Yet another engine update for improved stability, landscape tools, blueprint performance and various organizational and planning improvements. At present, certain actors are missing their collision after world translation takes place in the open world. Doors and containers have functioning collision, but no interaction stream returned--and establishments are missing some mesh geo collision. The establishment itself is not the issue though, as the building meshes are very high-poly and is causing issues. For the future we will have to split up our hero buildings so that various pieces can be culled individually for performance of the mesh on the gpu and the collisions on the cpu.
<!--- Engine Update --->
After rigorous review and storyline planning, the starting location has been changed. Instead of the empty beach, now the game begins in the city of Marteen. This city is almost done with layout and will be the first village to test the prison system and reputation modifier checks. What is intended here now is for certain volumes of the city to temporary lower your reputation if you enter without permission (like bedrooms, storehouses, etc.). This will enable the AI guards to make more intelligent decisions when targetting player, so they'll taunt instead of outright attack for small offenses. Some landscape and building shader optimizations, and some AI updates. More coming.
New engine build! First successful build and package of 4.21.2. This also marks some significant updates to the shader pipeline as a god 80% of the used assets are all now properly instanced. Surface 4 can now run the game around 30fps at 50% screen res. Still have many shaders to finish setting up on the character models and equipment but since last package this is an overwhelming improvement. We also now have some weather setups for open world things and many more functions are now shared for snow, caustics, rain and associated particle systems are ready for implementation into the climates. AI has also gotten an overhaul, moving combat onto spawned collision volumes that are populated with every weapon change. AI also has better pathing (slightly) attacking, and elders now have 'hide' firing correctly. Many new updated engine builds are on the way.
<!--- Engine Update --->
The loading movies are causing some extreme hitches in certain cases so we will be moving into a pre-rendered cutscene method for these. Inventory is still erroring out with the opening inventory slot selection somewhere, or the name isn't being found in the datatable as a bunch of 'None' items keep getting added and even equipped in some cases. Landscape is also still loading some textures at full resolution which lags everything. Many materials are still not instanced correctly which is also creating performance drag. On the lowest tier testing platform, the Surface 4, world origin does not occur from the backlog of loading textures and stuff. On a celebratory note, this marks the last build with 4.19 as the packaging issues with newer engines has been resolved.
World48 Log spam is fixed, turned out to be a sound system bug for regions. We also included the new prologue and video cinematic setup which works great! Movies shouldn't be skippable anyways, but this does mean we can't use a player model unless we start the character with hooded inventory. The first questline is starting off from the QuestComponent and is spawning the boat and 3 followers well, but they don't have any dialogue or Notes update in the scroll book menu. More AI work. Inventory still has log spam issues, which results in crashes. More soon. Happy New Year.
Okay so we finally got around to reviewing this build a bit and did some testing. In order to move forward at all, we need to identify some serious bugs here so we can track and eliminate them. First things first is main menu. Load and Continue do not work properly. Load seems to not do anything -- you click the button of the save its data appears and then Load button appears, fine. But when you hit Load it does nothing. The Continue button loads up the camera to show your guy and some data, and when you hit Load it simply re-loads the main menu. Options and all that shit will come later. For the Character Creator, we need to nail down the opening screens better. Firstly, I don't think we need to ask the player to define their nation up-front. I think we can completely skip all that. No choosing Nations, no Attributes, No forward story. Should just be Name, Features, Equipment and Confirm. Cinematics are great. World48 has some serious issues. MANY bugs going on with no origin, clouds are logspamming, player has inventory but they are all None, and collisions dont work with player.NPCs and player.Watercraft and player.Landcraft. I have no clue just fiddle with it.
Working inventory in-world! Not only can you pickup and add/subtract etc from your inventory, but your character starts out with some inventory SAVED, and then pulls and repopulates the player on load so saving with our custom inventory system is finally functioning as intended.
So no upgrade to 4.22 since we can't get a build off of it just yet. This build has some working beginning, ship is run ashore and tutorialman spawns with his follower there on the island with you. No inventory yet.
