The weekly Hog news 3

New cosmetic vegetation 
We’re still adding new trees for each climate + cosmetic vegetations ( purely decorative tall grass and shrubs that will be placed procedurally on the terrain )
Here is a photoshop preview of the new nordic climate set with colorfull grass and pine shrubs.

This second one of shows a WIP of the oceanic cosmetic set, with plenty of flowers.

 

Shadows on terrain
We also added soft shadows on the terrain, to improve heights readability and make the terrain less flat looking.

Worldmap generation
I’m also now working on the worldmap generator, and below are the debug results of one of its first core functions : a “splat” generator that will be used to shape continents.

 

The weekly Hog news 2

The website has moved to .com

Last week we transfered the website to a new domain and a new Web hosting service. Ymir is now ymir-online.com, though the .eu will still be valid for a while. The website should now be way more reactive and faster to load.

Region size doubled

After working on the world-map display, last week i worked on the new region display. Framerate and loading times have been greatly improved. Enough to actually decide to double the size of regions compared to the previous prototype.

Before , regions were visually square, which was a bit weird considering that because of the isometric perspective it meant the actual region surface was therefore a vertical strip.  The new regions are now visually rectangular, making the surface square and matching the worldmap’s representation of regions.

New trees

Alpyro is still working on the vegetations of the game, making new trees for all the climates!

 

 

 

The weekly Hog news 1

 

This week has been the first week of fulltime work on Ymir, monday to friday with office hours!
Alpyro also joined me and is working fulltime on Ymir too, though we’re still working through skype.
The first days were mostly used to setup some tools to be able to work as a team, yet i’ve done more in a week than in a month and a half at the rate of last year.

However now that i’m moving away from a prototype and towards a professional standard, i have to review, cleanup and optimize lots of things.
After reworking the way UI works, I’m now mainly working on the worldmap creation and the editor, and the display of the map and regions.
This editor will be part of the game client, and will for be used to create custom worldmaps.

First I completely reworked the way the worldmap is displayed and optimized its rendering to increase the framerate.
The worldmap display is now modular. What this means is that its no longer ‘merged’ with the game itself, and it allows the editor and the game to share the same worldmap display module.
Then i created a system of what i call “chunkers”. Chunkers are objects holding a grid of “chunks”, each chunk representing a small area of the map. When a new sprite is added to a chunker, it’s automatically assigned to the correct chunk depending on where that sprite is. Chunkers then hide or display chunks depending on the camera position, meaning everything outside the field of view is unloaded.
This makes the size of a worldmap irrelevant to the framerate and the loading time, allowing to display much bigger maps that can be displayed instantly without loading times.

This new chunker system also allows me to do LODs ( levels of details ), where sprites can become hidden when the camera zooms out. This makes rendering faster and compensates for the fact that more and more tiles are visible the more you zoom out. Low spec machines will be able to reduce the quality of the map and less details, and high spec machines will be able to keep details longer even when zooming out.
When zooming out , the worldmap progressively transitions to a minimap really cheap to render, allowing for 200FPS even when fully zoomed out.

Here you can see a map i made for fun to test the editor. This map is huge compared to any worldmap used in previous tests, though it renders at a much higher framerate.
I’ve also created new debug tools and made a visual debug menu that i can use to diagnose visually the way my new features work. Here you can see the chunkers debug : each grid is a chunker managing a different LOD. each red tile is a chunk disabled, and the green ones are the ones currently displayed because they’re in the field of view.

Main menu WIP

Meanwhile, Alpyro started working on a new illustration and reworking the existing trees of the game. New ones will also be added to make each climate more specific.
A new type of cosmetic procedural vegetation will also be prototyped, containing things like animated tall grass and various bushes to add life to the environment.

WIP of a new illustration

WIP of a replacement for the old umbrella pine in mediterranean climates and some quick placeholders that will be used to test new vegetations.

WIP of a replacement for the umbrella pine  Quick placeholders for the new vegetations

New beginning

Hi folks!
Well that’s it, my last day at CA was this week and my work on Total war Attila is done. Now i’m…. jobless. And moving out of UK this week end, so quite busy times.
If there’s any Total war players out here, i hope you guys will enjoy Attila!
I havnt been inactive on Ymir either. I have completed the first phase of adapting the game to this newer version of the engine i’m using, and i have now started to upgrade my UI system to reach a more professional standard. No more flicking UI, new main menu, support for windowed mode, full-screen mode, different resolutions, resizing the game window in real-time… all the classics. Its actually quite time consuming create a system that can support all, and quite ungrateful as for the players this is just ‘normal’ stuff they won’t even pay attention to consciously.

Main menu WIP  Main menu WIP

I also have to (re)organise the whole program ‘infrastructure’ : like where and how the program files will be setup. The game will now have an installer.

Beeing nearly done with the UI upgrade, my next step is to redo a proper editor ( the one i used before was a really messy and temporary thing ). This editor will be now directly part of the main game client, and eventually accessible to players.
Its first function will be to create and edit worldmaps that can then be used to setup games.
I also plan to make a ” single player ” tutorial, and the ability to launch and setup games directly from the client main menu ( automatically launching a server in the background when starting a game ).
Basically this “infrastructure” thing is everything that goes around the game itself, and its quite a big job and an important one to keep building the game on a good base.

It will also imply steam, which brings me to my first objective of green-lighting the game. Only then i can start testing the game within steam itself, which would be its final environment. I’ll need this to deal with accounts, server lists, uploading new builds and updates and all. When you get green lighted, you get this special account with access to functions to interact with the steam servers, and you get to upload the game there and generate keys to test the game as final players would. I can’t preview all this until i’m actually green lighted… So this greenlight will determine a lot of things on how i organize the way Ymir works, which is why i’ll need this as soon as possible.