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0 A.D. Development Report #8


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#1 plumo

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 08:02 PM

0 A.D. Development Report #8 (Week 40 - 42)

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!


Team news!

Welcome aboard, Ludo38! Ludo has been contributing some great graphics recently and spreading the word about 0 A.D. He has accepted to join to Web Design Team.
Another contributor that deserves her (!) minute in the spotlight is BrynnOfCastlegate (or just 'Brynn'). Brynn recently started making tutorial videos and other promotional material. Check out her first tutorial !


Screenshot of the Week

A real-time post-processing filter FOSS - by Martins Upitis - applied by Zaggy1024. Note that this has in no way been Photoshopped. It is a screen capture taken directly from our 'Atlas' world editor. This is just one of many new effects and filters that are supported now in 0 A.D.! All credit goes to myconid for his amazing Postprocessing Manager!

Posted Image

Art & Programming & Sound

The day has finally come! Myconid has committed his Postprocessing Manager to the main code branch (some even claim the only code branch...). Main features are Distance Fog, Brightness & Contrast ("fake HDR"), super-fast Bloom and fast Depth-of-Field. All these effects and enhancements can be tweaked to your liking!
Mythos_Ruler has mainly been working on technologies. You want to increase your citizen's wood gathering rate? Research 'Iron Axes' at the mill! You want to give your workers a moderate movement speed bonus? Research 'Shoes' at the Black Market...(No wait... that was in C&C:Generals). Mythos_Ruler also created a sandbox scenario for the Macedonians, among some balancing. (Call it coincidence but he always seems to be 'rebalancing' stats prior to a staff battle...)
Quantumstate has been restructuring the code behind technologies. Talking about optimizing: he was able to lower the CPU usage of the CCmpRangeManager by 80%! This benefit won't be spectacularly noticeable as this is only a small part of the game, but the CPU usage is such a bottleneck that we are considering to spend the remaining Pledgie budget on a bronze statue in his likeness. We think the community would concur (for the record: your money is not being wasted; all money goes to the development of 0 A.D.).
Spahbod has added two random maps: Nomad and Syria. He has also added a couple of map previews. Last but not least he revamped the match setup GUI even further: it is now possible to set a population cap (i.e. a limit on how many units a player can have) and to select the amount of starting resources.
Enrique has made a night version of the Belgian Bog map, among with new shield textures for the Mauryan Indians. Lion_Kanzen also contributed shields for the Mauryan Indians.

Zaggy1024 has been toying around a bit with Myconid's Postprocessing Manager, mainly improving the quality and performance of Depth-of-Field effect.
historic_bruno applied a fix where water would not be animated in the editor (Atlas) and incorrectly animated while the game is paused. He also implemented rubble and debris (visible when a building is destroyed).

OmriLahav has been working on a new generic track and a new early (=will play during early game stages) Celtic track.
Yves added a splashscreen that appears on startup and informs the player about the status of the game (bugs, missing features).

See you in two weeks with the latest development news!
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B. Guns [aka Plumo]
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#2 fabio

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 08:31 PM

Thanks for the update! :)

I think that at this stage it would be cool to have a proper in game option menu for managing all these amazing new effects, without editing the config file. Similar to what was done on the match setup GUI.
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#3 k776

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 08:46 PM

Quantumstate has been restructuring the code behind technologies. Talking about optimizing: he was able to lower the CPU usage of the CCmpRangeManager by 20%!

Correction: The optimisation made it take only 20% of it's original time. That's an 80% speed boost, but those numbers weren't verified, just estimates, so probably best alter that to:

"he was able to lower the CPU usage of the CCmpRangeManager so that in theory it can be up to 80% faster."

Also, this optimisation hasn't been committed yet, he's working on it.
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#4 Yves

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 09:08 PM

Correction: The optimisation made it take only 20% of it's original time. That's an 80% speed boost, but those numbers weren't verified, just estimates, so probably best alter that to:[/font][/color]

"he was able to lower the CPU usage of the CCmpRangeManager so that in theory it can be up to 80% faster."

