lördag 4 juni 2011

Find me on tweeter!

This is probably one of those things on the Internet i always considered "not my cop of coffee".
but i finally decided to give it a try anyway :)

it also forces me to practice the art of -short messages- witch has never been my strong side ;-)

on my tweeter feed i will do quick and dirty updates on the latest things i test and play around with , screen-shots that don't make this blog, and even some general every day stuff :)


oh well thats all for now, back to the salt mine :3

torsdag 2 juni 2011

Limerock in love

This might be off-topic, but i cant help my self :3

A few days ago i got a choking phone call.

My mothers husband called me on the phone to tell me that i had received money from a Foundation, and that there was enough so that i could buy the laptop of my dreams!

The very same day, I was in the store and picked up a very sleek, powerful and beautiful ASUS U36JC!

"She may be thinner than an anorexic supermodel, but she sure is beautiful!"

, it would seem i was unlucky to get a defective battery, so the machine only make due for about 3 hours while running the computer but not using it at all(and running in battery-saving mode!)

This of course seems ridiculous for a new modern laptop with a 800 euro price tag, who comes with a "Long battery life" sticker and is praised by the seller for its good battery time.

There also seems to be some strange bugs in the OS, i think it might be due to ASUS mod'ing the OS.
On top of that, they have incorporated there own features and stuff, and filled the laptop with a ton of flimsy software.

And for some bizarre reason the laptop keeps forgetting my settings and what softwares i install.
I have so far installed java twice, and it keeps asking me if i want to turn on the anti-virus software every time i turn on the machine(witch i do).

It is almost like it do a auto-recovery each reboot or something, not sure what the hell is going on... seriously considering tearing out the Asus-moded Windows 7 and replace with my own, this of course would mean that i lose some of those special features that my laptop might need to work(switching between the two internal GPU's for example)
hopefully these softwares can be installed manually.

and of course, the question you guys all want to know, does the laptop run Liero3D? well, it does run the game engine, but not very impressive... about 10-20fps, but at least now i have a slower platform to try things on, should help allot :)

The Liero model editor however runs smooth on the U36JC as expected :)

Defective battery and buggy Asus-moded OS aside, this is the best freaking laptop i ever had the privilege to work on in my life! and it breaks my heart that i am forced to return it to the store :(

lördag 28 maj 2011

More on the editor!

I have been working allot on the model editor recently, and i thought you guys might like a quick update :)

several things has happend since last post.
2d drawing canvas windows is bigger, 3d preview has its own proper window(with mouse rotation and zoom).
but perhaps most noticeable is the grid on the 2d views, it makes the editor much more simple to use.

I have also shaded all the background layers in the 2d views with black lines, I think it looks good and it makes it more easy to see where you are currently working.

And finally, I have written the basics for animation support, so i think I will have that part working very soon as well! :D

A new youtube video is probably to be expected in a near future *hint* ;-)

And as you can see(I hope), I did an attempt at a medic-pack.
But the only liero sprite i could find online was in such a bad quality/resolution, that i had to improvise from scratch.

If anyone has a full set of the original Liero 1.33 sprites, and can Email them to me, it would be very helpful for future conversions :)

Email: xip [dot] software [at] gmail [dot] com

made some visual improvements, and updated the picture to match.

fredag 20 maj 2011

GMail Hacked :(

Got a nasty surprise today...

Apparently Chinese hackers got access to my GMail(the same one that is associated with this blog btw...) so I had a few moments of panic and paranoia.
But it don't look like there is any damage done(from what i can tell).

So instead of working on the L3D project, I have spent the day changing every f**aking password and adding extra security layers to everything... lets hope I didn't forget anything.

needless to say... I'm not a happy camper today :(

And apparently I'm not alone, there are tons of people all over the world who have the same problem.

Some even go all conspiracy-nutty and claim that it is NSA and other U.S. law enforcement agencies that uses built-in back-doors? Im not sure if i should feel ofended or privileged.

uhm... well, if that is the case, you guys are up for a boring read in my -not so interesting- mail box.

torsdag 19 maj 2011

Let there be worms!

I could swear I have seen you somewhere before?...

And another (but less sucessfull) experiment i did was this other very classical sprite...

