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Re: Development Update #8: August 2013

#2
Well I would say we have a good bit to discuss on the podcast, as I said in the comments I'm holding my thoughts for the podcast. :D I will say it looks great and the video is the best to date, no zombie Josh bogged down with your abstract thoughts and other big words. The engine hardpoints do look good though, did they get some loving? :thumbup:
The only limit is the one you set.
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Re: Development Update #8: August 2013

#3
Skyfligher wrote:Well I would say we have a good bit to discuss on the podcast, as I said in the comments I'm holding my thoughts for the podcast. :D I will say it looks great and the video is the best to date, no zombie Josh bogged down with your abstract thoughts and other big words. The engine hardpoints do look good though, did they get some loving? :thumbup:
Excellent, I will be sure to tune in this week :D

Yes they did get some "accidental" loving - when I fixed the math for the radially-symmetric stations, it also fixed the thrusters by chance (as they used that bit of math as well) :P So...yayy for accidental improvements!
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
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Re: Development Update #8: August 2013

#4
JoshParnell wrote:Yes they did get some "accidental" loving - when I fixed the math for the radially-symmetric stations, it also fixed the thrusters by chance (as they used that bit of math as well) :P So...yayy for accidental improvements!
Well many accidents have lead to great innovations so here's to more of these accidents! :lol: Oh and have some fun in Morrowind if you can keep yourself from working on Limit Theory! :D
The only limit is the one you set.
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Re: Development Update #8: August 2013

#5
Skyfligher wrote:
JoshParnell wrote:Yes they did get some "accidental" loving - when I fixed the math for the radially-symmetric stations, it also fixed the thrusters by chance (as they used that bit of math as well) :P So...yayy for accidental improvements!
Well many accidents have lead to great innovations so here's to more of these accidents! :lol: Oh and have some fun in Morrowind if you can keep yourself from working on Limit Theory! :D
Ohh thank you :) Freelancer or Morrowind...one of them is going to happen today ;)
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
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Re: Development Update #8: August 2013

#9
A few thoughts on this month's video:

1. Thank you! Making one of these always takes some effort -- it's appreciated.

2. Asteroids: looking good! THAT is what an asteroid field ought to look like.

There is something bugging me about the albedo on these things -- they're all uniformly bright, maybe? -- but I can't put my (flat) finger on it yet. Work-in-progress, of course.

Also, toward the end of the video there was at least one occasion where asteroids "popped" into view. That's pretty common in 3D graphical games, and not even close to a problem for me personally, but it does seem to bother some people.

3. Planets: looking bigger. :) I'm not sure if the apparent lack of surface detail resolution was real or due to video compression, but I was a little surprised that landscapes seemed quite fuzzy at the ship's nearest approach.

One thing about the planet apparently being inside an asteroid field did bother me. I've said before (and still feel) that realism is not a good goal for a game; what you want is plausibility for the reality of the invented world, which may or may not conform to the physics of our real world.

An asteroid field close to a planet is certainly visually interesting, and might have some gameplay value if that case is relatively rare. Having said that, part of the definition of what a "planet" is is that it "clears its neighborhood" (its orbit) of comparably-sized objects. In the video, those asteroids near the planet look pretty darn big! So, other than a few exceptional cases, maybe the density function for generating asteroid fields could be tweaked to reduce the field to zero within, say, 5-10 times the diameter of each planet? Other opinions on this suggestion are welcome.

4. The music really was very nice. I would not at all mind hearing that and similar tracks while doing my thing in LT.

That said, I'd really be impressed if the music reflected something of the environment in which the player's perspective is currently located. For example, when you're talking to an NPC representative of a militaristic civilization or flying through their space, the music might be brassier, in march time, and minor key. Maybe the music has more emphatic percussion when you're flying through an asteroid field than through empty space.

More furious music when engaged in combat than when floating serenely through the void would be nice as well.

I don't know if this kind of "reactive" music is one of the goals for LT. It's just something I thought of while enjoying the video.

...

Overall, there's obviously been lots of progress since the last video. If this new one doesn't help keep people interested, they're just not paying attention. :)
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Re: Development Update #8: August 2013

#10
Hi Josh

As you requested feedback on the music here is mine.

