March 13, 2007

Presentation Slides

Well, after the 15 minutes of projector issues the presentation went pretty well, slides worked, demo worked, couldn’t ask for too much more. Someone suggested they’d like to see the final slides, so here they:

No videos, obviously, links below,

PDF
Powerpoint 2007
Powerpoint 2000-2003

The two videos from the presentation were:

Landscaping from July 2006
Instancing from Feb 2007

Enjoy.


March 02, 2007

The Presentation: Beginnings of…

Well, this mornng I made a start on the design and opening few slides of my presentation that’ll be on Monday Week 10. It is fairly preliminary stuff for now, so it’ll be sure to get editted a few times before being complete. I’ve PDF’ed and XPS’ed up the 9 slides I currently have.

PDF Version
XPS Version

Luckily one of the copies of Office 2007 I won a few weeks back has arrived so I’ve been playing around with it, trying to avoid the temptation to sound effect every word for ‘comic’ value. Since I’ll almost certainly be using my own desktop in the presentation it does mean I don’t need to worry about any compatibility issues with Open Office “Impress”.

If anyone wanted to attend the presentation at 3pm Monday Week 10 they’re more than welcome. I’m not sure what the policy is on having non DCS students at the presentation itself, but it was called a “public event” – whether that means the Computer Science public or the university public I don’t know, I’ll have to find out.

Meanwhile development still continues apace, as there’s still quite a few bits I want to get done and/or fixed before the 12th.


January 21, 2007

Latest Progress

High resolution version (far better than Google Video) : TT3D Latest


January 12, 2007

More Progress?

Well, where are we? Progress over the Christmas period wasn't as great as I'd hoped for, and certainly I've dropped behind where I would like to be on my timetable.

 List of notable improvements since pre-Christmas:

  • Industries can be built and appear on the map
  • Buildings now occupy the tile(s) on which they are placed and other buildings cannot also be built there.
  • Depots and BusStations are now functionally and visibly different and serve different purposes.
  • Depots and BusStations can be built manually by using the GUI.
  • Depots and BusStations can be clicked on and the relevant windows appear andcan be interacted with.
  • ListBox is complete and can display lists of controls as well as always displaying n items at the top of the Listbox no matter how far up/down it is scrolled.
  • Industry, Vehicle and Station information is all now stored in XML files on disk and are parsed at runtime allowing content to be changed without a recompile.
  • Other miscellaneous fixes and features not worthy of mentioning.

The next point to reach really is a full implementation of Time and Money. What this means is that as time progresses Industries make cargo, this cargo can then be distributed to the stations that have the industry within their catchment area. The cargo is tagged with it's source location, picked up by vehicles from the station and delivered to another industry that accepts it. Once delivered the company is paid depending on how long it took.  Hopefully this should be too much more work, but I've said that before about other features.

It could be argued perhaps that once industries pickup cargo, transport it, then make money, that there is some strategy involved and TT3D now constitutes a game, "fun" is irrelevant for now as there are still too many niggling issues that detract from the fun-factor of the game.

I'd love to suggest a time when I'll next post an update, but I'd only be lying, so until the next time I find myself stuck in DCS for 4 hours with nothing to do...


December 09, 2006

Work Starts Here.

Follow-up to I'm alive from Transport Tycoon 3D

OK, here’s the update that was supposed to be a day or two since the last post…

If I could use one word to describe the progress I’ve made so far this term on TT3D it would probably be “pitiful”. I’ve never quite got in the “wow, this is so awesome” mood that I managed over the summer and go the first 10K lines written, I’m hoping I can pick that back up again starting this weekend.

OpenTTD Industries

According to my specification the last few weeks should have been spent on getting Towns and Industries in the game but it does seem that that is going to be easier said than done. This week has been spent trying to get Industries into the game and it has certainly proved more difficult than imagined.

Industries in Transport Tycoon come in varied shapes and sizes, but I had made the fatal error of assuming they were all rectangular, alas, Oil Wells and a few others scupper me. Each industry has many different visual respresentations, so while some factories are rectangular others might not be. It’s this that made me realise I needed to start loading data in at runtime now rather than hard-code it for a few more weeks and then worry about it later.

So to System.Xml and the creation of an Industries.xml settings file that is parsed at runtime. This data is then fed into the game and the game will choose what respresentation it wants at the time the industry is created. Currently my lack of models means I’m using my Bus Station/Shelter model to respresent almost everything in the game but it isn’t too much of a problem… yet.

