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Topics - dezGusty

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16
General / Short analysis of SW and OD
« on: January 06, 2013, 11:30:03 AM »
Hi folks!

What follows is a short analysis of Summoning Wars and Open Dungeons, to see if it would make sense to have a merger between the two projects (at least from the development standpoint). This does not go into licensing, or art issues.

Libraries:
- OD
  - OGRE 1.7
  - CEGUI 0.7
  - pthreads
  - SFML for graphics & audio basics.
  - actionscript for scripting
  - uses standard OGRE configuration dialog.

- SW
  - OGRE 1.7, or 1.8 (TODO: begin testing support for OGRE 1.9?)
  - CEGUI 0.7 (support for 1.0 in the works)
  - single threaded
  - OpenAL (directly, not through SFML). Could be upgraded to SFML.
  - lua for scripting
  - uses standard OGRE configuration dialog.

Map:
OD - generated via code - destructable terrain.
SW - static geometry. Could be upgraded to destructable terrain, which seems to be the superior mechanic in terms of gameplay.
Static geometry is better in theory in terms of performance, but has its limitations when handling shaders.
And on the topic of performance, any integrated graphics card delivered with new laptops should be more than capable of handling an OGRE based game.

Camera:
OD - free movement
SW - constricted to player location. Cinematic sequences also available.
Should be no issue. The engine should support multiple cameras anyway and switch between them.
   
Controls:
OD - mouse selection, drag & drop, map scrolling; will need shadows, non-explored map locations.
SW - mouse controls targeting.
Engine could be generalized to allow the game to behave like an RTS.

VersionControl:
OD - git for code, SVN for media (source files for media).
SW - mercurial for code. Not sure about the media... Does anyone still use the SVN for that? I know it was used at some point...

Verdict:
- a merger is possible, but will take some effort.
The goal would be to have a common (core) engine and to have add-ons or mods for the extra behaviour of OD or SW.
I would recommend to do things in small steps.
  (E.g.: a new branch to try to see if SFML would make more sense to use instead of OpenAL, libogg, libvorbis & all the others directly).
This does have the drawback that we would need to have a visible progress rather quickly. If the OD team would not be able to make any progress while we adjust the engine.

Additional notes:
- I would like to try some changes for SW even if there will be no merger: (E.g. using SFML).
- A merger would imply that one of the teams needs to readjust most of its internal organization: We will all need a lot of goodwill and understanding.

Please give some feedback on the mentioned issues, and also bring new things to my attention if you believe I may have forgotten anything.
Thank you,
dezGusty

17
Graphics / Experimental - shader based shadows
« on: December 05, 2011, 02:35:09 PM »
Hello everyone,

I think I finally got the shadows figured out. I have managed to implement them in a scene in my test application, based on one of the Ogre forum "Soft-shadows" implementation. I guess I'll be able to start bringing some functionality in the game in one of the following weekends.

So far, it's looking good. There are some issues with scaling the items that should receive shadows (they don't quite display correctly, but it's still a vast improvement over the current form).

Among the amusing things that I discovered along the way:
- I must be careful when declaring variables, as I tend to default to int, instead of float. This means I was using full black or full white shadow colour for a couple of days without understanding why is this Ogre engine simply not working. As most often, the problem was a ... how should I put this nicely... insufficiently intelligent user.
- one should use either SHADOWTYPE_TEXTURE_ADDITIVE_INTEGRATED or SHADOWTYPE_TEXTURE_MODULATIVE_INTEGRATED as shadow mode.
- one MUST use a shadow camera setup, and it must be used in accordance with the used lights and the shadow technique.
- one must use a "shadow caster" material based on shaders.
- one must use all materials that should receive shadows based on a "shadow receiver" material based on shaders.
- one must be careful when using lights. Just because you (or I) think that a light has a certain direction it doesn't mean that it really is so.
- maybe (not sure yet), the shadow texture count per light must be specified. Need to check if it's 100% required.

- a working combination was : FocusedShadowCameraSetup with a directional light, 4 shadow textures and the shaders from here: http://www.ogre3d.org/tikiwiki/Depth+Shadow+Mapping&structure=Cookbook

18
Bug Reports / Empty dialogue in first scene
« on: November 16, 2011, 09:14:55 PM »
Start a game,

(I used a ranger character)

Start the dialogue, refuse to surrender your weapons. (See first picture)
When you click the guards again, you get a very small dialogue window (See second picture). You need to click a precise small area on that window to continue.

