Posts Tagged kaydeth

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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Mirror, mirror on the wall …

… who has the fairest portrait of them all? Heya and welcome to yet another PARPG news update.

Let’s start with a little disclaimer before we take a closer look at the events of the last two weeks. I’ve mentioned this in the past but as days since the last news update have been quite productive for us, there is more and more progress that I could cover in such a news update. But the news updates would take far longer to write and would be very long-winded if I would actually do that. This said: if you’re interested in all the little details, there are various ways to stay up to date:

I’ll try to avoid missing any major contributions but sometimes it simply happens, especially in busy weeks. If you want to see something specific featured in a news update, simply give me a gentle pointer by posting in the news update thread at the forums.

Project management department

With the project growing and growing over time and considering there has been quite some developer fluctuation it gets harder and harder to coordinate the departments and to keep track of progress and tasks we still have to take care of. Our programming department copes pretty well with it though despite a whole bunch of developers who are involved in the field. This is mostly due using the Trac software for coordination and progress tracking purposes.

While we were a bit worried about using Trac for all departments as it takes some time to figure out how to use it, alternative workflows turned out to be more complicated and/or frustrating. So we’ve started to move more and more tasks to Trac tickets so we can keep track of who’s working on what, which tasks have already been tackled and which ones we still have to take care of before we can tag a milestone as completed. We’re aware that this will be a rather long process but this announcement is basically the first step to utilize Trac more and more as it’s pretty much impossible to handle such a complex project otherwhise. If you’re interested in the details that lead to this conclusion, check out the discussion at the forums.

Programming department

The programmers have agreed upon establishing a short weekly round table meeting to talk about who is currently working on what and to clear up any questions and problems that came up in the process of tackling these tasks. The meetings take place every Saturday, 6PM GMT at the IRC channel of the project. If you’re interested in the results of first two weekly meetings recently held, check out the meetings section at the wiki.

Our programming staff was able to implement a couple of new features and fixes over the course of the last two weeks. Saritor, who has been around for quite some time, submitted a larger map change patch so you can finally move to other maps now (and back again as well) without crashing PARPG. As the other devs were quite pleased with Saritor’s contributions, he’s now a core developer on the team. Which is basically just a fancy term for a developer who has earned the special trust of the others and therefore gains write access to the SVN repository. Congrats and we’re looking forward to tackling this project together 🙂

New Python developer on the team Vaporice has started to flesh out a proposal how the quest engine could work in PARPG. The submitted code can be now found in SVN after it had been reviewed. And there are more good news to cover: Kaydeth recently fixed save and load functionality so you can finally save the game and load it again as well.

Writing department

Zenbitz recently revamped the starting page of the writing department at the wiki. It should be a bit easier for new interested writers to get started now.

This said: he also worked on ingame dialog and the drunkard character now features his written lines. Feel free to check it out yourself by testing the latest SVN version of PARPG. For those who don’t mind waiting until the techdemo release, here’s at least a sneak peek: Drunkard dialog

Graphics department

Concept artist Gaspard got inspired by zenbitz and recently started to clean up the graphics department starting page as well. In the meanwhile Zimble documented the settings of the Blender rendering setup at the wiki. At the moment we’re trying to attract additional 3d artists and as we don’t want to limit them to using a specific 3d modeling package, we have to figure out how to recreate the setup in terms of camera position, shadows/lighting, etc. in different 3d tools. Hopefully somebody can actually use the documented information to set up his favourite tool for PARPG and start to contribute art to the project.

While there have been ups and downs in all departments, the graphics department, especially the 3d art section of it has caused us some major headaches simply because there is a lot of content to be created for our first techdemo and the number of active developers in this department is rather small. We’re still hoping that more 3d artists get interested in PARPG but the first public release might actually help to spread the word about the project and reach artists who didn’t know about the project before. Let’s see how that works out.

We recently added a screenshot section to our wiki gallery, so feel free to check it out. Right now there is only one screenshot (the drunkard dialog) but I’m sure that it will fill up nicely over the course of the next weeks. This said: there is more new content to see at the gallery. Gaspard also created a whole bunch of new character portraits. Here are just two of them; the others can be found at the gallery.