It don't look as cool as the worm, in fact... I'm a bit disappointed how bad it looked in 3D.
But its no problem, I will have to make it thicker and use less darker shadings at my next try.

but the worms look cool! and the editor is starting to take shape(even if there are tons of work left) :D

stay tuned for more awesome sprites resurrected in the world of voxels! :D

måndag 16 maj 2011

Editor sneak peek!

Since I have not shown any cool pictures for a while, I decided to show you guys some very early tests from the Liero3D model editor I'm currently working on :)

The interface look like crap, and uhm... not to mention my "lovely" -not so artistic- test model *cough*

But that is less important atm, what really matters is to make the 3d view, color palette and 3 separate 2D views working, and most of it is.

Next up is to make it possible to select what depth layer in each of the 2d views you are currently drawing on, this will be shown as 32 boxes bellow each 2d view(since the model is a maximum of 32x32x32), similar to how the drawing works in the Q-Block editor.

The overall scale of the windows will change, I think the palette should be smaller, and the 3 other 2d views scaled up as much as possible.
The 3D preview will have its own 4rth window aligned like the other 3.

And oh! before anyone asks, the color palette is temporarily randomly generated ;-)

When all basics is in there, I will add a row with simplistic buttons at the top of the window for SAVE, OPEN and so on, I'm sure it will be a neat little editor :)

I have a few interesting features i plan to implement, one has to do with the color palette(more about that later).

But perhaps the most interesting one is to take some inspiration from the game Spore.
where each creation is stored in a normal PNG picture, and model data is stored in the metadata.

What I really like about this is that it makes sharing content and general overview so much more practical and flexible, you could browse the directory with your creations in any software that suports png :)
and of course, most operating systems would automatically make thump-nails for preview, sweet! :)

And one more thing, you guys can expect LOADS of new pictures in the blog as soon as i add all the necessary functions i need in the editor, i think i will post all the models i convert from the original 1.33 in the blog(if people are interested) :)

I'm also feeling a bit happy today! :D
I received money from a Foundation: 300 Euro! and I have 2 more that I might get from!

hopefully I will manage to save most of it until the other ones arrive, and if everything goes my way(for once)... There is a chance that i can get a laptop! woohoow! :D

onsdag 4 maj 2011

I am alive!

It has been a long time since there was any news on this project, so i thought i should just let you guys know that this project is still alive and kicking :)

Over the last month I have not had any energy to do any serous programming....
But i think it is starting to turn around again, and i have started working on the Editor from which all models will be made for L3D.

The editor will also be shipped with the game, and from within you can load existing game assets to mod them freely.

It seems logical that i create a simple editor that anyone can use without having any knowledge in 3d modeling, with would have been necessary if i for example made the models in a 3d modeling software like maya or 3d max.

This way I need to spend a little more time working on the project, but at the same time it would probably be much faster to create all the content(and there is allot of it) in a editor designed for simple block art, instead of an editor like 3d max.

The editor would probably closely resemble: QBlock

I'm sorry that i don't have any cool screen-shots or videos this time around, but i thought that i would show you guys another voxel project a friend of mine has been working on for a little while.

The game is calld: Lootfest and is a simple but interesting "zelda" style game inspired by 3D Dot.
It would appear my Liero3D game inspired him allot, since he started working on it after he saw my project, and he also implemented my fake SSAO technique among other things ;-)

He used the first solution I created that is vertex based, and not the one i later changed to that is Texture based, but it works well for his needs.

So, congrats to Fabian for Finishing Lootfest, and I wish him all the luck with his sales on XBLIG :)

måndag 21 mars 2011

Ladys and gents...

I can tell that you people have been starving for something more than screen-shots and empty words for a while now, so I thought it was time for something more interesting...

So... without more delay... I happily present: The first movie.

Nothing to fancy just yet, I am showing off some of the basic features in the engine, but there is more to come, so don't worry :)

And that is not all, I'm also happy to say that I am the proud owner of Liero3D.net *drum sound*
and some web-space at One.com.
I'm currently prioritizing the game engine, so the page will probably stay "empty" for a little while longer ;)

Any feedback if ofcourse wellcome, as long as it don't involve the particles lack of shading :P

tisdag 15 mars 2011

sweet shades!

Just as i expected, the texture based "Ambient Occlusion" effect looks a hundred times better than the previous vertex based one, and I'm almost finished with it! :)

There are a few blocks missing(you can see that some corners are not shaded) but this will be fixed very soon.