I absolutely ADORE it. Your composer is absolutely fantastic. I loved your stuff too so I hope that makes the sound track as well.
Great and informative updates as always.
Elite, Frontier Elite II, Frontier First Encounters, Elite Dangerous
Oolite, GLFrontier, FFED3D, Pioneer, Paragon
Wing Commander 1-6, Wing Commander Armada, Wing Commander Saga
Looking forward to the Limit Theory. It looks AMAZING.
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Re: Development Update #8: August 2013

#11
Musis was definitely awesome. It felt completely at home within what you have.

The video? Even better. Love the asteroid fields. I definitely get a MUCH better sense of scale. As always, really glad I backed this project! :D

I know there may be some (minor) issues that flat mentioned, but overall, I love where this is heading. Every month is a new surprise. :)
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Early Spring - 1055: Well, I made it to Boatmurdered, and my initial impressions can be set forth in three words: What. The. F*ck.
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Re: Development Update #8: August 2013

#12
Great update, definitely love the more well-organized Josh. :D

Question, will Francois (sorry no French keyboard :() be manually composing each and every tune or will he be following your idea of procedurally generating every tune and it's just that you've dumped the heavy lifting on him? :lol: *rushes off to see if the rewards include a soundtrack*

Also, I have a feeling with this vast asteroid field that I'm going to be like a :squirrel: who lost its nuts after I forget where I built my base. :lol:

September is shaping up to be an amazing month, I feel exactly like that song from a time that feels so long ago...wake me up, when September ends.
In Josh we trust.
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Re: Development Update #8: August 2013

#13
First of all, the overall look and feel is getting better and better. :D

As a critical point, I also was put off by the asteroids-popping-into-existence feature. It was less obvious in the first part of the video in the foggy system. And of course it's worst for the big asteroids. A way to go might be to increase the simulation distance for the bigger rocks.

I can also see what Flatfingers means with his albedo remark. For me, the asteroids look too uniform, too much alike. Perhaps there could be two or three different types of textures (or, for that matter, infinitely many types?)?

I also have to admit that I have a conceptual problem with vast and dense asteroid fields. I can never get that voice out of my head that alternately screams Space Does Not Work That Way and Science Fiction Writers Have No Sense Of Scale. :roll: It's made worse by the asteroid field extending to so close to the planet. I'm hoping for a slider control in the finished game.

Another question about scale: Am I correct in guessing that in the final game the points of interest will be a lot farther from each other? In the video, the acceleration lanes are so short (I think one consisted of only seven gates) that they don't really make sense at all. Although the gates look really nice now. :)

So much for my first impressions. And despite the critique, I'm amazed at how far you've come since December. :thumbup:
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Re: Development Update #8: August 2013

#14
Commander McLane wrote:First of all, the overall look and feel is getting better and better. :D

As a critical point, I also was put off by the asteroids-popping-into-existence feature. It was less obvious in the first part of the video in the foggy system. And of course it's worst for the big asteroids. A way to go might be to increase the simulation distance for the bigger rocks.

I can also see what Flatfingers means with his albedo remark. For me, the asteroids look too uniform, too much alike. Perhaps there could be two or three different types of textures (or, for that matter, infinitely many types?)?

I also have to admit that I have a conceptual problem with vast and dense asteroid fields. I can never get that voice out of my head that alternately screams Space Does Not Work That Way and Science Fiction Writers Have No Sense Of Scale. :roll: It's made worse by the asteroid field extending to so close to the planet. I'm hoping for a slider control in the finished game.

Another question about scale: Am I correct in guessing that in the final game the points of interest will be a lot farther from each other? In the video, the acceleration lanes are so short (I think one consisted of only seven gates) that they don't really make sense at all. Although the gates look really nice now. :)

So much for my first impressions. And despite the critique, I'm amazed at how far you've come since December. :thumbup:
As many have already pointed out, the popping is a problem. The truth is that it's not an easily-solvable problem. To properly combat popping, you need to make sure that an asteroid of twice the size loads at twice the distance. This ensures that screen-space popping remains relatively constant for all sizes of asteroids. However, doing so would mean (thanks to the "curse of dimensionality") loading eight times the volume of space (because twice the distance means eight times the volume in 3D space). So, if you want to achieve scale differences on the order of 2^10 (which is what we are currently seeing in-game), you would need to load 2^30 times the volume of space for the largest asteroid than you would for the smallest. That would 'perfectly' combat popping.