Another Intermediate build before the upgrade to 4.22. Some errors were occuring with the CloudsWater Environment Actor in the new engine, so I've corrected the bugs within 4.19 in the meantime. Still some build error occuring with plugins so for the meantime I'm delaying the engine upgrade. Other bug fixes also in thie build is the world location spawning which is confirmed working. This lays the foundation for respawning the player from savegame location across the open world--involving rebasing the world origin and tweaking bounds scale stuff to make sure the right cells are streamed in during runtime.
New Intro Cinematic, and it's getting a whole lot better! We have a much better idea on how this should start the game itself--and now it's much less daunting. Fauna also got a nice update, but the fish and stuff are still spawning a ridiculous amount. I think cell #4 is really all that is necessary to spawn area stuff now so we have some optimization to do. The Character builder also got a big upgrade, basic variables are set and a few of the controls are hooked up and functioning properly. We'll need to check that variables are being pulled from the CurrentSaveGame and not from Instance as we add more shapes. This will also probably be the last build within 4.19.2 as 4.22.3 is looking like the next Engine migration. More soon.
More new clothing! Added a new Brigandine, although its just a robe with a vest. Looks kinda neat tho. Many bug fixes pertaining to Citizens and Fauna. Godamn Barracuda are running rampant!
Containers now working! You can use the 'Take' button to add the transaction items into your inventory. We'll have to add a pane to the other side of the screen though to show your current stuff, otherwise you can never stash anything.
Some new additions to the open world added! Marteen and Belgos have a decent area setup with walls & buildings now, and about half of the Village Managers are functioning now. Their tick-to's aren't really going the right directions and speed is still not accounted for within their location checks, but at least they aren't horrible. More Container updates too, but nothing is really transferrable from Inventory to Container yet.
New Intro cinematic setup. Still don't like the general feel of the VO and shots but it's a step in the right direciton.
First build with some useful Blendshapes functioning in the Character builder. No Controls are hooked up. This does prove the pipline is functioning with updating morph targets on the master skeleton though. More on this later.
Good progress on a few items, first build of the new year and it starts off with some MUCH needed features. Most notably, the Inventory system's clothing equipping is now fully working! Book now animates open, and the inventory buttons & dropdown menus are all the correct layers now. Looks great, works quickly -- just needs to have a completed filtering system and sorting headers then it's done. Equip works as well, and you can drop the item after you equip it--eventually we'll complete the secondary array for what's equipped/not to serve as a mirror of the main inventory array.
The PlayerHUD also got a complete overhaul! We don't really need to see so much information, really just your health and breath. However our damage system wouldn't give you an accurate update if it's just a number, so we duplicated the Book's player image with the red limbs to the main UI! It's basically straight-up Arma's transparent gradient HUD just with our data points. It stays well out of view being at the top right instead of bottom right, and we'll sit on it for a few builds. Looks great tho. Physics Ragdolls also got a stiffening overhaul and now they flex much more gracefully. We also added the prep-swing animations to the fisticuffs stance, but no swings just yet. Definitely more exciting things on the horizon.
This was a major milestone build. EOY we finally have working clothing and inventory on the player. Starts with sandals, a tunic and leggings plus some weapons but they arent equipable thru the UI just yet. The load game menu is finally 100% working on the main menu, included with some UI animation adjustments. Looks great. The OpenTest world is so much godamn fun lol. Running around hitting L firing arrows at NPCs is feeling REALLY nice, obviously needs work but it's gonna be so much fun. Inventory on the dead guys also works, but also needs further scripting for actually taking the items you see on the UI. Sound reworks were a great addition too. The opening cinematics are getting overhauled back to montages with soon so whatever with them. Hell of a good progress build to end the year. Cheers.
This was a good progress build. Many AI issues have been fixed allowing them to properly randomize thru the proper waypoints. There were also a number of issues with the implementation of the kick that are causing an animation hitch on npcs. Their weapon just ends up floating in space probably to do with the activation of the damage system on their weapon. Although at least they do start attacking you if you kick them, but this is fixed for next build hopefully. On the brighter side, the new rainstorm is new added and I love it. Fires off with a simple event call which is amazing, so that'll come in handy whenever we data up the climate csvs a bit more. Rain particles still not attaching to player tho, so check that.