That sounds interesting but needs to be explained a bit more if it should be comprehensible for most people.
It just says that some part(CCmpRangeManager) of the game has been made up to 80% faster. It doesn't state how mucht influence it has on the overall performance.
Also it's most likely not very accurate because I'm sure there are some parameters that influence the procentual performance benefit like number of units moving, mapsize and hardware.
I know it's probably too early to tell that.
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#5 zoot

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 09:36 PM

That sounds interesting but needs to be explained a bit more if it should be comprehensible for most people.

I agree! plumo's reports are great publicity, but they would be even better if they are kept in a non-technical language that everyone can understand.
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#6 Ludo38

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 10:02 PM

Cool report as usual !

@Lion : your shields rock!!

I agree with Fabio that a in-game menu for the graphics would be great. I'm interested in trying options in the game that way.
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Ludovic Celle "Ludo38"
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#7 plumo

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 04:41 AM

I Contribute with Shields for Maurians XD


I'll update the report tonight :), need to go to work now.
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B. Guns [aka Plumo]
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#8 Zeta1127

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 05:15 AM

I am rather fond of the CnC Generals Shoes joke.
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#9 iap

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 06:17 PM

Wow the screenshow looks amazing!

(But just a nitpick: It looks more like a tilt shift proccessing, then a real depth of field. Is the Depth of field calculated on the rendered image or on the 3D space?)
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#10 Zaggy1024

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 10:50 PM

(But just a nitpick: It looks more like a tilt shift proccessing, then a real depth of field. Is the Depth of field calculated on the rendered image or on the 3D space?)


It is real bokeh DOF. It's not tilt-shift (which I personally don't like at all :P). The blurring is based on the depth texture. What about it makes you think it looks like tilt-shift?
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#11 quantumstate

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 01:00 PM

Tilt shift basically emulates a shallow depth of field so you would expect them to loo similar. I think it looks like tilt shift because nobody ever takes landscape pictures with that sort of depth of field so the normal context of seeing a picture like that is with tilt shift.
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#12 iap

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 04:43 PM

The extream values of the blur did it, of course. But also some features on the screen, like the tree from the ledt of the castle witch is half in focus and half blurred made me think this is just a blur filter with mask.
But realizing this is Depth Of Field makes this screenshot looks really amazing. I guess that in the game the values would be much more subtle...
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#13 AllenY

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 01:43 AM

I agree! plumo's reports are great publicity, but they would be even better if they are kept in a non-technical language that everyone can understand.

Let's just say:
Woah, dude... this guy... like, he, like, made the...um... CPU usage of this thing.. called...CCmpRangeManager..like....way lower dude... that's like, good...

But seriously, this is some good stuff... love the screenshot!

Edited by AllenY, 15 December 2012 - 01:45 AM.

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#14 zoot

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 02:03 AM

Let's just say:
Woah, dude... this guy... like, he, like, made the...um... CPU usage of this thing.. called...CCmpRangeManager..like....way lower dude... that's like, good...

Does that make it easier to understand? :huh:
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#15 AllenY

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 02:54 AM

I suppose... ^_^
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#16 Zaggy1024

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 08:33 PM

The extream values of the blur did it, of course. But also some features on the screen, like the tree from the ledt of the castle witch is half in focus and half blurred made me think this is just a blur filter with mask.
But realizing this is Depth Of Field makes this screenshot looks really amazing. I guess that in the game the values would be much more subtle...

The reason the tree looks strange is because the tree uses partial transparency, and the way the depth of field calculates how much blur to use (a depth texture), partially transparent objects will have the amount of blur of whatever is behind them, so the edges of the leaves on the trees are blurred when they really shouldn't be (there's a way to fix this, but it's extremely hacky and not very effective).

We aren't planning to have the depth of field enabled in normal map, only in campaign maps (which are meant to look miniature).
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Gregory Bertilson [aka Zaggy1024]

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