I will also change the way I write blog posts, it looks like people really don't like my rambling over the last month(apparently visitor number plumbed from 680 to 160 in one month), so i will try to make it more interesting.

From now on, I will write shorter posts, and only post new messages if i have some new cool pictures or movies to show :)

Youtube video will be up shortly, I only want to add some gore and worms to blow up ;-)

Note: The shadows are a bit over the top atm, I will make them slightly lighter.

lördag 12 mars 2011

To fake a fake

70% of all woman are faking it...
But I wonder how many who need to fake the fake?

After trying a SSAO shader and seeing some unsatisfying performance(on a very primitive example) , I decided to look into alternative solutions that would be faster to render and could work on older machines.

So I did a simple test where i darkened vertexes next to other blocks, and it looks something like this:

It looks really bad in a few spots, and quite good in others, but on average it is not as good as I was hoping for, so my next attempt will be to use gradient shaded textures instead.

Currently things are only evenly gradient, but I want the shadows to be stronger the closer you get to a corner, This is not possible to do when we color the vertices's directly, but would be very simple to do on a texture.

This is of course a very fake way to do "Ambient Occlusion", but considering that we get it almost for free, I can live with it.

Note: The picture to the right has slightly darker shadows.

torsdag 3 mars 2011

Feeling the pressure

With only 2 days left to the game-dev LAN, I'm starting to feel the pressure...

Unfortunately, I wont manage to implement everything i wanted to implement, but i hope i will have most of the important ones from my TODO list.

some of them are:

  • Instanced based voxel Particles for blood, explosion fragments and dirt.
  • A few pre-set weapons used for demonstration in free-camera mode.
  • A few dummy objects to blow up, generating cascades of blood and gore that paint the terrain red :)

hopefully i can also put together a more decent and more presentable loading screen, but it don't have very high priority, probably the very last thing i do if i have time to spare.

Things that i wont have time for:

  • SSAO(this really bothers me, it would have made my project 100x more presentable and attractive to view).
  • Depth of field.
  • Player physics.
  • Some form of simple multiplayer test.

It really is sad that i wont have time to implement multiplayer before the LAN, it would have been awesome to test play the game with the other people there, but I guess we cant have it all :3

I have spent the last 2 days messing with the instancing for my particle effects.
And I think I have everything solved(except for some performance penalty to be solved later).

If things goes well, the particle engine should be implement into the engine today, and unless any unforeseen problem should arrive, perhaps record a short tec-demo and upload to youtube :)

The particleManager is implemented and running very smoth, I'm very happy with the performance and how it works(pre-loading and recycle old particles).

But i forgot that the custom shader i used for instancing would create problems with fog...
so until this is solved, I don't feel its worth making a movie and upload to youtube, I would only regret it later.

If only i had a working Depth of field class, it would not create the same problem, and everything would look awesome! :D

torsdag 24 februari 2011

Texture suport for 3D volumes!

I had an idea a little while ago where i tinkered with the concept of putting 2d textures on 3d volume data... and the result turned out better than i expected! :)

It is not a 100% perfect solution, there are plenty of situations where it might not look very good... but it will work just fine for my "little" game :)

The goal is to make it possible to import any number of textures(254 is max), and use different textures for different materials, each with its own attributes(indestructible, removable and so on).

It would also be possible to use different textures inside other textures, for example a block of sand, and inside you will find wood texture, and if you remove the wood texture you find brick texture, and so on.

The plan is to ship an level editor with the game where you can paint and sculpture the terrain in 3d, and use any texture you want on any surface :)

That is another 2(almost 3) points implemented from my TODO list! things are really starting to snowball now :)

PS: I had that cobra picture as a poster when i was a little kid, and it was my favorite one!
so when i found it browsing for textures, i could not help my self ;-)

onsdag 23 februari 2011

That is the big question

Sunburn or no SunBurn, that is the question.

For a while not, i have contemplated if i really should use SunBurn for my Liero3D project, it seems like such a huge Overkill, with a hole heap of problems and very little gain.

Admittedly, I think SunBurn is an awesome product(even if i don't like the direction the developers are taking with it), and i don't regret getting it(or asking my family for the money), but i still feel that it is way over the top for the L3D project.

