Monday, October 24, 2011

Up yours

Tactical plans sir.

Another big name wiped off the Risk playboard. Saddam, Bin Laden, now Ghaddafi (or whatever his name is spelled). Who's next? Il Kim 3000? Obama? Don't know what to think of Ghaddafi's fall. I'm “glad” it got taped on film so we don't have to get in doubt with conspiracy theories again. Well, what say about it… He didn't give a fair trial for his opponents either, and dictators generally suck anyway. Then again, Libya was relative rich and developed compared to some other countries in the region. Iraq turned into a hell-pit when Saddam got chased into a hole, and I don't trust the extremists who are ready to jump into this Arabic Spring either. From a dictatorial system to a deep religious system... not my cup of tea.

I hope the youngsters who started these demonstrations can really create a better future without chaos, war, dictators or religious bearded dresses telling them how think, what to do, and what not to do. A tolerant place based on freedom, tolerance, and common sense. But the problem in these locations is that the word usually goes to the one with the biggest sable/AK-47, rather than a democratically chosen intellect with vision. Although… democracy has become a joke in the Western world as well. Can't remember anyone asking me about whether we should join the war in the mid-east, give more power to Brussels, how to deal with near-bankrupt countries in the EU zone, or if we should "free" Libya (for their own (oil) interests). A “No.” from the people still gets turned in a “no but, Yes - with some chocolate sauce”.

The big guys play their game anyway, no matter what we think of it. As long as we're happy with our house, car, widescreen TV and “What’s in Store!”- Bodytoaster Pro, they can keep milking tax and wipe their ass with it in any that pleases them. It's the 1% versus 99% story. A small elite of... fuckers, decides what happens in the world. Whether Ghadaffi should deliver oil, or sleep in a supermarket cooling cell. If banks should be saved whether they screw up or not. When & where to fight a cozy war to bring “Democracy”. Which other cool overpaid jobs they can get via the Old Boys network. And what we, -99%-, of tax-cows should know and do to keep their thirsty machine running. The Bible sin "Greed" is a nice summary of it all.

That's where the Occupy movement comes from I guess. Sounds I'm an anti-capitalist too. Well, not really. In my opinion, those who work hard should earn more than those who lay in their bench every day, bitching about everything. And a bigger salary should motivate people to use their talents instead of putting everyone behind the same factory conveyor belt. Listen up, there's no such thing as a free lunch. Instead of complaining or envying others, you'd better try to accomplish something yourself, and accept that there will always be people with more money, more women, more success, and more golden teeth whether they really deserve it or not. BUT, a system with a small superrich elite that does dark, unverifiable things stinks. But hey! What are you gonna do about it? Unless we really start rioting and build improvised tanks and Anti-Air pickup trucks, the elite probably doesn't care less about another demonstration. Hence, five days later the mess gets cleaned up by a couple of (hard working) garbage men, paid by our own tax of course. Face it, we know too little and have too much to lose to stand up against it. Bend over please.

I don’t see that happening at the Occupy demonstrations… By the way, those Libyans had some excessive welding classes last months!

Enough politics.
So how's the progress on that next little movie? ...Movie? For those who didn't know yet, we're trying to show a (tech)movie end this year. Or begin 2012 in case things get messed up, but the goal is to give you a Christmas present. Don't expect a "cinematic"-horror-gameplay movie though. It's merely a flythrough, showing some engine graphics stuff, and most of all, the audio, 3D and texture work that has been done by the T22 team.

No secret, the goal is to attract some more 3D/Texture/Concept art people with that demo. Cause we really need it! In the Blog statistics (love them), I saw one was Googling for "Tower 22 release date". I bet you can find a T22_Install.exe on some murky Torrent website within a few years, but we really still have to start on this game! That's right, other than the assets you've seen in this Blog, a half-working engine, and a story + ideas on paper, there is no game content yet! The reason is pretty simple. I want to start on the game when:

- The team is big, talented & motivated enough
- The engine works "good enough"
- Development tools are "good enough"
- All the design & plans have been clearly documented
* In the meanwhile, we build 1 or 2 more demo’s. At least one is planned for 2012

In other words, I don't want to build Tower22 on a fundament of shit. The good news; the engine + tools are going pretty well, the paperwork is scheduled, and the team is growing slow but steadily. Hopefully the Tech-Demo gives it another boost. Making a game isn't easy, so compare it with getting the Titanic into movement. But I have faith in it!

Do you know what's annoying? Rendering white paper without getting blinded by HDR bloom.

I didn't answer the question yet. How's the demo progress going? Well, a whole listing of objects(chairs, lamps, junk), textures and audio is still there. But each week I can check three to five assets, so I think the scene has enough material to look and sound properly within two months. No "borrowed" Halflife2 assets this time! As for the engine, there isn't that much noticeable improvement. The sound engine should hear the same with FMOD. The compressed DDS should look the same as the uncompressed TGA's did (I damn hope so!), and upgraded input modules aren’t going to produce anything visual either. There are some noticeable new effects though (asides from quite a lot bug-fixed and little improvements):

- GPU Particles (with lighting)
- Water
- Ice shaders
- Wall overlays (dirt, cracks, snow, frost)
- Anti-Aliasing
- And stuff I probably forgot

Currently I'm playing with realtime water-fluids to replace the stupid rolling ripple texture with something better looking (and for another water article :p). But I'm not so sure if it will make it before Christmas. We'll see. The biggest improvement should be the recording quality! I haven’t been looking for a better way yet, but let’s see if I can use an external device to record the movie so the CPU won’t be hogging and choking the sound.

The (sharp specular highlight) edges on this stinky chair and the drawers in the background are anti-aliased with FXAA. But I’m not 100% convinced. Either FXAA isn’t effective enough (and making it more powerful will blur the entire screen), or the shader has a little bug…

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