Posts Tagged amo-ej1

The Jonestown portrait massacre

Heya and welcome to yet another PARPG news update! The holidays are over so it’s now back to work for us 🙂 Still moving towards the release of our first techdemo.

Project management department

As already mentioned in the introduction: most of us had to take a break from the project in December and over the holidays to spend some time with the family and to recharge our batteries. The original plan was to post this update some time after Christmas, but seeing that most of us were still on a break, I’ve postponed this news update until today. The plan is to shoot everyone on the team a short email, hoping that a bunch of devs will be back in action over the course of the next week.

We’ll give you a more accurate picture of our resources in the next news update; right now we don’t really know who can invest time into PARPG in early 2010 to finish our first techdemo release.

Audio department

We reported about Sindwiller’s contributions in the audio department in our last update in December and while most of us have been enjoying the break from the project, Sindwiller has continueed to work on his audio track in the meanwhile. The current version is still work in progress but the volume level has been normalized and a couple of other details have been tweaked, so feel free to check it out: Snow may never end – work in progress audio track by Sindwiller

Programming department

Altough our own programming department has been rather busy due the holidays, there are some exciting news to report nevertheless. First and foremost: the FIFE team plans to ship a new stable release after there hasn’t been such a release in one and a half years! Stay tuned for FIFE 0.3.0 and let’s hope that they can manage to finish the work on it until the scheduled 2010/01/20 release date.

We at PARPG have been always using the latest SVN version of FIFE so the lack of new official releases did not really affect us. But if you would have to compile a complete list of changes and improvements over the last 2008.1 release, you might need to invest a couple of days to not miss anything. So that’s a huge step for the FIFE team and we keep our fingers crossed that FIFE development will flourish over the course of the next months and years. A release date announcement can be found at the FIFE blog: FIFE 0.3.0 release date annoucement

We do keep our fingers even more crossed that one specific improvement makes it into this 0.3.0 release. As mentioned in our last PARPG news update: we’ve encountered performance issues that showed up when you used FIFE in combination with very large maps due the huge number of map instances. The underlying problem has been identified by a number of developers, including PARPG programmer amo-ej1, so FIFE guru phoku decided to look into rewriting FIFE’s view code.

Although the rewritten code does already reside in a branch in FIFE’s SVN repository, it has not been merged back into the FIFE trunk yet. There are still a number of smaller problems, but they can be hopefully fixed soon so every FIFE-based project can profit from the vastly improved performance of the new code. We’ve tested it on a number of system ourselves and encountered improved performance up to 400% (read: yes, that’s four times as fast as before) on some systems in combination with our profiling map. If you’re interested in the details and/or would like to test the branch yourself, head over to our forums and check out this thread: testing the view_performance branch with PARPG

Writing department

While most of us enjoyed their free time, zenbitz continueed to work on the ingame dialog scripts. Feel free to test the latest version of them yourself!

Graphics department

In case you wondered about the title of the news update and what the heck it is supposed to mean. Well, we saved the best for last 🙂 So here we go, a whole bunch of new portraits, created by our concept artists. Most of them have been drawn by Gaspard, with the exception of the Ula portrait, which has been created by JustinOperable. Enjoy them 🙂

Camilla

Camilla

Synnove

Synnove

Hoadir, the husky

Hoadir, the husky

Kimmo

Kimmo

Jacob

Jacob

Ula

Ula

Character pinups

Character pinups

There are actually even more new and refined portraits at our wiki gallery. E.g. an updated version of the female guard shown before or Dig, the bouncer, created by comscar. Feel free to check them all out.

That’s all concerning PARPG for today.

Last but not least: the fine folks at Iron Tower Studios released a first combat demo of their upcoming post apoc ancient Rome indie RPG Age of Decadence. Their persistence in continuing to create a game against a lot of odds and especially their fair, open and transparent way of community interaction has always been a great source of inspiration to me and without their example, PARPG might not have been founded at all. So to give credit where credit is due, check out their combat demo and feel free to head over to their forums to provide feedback. They actually care about it 🙂

Next news update scheduled for Monday, 18th of January. See you then.

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Tear you apart

Heya and welcome to yet another PARPG news update! This one will be rather short and not so picture-heavy as the last ones. Most of us have been pretty busy lately, so the number of topics to write about is rather small.

Project management department

The first and the prolly most important news is that it turned out that releasing our first techdemo of PARPG won’t happen in 2009. We’re still working hard to ship it in early 2010 (hopefully between late January and early March), but there is simply too much planned content missing at this point to ship it this year. We’re sorry that it will take longer than originally planned but you still got the option to check out what we already have in place by testing the SVN version of PARPG.

One aspect of game development which gave us a lot of headaches are licensing issues. For the code it’s rather simple: we’ll publish all Python scripts under GPL 3.0. However for the non-code assets, things are more tricky. I don’t have the time to go into too many details but one of the main problems is that it’s often hard to find good textures licensed under terms that permit commercial distribution as well. To address this problem Q_x created a list of asset websites that have published their material under terms which are compatible with our chosen CC 3.0 BY-SA license.