19
Graphics / Experimental : Simple shadows
« on: November 15, 2011, 02:36:28 PM »
Hello everyone,

I just added the option to select the shadow mode in the game. (It's in the SVN trunk).
Currently, it requires a game restart to go into effect, but you should be able to add simple shadows to the game.

Since this is an experimental feature, don't expect too much of it.
Shadows do work, but not in all forms and they can be taxing to the graphics subsystem quite a bit.
So you can choose from these options:
  • Off - you are already using it
  • Simple (Higher quality) - results in lower performance, tested and works on my machine using Direct3D and OpenGL on my machine.
  • Simple (Lower quality) - results in higher performance, but isn't seen that clearly;  tested and works on my machine using Direct3D and OpenGL on my machine.
  • Simulated (Experimental 1) - works on OpenGL, doesn't work on Direct3D on my machine
  • Simulated (Experimental 2) - works on OpenGL, doesn't work on Direct3D on my machine

Just go to the graphics options and look for the new entry.

20
Sound & Music / Proposal for heal effects
« on: November 14, 2011, 05:00:14 PM »
Hello everyone interested in sound.

I added a couple of sounds to use for the priest, as it was getting boring to play with no effects. The sounds are checked into the trunk version:
- resources\sound\skill_sound_effects\cure_1.wav
- resources\sound\skill_sound_effects\cure_2.wav

(also applied to the xml files).
Please give some feedback as to whether they fit the purpose and the rest of the effect set so far.
I made the sounds myself (started from voice recording, then audacity-fied them).

21
Programming / Portable application mode enabled
« on: November 09, 2011, 11:48:46 AM »
Requirements:
- The latest trunk build
- A file named swpreload.cfg present in the exe folder. (Edited and modified so that it reads: portable=true)

If the file is missing, or the setting is false, the application saves data just like before in the users folder.

I think we can release a portable version as well for windows.
In portable mode, a .sumwars folder is created in the exe folder, not in the users folder.
(Existing installs can be converted to portable ones, but a user needs to manually copy the files).

Please test it. I hope I haven't broken any other functionality.

EDIT: We could use the same file to enable after-build changes to the used paths. This would mean editing this ini like file to change the data storage paths from /usr/share/games to something else, instead of recompiling code.

22
Hi, one of the features that was requested so far was the option to run the game in a portable way on Windows. So that means that no data is being written to the User folder, but to the sumwars folder. As this would not be possible for the default %PROGRAMFILES% path, this option should be disabled by default for the Windows installer, but enabled by default for any ZIP releases on Windows.
It should also be possible to transform a portable installation into a non-portable one, and vice-versa. There are easy ways to accomplish this, like to have a file for pre-init settings in the sumwars folder (E.g. sumwars.ini; portable=true/false; or file portable.dat => file found => game is portable; file not found => game is not portable).

It would mean expanding a bit on the OS specific code... but...
We already discussed that we need a better path abstraction interface to get rid of some of the OS specific #ifdefs; this can be considered part of the task.
I am in favor of this feature and propose it for v.0.5.6 :)

23
General Discussion / Changelog? :-)
« on: October 29, 2011, 11:35:05 AM »
Hi, I've seen that the changelog.txt file in the SVN repository only has the version 0.5.1 information.

We should keep track of the changes we make, but different people need to account for different things and can provide data for different categories (UI, game-play, coding, miscellaneous)
Also, we could learn from others... Wesnoth has a player's change log (with filtered info) and a full change log (useful for contributors).

So, please give some feedback: should we update this file and add everything we remember? Maybe simply skip the versions 0.5.2 - 0.5.4?

If there is another file used as a change-log, please point me to it :)

24
Sound & Music / Guideline for Sounds.
« on: October 25, 2011, 10:50:49 PM »
Hi, if you ever added a sound to the game and it doesn't seem to play (because it doesn't actually play), please check the sumwars log file. This should be located in you user folder.
(E.g. on Windows it could be
Code: [Select]
c:\Users\JohnDoe\.sumwars\sumwars.log)

If you have sounds in incorrect formats you will find entries like these:
Code: [Select]
...
[E] sumwars\src\gui\sound.cpp:85 SoundSystem::loadSoundFile > Could not load [./resources/sound/monster_sound_effects/wolf_att_1.wav]
[E] sumwars\src\gui\sound.cpp:85 SoundSystem::loadSoundFile > Could not load [./resources/sound/inventory_sound_effects/cloth_2.wav]
...

