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Author Topic:   More development updates
LDA Seumas
unregistered
posted September 18, 1999 07:27 AM           
It's been a while since the game was given a workout on a Voodoo 1 or 2, so today we installed a Voodoo 1 into my old P133 (which lives beside my dual P2-400). With the latest GLSetup drivers, it runs surprisingly well, at around 10 or 15 FPS with very low detail settings (250m view distance, 128x128 textures, 1,000 terrain tris, no detail texturing). The Permedia-2 is just a tad too slow and ugly to be acceptable on a 133 at this point, but a Voodoo 1 or better should do the trick.

I made some improvements to the networking code to prevent a possible master server denial of service attack, and in the process fixed a problem that could have caused serious hiccups for ordered-reliable communications with low byte rate limits. Previously I was re-sending ordered packets in newest-first order, which was normally OK, but if a bunch of packets got backed up behind a low rate limit, a huge bubble would form as the most recent packets would get sent and acked, but the oldest packets would never get sent due to the rate limit. On the receiving end, recently received ordered packets can't be delivered to the app until all the gaps are filled, so even if most of the packets have arrived, a few old no-shows can cause all the newer ones to be backed up in the queue.

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-- Seumas McNally, Lead Programmer, Longbow Digital Arts

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LDA Seumas
unregistered
posted September 19, 1999 09:53 AM           
After burning a few hours hunting down a bug that related to forgetting to set the sin_family member of a sockaddr_in structure to AF_INET before trying to send a broadcast UDP packet with it (argh), I've got the client game pinging for running servers on the local network, and talking to the master server as well. The chat interface should be an easy drop-in tomorrow, and then things will finally be getting nearly releasable for the Second Test... This test is going to be the first major test of the entire internet networking architecture, so I want to make sure it's all there before we send it out. There'll still be about a month to make improvements to the network side of things based on feedback from this Test.

Also, I've finally got the whole hardware, software, Voodoo1/2 issue sorted out, with (at least for now) three separate versions of the game executable; one for normal hardware rendering, one for software OpenGL rendering, and one specifically for Voodoo 1 and 2 cards. There will be a launcher application which will simplify choosing which version of the game to start, in addition to starting Dedicated Servers.

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-- Seumas McNally, Lead Programmer, Longbow Digital Arts

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LDA Seumas
unregistered
posted September 21, 1999 09:45 AM           
Yesterday I did get the chat interface working from within the game client's OpenGL rendered GUI, in addition to making some really nice improvements to the GUI button highlighting effects. Today I've been adding more features and fixes to the chat and server browsing interface; I really just need to add pinging of servers and a bit of GUI cleanup now. I also realized the perfect way to simplify arranging the files that need to be distributed for the Second Test. I wrote a little program that parses the Tread Marks .log files, and automatically copies all the files the game loaded in that session from their development directories to a temporary distribution tree, which will be really easy to throw into the WISE install project. For the first Test, weeding out just the files needed from the megs upon megs of files present for the full game was an ugly manual process, but this will make things much easier.

Oh, and see www.treadmarks.com for a couple of new screen shots to help tide you over until the test.

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-- Seumas McNally, Lead Programmer, Longbow Digital Arts

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DarkFrog
Member
posted September 21, 1999 06:59 PM            
Any chance for random maps?
it seems that all that would be needed was pushing some random (or user set) numbers through texturizer's code, and viola!
(if it's that easy)
but do you think that random level generation would be a possibility?

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DarkFrog
Member
posted September 21, 1999 08:04 PM            
Oh yeah, and does the current engine support voxels at all, and will there be any sort of a "cuncussion missle", like the one in Tanarus?
(you know, you hit them, and it does little/no damage but rockets them in it's direction, allowing you to ramp people WAY away from you, might be a good racing weapon)

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LDA Seumas
unregistered
posted September 22, 1999 09:55 AM           
Random maps were something I had planned to have waaaay back in the beginning (the original plan, back in the dune-buggy days, was to have random maps only, with no hand created maps), but at a certain point I decided that the advantages of human created maps were too great. Getting random maps to look consistently good is a pretty big task. It's also the sort of thing that would be really easy (technically speaking) for someone else to do; an external application that could generate random maps for the game would be easy to make. The hard part would be getting it to produce good looking terrain.

As for consussion missiles, you're in luck... We've decided to turn the old 3-tube missile launcher from the Test into Concussion Missiles, which have a huge amount of splash-push, but no splash-damage. They hurt if they strike you directly though.

