Thursday, October 18, 2012

A New Zero Update 10/18/12


I've been working on various aspects of A New Zero, human physics, tank physics, aircraft physics, landscape rendering, landscape generation and economy.  You can see the human physics in the video, still needs some work but it's getting close to playable.  Surprisingly this video I put together in about an hour with awkward movement got some press, including Reddit, PC Gamer, Rock Paper Shotgun, Kotaku and CliffyB.  It's good to see that people are looking for something new/different in an FPS, if I can get it right I think it will be revolutionary.

For tank physics I finally figured out a good gear simulation, the tanks and trucks have physically modeled wheels, suspension, engines and gears.  The previous gear simulation was off, so in low gear not enough torque was transferred to the wheels and high gear too much was.  In the ANZ armor test you can kind of feel this, it's especially important for tanks since they have around 100:1 ratios in the lowest gear.  The cars in Sub Rosa also have the gear issue, not as noticeable but the new simulation should make them a bit easier to drive.


There's an image of the voxel landscape renderer, the new feature is ray tracing for far away sectors.  I had been thinking about how to render low level-of-detail (LOD) for areas in the distance.  The usual solution to this is build a mesh using lower detail polygons, combining 2x2x2 blocks into one block, then 4x4x4 and so on.  The problem with this is it still takes time to generate these meshes, and they look progressively worse unless you do some sort of progressive LOD, which is even slower.  There's also issues with cracks between LODs and a lot vertex processing.

Instead I've decided to render those areas as boxes, and ray trace through the voxel grid with a pixel shader.  It takes more pixel shader time obviously, but it saves vertex shader time, and occlusion culling is automatic (pixels behind the landscape mesh, objects or buildings will be Z-culled).  It's also much faster to generate lower LOD voxel grids, since it's basically a 3D texture mipmap.  The quality of the ray trace can be adjusted based on the GPU speed.  You can see in the image where it changes from mesh to ray trace, I still have some work to do on the lighting and ray trace quality, but I'm fairly confident this is the right direction.

20 comments:

Captain White Phoenix said...

You mentioned god-damn Kotaku, but not Rock Paper Shotgun? :S

Anyways, keep up the good work!

Unknown said...

Looks great Alex. I really enjoy the aesthetic of your Boxmen. It's stylized and lets your imagination fill in the blanks.

Alex Austin said...

Forgot about RPS, I added it

Nathan Franck said...

Damn! You must've somehow swiped that "voxel raytracing within vector boxes" idea right out of my noggin! Cool to see it actually implemented though :)

Influx said...

This is looking great, I think the physics-based animations are excellent. Please hurry with the next release, I can hardly wait for it.

DanteNumero said...

@AlexAustin Once again I applaude you and support you even if I may not be able to play this new Version of A New Zero, but otherwise keep up the great work! *highfives*

Nicholas Dellar said...

Yay, a three week old video that I've watched fifty times already! Oh the Joy!
I kid, I kid. The next update is looking mote and more fun, I hope I can try it out soon. Keep up the great work Alex!

Nicholas Dellar said...

Yay, a three week old video that I've watched fifty times already! Oh the Joy!
I kid, I kid. The next update is looking mote and more fun, I hope I can try it out soon. Keep up the great work Alex!

Nicholas Dellar said...

Yay, a three week old video that I've watched fifty times already! Oh the Joy!
I kid, I kid. The next update is looking mote and more fun, I hope I can try it out soon. Keep up the great work Alex!

Jarvis McGee said...

Hi Alex, really enjoy sub rosa and anz. I hope you post more about the tech behind your projects in future posts. The procedural techniques used and your development process seem like would be a good read.

Jarvis McGee said...

Hi Alex, really enjoy sub rosa and anz. I hope you post more about the tech behind your projects in future posts. The procedural techniques used and your development process seem like would be a good read.

Micky Sarge said...

This looks amazing. I am happy to see something new and exciting happening with FPSs (my favorite genre) after having to endure all of the rehash cash-ins of the last decade.

This game is why I pay attention to indie games.

Anyway I hope development is going well and you're enjoying it! Good luck!

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Stephan White said...

This is looking great, I think the physics-based animations are excellent. Please hurry with the next release, I can hardly wait for it.

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wow9gamer said...

I applaude you and support you even if I may not be able to play this new Version of A New Zero, I hope I can try it out soon. Keep up the great work
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