So, lets make a list of pros and cons of using SunBurn:

  • Deferred shadows is Awesome!(with capital A), especially with lasers, missiles and explosions casting long shadows all over the place.

  • Running my game with SunBurn and deferred shadows is dramatically slower than it would be without, so the computer specs is much higher and 3.0 shader support is forced unless you turn off shadows. Without SunBurn the game would run on much older computers, and of course give much better frame rates for everyone in general.

  • With the exception for real-time shadows and lightning, we use no other features in the SunBurn engine, no normal maps, parallax map, HDR, or the simple physics that is included into SunBurn.

  • From some of the tests i have run on ScreenSpaceAmbientOcclusion(SSAO), it is a very slow post processing effect, and i might not be able to run both SSAO, DOF and use SunBurn with deferred shadows all at the same time, I feel that SSAO is far more important effect to make block more visual(not invisible in shadows due to single color shading).

  • I'm still a bit new to SunBurn, and like most big products... the engine feels a bit overwhelming at times, and implementing features might be far more tricky and time consuming than it would be otherwise(in pure XNA). I also don't like the feeling of being Dependant on support from SunBurn crew and forum if i manage to get stuck.

So i have to ask my self, why would i give my self all this extra headache, just to have dynamic shadows... would people even care about the shadows that much?

One of my biggest reason for stubbornly sticking with SunBurn, was the fact that my grand mother gave me the money for a SunBurn Pro license, with the soul purpose that it would create something that could bring me money in the end, and now i feel a bit forced to stay committed to the cause.

But I have to ask my self, is that not using SunBurn for all the wrong reasons?

What do you people think, is Dynamic shadows really that important? or would Minecraft style lightning work just as well?

lördag 19 februari 2011

Damn you SpriteBatch!


I have spent several days trying to find the cause of a very annoying bug in the engine...
After days of stairing at my screen, houers of debuging and checking evry f**king variable, evry god damn Vertex renderd... you name it, i cheecked it...

The visual effect it had was totally crazy, it painted my god damn world dark blue(exactly like a blue block in a shadow) in the segments (chunk) i was blowing holes in, it also happened if i reloaded the terrain, but it never happen when the same method generated the terrain in the first place...odd indeed.

So of course, i would assume it had something to do with data generation... even tho i could not understand why it didn't paint things blue when the terrain was FIRST generated "memory leaks? in C# ... it cant be.... can it?"

Imagine my confusion when it was still shadow blue with shadows turned off.... no blocks was ever generated in that shade of blue in the first place... *snort*

After several days I started to get real desperate, and for a brief moment i considered ripping out SunBurn just to make sure it was not a bug in the rendering engine.

Luckely... I didn't tear out SunBurn!
I manage to find the bug just moments before that.... and the reason for it? ... xna SpriteBatch class used for 2D rendering. *mutter*

Turns out it didn't like that i rendered 2D(fps and debug text) after i rendered 3D... *sigh*

This is no big news, i knew from past experience that SpirteBatch can cause some problems in combination with 3D... I think it has to do with settings for Z-buffer getting screwed(or something), I'm not sure... ether way... it was pure luck that i un-commented that line, what if i never did that? what if it would have jeopardized the whole god damn project?

Took me 3 days to figure it out... bah...
what a waste of time!

So many features i could have implemented if i didn't get stuck on this, oh well, i guess the main thing is that I'm back on track again. :)

And while I'm here, I might as well post a fun(not to serious) screen-shot i took while i was debugging things.
I swapped the original Liero texture for a more color-full "candy" texture.
Don't worry, it wont look like that, but it sure do seem liven up the place ;-)

PS: is it only me, or whats up with the giant green "Death star" thingy?

fredag 18 februari 2011

The plan

Well I feel a bit better today and I am back to work :)

And while i take a small break from the coding, I thought i would update and clarify my plans for this project when it comes to the commercial aspect of Liero3D.
This is something i haven't talked much about except for in my early posts back in the days when holes where still round ;-)

I feel that i should make it very clear from the start what people can expect so there is no surprises and sad faces later, so here goes :)

As most of you already know(those who played the original Liero), this game is based on an existing free-ware game written by a guy called Joosa Riekkinen back in 1998.
And since the release of his game, dozens of people have created remakes and clones, most of them being free-ware.

