000 meters
  • for each x,y coordinate-
    __(4 Byte Pointer-points to a memory location for a map piece.(a location in a file which tells what is there))

I know looks complicated.... But it isn't really... rather simple... but..... here is what it does....

OK... here is 9 map coordinates givin in Hex code... real simple to follow.... Hex goes from 0 to 15 but the numbers 10-15 are replaced with the letters a-f. So... this map shows location 127,127 to 129,129... or h7f,h7f to h81,h81... same thing.

Say you are right smack dab in the middle of map h80,h80, and you move north.... to map h80,h7f.... the game will dump the memory for grids h7f,h81 , h80,h81 and h81,h81 and load the map locations of h7f,h7e , h80,h7e and h81,h7e... giving the illusion of a huge map... while only showing polygons for 9 map squares.

What does this mean? Well it means that we have a "scrolling" map. The viewer doesn't have to be bogged down with loading an entire map.... or loading at all past the first part. You can have seamless entry from city to city, or city to underground, or where ever.

It also means that we need to be particularly cautious about dumping alot of information into any 9x9 area.... But reasonably speaking... would anyone like to play on a map that spans nearly 100 times the size and quality of C2's largest map?

Buzz on Thu Oct 24, 2002 12:53 pm
sounds like before we do anything else on the game we need to have a brainstorm session and right the script
PumaY2K on Thu Oct 24, 2002 10:02 pm
Buzz is absolutely right... we only have that staring story Dean wrote... but we dont know anything else about the game... I believe that that should be done first...
Beroc-Lord_of_Destruction on Thu Oct 24, 2002 11:21 pm
heh... wonder if we could take this is a more productive sense.....

First... develop the overall concept... Who is the protagonist, who is the Antagonist.... What the overall goals are, and how rigid they need to be...

Does our guy have to save the wrold.... or can he be the cause of it's demise... or worse.... does he loose his penis..... These things we have to know.....

Then we get the basic concepts of the places he needs to go.... Or does he need to go anywhere.... Is he a rouge, or a hero?

Next.... do we mooch the idea from RPG's that says... hey... you can make your own character... how he looks,the color of his/her hair... and even race. And we simply tag in color or new bitmaps for these things. Or do we spend alot of time making one character look really good? Is it a "He" or a "She" we are talking about? Do we need to tell a good story here? How intrensic is the storyline.... I got to playing Neverwinter nights.... the story is pretty open, but you still have a set goal to finish the game.... Or, do we just go for the build your money, buy new stuff arcade style? As a matter of fact here is the best question of all.... "Are we making an arcade game, or a RPG?" Has that even been decided? We have spent so much time building a bunch of objects that we neglected to figure out just what we are building....

After those decisions... we need artwork... maps of artwork... designs, drawings.... Stuff that is plausable for where our player is. Cities... Characters.... And that stuff.... You guys already spent a ton of time building cars.... Don't know at the moment how the engine will take it all, but I am thinkin there should have been some guidelines which said.... here is what our engine can do... here is what we need to produce. Unless we get some great programmer, I have a feeling we are gonna be stuck with a pretty slow engine...

Speaking of cars..... And everyone's gonna hate me, but it is one of the most logical ways of doing things in games.... GTA3 uses damage replacement, and Level of Detail to achieve a fast paced clean looking game.... I am wondering if that kind of approach may prove to be better in the longrun for the game. If so... I have a sinking feeling that most of the models already made will conflict heavily with that concept.

While we are on the engine subject... Who is programming this thing anyhows?

Well... till tommorrow....

Buzz on Thu Oct 24, 2002 11:48 pm
Speaking of cars..... And everyone's gonna hate me, but it is one of the most logical ways of doing things in games.... GTA3 uses damage replacement, and Level of Detail to achieve a fast paced clean looking game.... I am wondering if that kind of approach may prove to be better in the longrun for the game. If so... I have a sinking feeling that most of the models already made will conflict heavily with that concept

i aint got a clue what that means, how should we make them?