Okay so we still had some building LODs that weren't set causing a significant gpu slow-down, and we also removed cloth sims from the more basic clothing assets which helped performance greatly. Without a way to really control how many cloths are on screen at any time we're leave that for capes and large stuff only which is fine. There's also some issue with the ocean's performance and using scene depth with the displacement. Will need some tweaking for more performance. Opening cinematic also got some love, but I'm sure we'll be re-writing it soon anyways. The boat at spawn is also useless until we finalize the unbeaching script, so it's moved down to the dock until further updates. Still need to get that first quest working.
Everything much smoother after adding some proper graphics options, running a solid 35 even on ultra shadows, many more optimizations to be done but I'm feeling good about the current tech's performance. Need clothing improvements, new story VO, master quest to begin once world48 is loaded and save game options within game worked over a bit. Also need to redo the post-character buildings UI screens theyre horridly oversized. Inventory screen needs more love too. Only shitting on this build this much because of how well it's doing :-D
Didn't like the audio so it's removed from the cinematic for now. Landscape missing from second sequence. World48 fails to load because of some world origin reference failing. Rebuilding.
Building again with new audio added for opening cinematic. Second level sequence cinematic added.
Remove the loading screen plugin and rebuild without. Movie for opening logo works now so the plugin is no longer needed.
A lot more work put into the World Map and music backend and it has made everything a lot more enjoy able to debug. Each type of background sound is properly set through another very large image to csv data table that spreads across the entire world in-game. This kind of system was wierd to work out because of the way Unreal loads maps but it now has all the references to properly check for every state of the game and swap to the right music accordinly now. Movement Speeds and Breath also got a ton of work done so now running at high speeds and sprinting drain breath, and walking or moving slowly enough drains it. Jumping itself also drain and now a lot fewer things are ticking on the player pawn. The colors of the ocean and horizon curves also got a nice tweaked setup that has separate curves for morning vs evening so it has much nicer colors as it accents the ocean. Very happy with the latest progress on this build.
Blend shapes are all set back up, although they don't do anything yet. But at least their namespaces are added properly. Many new rendering features are working with the underwater volume and it really looks great! Some new edits to the sand layer of landscape materials now, although there is still some pink hue escaping from some power node in the two texture blend. New RedWolf added and the new plugin for fur, GFur, is updated and running although I'm sure there will be many performance updates necessary to ensure it performs well enough to justify itself. Looks great though. As long as there aren't 20 bears attacking you all at once it should work well enough. It'll need a branch node from options to make sure it's on in the player's settings.
As for problems, the opening matinee is now working perfectly so we can move forward on blend shapes stuff and figure out some cinematography, and we spawn aboard a randomly placed boat close to argyle's shore. top half of the body is failing in the animgraph somewhere, probably a referenece back to the controller or something. no inventory on the character, although that could even be because we started a previously created character as opposed to a newly created one on its first load. Log spam indicated that the QuestComponent was failing a reference somewhere and no controller was found on the Almerra_HUD so thats the next immediate issue to look into. Seems to be just a cooked build issue, but we should definitely start debugging using the MenuWall level and actually playing because we now getting into issues specific to a previous save and active interfacing with the save game. Last note is that the camera is still moving and orbitting the previously created character instead of the 'new' one in the main menu. Case in point.
Failed to build. Yet another piece of shit software update I didn't need nor ask for screwed up Visual Studio and now the compiler fails to build. Fuck you, m$.
Nothing works. Build crashes on load. :/
Okay, so we went back into the main menu level and retouched some stuff, mainly to address consistency between player camera and the AnT camera. We've got new lighting, DoF and other settings on the AnT's camera, and the level itself is now smaller so it loads a tiny bit quicker. I also lowered the landscape so the water comes further into the cave which looks nicer. Startup sequencer and open world48 are still broken for some reason, but there are still a number of red errors in the log so it should be simple to fix. Lastly, we're still having a major issue with the ocean post processing. For some odd reason the post process setting we added in the Almerra_Player's secondary init is not being used, instead it's just using the default camera. I think we have a duplicate graph somewhere that's overriding these settings, so we need to track this down. Gotta check the Instance BeginPlay and Controller BeginPlay first, then maybe check the AnT or something. Maybe also try removing the fake post process from the level since it gets deleted anyway, maybe it's causing the issue. More layter.