From that point of view, one might assume that Liero3D will be freeware as well...
Yeas, the client it self will be freeware, but not all its features.

So here is the plan:

  • The game will be 100% free to download and play locally against bot's when it is finished, but if you want to play online or LAN with friends, you need to buy a Key.
  • A Key is a one time cost, you buy it once and get permanent access to the servers and online features, such as Multiplay, LAN, Ladders, and simpler access to user created Maps, Mods and so on(even tho you could install those manually in client of course).
  • The price of a key is reduced during early development(alpha and probably beta),price set at 100 SEK( thats about 10 EURO, or 15 dollar) and will increase 50-100% when game is finished(the exact rate is yet to be decided).
  • The only way to access the alpha(and possibly beta) will be with a key, no free versions will be available until after beta.
  • The alpha will be available when i feel the main core features in multiplayer is working, no single player(bots) mode will be available at alpha release.

The points mention above might change, but it gives a good estimate on what my current plans are, I hope this is acceptable to everyone.

This way, i don't technically take any money for the content that is related to Liero, i take money for accessing my server and letting people use my broadband.

After all, I need to pay my rent and put food on the table as well, and currently i have to struggle on welfare just to survive...

So it stands to reason that i should do what i can to improve my life, and make it possible to work full time on this project, witch would help increase the quality for everyone who like to play it :)

Feel free give me some feedback on the topic, what do you think about the commercial solution for Liero3D? write me a comment :)

[edit] made some changes in text, trying to improve the quality of things.

onsdag 16 februari 2011

I am Yuri...obey me!

Arghh... I'm feeling a bit sick and fever-ish and didn't get much sleep last night as a result of it :(

So there probably wont be much work for a few days until i beat this thing.
I hope i can still manage to get my "playable" prototype done before the planned game-dev LAN in 14 days.

But I am starting to feel a bit stressed about that... there is 10 points on my TODO list, some i know for sure i wont have time to implement, others i don't know yet.

As you can see, I also uploaded a picture of me today, I feel it makes the blog more personal if you see who i am... even if i look like some deranged super villain with a "conquer the world" complex...

However, it should be noted that it was the best photo from a dozen taken... some of witch would give you nightmares and scar you for life ;-)

Perhaps was it not the brightest of ideas to take a profile photo when you are not well, hence the 6547 Photoshop filters used :P

oh well... i think i will crawl under a blanket and drink some hot tea, and hope I'm feeling better by tomorrow.

Good night Liero fans, wherever you are.

Doing some quick messing around with the facebook 'like' button in this blog, if things are not working properly, or your -like- vote disappears, try again later.
Sorry for the inconvenience.

fredag 11 februari 2011

Texture test! :D

I implemented something so that i could see what the hell was going on, its is almost impossible to tell where blocks are when thay are all in the same color...

And even if there are several visible bugs in the screens bellow, it is starting to look really awesome! :D

Texture on voxels is a bit smeared(so I deliberately took screens from a distance) due to an bug in the texture attlas.

The white fog is also temporary, i think i will go with black fog, or replace it with Depth of field.

And don't let that fps counter in the corner scare you...
The frame rate is never that low, in fact... i believe 60 is my average fps, but due to a bug... an insane amount of mysterious single ghost voxels is placed all over the map(you can see them as single holes on the ground)...

These mysterious voxels generate thosands of extra polygons... strangely they only appeared when i added texture, and i really don't get why...
Worst case scenario, I give Ghostbusters a call and we have our frame rate back to 60 in no time ;)

If i keep this creativity up, i wont have any trouble make the "dead line" for next game-dev lan! :D

Quick update.
Added one more picture, the last one(bottom right) don't have the ghost blocks, and as you can see, The fps is back to 60+ :)
The reason for this bug is yet unknown, so I'm sure it will come back and bite me in the ass some day ;)

torsdag 10 februari 2011


Turns out i made some miscalculations and errors in my last 2 posts.

First of all, the render distance from the first test render was incorrect.
It was based on a picture from the original Liero, but the problem was that the picture had different resolution than the in-game resolution, so that every pixel was 2x2 as big, and this was something i didn't consider when i later made my estimation for how long render view must be in Liero3D.

Ironically... I several times thought to my self "The scale of things don't look right!" but since i had done the math i was sure it was correct, and concluded that it must be because it was in 3D and because the level didn't have any objects in scale i could relate to.