Hatman:
Hatman by Gaspard

Farmer:
Hatman by Gaspard

That’s all for today. Next news update scheduled for Monday, 16nd 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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Newsflash Gordon

Heya and welcome to yet another PARPG news update. I’m still quite busy with writing papers for university but as I got 1.5 weeks until I need to hand in the next one, there is sufficent time to finally post an update here. Enjoy!

Project management department

Some of you might have tried to update your PARPG SVN checkouts lately but wondered why SVN reported an error. We’ve recently restructured our SVN repository so the game’s path has slightly changed. If you’re doing a fresh checkout, use this URL to just grab the game itself: http://parpg-svn.cvsdude.com/parpg/trunk/game/

For the ones who have already checked out the game in the past and would like to update now without having to download all the files again, check out this guide at the forums that explains how you can do so: SVN switch to new game path

The download article at the wiki was updated to reflect these changes as well: how to download PARPG

Programming department

In the programming department, there are a bunch of ongoing refactoring efforts. We were lucky enough to attract quite some fresh blood lately and the new guys are becoming acquainted with our code right now. While some refactoring efforts already found their way into our SVN repository, it’s still a long way to go. If you’re interested in the details, check out the programming section of the forums to get an idea of the ongoing refactoring discussions: programming department section

As we had to cope with a bunch of problems and staff changes in the programming department lately, we’ve decided to establish a so called “board of programmers” to address these kind of issues when they arise. The board of programmers will consist of three seasoned developers; bretzel, tZee & Kaydeth have decided to step up for the task. These three developers will have two main tasks:

  1. Coordinate the efforts in the department, defining the programming roadmap.
  2. Making final decisions in cases where a topic has been discussed in detail with all other programmers but an agreement couldn’t be reached nevertheless.

As every board member has one “vote” in the second case, there should be no draw situations and this new mechanism hopefully helps to decide tricky cases that turned out to be roadblockers for us in the past. In case any board member has to take a longer break from the project, the remaining two programmers and the project management will ask a candidate of their choice if he or she would like to become a new member of the board for the time being.

Graphics department

In the past, we used to rely on Blender as prefered 3d modeling package for PARPG. While we were constantly attracting new programmers lately, finding more artists who don’t mind working for free on an open source project seems far harder. Therefore we decided to change our stance concerning the 3d modeling software to use. 3d artists can now use whatever software they like as long as it does the job for them. The obvious drawback is, that we’ll have to create rendering setups for these packages so that the produced renders look the same regardless of the used software.

But we feel that it’s worth the effort; so if you’re using any other 3d modeling software than Blender, feel free to apply now as well! The best place to do so is the introduce yourself board at the forums.

3d modeler Sirren completed his first set of animations for the player character: standing idle and walking around:
Raider 270 degrees PCSRaider 315 degrees PCS

Concept artist Border created a soviet soldier, carrying a flamethrower:
Soviet flamer

Seothen continued to work on the Dr. Felix Weir concept and created a first work in progress full body shot of him:
Dr. Weir full body shot

Suzi, one of the new artists on the team, drew some props that you could be pretty useful when it’s cold outside:
Cold climate props

New 3d artist monkeyface modeled an improvised crossbow – reusing a leaf-spring – and bolts for it. And yes: he likes Fallout as well, just in case that wasn’t obvious from the first picture 🙂
Leaf spring crossbow

Crossbow bolts

Last but not least: Border created a first mockup for the graphics user interface of PARPG:

Game mechanics department

There where two main topics in the mechanics department that have been discussed lately.

There have been discussions about possible ways of implementing levelless character progression. Check out the details at the forums: character progression in PARPG

Furthermore we’ve put the map layout topic back on the agenda. We initially decided to use separate maps for indoor areas of buildings, like it was done in the Infinity Engine games. However with the recent staff changes, it seems that the still involved developers might rather favour an approach as used in Fallout: the ground levels of buildings were usually part of the map where the building resided in the first two Fallout games.

This way you could basically shoot through doors and windows and combat was quite fun. Nothing has been agreed upon yet, but the whole point is basically up for discussion again: reevaluating PARPG map layout

Writing department

Zenbitz brought up two setting-related proposals lately. Check out the state of the world and how to play the game threads at the forums.

That’s all for today. Next news update scheduled for Monday, 31st of August. See you then 🙂

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