Beroc-Lord_of_Destruction on Fri Oct 25, 2002 6:06 pm
Well... I don't quite know that one yet.... we designed it all to work with c2, but c2 wont be the engine we use... unless we do a t/c... but I feel that wouldn't be too marketable...

So the question of how do we build tracks... and cars and all... depends on the engine, not whims..... We could all say.. yeah.. that could work... but until we have guidelines on how to build it all.. we are a bit limited on idea space.... that is why I simply say... get the ideas out on the board... find a programmer who is willing to work with it first....

Buzz on Fri Oct 25, 2002 9:36 pm
ok we need to get ahold of xar or viod then, anyone got any ideas?
User avatar
Deep_Blue on Fri Oct 25, 2002 10:55 pm
Hmm... Sounds like finally somebody who knows his shit has laid alla the cards out on the table.
Now I don't know jack from programming and I could only get a bit of a grip on the hex part of what ya said Beroc, but I DO kinda get a handle on the basic concept of the way yer describing the maps. In a sideways kinda way.
I think we need some input from JP on what kinda gameplay he is looking for here.
Those are damn good points.
We've all been making vehicles, but I dunno if anybody's made or attempted a map yet.
What kinda layout are ya speaking of for the vehicles?
(That's kinda my venue here..)
More Like TDR setup?
Like C1?
(Where most of the detail is texture-involved?, I mean-I've heard here and there on the different forums that certain parts of cars don't really have to be made 'cause they're not really visible anyways in-game because either the resolution isn't high enuf or the action is so fast-paced that ya really don't have time to notice that the radio has modeled knobs on it or not..).
You described how TDR cars are skinned/modeled once on the TDR forum and it seemed remarkably similar to how C1 cars are modeled/skinned-not quite the same, but similar as in how the main textures are mapped to the model.
Or do us car makers need to adopt a totally different modeling style?
I mean-I'm shit at 3DS Max so far as I've not had a lot of time to play with it much.
I still pretty much model everything in CarEd.....
If there's a problem with the way the cars are done-what's a better way? And would all of us be capable of doing it that way without having to take a month or three downtime to learn new software or whatnot?
JP, we need some outlines here, methinks....B's right-how is the game gonna play?
***When I die may I be surrounded by scattered chrome and burning gasoline***
Beroc-Lord_of_Destruction on Sat Oct 26, 2002 1:11 am
good questions....

As far as how TDR looks at things is probably more compatible with directx then c2... When you build a car for c2, you build verts and polys, the same as tdr, but tdr adds data concerning something called a normal. Normals are a smooth coating on a polygon... this can transfer from one poly to another creating a smooth apearance. This affects refletion and shading. Much more akin to how c2 does the reflection mapping, but a ton more efficient in game.

I don't as yet know the boundaries DX8.1a does, but you would have to think... this is the new stuff.... why not use it.

As far as how I think things should be... TDR does do a good job of one thing... they are called LOD's...or level of detail. Before the game is made, you must decide how the geometry works.... how the engine interprates different things. one of them is initial images... do they appear in good detail close up, and, to save drawtime, simple models far off.... and how many "levels" are there... For practicle purposes... say we have 10 cars on screen, say these are 10 ADR class cars at 7k polys each... along with 15k polys of scenerey... that comes out to 85k polys... now... what is the rate at which the engine draws... say our computer draws at 400k polys a second... (yeah the card says 3.2 billion, but that is 3.2 billion untextured polygons, textured ones take much more time) Now.. lets look at frame rate... um... 400/85 is roughly 4.7 frames per second... well... just try to watch a video at 4.7 frames a second... and it will suck bigtime...
Change that up though... say we have 3 cars in front at 7k polys, 3 at level 2 at 3k polys and 4 at level 3 at 1k polys plus 10k polys for scenery... (consideing that scenery also has LOD's)... now that is 400/43... which is 9.7 frames per second....
Well that is part of the point... but say we limit our models at level 1 to 3k polys, 2 at 2k polys and 3 at 800 polys... imagine now what the framerate does... Level of Detail Rocks... Having every little nut on the engine looks great, and if you know you did it, that is awesome, but it kills framerate.... C2 and TDR also calculate distortion across these meshes too... causeing framerates to drop even further, or worse... cause the game to crash. And that is all vert data... C2 actually does a better job then TDR cause c2 doesn't calculate smoothness... less to do at render time.