Now, that's obviously an absurd amount of space. At the largest size that's basically saying "load allll the things." So how do we deal with it and not kill the engine? Well, we can lower the density of the bigger asteroids. Currently what I do is maintain the same amount of asteroids of each scale, but of course the larger ones are distributed over a larger volume of space, as per above. So this means, if we stick to the "perfect popping" scheme, that an asteroid of twice the size is 8 times less likely to appear. The result is an extremely thin field, even if you push the starting count really high - the large rocks are so rare that all you really see is small stuff.

The only way to win, of course, is to cheat the volume. Instead of loading a 2x rock at 2x the distance, load it at a bit less. Currently I use 4 ^ (1/3), which means we only need to load 4x the volume of space for a rock of twice the size. The allows me to create much more dense fields that have a nice "epic" look and a nice variety of visible sizes. It also, of course, makes popping more noticeable for large rocks, because they are being loaded in at a lower distance than the "correct math" demands.

So my point is, there is no real solution to the problem of asteroid popping: it's a trade-off, and it's a necessary evil thanks to 3D space being....3D. If you solve it, you take away a lot of the interesting scale factor of fields. If you do what I did, you get popping but more interesting fields. Of course, part of the solution is fog. When distant fog is implemented, you will not be able to see the popping when it occurs inside a dusty area (where I imagine most rocks will live).

I will continue working on the lighting model and textures, that's always a WIP ;)

Scale is totally messed up right now because of lack of double-precision. POIs will be significantly further apart when we get the double p engine. And of course, planets will be bigger :D I will also push the fields out farther from the planets ~ sorry about that realism fumble.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
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Re: Development Update #8: August 2013

#15
Flatfingers wrote:A few thoughts on this month's video:

1. Thank you! Making one of these always takes some effort -- it's appreciated.

2. Asteroids: looking good! THAT is what an asteroid field ought to look like.

There is something bugging me about the albedo on these things -- they're all uniformly bright, maybe? -- but I can't put my (flat) finger on it yet. Work-in-progress, of course.

Also, toward the end of the video there was at least one occasion where asteroids "popped" into view. That's pretty common in 3D graphical games, and not even close to a problem for me personally, but it does seem to bother some people.

3. Planets: looking bigger. :) I'm not sure if the apparent lack of surface detail resolution was real or due to video compression, but I was a little surprised that landscapes seemed quite fuzzy at the ship's nearest approach.

One thing about the planet apparently being inside an asteroid field did bother me. I've said before (and still feel) that realism is not a good goal for a game; what you want is plausibility for the reality of the invented world, which may or may not conform to the physics of our real world.

An asteroid field close to a planet is certainly visually interesting, and might have some gameplay value if that case is relatively rare. Having said that, part of the definition of what a "planet" is is that it "clears its neighborhood" (its orbit) of comparably-sized objects. In the video, those asteroids near the planet look pretty darn big! So, other than a few exceptional cases, maybe the density function for generating asteroid fields could be tweaked to reduce the field to zero within, say, 5-10 times the diameter of each planet? Other opinions on this suggestion are welcome.

4. The music really was very nice. I would not at all mind hearing that and similar tracks while doing my thing in LT.

That said, I'd really be impressed if the music reflected something of the environment in which the player's perspective is currently located. For example, when you're talking to an NPC representative of a militaristic civilization or flying through their space, the music might be brassier, in march time, and minor key. Maybe the music has more emphatic percussion when you're flying through an asteroid field than through empty space.

More furious music when engaged in combat than when floating serenely through the void would be nice as well.

I don't know if this kind of "reactive" music is one of the goals for LT. It's just something I thought of while enjoying the video.

...

Overall, there's obviously been lots of progress since the last video. If this new one doesn't help keep people interested, they're just not paying attention. :)
Thank you ;) Most points addressed above, as for 4) I'm not sure about that level of granularity (military music when landing on a military world), but I do plan for different types of music for different situations (landing on a planet (probably influenced by the surface type), hanging out in a station, etc.). Also hope for reactive combat music, a la Freelancer.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford

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