This was an intermediate build to re-add the clouds shader using a different method. The previous method was using a moon disc up in the skydome but that proved to be way too complicated since we can't alter or mask the sun disc in any way. Instead the moon is now its own mask function in the shader graph and can utilize separate images for the phases. We still have yet to make it rotate or have any kind of eccentricity, but in due time. Also in this build for some reason the startup matinee sequencer thingy busted. It just sits there and loads for a bit and then continues on to the open world48--which doesn't spawn the player. Seems like some more references between starting AnT and the player controller are broken. New build soon.
The ocean now has coloration! It took a while to fully understand how to make a non-worldspace UV'ed mask to move independently of the ocean's global shader but I now have a great setup for making specific regions of the ocean more location customized. Before, the ocean was just a simple repeating shader to make the ripples, waves and sky reflections that fed into world-space, meaning the pattern would repeat forever. This meant any textures I added also moved so shorelines and murkyness was all 0 or 1. Now I can drive a separate mask within the ocean's shader, so I can have some areas with clear water, some with silty river-runoff, or anything else I can dream up. All well and good, but now we gotta get back to finishing the new animations and hooking them up, as well as spicing up the swimming loops and creating particles. VERY happy with how this build turned out, so I'm gonna grab tacos and keep hammering.
Basic walking back working, and the new form of Apex cloth on the characters naked self. Many reworked elements in the Book
and Debugging UI. No Swimming, laddering, climbing, dooring, horsing, boating, crouching or crawling.
Successful Update to 4.19.2. Source code updated. Animations are all fucked since we are still working in the new AnimBP and
<!--- Engine Update --->
AI got even more love this time around, Job Trees were somehow cancelling out the Checks for Idle and combat. They are now fixed,
and AI now appears to be classifying us correctly based on player's master alleigance to nations. Click to move has also been
fixed within Commander mode, and we have the Dummy AI Controller tapping in to make it work. It can possess the pawn whenever
the widget calls for it. Inventory is also working, but equipping items is still wonky. This is all good, but the biggest
issue right now is Animations. The player animations are ALL kaput, everything made with MLT which are the crappy first
animations I made. Painful. However they were painstakingly made in an ill-conceived manner that is inefficicent. I can now
spit out 3~4 in the same time it took me to do 1 back then, and they look 10x better. Smart IK Handle placement. More camera
edits on Map and Commander, and the Quality settings for lighting have gotten an overhaul in resolution--EXTREMELY large impact
modifier so this is the Aorta of performance efficiency for fps. 2048 is max which performs fairly well and looks amazing, 1024
keeps it more around 40fps and the best optimization. Lower will just look more potato.
AI got lots of love this build. A few new structs added for Citizens details, features, basics and physical stats. These aren't
hooked up currently, but are exposed for filling in from database for unique peoples. Once cBuilder is more fleshed out these
will allow for the Innkeeper from X to have Beard Z, etc. Containers are also working, although it seems nothing can be looted
from them currently. This build also has many reworked animBP settings for going crawling and prone translation offsets.
Swimming is also reworked, not sure if its broken on AI now, but the trace for player to get it and out is working as well as
wetness. 2 New building types added and cellars re-tweaked a bit. Lastly the AI has gotten a lot of love concerning alliegances.
Alleigance for entire nations is now handled within the MasterGrouing for that nation. Currently everyone starts with a 0 so all
villages will have you everywhere by default. Once we setup cBuilder it'll simply add a 5 to the home nation so you start neutral.
Reworked some IntroTest map. New Longhall added to the map, and this build also introduces the new Cellars! So we now have 100%
working underground assets with the sink and fill method. The main Longhall has its own cellar and there is a dedicated cellar at
the end of town. These are fully working with AI navigation and currently have waypoints scattered around to make AI walk down there.
Also now working are profession waypoints -- specific professions look for these during their calcs and randomly choose one to walk to.
Also working is the specific NPC equipment lists -- but we are missing some clothing types, namely the chainmail Byrnie, and the
leggings on everyone need some weight paint work cause their asses stick through the pants lol. More to come. Good progress tho! :-D
<!--- Landscape complete, back to Product AI --->
Allllllrighty, so this build accounts for all the landscapes fully textured--coming to a grab total of 30.9 GB. Perfectly reasonable.