The good news is that we get fairly decent performance with the 2x view, witch of course means that if we split it in half to get the same view as Liero 1.33, we would never have any performance problems! :)

And now the second correction... I'm not sure what i was smoking... but apparently it was some good stuff, ether that or i have simply been playing way to much Minecraft lately....

But after closely inspecting some Liero movies on youtube, I noticed to my surprise that the tunnel holes was NOT as complex as i remembered.

This is not a bad thing of course, it would give me less work in the end.... But i do think my tunnel generator creates far more interesting tunnel structures.

In the end, i guess there is nothing forcing me make my tunnel generation as boring as the original.

so what do you people think? complex tunnel systems or simple holes like in Liero 1.33?

[Edit] Oh and i forgot, I also had a post about the new Liero3D group on facebook, but i later found out that i really wanted a Page(gives more control and more options), but until i have the energy to add a Like button to my blog, you will have to search for it manually.
The group is to be deleted.

tisdag 8 februari 2011

Tunnel generator test!

What would Liero be without all those generated tunnel spaces?

Well I for one don't plan to find out... so i started working on a simple tunnel generator!
and the result looks very interesting!

I'm not sure they look like the tunnels in Liero 1.33 yet, a bit hard to compare 3D tunnels with 2D, but I'm sure i have loads of tweaking ahead of me.

If anyone is curious, My solution is to create X amount of digger-particles that digg around for Y amount of cycles, and every now and then changing direction and random attributes.
Simple, but it works :)

If I'm not mistaking, this is a similar way to how Markus generates his caves in Minecraft, but i cant swear on it.

This has been the most productive day of programming i have had for months, damn it feel nice!

oh well, back to the salt mine :)

lördag 5 februari 2011

Liero3D rebooted!

After a long break, and working on a different project(Minertopia: a Minecraft remake) i have decided to go back and Finnish Liero3D before i continue on minertopia :)

However, I am afraid that there will be some rather BIG changes in this project that might not make everyone happy, and I'm sorry if I'm making any one disappointed.

But this project is taking a very different direction in the style of the graphics, and is instead going with a look much closer to the original Liero 1.33, yet still 3D :)

All the minecraft and voxel games have really inspired me to make Liero3D into something that feels and behaves more like the original(if not exactly!), something that lets me keep that hand-pixel-made feeling and still use all the glory of 3D rendering, and i belive "voxels" is the solution to do this.

The goal, assuming my engine can keep up with it, is to convert the original 1.33 graphics straight over into blocks, on a 1:1 scale, so that every single pixel becomes a "3D pixel" block :)
I did a simple rendering test, showing off some random mud balls and using deffered shadows:

Don't be alerted with the ugly and primitive shading, I'm planning to add SSAO(Screen Space Ambient Occlusion) to give it a nice shaded feeling, similar to this picture (NOTE: that that picture is pre-renderd in a 3d modeling software like Maya, so it can never look that good with realtime effects)

But there a few things that are interesting with the picture above, it has almost exactly the same field of view as the original Liero 1.33, and it fit the same amount of pixels as if you where simply adding a 3rd dimension to Liero :)

The performance is not great yet, but a big factor is that the sunburn engine don't like terrains where chunks are much higher than they are wide, adding my own occlusion outside of sunburn should improve this.

One more big thing i can do is to optimize a mesh so that a big flat surface, for example: 8x10 blocks, still takes the same amount of polygons as 1x1 cube, as long as they are made from the same material, an example of this would be the big flat top surface of those balls, if an smart algorithm could split that surface in as few sections as possible, we would save tons of polygons.

There are more things that will be totally awesome with this graphics style.
not only did i split development time in half... is it MUCH more simple for me to create a simple level editor where you can paint, digg and sculpture a game level.

The same can be done with the player and the weapons(model editor?) to make things just as mod-able as the original game :)

Also considering creating an algorithm that converts the original 2d sprites into 3d models straight over :)

Again, I'm sorry if this change of style is different from what people wanted, but i got a bit tired of getting stuck on all the problems that round-fake-holes gives me...

However, I absolutely LOVE Voxel style games! and this would make it more true to the original 1.33 :)

Talking about Voxel style games, check out Voxatron!, yet another game that inspired me to make the change ;)