Happycake Development Notes:
HDR, Audio, Many Buildings
6 November 2004


It's been over a month since the last update!  A lot of stuff has gotten done.  Collision volumes are now in the game for all objects, and the physics system implements sleeping.  The artists have done a bunch of new buildings.

I did a bunch more work on the graphics.  Now we are actually exploiting our HDR-native rendering to some extent, and we have a bloom effect.  We are setting the game in a very bright environment, because that's been so rare in computer games so far.  Here's an initial screenshot to kick things off, wherein I have launched a rocket and I'm curving it down to hit the ground:


With the HDR rendering we can do bloom effects a bit better and more naturally than traditional LDR games that try them.  For example, games like Wreckless use an alpha channel to provide extra information about how bright things are, which means that only objects that are specially painted can create blooms.  In HDR you just bloom anything that is really bright.  Here's some subtle bloom on the exposed metal parts of the dude's armor (I also gave the metal a slightly blue reflectance):


Seeing that makes me really want to make an Excalibur game (yeah, after the John Boorman film.  Patrick Stewart could reprise his role).

Turning the dude back around, here's some extreme glare (and emissive glow from the jets on his jetpack):



That jetpack is animated; when he's flying, the arms open out diagonally in order to yield maximum torque when thrust comes shooting out.  Like so:



When he lands, they fold back up:



Explosions and such provide glow also; here's me dropping a rocket into the ground:



A higher view of some of the buildings we have laid out:



A view with the camera further back:



And then moved a bit more in order to get some glare off the side of that white building in the previous shot:



Here's an aereal view of the 4 blocks we have laid out so far (complete with z-fighting!).  For the final version we are hoping to have 9 blocks plus some stuff on the outskirts.  There will also be more in the way of small objects sprinkled around the city.



We've also got a bunch of new sound effects in being done by a company called dSonic.  They are starting to come along pretty well and are definitely better than the placeholders we had in there.

There's also been a gigantic amount of gruntwork on my part, the kind of stuff that doesn't really show up in screenshots.  Also a bunch of work on the game and robot building editors.  We'll see some robots again in the next update, I think.


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