Everything else still in work.
K, so this is the new setup for landscapes. All cells are added to world48 and accounted for, although the textures were
not compiled for this build. The settings are from 505s with double the components and 400x400x400 sizing. The total file
size is just under 30GB for the entire game as it stands now, and we have a decent framrate above 35 in 4k on ultra which is
satisfactory for now. Randomization on characters is working well, but needs refinement to the subsurface
scattering -- its ruining their heads when in the shade. Just needs work on the mask texture for that. Also working is the AnT's
setup event to recreate the world units from save--right now that exists as putting the player aboard the boat in the ocean.
Something I noticed was that the world map is incorrect with its placement of the player icon in reference to the world. Obviously
this could be from incorrect divisors within the map construction script and/or the real world divisor size in the possess event.
What's next will be incorporating the Quest tracker into this boat's spawn event and letting the Quest Actor do all of this.
More input is needed to further the Questing System and how the initial game plays out.
This time with 505's and just 16 x 16 components. Size checks out.
Same, 47 MB per cell.
Retrying the 993's with 200 x 200 double components.
32 x 32 components drove the file size back up to 160 MB a map.
New set of cells using the 505's with 400 x 400 resizing and doubling of components.
Cells now VERY small, 4.5 MB each, coming to only 10 gigs for all of Almerra. Not terrible quality but theres an average to find now.
Dropped some cells from 2017 down to 993 resolution from WM, very minimal reduction in quality honestly.
New size is 47 MB per cell, getting us to 109 GB. More tests incoming.
Size dropped by previous settings, now we're at 76 MB per cell -- bringing us to 176 GB...
Still too big, next test with lowered cell count on landscape from WM.
Test with world tiles in function map. Size is bloated to 168 MB a cell, coming to 389 GB...
Changing more project build settings for next build. shared material libraries.
<!--- Beginning of Landscape size testing --->
Updating Project build settings, Landscapes are accounting for a huge portion of published game size, games can't just
be +100GB and shit. We will do landscape testing.
Finally working, this version has new blendshapes that spawn on the AI only. It is a basic randomizer for their facial
features. Ladders are also somewhat working, but anim doesnt climb. Needs more timelines. Next build will include
entire World48 map for further testing.
Still fucked, apparently the level lost its ocean and cloudswater? Rebuilt for next build.
Massive bugs, empty menu level with fucked controls.
Okay, skyrim camera now setup -- other stuff removed. Rescaled some of the UI--namely the in-world options. Anims
are completely fukked up for now, still in work. More debug shit added to UI. Need to check out the worldmap lineup
since thats pretty far along. Still no character blendshapes complete, but the character creator UI is fairly done--
has nice panels and plenty of sliders working at least on the UI side. The only real big change in this build was to
landscape and ocean textures. Ocean now has proper depth opacity, refraction and normals up to a good par; and landscape
now has caustics and coastal waves all within one texture! Landscape also has support for tessellation now, but is turned
off by default. Eventually it'll hook into settings menu. lots of character anim and funcionality coming up next because
now I really wanna swim in the ocean... with sharks!
So we now have fully working camera controls within the character creator, moves nicely over to the character
pawn when you're working through it. We now just need to figure out how to layer in certain stuff and
what order it should all go in. Still working on that structure. Still need to setup the skyrim camera and
alternate controls for player cam though, and we need to test the worldmap again to see if we are anywhere close
to accuracy with player position. Also tidy'd up the cBuilder widget so it'll be much easier to edit in the future.
We also need to label out and probably doodle some different hair and beard styles in the ol' notebook for future
Camera controls completed as designed, but it'll def need a tweak somewhere. I do like using the Control
based scheme for using the system, but the current implementation of mouse speed is lacking--so the skyrim
method may also be of consideration. Control for weapons/shields like warband, and regular mouse for skyrim
camera. AO added to sand landsacpe function--really brings out some detail if you lower the values in
Crazybump, also get rid of that fucking shitty cliff texture. Main menu overhaul, resetting camera and
tidying up the scene--big professionalized improvement. It looks tremendous. Find out how to get rid of
the loading thingy. i hates it. After playtesting, the Arena level never loads because of
"Found no bodies in save by the AnT". Some sort of spawning or reference error. Savegames are being created
correctly, with save 0 being user options, and 1~38 for users (39 is quick slot). Make sure AnT is getting
the right savegame stuff loaded. Need to add more UI sub panes in character building stuff.
