Thursday, April 2, 2015

Popcorn, Movie time!

It took a goddamn millenium, and no, this is NOT an official movie showing in-game content or the hottest new engine features. But nevertheless, I wanted to show you guys something. Just to for the fun (and to make clear we're doing something hehe).

While waiting for assets to finish the official movie -which will actually show in-game content of T22-, I made a little test myself. So expect "programmer-art", not a fully polished demo with extreme awesome horror moments. Also note that this demo was still made with the current/old Engine version, not the code I've announced in the previous post. But anyway, and also thanks to Cesar Alvarez who did the audio for this clip, the end result shouldn't be too shabby. Enjoy!

Any background info, about the applied techniques maybe? Well nothing truly new really, although the particle systems have been remade last year. Including an editor to define effects, and the capability of the particles to catch indirect light via a (partially pre-baked) probe grid. Another ancient but still useful feature that was implemented, are light-flares. Hmm? Didn't we already have those? Yes, no. Sprites have been there, but they did intersect with the surrounding geometry, giving a weird cut-off at some camera angles.

Let's see... Oh yeah, a tiny preview of FBX animations being pumped into the engine and used on a model... Usage of scripted triggers & path motions (moving our toy-train from A to B, with rotating wheels). Lens distortion halo's, some volumetric light with dust here and there, and the ability to (vertex)paint layers into the walls, floors and other surfaces. Check out the variations in the wallpapers for example.

Another invisible, but very useful feature, are "sector-boundaries". Sector what? The world you're seeing isn't just 1 big level, but a whole bunch of rooms and corridor pieces, called "sectors". Sectors and their contents (textures, objects, static geometry, ...) are loaded on the fly, in a background thread when approaching. Oh, and older sectors we left will be dumped sooner or later as well, to keep the memory usage somewhat low. Anyhow, in order to define in which sector we are at any given point in the world, each sector has 1 or more primitive shapes such as cubes, cylinders or spheres, that globally define the boundaries. This allows the engine to quickly determine where we are, as well as helping with the portal-culling mechanism.

Ok. And how about the jumps/crossovers between the "normal" and "altered' worlds in the demo? Recording twice and video-mixing with Blender :p

One last detail. People who paid attention may remember earlier blog-posts about this demo being mixed with an Audio Bullys track; "The Subway". Although I do have this Musical Demo in the vault here, I decided not to release it, and let Cesar play instead. The idea of asking AB for permission to use their track was a bit overwhelming, plus making a video-clip that really complements a music-track (or vice-versa) is fuck'n hard. Personally I found it pretty cool, but others would lift their shoulders and miss the link between the visuals and audio. Then looking back with a critical eye -and ear-, I understand why. Our game engine and editors aren't flashy music-clip editing tools to begin with, so especially the synchronisation and pacing were a bit dull, and the video tempo a bit too low to match with the bouncy beats. Well, who knows. Another day maybe.

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