Today I got server list pinging and sorting working, and the server browsing GUI menu is basically done. I still need to polish the Chat GUI and add auto-map-restarts to the dedicated server. Also need Insignia Flag selection, and team-play if I have time.

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-- Seumas McNally, Lead Programmer, Longbow Digital Arts

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LDA Seumas
unregistered
posted September 24, 1999 06:42 AM           
Yesterday I pretty much put the finish on solid first versions of the in-client Master Server browsing, local LAN game browsing, and Master Server Chat interfaces. Today I added map lists for Dedicated Servers, implemented a few components on the way towards allowing for dedicated servers to restart maps with the clients automatically reconnecting, and added map screen shots. The last is pretty cool, as you just hit Alt-F12 and the game takes a screen shot of just the terrain, sky, and water, without any objects or text visible, scales it to 256x256, quantizes it to 8-bit, and saves a .BMP with the name of the currently running map file. Then the game scans for those .BMP files and displays the appropriate image along with the map in the Map Selection screen. The same basic image browsing code will be used for the Insignia Flag Selector, which I will be coding tomorrow, once Philippe makes .ENT files for the pile of insignia images he's painting.

Slowly but surely, we're closing in on the Second Test. With everything that's getting added, this Test will be closer to Feature Complete than I had initially intended. There is still a fair bit to do on the Single Player game (ladder/tournament mode, race stats, better AI, shadows, CVA optimizations, more Liquid Class Tanks, a few more weapons), but I'm happy with how everything's progressing. At this point it looks like we should ship with 10 "Steel" Class tanks, and another 10 "Liquid" Class tanks, which look _exceptionally_ cool (screen shots soon). We may also end up with _over_ 40 levels, depending on how picky we want to get.

FYI, the Second Test will have a full GUI interface, Insignia Flags, a second level (green, with trees and water), all our current weapons, and (hopefully smooth) Internet play. It will likely have the same two tanks as before though.

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-- Seumas McNally, Lead Programmer, Longbow Digital Arts

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DarkFrog-school
unregistered
posted September 24, 1999 12:10 PM           
Sounds great! Can't wait to see it. btw, what do you mean by water-class-tanks?

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Akuma of Kage
unregistered
posted September 27, 1999 01:01 PM           
Sounds kickin', I have an idea about the next test release. It would be cool to have 2 steel tanks, 2 land levels, and 2 "liquid tanks", w/ 2 "liquid" levels (that is if liquid means water). This would allow the testing of the various terra and tanks. Also it would allow players to experience the variations or terra/ tanks. I also have a sugestion for the game. The option to select various skins for the tanks. I have been tinkering with the *.bmp files for the skins & have found raceing in a tank, covered in a zebra paint job, to be fun. If you look at the most popular games on the market, a big chunk of the have some meens for the player to customize the models / enviroment (ie Quake, SIN, Shogo,etc)

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LDA Seumas
unregistered
posted September 27, 1999 07:35 PM           
DarkFrog,

"Liquid Class" doesn't refer to water, but to the way the tank skins are environment mapped. Think Terminator 2. The Liquid Class tanks will all have smooth, rounded chapes, with really fancy skins.

Akuma,

I don't have multiple selectable tank skin support in right now, but I'll add it if I have time. Right now you can identify yourself using the Insignia Flags. I haven't bothered with skin support yet as we don't have the resources to create multiple skins for each tank (and not it won't be as important with 20 tanks plus insignia), but it's definitely something that users could do.

The new Test will have a new map (green, with water and trees) in addition to the desert map, but the same two tanks as in the first Test. It will have a complete GUI interface though, with a Master Server list and IRC-style chat interface built in. We may select new (better) maps and tanks for the final Demo once the game goes gold.

General:

Argh! Don't try using low-precision, ultra-fast inverse square root approximation code for general 3D vector normalization functions... The lack of precision will bite you in WEIRD ways. It took me about 6 hours yesterday to figure out why friction seemed way high and the tanks were suddenly going about 40kph slower than normal. BOY am I glad I noticed things were screwed up before the Test went out... It was hard to tell without directly comparing the game play to an older version, but there was just something subtely "wrong". On the up side, Environment Mapping has still been sped up a lot.

Not much got done over the weekend, as we had a couple of friends over, but we did get some good testing done, and I was able to tie up even more little loose ends. I'll start building Second Test Installation Executables tonight, and along with updating the readme and getting the Master Server sent to those who will run it, I hope to get the Second Test out in a day or two.