Controls scheme added to options menu, commander cam first draft. Controls for moving the camera are
still keyboard-only with wasd, mouse scrolling to come in next. Also still need to figure out a max
allowed camera distance for commander cam--which will increase with certain Feats beign researched by
the player. The next hurdle though, is switching the player over to an AI controller if that's even
possible. We may have to spawn a fake/hidden character in the world just so we have a freed-up AI
Controller that can take control of the players pawn while in commander mode. A dedicated player AI.
Engine upgraded to 4.18.3
Continuing to re-organize the content folder because is hell, and now we can keep any textures we make
at work and take them home--especially material functions and collection parameters. Particles too.
<!--- Engine Update --->
Arma camera fully functioning in third and first person. Alt held down allows for head movement
without body movement, and third person is dynamic cam. However the UI will need to be deactivated
while freelook boolean is active (use a function)--as the offset is fooked and we can't force everything
to work in 3rd person. UI will be gimped for ranged combat--possibly still active for interaction though.
Cameras are now updated, but have a wonky offset and gimbal lock in third person. Fixing camera
and then moving on to UI updates in next rev.
Proof of solution after migration to new folder structure. New build to follow with camera updates
and working graphics options.
Not much added into this build, more of a test after some basic changes and recompiling. Some
stuff that did change was the basic camera controls setup. It's now powered by the more Skyrim
style mousewheel zoom, with a cutoff to first person around 25cm from the head. This is functioning
now but needs some tweaks for up and down. Our character and camera pitching need to work together
and not get out of sync--the problem is obvious when looking down or up in first person, then zooming
back out--the camera for third always starts at Y=0 instead of whatever angle the players back is in.
basically the chest and neck rotation we use in first person should translate to Y camera pitch in third.
Loading screens working perfectly! We also redirected the "Arena" button on the main
menu to go straight to introTest--if not for reals then at least for demoing and debugging.
Level sequence in WorldNative also functioning with a basic 3 camera setup, and we can
continue dressing that set and figuring out what exactly should be said. Rmember this is
where Argyle tells you to go home and see your family. But we still dont have a reason as
to why you are away in the first place, or why everyone is so separated in your family.
Years have gone by and something more local needs to occur within the basic story to give
more meaning to these events.
On another note, the character creator still needs a redux UI, with paging for various parts
of the skeleton to edit more like Skyrim's. Deicisions! Also none of the levels are pinging
background music on the Instance correctly--all levels simply restart the main menu song it seems.
Camera and sequence attached within the WorldNative intro cinematic level. Still not
able to control camera view during character builder, and level sequence locks you
out of continuing to game.
Failure travelling to matinee level (invalid url)
Failed to load something...
New build with more updated cloud info for IntroTest level. No other changes. Next
build should it with the slack-linked fix. Next build will be after we strengthen the
savegame system. Currently when you start the game, it creates all 40 savegames, and
then if none are active, uses savegame 0 to store your options and settings. This is
kinda hacky. We might want to say--save 0 is used when you have NO characters. And
therefore the "Continue" button stays greyed out. That first save 0 can still be used
intially to store settings, but once you create a new character and get into the
world--it flags the save as "begun" and therefore accessible via "Continue" button.
This build adds updated artwork for the loading screen using a non-streched logo
in the center of the screen. Still not sure how to add or change the loading swirl
thingy. Will need it to reflect one we use for in-game load screen after level swap.
Also still not showing the SimsLab logo movie, or any other movie we've selected in
the plugin settings. Will check into.
0014 introduces us to our current pipeline. Only has main menu functioning.
Performance is still a small issue with the menu, and we still don't have a
good "start time" for the world. IIFC it's set to hour 15 normally, and this
level starts at hour 11. This is so light enters the cave and illumates the
helmet and sword. The helmet and sword will later be accompanied by a worn book,
possibly adding your last character's name to the cover. (very cool idea).
<!--- End of Notes --->