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0 A.D. Weekly Report #6


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#1 plumo

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 12:28 PM

0 A.D. Weekly Report #6 (Week 35)

Wildfire Games, the international group of volunteers developing 0 A.D., are happy to present this week's 0 A.D. development report.
If you want to find out more about the development of this open-source, cross-platform real-time strategy game or if you are interested in game development in general, it might be an interesting read.

If you want to be part of this project, we urge you to post your application in our forums. We are currently looking for Gameplay, AI, Sound and Graphics Programmers along with Animators and 3D & texture artists. You prefer to do something else than programming or drawing? Luckily for your portfolio we are also looking for a Sound Lead, Video Editors, a Documentation Manager and Scenario Designers. Still no luck? Head to our forums and join our active community!

Feature Spotlight!

This week's report will be a bit different from the others as we are in 'feature freeze'. We are trying to make alpha XI as stable as possible, so instead of adding new, untested features we are focusing on fixing bugs. If you want to read about these fixes though, check out the log of latest code revisions.

After whining for a whole week, I finally persuaded Myconid to reveal some of the things he has been working on lately. Adding AO (ambient occlusion), normal mapping, parallax mapping, 'swaying trees' and smooth Line of Sight was clearly only the beginning. Currently he is also implementing Bloom, HDR and Distance fog. His pièce de résistance will be the Post-processing Manager, which will apply effects to the entire rendered image instead of individual models (which he has been doing so far).

Myconid was so generous to send me two screenshots showing some of his latest work. Can you spot the effects and enhancements? The winner gets a free copy of the game!

Spoiler


Spoiler


Check back next Monday for more development news!

Edited by Wijitmaker, 28 August 2012 - 01:37 PM.
Changed SSAO to AO

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#2 sarim

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 12:45 PM

The screenshots look awesome :D btw, when the alpha 11 is coming ?
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#3 Christian

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 12:58 PM

Great news :)
As always, the german version: http://www.0ad-porta...ws.php?extend.9
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#4 zoot

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 01:01 PM

Daym. Is that HDR, or did you go to Persia to get those shots? Looks very interesting/realistic.

(BTW, though SSAO was one of the first effects Myconid posted about, what will actually be used/seen in the game is "real" AO, due to it creating less artifacts than SSAO. SSAO is basically a hack to simulate AO.)
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#5 hidralisco

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 01:02 PM

As much as these new graphics features please, will Alpha 11 have the stability and the smoothness to match it? The game still crawls for me while engaging in combat, and is still unable to support more than a few dozens units on screen without being incredibly slow. Isn't it about time for the team to start addressing these issues too?
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#6 zoot

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 01:29 PM

As much as these new graphics features please, will Alpha 11 have the stability and the smoothness to match it? The game still crawls for me while engaging in combat, and is still unable to support more than a few dozens units on screen without being incredibly slow. Isn't it about time for the team to start addressing these issues too?

You make it sound as if there is some kind of trade-off. These effects were something Myconid decided to add before even joining the team. Him working on that doesn't somehow magically prevent the rest of the team from working on optimization.
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#7 feneur

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 01:55 PM

The last things myconid has been working on will not be added to the game at all until after Alpha 11, and even the ones which are already added are not enabled by default for now. So it shouldn't affect performance at all at the moment. (Unless you enable it of course, but with a reasonably modern graphics card it really shouldn't be more than mildly noticeable, at least for as long as other things take a greater toll on performance.)
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#8 BrynnOfCastlegate

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 02:26 PM

Those screenshots are lovely! I can't wait until the effects are ready!

--Brynn
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#9 hidralisco

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 02:29 PM

You make it sound as if there is some kind of trade-off. These effects were something Myconid decided to add before even joining the team. Him working on that doesn't somehow magically prevent the rest of the team from working on optimization.


Granted, but it's just that ever since I've been playing 0 AD, about two or three alphas ago, I've seen the same problems regarding optimization, and noticed very little improvements on that field. I had hopes to create a total conversion for 0 AD in the future, hence why I am concerned on well the game runs and performs.
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#10 Jeru

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 07:00 PM

Rest assured we are aware of 0 A.D.'s performance problems and seeking ways to alleviate them.

Performance suffers particularly from the pathfinding and AI components of the game. The AI is under active development and will show some improvements in Alpha 11. Unfortunately, pathfinding development has been on hiatus for a few weeks, but we hope to have better news on this front for Alpha 12.
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#11 hidralisco

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 07:27 PM

Thank you very much for your reply. That's a lot more comforting to know.
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#12 Jeru

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 10:09 PM

(y)
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#13 ese150

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 06:18 AM

They look wonderful. Bloom effects? and lighting? Idk too much about the technicalities but its looking wonderful. I also see a V in the trees to the left in the first picture. LOL
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#14 historic_bruno

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 10:24 PM

As much as these new graphics features please, will Alpha 11 have the stability and the smoothness to match it? The game still crawls for me while engaging in combat, and is still unable to support more than a few dozens units on screen without being incredibly slow. Isn't it about time for the team to start addressing these issues too?

I'd also like to point out that I have a somewhat new but not top-of-the-line graphics card and it easily handles all the new graphics features without much impact on performance. Still they will be disabled by default in A11, as it's experimental and we don't yet know which hardware best supports which options. The real issue with performance is not graphics related, but definitely pathfinding and AIs (this is easily verified by using the profiler in game - F11). That said, I've played several multiplayer matches lately with up to 6 players and performance was surprisingly good (all humans, no AIs).

Think of it like this; we're moving toward a completed game by adding necessary features, it would be somewhat counterproductive if we only focused on performance issues, because adding new stuff could introduce new performance issues, the game might never be finished. We currently put a lot of effort into finishing art and programming tasks, a similar amount of effort into bug fixes, and the leftover is performance issues. Not to mention that at least on the AI and pathfinding side of things we're currently waiting for 1-2 people to finish their work so it's hard for anyone else to assist :)
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#15 Jeru

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 10:09 AM

Still they will be disabled by default in A11


For the release announcement: What do you need to do to switch them on?
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#16 Enrique

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 10:45 AM

For the release announcement: What do you need to do to switch them on?


To see the effects you need to make four little changes in your config first (it's better to create a copy of the config and rename to local.cfg):

  • preferglsl = true
  • gentangents = true
  • smoothlos = true
  • materialmgr.quality = 10


Directly taken from http://www.wildfireg...900#entry247103
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#17 dvangennip

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 12:43 PM

As much as these new graphics features please, will Alpha 11 have the stability and the smoothness to match it? The game still crawls for me while engaging in combat, and is still unable to support more than a few dozens units on screen without being incredibly slow. Isn't it about time for the team to start addressing these issues too?

From my little testing the increased visual quality affects the performance not that much, because it is mostly handled by the graphics card. Otherwise, it is easy to turn off. The lag/slowness is mostly due to the CPU having a very hard time, for the reasons given above.
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#18 zoot

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 07:43 PM

No new report :sadwalk:
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#19 feneur

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 09:13 PM

No new report :sadwalk:

Soon new release ;) So not much more than "We're squishing the last bugs" to report ;)
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#20 edwardlongshank

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 07:33 AM

Perhaps you should try using some insecticides to speed the process up a little. lol thats a really crap joke. Anyways I am really looking forward to it, am dieing to build some walls!
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