Another quick one.
Some recent upgrades.
A new 24″ HD Monitor. Finally now I can actually use resolutions higher than 1680×1050! I still have my old monitors set up on either side, which is very handy for editing. Having TresED open on one for referencing the original levels and also having another spare for reference photos or secondary editing panels is a dream.
I’ve also bought a new GPU, a Gainward GTX 970 4GB which should be arriving later today if I’m lucky. Seriously good value card. I’d been putting aside some money for the last couple weeks and was only planning a smaller upgrade, but to snag a card that’s 3rd or 4th fastest single card currently available was only a little bit more. I know i probably should have got the OC Phantom model, but i couldn’t extend my budget any more.
I just recently paid for 6 months of CryEngine EaaS. I know i said I wouldn’t use it again, but there are some new features i wanted to check out, and they’re actually pretty awesome. The designer tool in particular is incredible. With this, i can make the end of a monorail track (profile) then draw a line the entire length i want it and hit Lathe, and it makes the whole thing for me, in the engine. Holy shit. No exporting reference objects and hoping its aligned with the terrain, or trying to export the terrain itself and modeling the track in max, this is all in the editor and you can texture it too. I can also build the Aviary in the editor too.. awesome.
Im not a fan of the lighting system which has removed the ability to control the Global Illumination values in the Time Of Day editor. The reliance on Environment Probes is far too troublesome for my liking, and is more suited to small environment pieces, single level environments where there’s no day night cycle. I’ll elaborate on this after work, as im short on time right now.
Performance seems better, more stable too. Although i still have serious issues running in Very High mode. There are fallen trees / logs that must use tessellation or PADM that look as if a handful of the models vertices were selected and stretched out over the entire length of the map. It looks shocking and kills the FPS too. This i’m blaming on my current AMD card, as i’ve always had troubles with it and CryEngine games. This is why i chose to get a new GPU and also why i’ve returned to Nvidia. No more jumping through hoops to get my games to run.
Back home, so continuing on..
Okay, so to elaborate on the lighting changes, the Environment Probe is an entity that captures and produces lighting information by rendering a cube map or sky box of the surrounding area, which is then used for reflections and lighting. How this affects Global Illumination, is that the rendered cube map is used to add lighting to shaded areas, replicating the effects of light bouncing from a bright surface and illuminating a dark area near by. The problem i have with this, is that the lighting information provided by the cube map, is only accurate for that particular time, its a pre-rendered image, so if the lighting conditions change, the probe is producing false light levels. Now im sure there are ways to control the diffuse multiplier value of the probe as the time of day changes, but to be honest, its a pain in the arse to have to do this for all probes in the map. No pun intended.
In previous versions of the engine, the strength of the global illumination could be controlled in the Time Of Day editor. So for any time of the day, you could control the strength of the bounce the light has from bright surfaces. Probably not ideal for all projects, but makes it a hell of a lot easier for a project like mine.
Some are probably wondering why i care about this, because i said i wouldn’t be using this new engine again. Well after spending a few days working with CryEngine 2, i decided its probably best for the future of the project, and taking into account my current time restrictions, to use the latest version. My plan was to complete a Stage 1 style version of the project in CE2, and release it in the hope the community would group together and help finish it off. I make the world and populate it, the community helps make it come to life. Using CE2 would limit the project to being a MOD, which restricts what can be done programming wise.
So right now im using the latest version to populate the island with all the most primary objects, such as buildings, monorail track and walls etc. I will also be using the new Designer tool to build the Aviary and other new structures in the editor. I’ll use this tool to build new higher detailed monorail tracks, and get these placed in the right locations, as well as sidewalks and walls in the Town. These tasks are now very easy to perform in the latest version, but depending on how the engine performs overall, i may use the last version before it went EaaS, or whichever the last version had the old global illumination i preferred.
My reason for the change of mind, is i dont have time to learn Unity and wont until mid next year, but i do have time to fire up CryEngine for an hour each day and make some progress. I’d rather be producing something than doing nothing.
I’ve been impatiently checking the tracking of my new video card, and it looks like it will arrive today. No doubt when im out of course and ill get a calling card and have to wait till after a certain time to pick it up. It’s always the way.
When i get time, ill take some screenshots of the island to show where the aviary will be located, along with the Embryonics Admin Buildings. I’ve got new locations for these that follow the progress of the characters in the 3rd film and also fit in with the islands geography better than previous ideas. I’ve also decided to add the location of the Trailer attack scene from TLW. These will deviate from the Trespasser walkthrough a little, which planned to put the hunters camp near the start of Industrial Jungle, but it just fits in better with the islands geography and flow of the game.
I’m really enjoying getting back into the project, ive had this week off one of my jobs to catch up on sleep and ive been able to spend a few hours sorting out my plans. I might end up taking another week off after this card arrives..
Anyway its time to go and have some breakfast.
Update: The new video card is.. OMG.