A programmer by the name of Claudio has offered to help, and is currently looking at both CE2 and CE3 (3.5.8) to see what can be done with both engines.
I’m not holding my breath that anything can be done with CE3, because its issues are at the core of the engine and are still present in the very latest EAAS version, 3.7.
I never really went into any detail about why i stopped using CE3 (3.5.8), but basically the Terrain shadows are broken and the engine no longer supports vegetation sprites. I’ve posted a couple of photos on Flickr that clearly demonstrate why its a problem for this project.
CE2 is still going strong though. It takes what i throw at it and just keeps on smiling.
Right now I’m working on some more realistic looking lighting, kind of like i did early in development but not as extreme. I didn’t know as much as i do now about the TOD editor, so although it looked good in certain situations, it kind of fell apart in other areas. Even though i know a lot about the TOD editor and should be able to make something really good from scratch, anyone who’s used the TOD editor in CryEngine knows just how time consuming it is. You can literally spend days chasing the perfect lighting, and still not be satisfied with how it looks at all times of the day.
I don’t want to be spending days on this though, so this new lighting uses a slightly modified version of the TOD settings used in the first level of Crysis, in conjunction with a colour correction Flow Graph that allows me to tweak the colours a touch more. Its a bit like post processing a photo, with adjustments for Cyan/Red, Magenta/Green and Yellow/Blue, as well as Contrast, Saturation, Brightness, Luminance and overall Hue. Crysis is already a beautiful looking game, it just needs a few tweaks to make the colours more realistic, and this makes it very quick and easy.
The scene here is simply some automatically distributed vegetation and a few Trespasser models thrown in. The white objects help fine tune the white balance.
The vegetation is a special category i’ve setup to paint an instant jungle. Every single tree, stick, plant, leaf, rock, log and bush you see, has its own unique setting for density, altitude, angle, draw distance and random scale. You can literally paint a jungle in seconds and it looks great. It took a few hours to fine tune each species, but it was worth it. This will be used for sections of the island that are just outside of the normal playable areas of the levels.
I’ll probably go back through and paint most of the island’s south with it, then clear a path where the levels are. This should make for a much more realistic looking island that actually looks as if it was cleared by InGen for all the roads and buildings. Areas that are completely out of reach from the player, will be painted with a much simpler range of vegetation, made up of just the larger species.
I’m liking the idea of removing a lot of the geographical restrictions within each level, allowing players to go pretty much where they like, but they will be faced with the choice of entering very dangerous jungle like this. The game will still follow the path of the original game, so you’ll still be somewhat confined to each levels distinct area and wont be able to deviate from the path of the story, but you will have a lot more freedom to go off the main trail and explore a bit.
If a player decides to cut right across the second level, Jungle Road, and run through this jungle area to reach the start of the third level faster, they will skip over lots of useful items and end up attracting a lot of attention. They might get lucky and make it to the monorail tracks and then onto the next level without getting killed, but the next level, Industrial Jungle, basically funnels players into a valley of death. So all those useful weapons and items you left behind will suddenly be extremely valuable. The game should balance itself out nicely, so even when players miss important items like key cards, they will have no choice but to back track.
I’ll have to extend the triggers for the voice overs across the entire length of each level. That way no matter where someone crosses it, you still hear the main narration in the correct order. It would be pretty stupid if you cut across one section and heard Hammonds lines in the wrong order. This is what stops Trespasser from working as a completely open world game. It would be like tearing out the pages of a book and throwing them into the air and reading them in random order.
It may not look it, but the jungle here is dense enough that you can be only 20-30 metres from these objects and get lost. With raptors prowling around, areas like these will be extremely dangerous. Even the big Rex model is difficult to see, and quite often its only 10-15 metres in front of you by the time you find it.
From above, you can barely see any of these objects. The canopy is high enough that a level full of objects could be down in the jungle and not be seen from above. I imported the Ops Building form the Town and placed it in there, and even that was difficult to see (and looked awesome). It’s a lot like some of the scenes in the third film, with nice tall trees mixed in with lots of smaller vegetation, but there’s still plenty of room to move around. Despite the density, the performance is still very good though. A solid 50-70 FPS in the editor, which should rise a bit in the actual game. Once you’re above the canopy, it climbs as high as 120-130 FPS.
The auto jungle looks great from above too, with certain trees being taller than others, with palms of varying size poking through at different angles. It looks a lot better than the pics i showed a while back of the whole island covered in thick jungle, which was made up of just 3-4 different large species, with no actual jungle below.
At some stage ill release another test level with some random Trespasser models scattered about. You will be able to see for yourself how nice it is to explore such thick jungle.
Now for some other kinds of pics.
Back in December 2013, some pictures were posted on TresCom of some dinosaur illustrations by Steve Kirk. Some of these appear in a book by Rand McNally called Dinosaurs – A Fold-Out Book. After seeing them, i decided to track the book down and buy myself a copy. I thought when it comes time to make my own dinosaurs, the illustrations might be helpful.
It took a while to find a seller that would ship to Australia, but i found one!
The book is very cool and folds out into one very long continuous image. Its double sided, with one side featuring all the dinosaurs next to each other in a show of scale, and the other a beautiful landscape rendering, with dinosaurs going about their daily dino business.
There were a few images posted on TresCom that weren’t in this book. I’ve managed to track them all down and have bought them. When they arrive ill post some pics.
At some point i’ll also post some pics of my collection of Trespasser and Jurassic Park stuff. Its not particularly large or amazing, but some of you might get a kick out of it.
Anyway, back to it!