In reality it’s actually way more complicated because a lot of asset websites actually do not permit that their textures are sold or redistributed at other texture websites. But as soon as you actually apply the texture to a model and render it, the resulting render is not affected by these NC and restrictive redistribution clauses according to their license. My gut feeling tells me that the resulting renders are actually derivative works as they’re based on the textures and should therefore be infected by the NC and restricted redistribution clauses but I guess it’s okay to sell and redistribute the renders nevertheless as their license seems to permit that.

Hopefully we can ship the entire techdemo 1 content under CC 3.0 BY-SA terms. That just means the actual content that is used in the game. We might need to ship the source versions (e.g. models and textures) of the techdemo content under different licenses, especially whenever NC textures were used. It should hopefully not affect distribution of the PARPG game, just the distribution of our media assets sources library. The only conclusion I have right now is that licenses are simply a huge can of worms. Having to worry about all these aspects takes away a lot of the fun that game development is. It’s necessary nevertheless and we’ll come up with a solid solution for techdemo 1.

Audio department

Finally some news from the audio front again. Open source enthusiast Sindwiller posted a work in progress version of a track he’s currently working on at the forums. Feel free to check it out and provide feedback. We can hopefully feature the final version of it in our first techdemo release.

Programming department

We finally started to restructure the objects directory to get rid of the rather ugly and confusing objects/objects directory. Objects/objects has been split up into objects/items (smaller objects that characters can actually pick up) and objects/scenery. If you’re interested in the details, head over to our forums.

Win32 developer Kaydeth looked into creating a first test version of the upcoming Win32 PARPG techdemo installer. We’re using NSIS for this purpose and so far things look good. There are still some tweaks to be made, e.g. offering users the choice to install ActivePython 2.6 as well as PyYaml; furthermore we’re still having some problems with Vista / Win7 UAC but we’re positive that we can fix them before we ship a release. If you want to test Kaydeth’s test installer, check out this thread at the forums.

We’ve been experimenting with map sizes for the techdemo lately and ran into a performance bottleneck that shows up if you have a map with many (> 20000) map instances. It turned out that FIFE’s view code is not that well optimized in this regard. PARPG developer amo-ej1 profiled the issue and reported back about his findings at the forums. Furthermore he also documented the necessary steps to profile PARPG at our wiki. The FIFE devs plan to have a look into the problem in their 0.3.2 release. This release is planned for mid 2010. So for now, we’ll simply go for maps that feature less than 20k instances and we should be pretty much on the save side performance-wise.

Writing department

A little news flash from our writing department: Zenbitz did recently flesh out the inn area of the techdemo including the denizens of this location. He has been rather hardworking on the dialogues of several techdemo characters as well and commited their scripts into SVN over the course of the last weeks. You can talk to several characters now, so feel free to check it out yourself by giving the SVN version of PARPG a shot.

Graphics department

This news update is not as image-heavy as some of the ones before. Our graphics artists have been quite busy as Christmas is nearing. Nevertheless 3d artist Sirren found the time to create several pieces of furniture, including beds.

He furthermore also created a gate that’s part of the outer boundary of the techdemo area. Python programmer Or1andov implemented alpha blending for the gate (and other objects that reside on a layer above the characters) so your view is not blocked while walking around under specific map instances. I actually had to split up the pillars of the gate into several 70px wide pieces to work around z-ordering issues. Fortunately Zenbitz ported amo-ej1’s image slicing script to PIL (the Python Imaging Library). The original version of the image slicing script was utilizing PythonMagick. And as PythonMagick has to be built from source and the build process is quite complicated, there was no easy way to get the script working on non-*NIX systems. Fortunately that’s not the case anymore with the PIL version.

In case you’re interested in all the details of the process of getting the gate into the game, check out this thread at the forums. All the other are surely happy to see a screenshot at least:
Gate screenshot

One last note: I recently had the time to bring some assets, that had been lying around in Trac but hadn’t been commited into the repository yet, into SVN. In case you want to check them out, head over to the media part of the SVN trunk.

Now one last personal remark from my side. Unfortunately a lot of university-related tasks have been piling up over the course of the last weeks. I’m simply not good at multitasking so for now I have to take a break until the Christmas holidays to finally finish two still outstanding papers. Don’t worry, I’ll be be back to bring you the next (short) news update some time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Stay tuned!

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Obstacle 2

Sometimes there seem to be an endless number of obstacles to jump over in the course of developing a large scale game from scratch. In the end it all comes down to persistence to work through all of this. This said: heya and welcome to yet another PARPG news update!

Project management department

As a bunch of interested community members have checked out the SVN versions of PARPG, here’s a somewhat important announcement. The FIFE development team recently released a new version of their Win32 DevKit (which has been formerly known as the Win32 compile SDK). In case you’re running an SVN version of PARPG on your Windows system, you should switch to the new DevKit as soon as possible as the old 2008.1-r1 compile SDK will stop to work as soon as you update your FIFE checkout. The new DevKit addresses a very annoying guichan utf8 issue and furthermore introduces Python 2.6 support. That also means you’ll actually need Python 2.6 to run FIFE-based games on Windows and furthermore you’ll also need PyYaml for Python 2.6 to run PARPG.