As far as how to layout a car.... Personally, I would limit them out as low as you can get away with... then make a level 2 with far less polywork, and a level 1 with no real detail, just basic shape. This also works in the end for a Level of detail button in the game, which says... if you don't have a perfect video card... you can still play the game. This allows people with low end cards to play as well...

More points to ponder.... Still wondering who is gonna program this stuff.... cause my head hurts just explaining it....

Noodlez on Sat Oct 26, 2002 4:39 am
Instead of trying to program a engine witch could take god know how long, why not use say something like UT2k3, do a semi TC for it, as it alows cars, and guns, and walking.

it would just take some smarts to fig it out, but heck I am sure you all are not lacking in the smarts field
Beroc-Lord_of_Destruction on Sat Oct 26, 2002 8:05 am
that would be great... save ut2k3 has no vehicles to speak of, you don't drive at all, which is kinda what we are after... other engines.. Like Mafia and GTA3 are good engines which support most of the features that we want, but of course not all...

Aside from that, making a game that is a TC of another is not marketable.... If we tried... it would be illegal....

User avatar
Deep_Blue on Sat Oct 26, 2002 8:27 pm
OK, Makes sense. Guess I gotta start really diggin' into Max or something similar.
***When I die may I be surrounded by scattered chrome and burning gasoline***
Buzz on Sat Oct 26, 2002 10:37 pm
we were never planing on using cared for the game as far as i know
PumaY2K on Sun Oct 27, 2002 1:25 am
Noodz... although that is a very good idea, Beroc is right... you cant make a commercial game from anothers company game engine... though it will be better... less work

Beroc... about 3DS Max... I have Max 4... and I can model... not as easily as in CarEd but I can... the main problem I have with the damn program is the texturing part... I just don get it... maybe Im too stupid... but I cant

Beroc-Lord_of_Destruction on Sun Oct 27, 2002 4:05 am
Oh... as far as which program to use to set up cars.... and down time.... the question would go out.... "how long are we talkin to make a game from scratch?" I don't see any pro companies using CarEd to make cars for games... other then c2 of course... The job of CarEd and PT2 can be replaced by some scripts for Max... I already know that part. In the end though, we are talkin different data, different setups... of which, CarEd nor PT2 are remotely designed for. Not to mention that the data produced by those programs is nearly completely incompatible with DirectX core setups.
What it comes down to how far you want to go with it. I can offer support for Max, much easier then support for CarEd, and.... it is much more compatible then CarEd in the long run. The question of the day is, "Do you wanna be stuck when a better game comes along in the C2 world.... Forever?" If no... Learn Max...or Maya, or some other high end 3d program.... most all of them offer some way to export what you are doing. In the end... you will be much more satisfied with the power of these programs over CarEd... though, of course, more complex.
Beroc-Lord_of_Destruction on Mon Oct 28, 2002 7:14 am
I will revamp my mapping script for Max 4/5 soon.... it will incorporate some more features, and be compatible with it. I will see if I can't make it run faster too....

Basically... you can map, almost the same way(Theory wise) as CarEd with my script... I generally take snippits of information and try to make max(which can be complicated) and make it more like people understand 3d to be. Though I still incorporate Max's heavy wieght features into it. Just try to make the interface more structured. I will start on that soon...

Buzz on Mon Oct 28, 2002 1:40 pm
im kinda out of hardrive space here so...i cant install max (its not my comp) unless theres some small version of it
PumaY2K on Tue Oct 29, 2002 12:32 am
Really? I love you Beroc (im kidding with that 'I love you' thing alright?)
CADster on Thu Nov 07, 2002 4:49 pm
Aside from that, making a game that is a TC of another is not marketable.... If we tried... it would be illegal....

