Procedural Planet video showing the space-to-surface transition, as well as the tank driving around a bit. I’m pretty happy with how it looks, but there are a lot of things that still need to be fixed.
I needed a bit of a diversion from the planet rendering itself, into something that would give some purpose behind it. Why is the planet there? Well, what better use is there for a planet than driving a tank on it?
We left off in part 1 talking about the initial failures with my GPU geometry map shader. I did fail to mention that there was a bright spot the first time I ran the new code â€“ it was amazingly fast. So fast I was able to increase the noise octaves from the 5 that would run reasonably well on the CPU up to 30 and still run at well over 60fps. I have to admit that I spent some of that first 18 hour day just roaming around on a barren, reddish planet. That huge improvement in performance made the pain to come well worth it.
So, at the end of part 1 we set up the C# code for executing the geometry map shader. Now letâ€™s take a look at the shader itself.
I spent the past week moving my procedural planet rendererâ€™s
geometry map creation code from the CPU to the GPU. It didnâ€™t go as smoothly as
I would have liked, but in a way that was a good thing since I gained a much
deeper understanding of some render pipeline things that I had been taking for
Going to write up something useful tomorrow, but for now here are a few screenshots…
Previously I mentioned I was going to do a mulligan on my procedural planet engine. The few hours I’ve worked on it so far have lead to a beautiful new architecture that’s doing most of the same things as before, as well as some major new things, using about 25% of the code.
So, I worked on Guardian since May, and finally finished it up several weeks ago and it’s up on Xbox Live Indie Games. I won’t be purchasing a fancy car any time soon, but I might be able to use the proceeds for a Sunburn Lighting Engine license in a few weeks. I’ll buy the license anyway, but it’d be cool to do it with money earned from my game.
I spent way too much time and energy finishing Guardian, but I’m pleased to know that I still have it in me after all these years. Still, I want to move back to working on these things as a hobby rather than a money-making enterprise. It was much more enjoyable and relaxing.
So, after a couple weeks off letting my brain recover, I’ve decided to dust off my procedural planet engine and work on it some more. By “dust off”, I mean completely scrap it and start over, using what I learned during the first iteration, and some of the things I’ve learned since while working on other things.
I also plan get back to posting useful things on this blog.
Just uploaded the next version of Guardian for playtesting (you’ll need to be an XNA Creators Club member and signed in to follow the link successfully). There were lots of changes this time around. Over 250 items checked off of the todo list, many of them polish type things, but also some very major changes and additions.
When developing the iPhone version of Guardian I manually created my sprite sheets. I used individual sprites up until the end so everything was pretty much set in stone by the time I created the the sprite sheet. Even then I ended up having to recreate the sprite sheet two or three times, and let me tell you, manually figuring out the texture coordinates isn’t a particularly pleasant experience. In this case I believe I made the right choice. There were few enough sprites that I would have spent more time creating the tool than I would have saved.
I managed to make the deadline for entering the Dream Build Play 2009 competition. The results are expected to be announced by the end of the month. Based on the quality of entries this year I’m not holding out a huge amount of hope of actually winning. Regardless, it was a great experience and I learned quite a bit in the process.