Ahra Pahts weekly update #7

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Ahra Pahts weekly update #7

Postby Aloys » Sat Dec 15, 2007 7:15 pm

That will be a short update (for once).

This week mostly under the hood stuff has been going on: fixing bugs, fixing things that are not bugs but need to be fixed anyway etc.. I also took the time to look at some of the features of PyPRP that I haven't been using much so far (materials, reflections, lights); and I'm evaluating how I could provide more visual variety to the Age. Lighting in particular is a problem..
Right now the Age doesn't have any real lights, just vertex painting, and adding some would really enhance it. Unfortunately it may sound surprising but for several reasons providing real lighting in this Age would be *very* difficult. For two reasons essentially: one is because of an obscure problem between Blender and PyPRP, and the way some rotated objects aren't lit properly; and the other is that when I first started working on the Age last year there were no lighting features at all in PyPRP, and the Age wasn't planned with this in mind. This is a mistake I pay today. Especially because I would need to update all the shells to properly lit them.. And that includes all the shells that have already been sent to their owners... Beside this I would need to place litterally hundreds of lights throughout the city, and not only would it take a lot of time to do (too much to be ready for version 1) but I also fear it would have a very bad impact on the Age performance ingame.
I'll have to give this some serious thinking over the next days, but I'm afraid I already know the answer..

Also I did some tests with fogs and I am running into problems that I hadn't expected, especially with the Hub building. To make it short I have to set the fog to be quite thick to look good, but then the Hub gets lost in the fog. So I have to set its material not to be affected by the fog. But then it really stands out too much... I think I will end up doing a fake fog with a transparent texture all around the building that will disappear when you get closer. That will be a hack but that should work. At any rate I think will keep the fog, it really enhance the atmosphere of the Age.

Next update next week (which hopefully will be the last one before the final release). Next week will be intense...
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Re: Ahra Pahts weekly update #7

Postby Nadnerb » Sat Dec 15, 2007 8:04 pm

Lighting: You should be just fine sticking with vertex lighting for the static objects in the age. Most Cyan ages do this anyway. It would, however, be a good idea to put lights in all of the street level lamp objects so that they affect the avatar as expected.

Fog: Sounds cool, I look forward to seeing it.
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Re: Ahra Pahts weekly update #7

Postby Paradox » Mon Dec 24, 2007 8:57 pm

Some things that should be implemented to accommodate new features that are on the verge of implementation:

  • Give all of the light flares (except the sun) a Z-index value of 1 in the material. If possible, create a separate (identical) material for the flares on the street lamps and the bridge posts and give it a Z-Index of 2. This will prevent the bug that we see where the transparency of one sprite obscures another.
  • Create a Soft Volume region around each district. This will enable per-district sounds and lighting.
  • Create Soft Volumes around every shell. This will be useful for shell-specific sounds and prevent music from Shell 214 being heard in shell 421 ;)
  • Create sound emission points for each district and courtyard
  • While you're at it... add a Soft Volume around each courtyard for courtyard-specific ambient music
  • Set-up cameras and targets around all of the Nexus books to speed up linking and enable camera angles
  • Set-up seek mods at all of the linking books and set up responders to handle proper animations
  • Use proper linking book defs and PythonFileMods for all of the book GUIs

It sounds like a long list, and doesn't all need to happen in the near future. Only the first item would be really noticeable if it was implemented immediately (and only if the trunk plugin was used, rather than the stable tag). If we want to include sounds in version 1, the Soft Volumes in the districts and the courtyards should be implemented and the sound emitters created.

If you'd like me to do anything, let me know here or via PM :)
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Re: Ahra Pahts weekly update #7

Postby Robert The Rebuilder » Tue Dec 25, 2007 12:06 pm

Paradox:

The light flares and soft volumes should be no problem (although it will be time consuming). And luckily all the linking books currently have camera regions and cameras; they are set to mimic the default 3rd person camera and are not fixed.

But we'll need more details on how to do the other items in order to perform them:

- Create sound emission points for each district and courtyard
- Set-up seek mods at all of the linking books and set up responders to handle proper animations
- Use proper linking book defs and PythonFileMods for all of the book GUIs

Since these can only be done in PRP Explorer at the moment, is there some way to save these modifications to a file outside of the PRPs? Otherwise, we'd have to redo these each time we export Ahra Pahts.
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Re: Ahra Pahts weekly update #7

Postby Paradox » Tue Dec 25, 2007 1:27 pm

Sound emission points and seek mods don't exist in the plugin yet, but they can be defined as point objects for the time being (at least they will be exported with a CoordinateInterface).

The cameras could also be given targets (again just point objects) to make sure that they work as expected and with no delays during linking.

I'm waiting to hear from Trylon, and once he gets things in his branch stable enough to match the capabilities of the 0.5 stable tag, I'll start adding more stuff like sounds.

For the linking books, that should only require a small amount of code to be rewritten in PythonFileMod. I'd like to add something like "clicktype=xLinkingBookGUI" or "clicktype=xJournalGUI" instead of just the "clickfile=<pythonfilename>".
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Re: Ahra Pahts weekly update #7

Postby Trylon » Tue Dec 25, 2007 2:07 pm

Hey, still alive here :)

I couldn't do much work on it last weekend - have been busy on a small renovation job elsewhere, and work on it lasted 'till late today.
I'm expecting to do some work tomorrow.

Current issues consist among others of flickering visuals, and objects getting textured incorrectly (like, textures affect only the color of the face - myeah, weird).
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Re: Ahra Pahts weekly update #7

Postby Aloys » Wed Dec 26, 2007 8:25 am

Hi there, still alive too, (although all the christmas food and a solid gastric flu almost got me.. :o )
I haven't given proper development time on the sound aspect, I'll look into this these next days.
How do you tie a sound emiter with a soft volume right now? Simply by adding the property to the point emiter in blender?

About the Z offsets: I'm not sure yet what value to give, because in the future we might want to animate the sky, and that might mean we'd need several overlayed meshes with transcluent textures.. I guess just to be safe I'll give all the flares a value of 3. (that shouldn't be a problem right?) Right now I'm still working with the stable release of PyPRP; so I can't check. I'll only switch to the trunk version once I get all the assets ready.
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Re: Ahra Pahts weekly update #7

Postby Paradox » Wed Dec 26, 2007 1:53 pm

If you start with an offset of 3 on the flares, assign that to all of the flares on the walls and the big lamps in the courtyards.
The streetlamps will need a Z-offset of 4 (or +1 of the other value) so that the transparency works properly.

If you're doing lights on the bridges, you could also give those a value of 5 (or +2) just to be safe.

Sound emitters and soft volumes are being looked into this week while I have free time. It looks like they will be tied into the SoftVolumes in the same way that lights are (with a text property or via AlcScript). I'll let you know when the code is working and I'll write a tutorial.
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Re: Ahra Pahts weekly update #7

Postby Trylon » Fri Jan 04, 2008 2:14 pm

Aloys wrote:One is because of an obscure problem between Blender and PyPRP, and the way some rotated objects aren't lit properly;


I think I just solved that problem - turns out that normals weren't transformed along with the vertices when static objects were transformed to worldspace.
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Re: Ahra Pahts weekly update #7

Postby Aloys » Fri Jan 04, 2008 3:12 pm

Oohh.. this is interesting; if indeed the 'rotated objects aren't properly lit' issue is fixed I may reconsider lighting in the Age for a future version..
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