Fairly productive week all round, finally seeing some of the long backed up content getting into the game, previews below.
This week I’ve been working on getting as much unique feel into each of the biomes as possible while keeping the level of polish that our initial desert has.
Something I quickly realized was brightly lit blown out scenes are much more forgiving than more saturated / overcast scenes. Surprisingly, every playtest in Hurtworld that has an overcast / cold looking scene, nobody wanted to be there. As soon as we put a vibrant sunny beautiful scene back in this went away and we wanted to play for hours. The challenge here is to create harsh areas that give the player new challenges, while still making the player want to claim the space and spend time there. The feature image is my favorite so far, the Australian Desert.
Given this challenge, I’ve been working on polishing up the feel of our different biomes to a point where I want to live there, despite everything wanting to kill me.
While tweaking lighting, I decided to finally make the switch over to linear lighting. This is something that has always been on the todo list but the Unity tree / terrain system shaders had some serious issues when switching over. Sean and I fixed up all the shaders and we are now good to go. Linear lighting changes the way we do lighting calculations to be more physically correct. Long story short, this look a LOT better.
While looking at lighting, I upgraded our tonemapper and added eye adaption to the camera. This simulates the effect of your eyes or the exposure of a camera adjusting to varied levels of brightness. This allows us to push our lighting into much wider brightness ranges, without having to endlessly tweak settings to get it to look right making the biome configuration much more forgiving. As with any new toy, I am probably over using it right now and will dial it back. For now I’m in love with this effect.
Next week I’m planning to completely overhaul the server side vehicle physics. Currently they aren’t much fun to drive due to being too realistic, I hope to greatly simplify things and get a more of an arcade feel.
I’ve been blowing stuff up with dynamite this week – our first throwable item. You can mine large resource nodes with these babies, or use them to kill players and destroy machines. Note however that they don’t do damage to structures! You’re still going to need the more expensive C4 for raiding.
We decided to add skins to our vehicles, giving players a way to customize and differentiate between themselves and others. This will be useful when creating a clan or crew, so you know a friendly when you see one. Sean wrote a custom shader, which after much tweaking allowed us to set a pattern and 3 colors to paint the object. These will translate to discoverable patterns and craftable paints to make that vehicle your own.
We used the RGB channels to define each colour of the mask. It took a while to get right. The layering within the image file was confusing at first but I simplified the process down to something workable.
Lately I have been working on trees via tree creator which is a fairly frustrating tool to use. You can get decent results, but need to be quite strict in how you go about editing the trees you create. Some functions will revert over previous edits, and some times it will just completely shit out useless maps…..I basically now have a unity scene where I’ll build a couple of trees, export them as packages, and bring them into the project. This way if anything breaks its generally easier to track down what and fix it.
I have been working on driving animations and a laundry list of animation bugs/polish. Among these was doing a more convincing jump that would allow you to crouch mid air. CS:GO videos were a great reference source.