Coffee Diary 18/5/20


Hey Exanimates,

The new procedural material system for weapons, and other things, is finally working nicely. We will no doubt continue to improve on this - but as of now, the system works; so we can focus on producing all the new weapons, and move on to developing other features for the upcoming update.

Here is an example of the same procedurally generated sword in five levels of condition:

On the topic of textures; we've further improved our texture authoring tools so that the changes dynamically update in game textures in GPU memory. Making textures is usually very complex and involves hundreds of steps. Some time ago we made node graph tools that allowed us to modify any one of those steps, and reapply every other step in an automated way; quickly producing the modified asset. Now we can preview the results of any change fully in real time, on in-game objects, or even levels. This creates a truly interactive workflow, removing all the hassle and guesswork, and greatly boosting productivity.

Everyone's hyped about multiplayer - we've done a thorough analysis of the major issues with physics and general game synchronization for networked play and have come up with a detailed strategy. We're really pleased with the solutions we've found, it all seems quite promising. Our plans are now detailed enough that we should be able to start implementing and testing things in the near future.

We also discussed lighting - we've taken another look at our proposed solution for volumetric lighting, which would rely on our existing (simple) global illumination. While trying to figure out how to overcome some limitations of the GI system, we came up with a much more accurate solution that could even have better performance characteristics. We already prototyped some aspects of it and it looks very promising!

A few problems reared their nasty heads; we are still having some image quality issues due to how GPUs process clusters of pixels and an ugly driver bug. It seems these can't be solved without significant changes to our renderer. We're setting up some tests and investigating what it would effectively take to make these changes, and how else we can maybe benefit from the revision along the way.

In the end there's quite a lot of things going on, and work on new content, roles etc. continues. It's all coming along nicely and we're very excited to see all the new features and improvements come together.

Have a great week!
-the BM team


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