Sunday, April 21, 2013

John's Technical Ramblings

John here, ready to update on the technical side for those who are interested.

Before we dive in, I'd like to let you all know we are going to be showcasing the game at UC Irvine in Irvine, Califronia this Saturday at 4:00 PM (the 6th floor of Bren Hall) for the annual IEEE GameSIG competition we entered last year. We are simply presenting the game on the floor this year, so if you are in the area stop on by and say hello!

In the weeks following kickstarter (and after a long rest period - whew) we have really stepped up our production and have made plans to take us all the way into the rest of development. Organization has been a huge focus for us these past few weeks. Many of you probably already know or have heard this, but I'll say it again - Organize your work, especially if you are working with others! I wouldn't say we were too terribly unorganized prior to our cleanup this week, but every mislabeled asset adds up, and it is extremely frustrating to lose time and work due to organization issues. It may seem trivial at first, but man, does it add up quickly.

I'll save the beauty shots for James's post, but I'm happy to report that the Rainforest environment made possible by Kickstarter is underway, and is coming along quite nicely. I finally set apart some time to hone in on my foliage modeling skills, and am pleased with the results.

We are using a variety of tech to get the the end result you'll see in James's post. We are certainly taking advantage of the PC's power of rendering higher res texture's than you see on consoles - this is especially important with the Rift right around the corner. Our pipeline contains a "2k or bust" clause, where we render a 2048 x 2048 texture for every asset and reduce it accordingly, ensuring a vastly detailed world to experience. We are trying our best to make a visually stunning game while holding a maintainable stream of production, and with our new pipelines and guidelines I think we are arriving on a solution.

I'm happy with the way these fruit turned out, especially due to my "quick" method of box modeling - no sculpting required. The displacement modifier is rapidly becoming my best friend in creating organic structures and foliage.

That's all for today. Tune in next week for some take aways from our time at Irvine, and meet us there if you can!

1 comment:

  1. Really wish I was closer to that GameSIG competition, would totally go. Those foliage renders look great. The rainforest idea is brilliant. Sounds should likely play a huge role in this environment. Since your so well versed in the audio side of things John, I can only imagine what you will come up with. As far as Rift integration is concerned. Texture optimization is very important and can really improve things from a performance perspective but it's a tough choice, since there has to be a balance between detail and speed. Personally, as hard as it is trying to incorporate more strict Rift requirements, I think providing the best detail possible should take priority as not to undervalue XING in any way.

    Couple things I discovered that I'm offering for consideration. I have witnessed from numerous sources that the Oculus Rift can still provide an immersive experience as low as 45FPS and V-Sync also isn't an absolute necessity as well (especially if the frame rates are lower than 60FPS because this isn't a situation for screen tearing on the Rift's 60Hertz screen). This has been verified by numerous sources. This isn't to say, it doesn't make a difference going any higher than that, but I would use it maybe as a baseline to work from. Additionally, since the consumer version of the Rift is still a while away, this provides a much larger window in PC upgrade potential down the road to match XING if there were any performance issues as well. There's always the option as well to provide in game graphical setting options to reduce texture quality and draw distance, shadows etc which I'm sure would take care of any remaining underlying performance concerns for people.

    It would be nice to know that no expense was spared on the detail side of XING on account of the Rift, however the option for Rift support on above average performance PC's or those down the road would be the icing on the cake. Ambient games like XING are an art form. This said, if it's too slow now for Rift support, this isn't a real problem in my mind. It may even provide a long term solution by creating a cult following from gamers who want to appreciate it again and again from etc as PC's will only get faster over this course. Either way, thanks for taking the time to identify Rift support. This is leading edge technology being realized to it's full potential and it's going to allow gamers to appreciate all the great effort put into XING in the most immersive way possible.