CSE Evening Update – Wednesday November 23rd, 2016 – Leaving on a Jet Plane!
Mark just headed out of the office to begin his week-long adventure in Abu Dhabi, so it falls to me (Tyler) to let you know what’s been going on here! Even though it’s a short week for us at CSE, due to the Thanksgiving holiday, we’ve been really busy. Specifically, we’ve been very focused on our bots, in our Big Bot Battles, which help us aggressively simulate player network traffic as well as client performance. As our bot numbers grew, we were able to catch and fix several issues that have led us to today, where we’ve tested well over 1500 bots in a very small area! Not bad, considering just last weekend we did a test with Backers at ONLY 480 bots! These numbers, and the great performance we’ve seen thus far, is huge not only for us at CSE, but also for you, our Backers, who I know are itching to get into those 500 player battles. Stay tuned. When Mark is back from Abu Dhabi, and the sleep comas abate from too much holiday turkey, we’ll be back in the office to continue work on this awesome game!
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this sample pulled off my machine this afternoon….
Awesome, right? Not only does no other modern MMORPG come close to these numbers, but even at 1500 bots we saw great network and rendering performance. We’ll have more info coming soon, as we continue to iterate on this build.
Here’s this week’s Top-Ten-ish list, which while understandably shorter than usual because of the short week, has some good bits:
Top Ten-ish list:
- Bots – Networking and rendering performance improvements:
Fixed improper removal of entities on the server, which was causing improper total player counts.
Improved proxy server threading issues.
Fixed an issue where bot connections and disconnections were being processed at the same time, and sometimes out of order.
Improved frame rate with 1000+ bots on screen through more aggressive LOD’ing of character model geometry. (Player models use less geometry when farther from the player camera.)
- Rendering – Particles: Lots of fixes went in this week. Particles now no longer shoot randomly across the world, which intermittently gave players a minor light show. Along with this fix, we found an intermittent flicker in particles, as well as updating them to work with the recent HDR changes.
- Rendering – Impostor improvements: Per last week, we’ve dropped in improvements to the visual fidelity of our impostor objects. This change also more accurately impostors objects based on distance from the player and source model dimensions. This is a fairly important system, as it allows us to cheaply draw distant assets in our dense forests. Now they look waaaay better than before, mimicking the source asset much better.
- Physics: Related to bot improvements, we fixed an issue where the client would lock up if we didn’t receive a physics state for a specific player. We improved this by ensuring the first update the client receives includes physics.
- WIP – Abilities VFX and sounds: Abilities obviously need to play sounds and particles when players use them, which not only makes using your abilities feel more awesome, but is also very important for us to clearly communicate what is happening in combat. Gabe is neck-deep in hooking these functionalities up so dB and Mike can add in all their, so far, unseen work. Once these placeholders go in, we’ll continue iterating on both tech and assets into and through Beta.
- Art – Moon! Jon is deep in virtual moon dust, modeling a new moon based on concept art shown last week. Check it out below! This is just the first stage for our new moon. Later, we’ll hook up the moons independent of each other to use Andrew’s celestial body simulation, add some animation, VFX, etc.
- Art – TDD Fall Court armor: We’ve finished a first pass on materials and have added the items to TDD player inventories. We’ll be adding his shirt and pants under-layer later.
- Art – Autumn Biome: Tyler has been “bouncing around” all the assets in here making texture, material, and model improvements where needed, as well as adding subtle particles and lights to some assets. These changes test some rendering fixes that went in this week. These changes will be in later next week, along with some further terrain mod improvements.
So, here’s that new moon(s) model mentioned above. Remember, this is just the base model. We have lots of plans about how this will look in the sky at different times of the year, and how those alignments will possibly affect gameplay.
And here’s an out-of-engine render of our first pass materials on the TDD Fall Court heavy armor:
Imagine hiding in the Autumn biome in this armor!
Well, that’s it for this week! Thanks to all of our Backers for their patronage, patience, and enthusiasm. Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not this week, know that all of us at City State Entertainment are very thankful for all of you. 🙂
Oh, and one more of these shots just to whet your appetites even further!
P.S. Michelle drew you all a turkey. 🙂