July 17, 2006


Follow-up to A slight snag… from Transport Tycoon 3D

I posted just a few days ago slightly peeved at myself that I'd made such a rookie mistake with regards to my grid. Well, thankfully the fixes actually took a lot less time than I imagined, and by Saturday morning everything was in working order again with the new "4 squares" rather than two.

So soldiering on with Landscaping, and the GUI window associated with landscaping I did, and it's already looking fairly polished. Users can raise and lower land, and then use the level tool to flatten an area of land to a given height. I won't bore you too much with where the remaining areas are to polish up as they certainly won't be there too much longer.

Something that has worked surprisingly well was the small indicator (in fact, just a white cube) showing which vertex you are currently hovering over… something best demonstrated in a video!

Download video (Xvid, 4.4MB) – Average Quality, Small Filesize
Download video (WMV, 6.4MB) – Average Quality, Larger Filesize

July 14, 2006

A slight snag…

Well, there's no beating about the bush with this one, I've made a bit of a mistake. The problem isn't exactly easy to describe, but the crux of the matter is that 2 triangles per square isn't gonna cut it on the grid, I need to change for 4.

My plan for raising/lowering land (landscaping) was to be able to simply raise a corner, and have the four corresponding tiles (each corner is shared by 4 tiles) have their terrain change appropriately. As link demonstrates, the triangles to the left and right of the raised point are fine, the ones in front and behind are wrong.

So, the change to 4 triangles per grid square has a few of problems associated with it:

a) I need an extra vertex per square (in the middle) to be able to draw my 4 triangles, thus increasing memory requirements.
b) I have to draw twice as many triangles as I'd hoped, hurting performance there.
c) It's going to mean rewriting a substantial portion of the code I've already written, except this time, the rewrite is going to be even more difficult than it was before.

It certainly won't be impossible, and I should be able to have most of it back in order by the end of the weekend, but it's certainly a bit of a setback. On the bright side, once I'm done, I can demonstrate landscaping in a video, something I was about to do before I realised my mistake…

July 12, 2006

New GUI and Assorted Features

New VehicleWindow

Most of the work over the last few days has been on getting a skeleton GUI in place that can help me when I'm trying to work out how different features interact/interfere with each other. For example, if you aren't trying to click a button on a window, you don't also want the click to go "through" and onto the grid behind and build some road.

I also got round to working out how to turn on Mipmapping, which a) makes the grid look 1000 times better, and b) gives about a 6–7 times performance boost, since it's drawing lower resolution textures further away from the camera.

The green car representing, well… every vehicle under the sun will stay for a while longer until I get round to replacing it with something resembling a bus, but it's hardly urgent. Tonight's work is on "Landscaping", which means hopefully by this time tomorrow you'll be able to raise, lower, and even up land… that's the theory at least…

July 06, 2006

Vehicle Cameras and New Road Building

Bit of a gap since my last entry, but I'm really back in full swing now, and hope for a productive few months.

Road building/networks have almost be completely rewritten from scratch to make it infinitely more useable, now no knowledge of "where" to click in a square is required.

In a previous post I showed off the multiple "View Windows" which were essentially a view of the world through a separate camera, however at the time they simply showed the same view as the main camera. Fortunately now, these windows can now not only be in a different place in the world, but also follow vehicles around!

Today's video is slightly larger than before, 15MB, still Xvid, and demonstrates the new road building and a working Vehicle Camera in a window. Here it is. Enjoy.

June 16, 2006

Viewport Mania

Managed to get into the swing of making TT3D again yesterday, and probably one of the more important features looks well on it's way to be finished.

Anyone that's played Transport Tycoon will know that any vehicle can be clicked on brings up a small (or large, if dragged) viewport window that shows a live view of what the vehicle is doing. I've added a screenshot into the June 2006 gallery of me playing around with 6 viewport windows which currently only draw the same as the main game screen, but can very easily be changed to follow vehicles around the map.

Once again I've been making videos, this one is slightly larger in size than the ones before, but demonstrates 16 viewport windows open at once while I build some road and set a vehicle going. Click here for the 5MB video . As always the video is Xvid encoded, so if you don't have the xvid codecs installed, your best bet is trusty VLC Player .

Today I shall probably try and get some more substantial looking GUI'ness to the game, as it makes my life a lot easier.

June 14, 2006

All Exams Finished

Phew, all done, the last of the 8 exams finished at 5pm this afternoon, so I should be able to start work again on TT3D very soon.

I've still got to practice for the GT4 tournament (mentioned in a previous post) on June 30–July 2, but I'm sure I'll try and get some more features (and stability) in the game before I head to Paris. I'm certainly going to be spending a lot of time on the project over the summer, but thankfully since it's my 3rd Year Project, I can't back out of making it and give up, so it will happen.

If I implement anything cool between now and June 30 I'll be sure to snap/video it and post it here, so, until then have a good rest of term.

May 22, 2006

Some call it procrastination…

So I got a little bored of revision… and turned to the blog again. Nothing particularly earth–shattering has changed. I've added the gallery/rss buttons again on the left hand side, and managed to put my Xbox Live gamercard in the top right hand corner.

I've decided to create a gallery for each month that I'm developing TTDotNet/TT3D/[whatever else I refer to it as] so it's a bit easier to see the progress I make as time goes by. I've only got some screenshots from back in April, May seemed to be a month of short 'in–game' videos and revision, meaning I've not made much progress of late. Hopefully as soon as the exams have finished, and I've competed at GT4 at the ESWC at the end of June, I can really get my head down and crack on with some actual features.

May 09, 2006

No Transport Tycoon 3D At E3 2006

I know, it's gutting news, but I couldn't take time out of development to have a booth at E3 this year for TT3D. Perhaps in 2007 2008 never.

May 05, 2006

Road–Dragging / AutoRoad Complete

In what really should be one of my last things in TT3D before I start revising solidly, I implemented dragging of roads, not /quite/ as easy as it sounds given each square is only 2 triangles. A lot of the code that went into it will help a lot when it comes to doing work on Rail too.

Being able to build road networks a lot faster should help with testing as well, as before today it was click click click for every half tile you wanted… Anyway, another ~400KB video of road dragging, and if I post again, you'll know revision isn't quite going as planned.

May 04, 2006

Road Pathfinding Complete

Managed to finish the javacc a little quicker than I had expected, so spent the evening doing some more work on the road networks. While the actual method of placing roads is still a little shakey (half squares at a time, no dragging) it builds up a graph data structure to store the network. Currently every square is a node in the graph, but I've already implemented the concept of a "path" from point A to B, so just need to add a little extra functionality to remove straight lines as nodes.

On the pathfinding front, I think I am probably done. I did hope (before I started coding) that I'd be able to abstract rail/road networks into a single "network", but have opted not to, at least for now. Although they share many characteristics, signalling on rail networks is going to be a big enough pain that having the road network separate will make my life easier.

I chose A* pathfinding for a few reasons really, a) it seems generally to be the "fastest" of all the graph searching algorithms, b) OpenTTD uses it, so it must be good, and c) It's not as hard to implement as it might first seem. For a bit of extra reading, Wikipedia is a good place to start, while A* For Beginners does a fairly good job of explaining it.

No screenshot this time, just a video of the pathfinding doing it's stuff. A snip at 546K (xvid) it just illustrates a vehicle knows where it's going. Animation around corners and non–tiling road textures are the least of my worries at the moment :).

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