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Smurf
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« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2012, 04:51:58 PM »

I've nearly finished working on the trees now


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« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2012, 06:48:51 PM »

I've knocked up a sprite sheet generator which renders off 3D models to a sprite sheet.

This may change but currently it's 32 directional, with 8 animations each having 4 cells each.

So here it is, the first sprite sheet.  This one is a light infantry unit, the file is a png so I've linked it to my own server as its quite big

Light Infantry Sprite Sheet
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« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2012, 08:54:02 PM »

I've some work to do on the shadows - they're not meant to be cast from sprites but I'm using an old 80's technique, which I think will require me to break the sprite sheet up into individual texture files, but I might do that after loading rather than have 4000 odd images per unit type.

Here is a test with a unit of 1000 men - although there is no game logic.  FPS isn't great but this is after all a laptop running maximum detail settings.  In the final game I think the units will be somewhere around 50-150 or so, and each army will have 5 or so units at the campaign map level - but battles can take place with multiple armies for a theoretically unlimited number of troops in the battle - performance dependent of course.

It would be really cool if my laptop could run 20000-a-side battles with the graphics reduced.  I'd love to see a Dragon reigning fire down on a massed battle like that Tongue


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« Reply #18 on: December 16, 2012, 10:18:08 PM »

1000 Men casting shadows, animating, and turning with the camera Smiley


* 1000men2.jpg (96.84 KB. 1024x598 - viewed 289 times.)


I think I will knock it down to 16 directional rather than 32 and double the animation frames to 8 per action - because at the moment the directional facing is really smooth but the animation looks a bit shabby.

More importantly, Misfits is on telly in 30 minutes and I have to sort out my satellite receiver, so this is probably the last update today.

Probably.

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« Reply #19 on: December 16, 2012, 10:31:29 PM »

That looks great Smiley
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« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2012, 11:00:14 PM »

Fantastic Sprite sheet and great to see a thousand in a regiment, casting their shadow effects.

Smiley

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« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2012, 01:14:34 AM »

Time for one more update before sleep Smiley

I sorted out the animations on the sprites, and made a few other changes.  The men needed to be bigger for scale and I decided that required a higher texture resolution.


* rtsa8.jpg (158.89 KB. 1022x599 - viewed 323 times.)


I'm quite surprised and happy at the speed the engine is moving with that many sprites onscreen and pleased that I managed to get shadows casting from a surface with alpha.

Soon I will add a few more unit types and then i'm going to get them moving and fighting.

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« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2012, 10:44:10 AM »

A wizard stands ahead of 250 light troops, and 150 armoured men.


* rtsa9.jpg (173.89 KB. 1024x598 - viewed 329 times.)


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« Reply #23 on: December 17, 2012, 12:11:49 PM »

Here's the heavy infantry.

Now I just need to sort out archers, and then figure out what i'm going to do for cavalry.


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« Reply #24 on: December 17, 2012, 01:14:25 PM »

I'm starting to run into issues with memory allocation, in an effort to make this a 32 bit program for maximum compatibility - and also on account of the fact that I have no tools that can handle 64 bit, I've simply run out of memory.  So now I am culling the flowers (a small landscaping detail I hadn't shown you) and reducing terrain detail a little - because I would rather compromise on the landscape than on the unit quantity and variety.
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« Reply #25 on: December 17, 2012, 03:49:32 PM »

Well that was a frustrating glitch, but I think I have a handle on it now.

I've shaved memory from all over the place, one of the key impacts is that I have turned mip mapping off which gives the map a sort of dithered quality, so I might go the whole hog and turn on hardware dithering, or see if I can correct it on powerful computers by use of anisotropic filtering and anti-aliasing.

The sprites now are 8 directional rather than 16, which is a perfectly acceptable sacrifice as 16 was smoother than needed.  I have managed to keep 8 frames of animation by doing this, I've also got rid of the idle animation and now just have a single cell for that, and there are less combat animations.

I've also lowered the quality of some of the scenery textures, but actually one could argue they are still too high and I could save some more there.

This should allow me to squeeze in quite a few different troop types, so here's a picture of all the ones I have done so far taken during an animation test.


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« Reply #26 on: December 17, 2012, 10:11:05 PM »

my girlfriend is getting jealous at the time i'm spending drooling over these screen shots -completly amazing progress!

Smiley

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« Reply #27 on: December 17, 2012, 11:08:20 PM »

hehe, yeah i'm kinda excited by the prospect of playing it myself.

Currently I am working on the 3d units.  I plan to use sprites for the troops still but feature units like Dragons (yes, there will be Dragons - in a variety of colours) I want to keep in 3D.

Because they are feature units I am applying a shader to them to make them look nice, nothing special just bump and specular maps to bring them up to the spec you see in modern games.  Unfortunately that process isn't going well, I have had this issue before and fixed it - but today its driving me insane, my meshes are invisible! Highlighted only by their shadows!


* bumpspecfail.jpg (46.17 KB. 613x387 - viewed 268 times.)


The bump + specular effect should result in a model more like this...


* dragontestenviro.jpg (32.01 KB. 613x387 - viewed 294 times.)


Here's the same model in an earlier project without the effect (although really nice lighting)



Although the first Dragon picture above has no mood lighting going on, the way the model reacts to the light is vastly superior, with individual scales being picked out and highlighted.  This is the effect of bump and specular mapping, the picture below looks flat by comparison, especially when the light or the Dragon moves.

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« Reply #28 on: December 18, 2012, 11:31:46 AM »

well I've tracked down my shader bug - but fixing it is going to be a real challenge.

It's to do with resizing, when I  load the meshes they are around 30-100 times too big for the scale of my game, so I resize them but there is something in the shader code which does not like this process.

I've only written 1 shader myself before and don't consider myself an expert in the hlsl language or it's use!  And unlike other languages which is just a matter of learning a new syntax for existing concepts - hlsl deal with different concepts to conventional programming.  So this is going to be pain.

So I suppose I better crack on with it then.
 
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« Reply #29 on: December 18, 2012, 01:07:50 PM »

I've drafted in help to try and crack the shader issue.  In the meantime I thought I would crack on with implementing the mesh units.  First up to get them in the game, and then sort out their animations.

Here's the first three, in the nearground something i've called a "Lumberer".  It was a free download by the guy who did the mesh I used for the Dwarves ( in the background ).  It's a kinda weird thing, and i'm toying with the idea of making it come out of the ground.

In the mid-distance is a T-Rex, it may seem odd to have a dinosaur in a fantasy game, although there is precedent in AD&D, but I kinda liked how it ties in with the whole Dragon thing.  This does look a bit plastic-like in that lighting without the shader on it, but hopefully that'll get fixed later.

Then of course there is a Black Dragon, empirically towering over everything else.  For scale, the units in the background are Dwarves to the left, on the right right are three types of Wolf, the nearest - yellowy brown ones - are Giant Wolves.


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