This is another late update, but I did want to get it out as that’s one thing I mentioned in the last update, wanting to get more information out to you guys. I also have some exciting news. I have officially found a job, which will allow me to once again invest in the project in a big way. Once I’m fully established, I’ll be able to get our modelers working on new assets! Expect to see new updates regarding upcoming ships in the next few months, but until then, let’s talk about the engine work I did this last month and a half.
Things we have done:
As stated last month, I was working on the aiming system, and allowing for our turrets to both rotate (which they already did) and elevate the rifles to fire at a specified location using true projectile motion. Most of the “hard” math was handled by the physics engine; however, I had to implement all the code that would handle each individual turret’s rifles, as well as come up with a way to define where the actual shells and particles would emanate from. This is what took me longer than expected. Originally, I had planned to do it all mathematically, where the engine would calculate the elevation, apply that elevation to the turret’s bones, and then again calculate where the projectiles would fire from. This method became rather cumbersome, and I decided to abandon that concept in favor of using bones to define specific locations on the turrets. Now to define the rifles and end of rifles (where projectiles and particles come from) our modelers can simply create a bone structure and define that structure in the turrets game params file. It is a very dynamic and easy to manage system that will both allow for quicker development moving forward and giving the engine a lot of adaptability for future entity types.
As part of this I also added a new UI “element” that allows the engine to display the maximum range an entity (ship or turret) can fire. Simply select the ship, hit the “R” key, and you get a circle showing the maximum range of that entity. Eventually I’ll add a filtering system that allows the user to target specific rifles to see their ranges, but for now this will benefit my testing.
I also added a library to draw a graph in the scene. This feature is intended only for testing and development purposes, but it is something I did.
Also, I have figured out a new way for us to create our particle effects! Instead of building them from scratch using the particle engine, I plan to have particles created as a texture animation or “flipbook”. This should provide a much higher quality looking effect, while being incredibly lightweight. I plan to get these started after I’m established at work, but I was so excited to learn that our particle system can handle this that I wanted to share it with you all know.
Things we are going to work on:
Moving forward the rest of this month, and next, I plan to do a full set of testing on the math that handles the targeting, and if that is working, I’ll add the feature for ships to target ships, instead of the current “attack area” feature. The groundwork for this addition is already in place, it really is only a few hours to get that working after I confirm all the math is correct.
After that, I will add a way for ships that are firing on other ships to attempt to track moving targets. I believe this will be fairly simple, but I have been wrong before when it comes to math heavy tasks, so I’ll have to keep you posted on this.
Finally, I will lay the groundwork for “probes” or rangefinders. With this groundwork there will be variance in where shells land, based on the quality of the rangefinder. I’m excited to get this working, as after it and the targeting is done, we can run full ship vs ship combat!
Finally finally, I need to fix the turrets on the Fletcher, the bones aren’t lined up quite right and cause the turrets to just point into the ship…very dangerous for the crew.
Things we are having trouble with:
Nothing to report on!
I do plan to release another update at the end of this month, hoping to put myself back onto the routine, so expect that coming up in a couple weeks as well! Let me know if there is anything specific you’d like me to showcase in that update.
Thank you all for being patient with me while I haven’t been working, or while I’ve taken a break on this project, but I want to re-iterate. I’m very excited to keep working, especially now that I’ll be able to get our modelers rolling once again. This has been such a fun project, and I’m excited to see where it takes us all! Thank you again for all your continued support and I’m excited to continue working and sharing our achievements on Pacific Fury!
Let the Storm Begin!