This may be something that only occurs on Windows, I don't have a Mac or Linux environment.

The cause for this is the format. Sounds (wave files at least) should be encoded in the PCM16 format, but some sounds are encoded in PCM24.
You can check this with many programs. On Windows you could use Winamp.
So if you have a sound in 24 bit PCM (see attached: 24bitPCM.png), use a program like Audacity to transform it to PCM16. It's one of the default types (see attached: 24_to_16bitPCM.png). After this, the sound format should read correctly PCM 16 bit (see attached: 24bitPCM.png)

25
Graphics / Icon for version 0.5.5
« on: October 22, 2011, 07:20:28 PM »
Hello everyone,

I managed to draw something that could be used as an icon for the Summoning Wars.
This is not meant as a permanent icon, it's just a temporary placeholder until some better ideas pop-up.
Feedback is welcome. :-)

I also have the gimp file (.xcf) with layers that I used. If anyone wants to have it, let me know. (It's about 500K, so I won't be able to upload it here).

If you have access to the SVN, the icons will also be located in the [resources/icon] sub-dir.

EDIT: License: CC-BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/).

26
Programming / Document.cpp - extra space chars?
« on: October 20, 2011, 08:03:46 PM »
Hi everyone,

I just managed to get a development environment far enough to compile under Windows... and I must say it was a dependency nightmare so far... I mean... there are quite a few libraries in use  :o... and this will scare away developers

Anyway... as I did this, I came across a compile issue. I'm not sure how come it managed to slip through, as the code can't be compiled with it:
document.cpp - SVN revision 2509 in trunk
line ~260:
Code: [Select]
ERRORMSG("could not open savegame: %s",f name.c_str());should be in fact
Code: [Select]
ERRORMSG("could not open savegame: %s",fname.c_str());
(Notice the white space between "f" and "name").

Maybe it's only on Windows...
Please let me know if anyone can fix this in the trunk.

Thanks!

27
Hi,

A new icon has been added for the application. A separate thread in the graphics section has been created.
http://sumwars.org/forum/index.php?topic=303.0

I'm sorry if there is an application icon already, but from what I searched, I couldn't find anything.
I think there should be at least a png/ico file, so that the users update their application desktop icon, or launcher icon. It's not a must for the early versions, but it helps establish a symbol for the game.

Now, if there isn't an icon already, the community should choose one. Normally, the icon should depict a symbolic object or a main character representative to the game.
For instance, a council mage.
(The attached file is just a stylized adaptation of the threatening stance from emo_councilMage.png)

I guess a dedicated artist could do better in no time :)


28
Bug Reports / [Solved] Joringsforest map: minimap name changes constantly
« on: October 19, 2011, 10:12:34 PM »
Hi,

when in the Joringsforest map, if you press [TAB] to bring up the minimap, you may notice that the name displayed at the top of the map changes constantly (see attachment for 3 different grabs of the text).
(encountered on Win7-64bit, Direct3D both windowed and full-screen modes, on a Radeon HD5750 + Catalyst 11.9)

29
Bug Reports / [Solved] Quest Names contain corrupt characters
« on: October 19, 2011, 10:02:33 PM »
EDIT: The problem seems to have been solved already in the SVN version.

Hi, I just noticed that after a second quest is added, the quest log begins to display some corrupt characters:
I'm pretty sure that [9e besieged farm] and [*friend in need] are not the real quest titles. They change with each click on the [open], [finished] or [failed] buttons. :)

System: Windows7-SP1-64bit, Direct 3D (defect reproducible in both full-screen and windowed mode), graphics card: Radeon HD5750 + Catalyst 11.9

30
Hi,

I didn't actually know you can use the waypoint system for town portals until having read another entry in the forum. It would help to provide a legend in the waypoint map. Even if it's something like the attached image, it's still better than nothing.
Also, a close button would be appreciated. Sometimes I'm lazy and I don't keep my hand on the keyboard. Having a close button nearby instead of pressing "ESC" would be nice.

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