I don’t want to go into any details here at the blog. If you run PARPG on Win32 right now, check out these two articles:

In case you can’t get PARPG working with the new DevKit, head over to our forums.

Programming department

As this is a _very_ image heavy update, I’ll keep programming-related remarks rather short in this time. amo-ej1 created a dialog checking tool that helps the writers to validate their scripts. Saritor started to refactor our GUI code and created an architecture proposal for the GUI module at the wiki as well.

Graphics department

Let’s welcome new artist comscar on the team! His handdrawn snow shoveler concept has been digitalized and refined by veteran Gaspard:
Snow shoveler

Gaspard also created a snow panomara concept entitled Alone in the wilds:
Alone in the wilds

Fallout modding veteran Continuum created a set of rusty barrels. The model together with the textures that have been taken from burningwell.rog can be now found in SVN as well:
Collection of barrels

Unfortunately I forgot to cover the creations of new artist on the team EGO in the last news update, so let’s take care of it this time. He created a mockup of the techdemo mall location that can be used as source of inspiration by our 3d artists:
Mall #1

Mall #2

EGO furthermore also created a lone explorer concept art piece. Enjoy it:
Lone explorer

I promised a whole bunch of new images in this update, so you’ll get a whole bunch! Let’s also welcome Q_x on the team who created this main menu mockup:
Main menu mockup

We introduced a screenshots section at the gallery in the last news update. In the course of the last two weeks we’ve updated it with a couple of older shots that hadn’t been added yet. Feel free to check it out.

I know that I sound like a broken record but we’re still short of 3d artists who could model objects for the upcoming techdemo with their modeling tool of choice. In case you’re interested in getting involved, please introduce yourself at the forums.

As we are still short of 3d artists right now, concept artist Zeli had a stab at 3d modeling and created his first model for PARPG: a multi level building. Looks like he has a hand for this:
Multi level building

That’s all for today. Next news update scheduled for Monday, 30th of November. See you then 🙂

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Taylor-made (sic!) strategies

Heya and welcome to yet another PARPG news update. Two weeks have passed since the last regular one and I have to say that they were rather eventful for the development team. Let’s jump into the news update right away.

Project management department

We’ve published our first official press release at the blog recently and sent it out to two websites, hoping that they would pick up the story in their news sections. Fortunately the old school Fallout fansite nma-fallout.com covered it and we’re quite grateful for their support to help spreading the word about PARPG. Feedback has been generally positive, if you’re interested in the details check out the news discussion thread at their forums. We thank NMA admin Brother None for his continued support of the project!

Programming department

There are a bunch of potential topics to cover in the programming department but I want to focus on the prolly most important one first: PARPG developer or1andov ported the FIFE map editor for PARPG so it’s now possible to create and edit PARPG-specific maps via the editor instead of doing it by hand. The editor has been working since quite some time on Linux but it took us a few days to figure out some specific win32 problems that held us back from using it on this platform. Fortunately Kaydeth found the culprit in the end and fixed the issue.

The FIFE map editor is a great tool but it’s not the most user friendly one; there is definately room for improvement in this field. We’re currently working on a map editor tutorial but there are still a lot of aspects of the tutorial that we will have to flesh out in the course of the next weeks. I’m rather short of time right now but hopefully I can continue to work on it, especially on the weekends.

The last two weeks have been quite productive for the entire programming department. New Python programmer amo-ej1 created a tool to automatize XML animation file generation for agents (=(non-)player character(s)). You can grab a copy of it at our Subversion repository. In the meanwhile Kaydeth continued to clean up the code base to ensure that it’s compatible with the PEP 8 Python coding standard proposal.

I can’t cover all of the recent developments in the department in detail. So if you would like to know more, please check the full project timeline of the last two weeks at Trac.

Writing department

The work on the techdemo is coming along quite nicely in the writing department. Game mechanics designer zenbitz and community member shevegen decided to step up by starting to flesh out the techdemo quests article at the wiki. Feel free to lend them a hand by contributing. Both of them can be often found at the IRC channel of the project so you’ve got a good chance to get a hold of them there.

Graphics department

Despite the small workforce in the graphics department at this point, there is quite some progress to report in this field. Fallout modding veteran Continuum created a junkhouse residing on a fundament of barrels:
Junkhouse render by Continuum

3d artist Sirren created the first building for the upcoming techdemo – a guard tower:
Guard tower render by Sirren

You surely remember Sirren’s agent animations that have been covered in some of the recent news updates? Russian Flash developer Dragon created a little web application to show the animations in action. In case you haven’t checked them out yet as you didn’t want to build FIFE from SVN sources, feel free to give his app a test: http://lab.dragonnoid.ru/flash/isometry/

Last but in no way least, concept artist JustinOperable created a first character portrait for the upcoming techdemo. Check out his awesome drawing of the female guard character that will be used as portrait for the dialog interface:
Female guard portrait by JustinOperable

That’s all for today. Next news update scheduled for Monday, 2nd of November. See you then 🙂

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