not completely true. it really depends on the engine and our 'market' stradigy. using the q2 engine would be free if our app was free. We can mod any existing engine and still be in the clear as long as we dont go for money. selling this product does require a license of an engine, but the tribes2 engine is only 200.00, the q3 engine is 25,000. the aureal Jet is 1,500 (i think) and several are more or less (netimmerse is 150,000)

check this engine list, several are free and other are really cheap.
a good engine example is here - http://teleline.terra.es/personal/smiker/
it uses the same guildlines of Q3. there is plenty of information out on editing, tuning and tweaking the Q3 engine. these ideas can be incorporated into level design and used with this engine.

we first need a concept (as already stated) .. the story can be rough, but complete. then we need a feature list... this will keep 'feature creep' to a minium. A thread needs to be started that has all the feature everyone is wanting in this product. popular ideas will stay (provided it can feasibly be done) and obscrue features will be dropped early. these things need to be done early on. no need to design a 8 wheel vehicle if the engine only supports 4 wheels.

then we need a study on how these features will work and the GUI of the overall program. the mechanics for the user comes first.

In making a game.. the actual 'content' is one of the last things done. Lots of things need to be done first or 6 months down the road you have a ton of contect with no usable purpose and you will be re-creating the wheel several times.

here is a quick game plan (im jsut throwing it out, its not in stone) we can make a pre-alpha version of this thing in shockwave3d using the havoc engine .. this in turn is sent to publishers with a timeline and a feature list of the final product.. if its got merit and they like it, the publisher will finance the whole project .. for a fee(right down the providing the engine). the fee can be a persent of sales (most popular) right now we have nothing, but we need to all know exactly what we are making or it will never come together

[ November 07, 2002: Message edited by: CADster ]

[ November 07, 2002: Message edited by: CADster ]

[ November 07, 2002: Message edited by: CADster ]

Beroc-Lord_of_Destruction on Fri Nov 08, 2002 5:04 am
very cool.....
User avatar
Deep_Blue on Sun Jan 05, 2003 2:09 pm
'K, I got Max 3...If you can make some scripts that'll make modeling the type of cars we would need less complicated-I'd give it a shot.
***When I die may I be surrounded by scattered chrome and burning gasoline***
Beroc-Lord_of_Destruction on Sun Jan 05, 2003 2:54 pm
I made a little script available on the LOD files page which makes starting polygonal meshes easier in max... like a floater consol. It will get you started, but the more you understand about max's inner workings the better... practice... see what you wanna do with it...
Buzz on Sun Jan 05, 2003 9:29 pm
beroc, do you knowe where i could find a copy of max?
User avatar
Deep_Blue on Mon Jan 06, 2003 7:18 pm
Buzzer....I sent ya an e-mail. Chekkitout.
***When I die may I be surrounded by scattered chrome and burning gasoline***
Beroc-Lord_of_Destruction on Tue Jan 07, 2003 2:55 am
Anybody wish to have a looksee....

PumaY2K on Sun Jan 12, 2003 10:40 pm
So this is a game engine... but isnt it a fps game engine? or can you modify it so it can be a racing/3rd person (like gta3)?
Beroc-Lord_of_Destruction on Mon Jan 13, 2003 8:45 am
I think I saw some mods out that make it a driving game.... either way, those mods are free as well... only thing is, I don't know how to program that kinda stuff, so it will be up to someone who knows how....
PumaY2K on Wed Jan 15, 2003 9:30 pm
But no one of us knows a bit programming... hmm... lemme think a bit...

Lemme see... Jason Trusty knows quite a lot of programming... maybe he can help us over here... Ill ask him... although last time I talked to him he was in a real bad mood (and why not... he has a really high debt because of btwracing.com)... but anyway Ill ask him... maybe we could really go commercial with his help... I dunno
Buzz on Thu Jan 16, 2003 9:25 pm
what ever happened with btwracing.com?
PumaY2K on Sat Jan 18, 2003 10:25 pm
It was lost... Jason had to pay a lot of money for the huge bandwidth that btwracing.com used... something like $40.000... which is quite a lot...

Oh... and sadly, he cant help us ... he only knows web based programming... not c++ nor anything else... too bad...
Buzz on Sun Jan 19, 2003 1:05 am
wow thats alot of money
PumaY2K on Mon Jan 20, 2003 8:26 pm
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