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-- Seumas McNally, Lead Programmer, Longbow Digital Arts

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LDA Seumas
unregistered
posted September 28, 1999 08:33 AM           
We're now at the Fiddley Little Bits stage. Test net play, fix bugs, test some more, add features, test, bugs, test, etc. The game is becoming very slick now, from the client itself to the Dedicated Servers to the Master/Chat Server. It's a nice well rounded package I think.

The biggest thing we got working tonight was Race mode for Dedicated Servers. All lap timings and placings are spot-on now, with everything calculated on the Server and properly sent to clients. I had to convert a fair bit of old hacky lap timing code that was quickly thrown in waaay back now into more correct code within the networked entity framework of the game. That basically meant storing lap times and placings inside each Tank entity, and transmitting those times to the clients through periodic Tank entity status messages. The clients then pull the times out of the Tank entities to display them.

The basic gist of Race mode over the Net will be Dedicated Servers with short Time Limits running 1 or 2 lap races. You'll join a Race server in progress, and be free to drive the course or just putter around (or make trouble for the racers, but I think that will be frowned upon ) until the server restarts, at which point you'll get to start fresh with the rest of the pack at the beginning of a real race. Once you complete the specified number of laps your placing will be fixed, and you'll be free to keep driving the course, putter around, or, turn around and make trouble for those trying to finish the race behind you... From our testing so far, it seems like it's going to be more interesting than I originally thought.

Oh yes, the Master Server has just been sent off to a few friends who hopefully should be able to run Masters for the Second Test release, and I hope to get the Second Test itself out the door tomorrow, which is later tonight for you, but I'm going to bed now.

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-- Seumas McNally, Lead Programmer, Longbow Digital Arts

IP:

LDA Seumas
unregistered
posted October 01, 1999 07:19 AM           
As you've heard by now, the Second Test is out, and from the testing we've been able to do so far, most aspects of Internet Networking, including the Master Server, the Chat Lobby interface, the Dedicated Servers, anf Internet Modem play in general seem to be working very well, which is very, very good. I expect there will still be a lot of minor issues brought forth by this Test, but that is one of its goals.

I'm too wiped to go into much detail on anything right now, so I'll try and catch up to the rest of the Forum posts tomorrow.

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-- Seumas McNally, Lead Programmer, Longbow Digital Arts

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LDA Seumas
unregistered
posted October 02, 1999 08:47 AM           
Internet Networking Lives!

We've been playing Test 2 over the internet quite a bit since its release, and we've been having a blast! The networking is holding up much better than I had feared it might, with no major complaints or obvious problems so far. The Master Server and Chat interface is also working well, though it hasn't been taxed very heavily yet (hopefully it will before long, hint hint).

G-Force had a Dedicated Server up for a time yesterday, and at one point he configured the Nukes to be extremely plentiful. The map was a scene of total carnage, with nuclear bombs going off everywhere. It was, in fact, much like the Armageddon track which will be in the final game, where there is a Nuclear Mountain that launches a nuke every 10 seconds against the hapless mass of tanks on the baked earth below.

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-- Seumas McNally, Lead Programmer, Longbow Digital Arts

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G-Force
New Member
posted October 02, 1999 09:50 PM            
This is G-Force and the server was up for about 36 hours.. when I jumped on again and play, and found some really weird ****.

There were zones on the game where you start jumping around like a glich it was really bad couldn't really move at times. I restarted the server and it seemed to fix the problem.

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LDA Seumas
unregistered
posted October 03, 1999 02:46 AM           
Ah, that was probably just the Edge of the World "feature"... To conserve bandwidth, I had to limit the precision of the coordinates of tanks and other entities, so they can only represent locations up to 500 meters off map in any one direction, and after that, you go all weird. For now just try and keep the respawn points in view on the mini-map, and hit reverse if you get stuck in a warp. This will be fixed.

Oh, and thanks for running a server, G-Force! That was fun when you turned the nukes way up. And the AI tanks help when there are less players. They seem smarter when they're LPBs.