My target for the weekend is to have industries of all types placeable within the world. Then I suppose they can’t really start producing “stuff” until I have the concept of “time” in the game, so that means a start date, and time-based movement. We shall see…


November 27, 2006

I'm alive

Expect an update in the next day or two. No surprises though…


August 23, 2006

Progress Video

Well, just less than 24 hours later the first of the three videos I uploaded to google video has been processed. Unfortunately the account settings for GV appear to be somewhat broken, and I only get error pages, so I can't check on the other two yet. Here you go:


August 22, 2006

A Belated Follow–Up

Follow-up to Work Continues from Transport Tycoon 3D

Some weeks go by where I implement features that are instantly visible to those playing and then there's some days/weeks where everything I do is behind the scenes and so it doesn't look like I've done anything. The last couple of weeks has been mainly the latter, although the rewrites to stuff behind the scenes has made it considerably easier going forward to get "stuff" done a lot quicker.

The GUI manager has once again been almost completely rewritten from scratch but will allow me to have much better control over how mouse/keyboard input is handled. Vehicle ViewWindows now follow the vehicle around the map rather than duplicating the main window, and a vehicle's orders can also be displayed in it's own little window.

Two vehicles are now in the world at any one time, making their way between 3 Bus Stations in the order set out in their Orders.

Up until now I've simply been hosting any videos I've made on my webspace in xvid (and occasionally WMV) format. However I've decided it's about time I put them somewhere sensible, so plumped with Google Video – mainly so I can host them in each entry without the user having to download/view the video.

The problem with Google Video so far seems to be that it takes a long time for them to "Process" the video, whether that involves any form of encoding or not I don't know, but as soon as my new video is "Live" I'll post it… 3 hours and counting.


August 08, 2006

Work Continues

I'm going to lay blame for my lack of updates squarely at the door of a) Smallville and b) TT3D itself. Although I've made some pretty good progress I've just not got around to screenshotting/Frapsing any of it lately.

I did however, make a quick build which should probably qualify has version 0.01 to check it worked on other people's machines, so a few 'lucky' people got to try that out. Anyway, I am alive, work is continuing and I hope I'll have something to show by the end of the week.


July 26, 2006

Shader Instancing

Once again a slightly long than intended break from blogging my progress, but until today there hadn’t really been much. For the last 3-4 days I’ve been researching/investigating a technique called “Instancing”. To put it simply, if you want to draw the same object many times over, you might as well just give the graphics card one copy of the object, and a list of places you want it drawn, rather than lots of copies and lots of locations.

For example, if I wanted someone to go and post 6 newspapers in my road, I probably wouldn’t say:

“Go and post a newspaper to 4 Western Road”
“Go and post a newspaper to 8 Western Road”
“Go and post a newspaper to 15 Western Road”
“Go and post a newspaper to 16 Western Road”
“Go and post a newspaper to 23 Western Road”
“Go and post a newspaper to 42 Western Road”

I’d just be wasting my breath, it could be put a lot simpler:

“Go and post a newspaper to [4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42] Western Road”

While it doesn’t actually make delivering the newspapers any quicker for the delivery guy, theres less time spent awkwardly listening to me reel off “Go and post a newspaper to x Western Road” 16,000 times…, this is basically what instancing can do for drawing geometry/meshes in 3D graphics.

Theres a few different ways of implementing instancing, which I won’t go into, but suffice to say some are a) faster and b) better supported than others. While it might have made my life (and performance of the game) better if I’d used Hardware Instancing, 80%+ of people reading this probably then wouldn’t be able to play the game. So, I went with Shader Instancing, and it seems to be pretty quick.

To demonstrate, believe it or not, I’ve made a video. The video shows my game running with NVPerfHUD4 running over the top, this gives me lots of information about the graphics card etc etc. It also allows me to step through the individual stages in rendering a single frame of the game.

The map shown is 256 X 256 squares (the size of maps in the original “Transport Tycoon”) and is gradually covered with 65,536 depot/bus stations, one for every square on the map. With every square covered, we’re drawing 2,300,000 polygons per frame, an incredible amount. Had I tried this same test without Shader Instancing you might have mistook the game for a very slow slideshow of still images.

If you couldn’t tell already, I’m pretty pleased with the work involved in getting this done, and it really does mean I can start doing much more impressive things without the framerate taking a huge hit.

I’ve written enough for now, back to work. :)

Download video (Xvid, 11MB)


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