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-- Seumas McNally, Lead Programmer, Longbow Digital Arts

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LDA Seumas
unregistered
posted October 04, 1999 08:08 AM           
- Added 1 second delay before firing is allowed after respawn, weapon pick-up, or weapon drop.
- Implemented invisible barrier to prevent weird warping off edge of map in multi-play; will probably fix "for real" for final game, allowing infinite off-map chases.
- Tweaked networking so that split-second ping spikes won't screw things up as much.
- Added purple-sphere effect when weapon runs out of ammo and disappears.
- Made Insignia Flags full bright for easier identification.
- Gawked at Philippe's new "Liquid Evil" tank, which looks hungry.
- Fixed bug where weapons dropped from dead tanks would appear in wrong location on client due to prediction.
- Fixed "no map selected" blank countdown of confusion bug.
- Implemented turret centering on respawn.
- Fixed the ghostly taskbar icon buildup when changing resolutions or quitting the game.

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-- Seumas McNally, Lead Programmer, Longbow Digital Arts

IP:

LDA Seumas
unregistered
posted October 05, 1999 11:34 AM           
- Fixed 1 second weapon delay code allowing super auto fire.
- Made dedicated server dialog iconifiable.
- Lowered fps log rate to every 100 frames for dedicated servers.
- Added player name floating over closest opponent.
- Changed tank gun firing sprite.
- Fixed ugly little bug with placing calculations in networked race mode.

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-- Seumas McNally, Lead Programmer, Longbow Digital Arts

IP:

Akuma of Kage
unregistered
posted October 07, 1999 12:59 PM           
for the creating multiple skins with the final release, you can jus have a second set that has been inverted,colour carved, & etc, (wich if you add multiple skin support, I'd be more than happy to ).

IP:

LDA Seumas
unregistered
posted October 07, 1999 06:36 PM           
- Fixed bug with floating name not going away on disconnect.
- Added notice above tank when typing chat message.
- Made list box arrows move selection instead of scroll.
- Added mouse control for turret aiming and gun fire.
- Made game run even when not active app if connected to server.

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-- Seumas McNally, Lead Programmer, Longbow Digital Arts

IP:

LDA Seumas
unregistered
posted October 08, 1999 09:46 AM           
- Added more informative connect failure messages, including a note to upgrade your game version.
- Fixed a bunch of bugs unearthed by the mouse code.
- Finally brought Alt-Tab handling up to par, and generally removed unnecessary vid mode changes.
- Added EcoSystem smoothing, which enhances the look of some maps, and wasn't as expensive as I had feared.
- Added color cycling to fiery particle menu background.

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-- Seumas McNally, Lead Programmer, Longbow Digital Arts

IP:

LDA Seumas
unregistered
posted October 09, 1999 12:48 PM           
- Fixed bug with reconnecting to wrong server at level change.
- More mouse code fixes.
- Tweaked Avenger and Machine Gun ammo, and added display side ammo scalar, so Avenger now shows 880 rounds.
- Fixed bugs in turret rotation prediction and network code.
- Made starting 120mm ammo configurable, and set default up to 8.
- Added a SuperAmmo power up that gives you an extra clip of Bolt-On weapon ammo.
- Lowered power-up float height by 1 meter.
- Added filtering to client prediction, which smooths out jitters and lagged collisions.
- Added random nicknames for AI tanks.
- Made tanks only smoke (not burn) when under water.

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-- Seumas McNally, Lead Programmer, Longbow Digital Arts

IP:

Kaeto
Member
posted October 09, 1999 03:47 PM            
Sounds like you've been working your butt off. Thanks for all the updates and for your commitment to making a really awesome game!

IP:

LDA Seumas
unregistered
posted October 10, 1999 02:56 PM           
- Finished converting documentation to HTML.
- Added a compass to the mini-map.
- Got Team Play mostly implemented.
- Helped Philippe test out Heavy Napalm prototype. Cleanse and Burn!
- Re-worked one of the Deathmatch maps to great effect.
- Gawked at the new sculptural forms added to a couple of the maps.
- Almost ready to release Test 2.1.

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-- Seumas McNally, Lead Programmer, Longbow Digital Arts

IP:

G-Force
New Member
posted October 10, 1999 10:46 PM            
Well damn it baby.. GIVE IT TO ME.. GIVE IT TO ME HARD!

Opps went there again.. sorry

G-Force!

PS When do I get crowned King of all that is Tank?

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ray3
unregistered
posted October 11, 1999 07:33 PM           
Request #1: When running SG1 software OpenGL singleplayer, the game is visible on the LAN and anyone can join. I tried editing the server config, but no change.

Request #2: BOSS KEY to quickly minimize, exit or switch applications.

IP:

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