Exanima 0.8.1.5 Beta

Madoc

Project Lead
NOTE ABOUT SAVES

We have tried to maintain compatibility with old saves, especially for arena which will receive an actual wipe soon, however the hub has changed and before you update if you have any items lying around in your hub you should put them in your arsenal or they will be lost.

Story saves technically still work, but a lot has changed or been replaced and existing saves will have incorrect lighting, old props, items may look wrong and various other weird things. To see the game the way it's supposed to you should start a new game. Strongly recommended.

You may also want to back your saves just in case something goes wrong. They can be found in %APPDATA%\Exanima (put this in the run or file explorer address box).



ALL NEW RENDERING ENGINE

Our next update was supposed to just be some improvements and additions to arena gameplay systems and procedural weapons, making a new rendering engine is not something we saw ourselves doing at this stage in development, or any really, but we've been running into compatibility issues, driver updates have been steadily degrading our unconventional renderer's performance and causing ugly artefacts. We also keep pushing what we do with content and graphics, and these issues were preventing us from moving forward.

Much as we wanted to avoid it, we needed a fundamental change. To solve all these issues, we had to build a new rendering engine. And you know us, if we're going to do something, we're going to do it properly.

The main goals here were to reduce driver CPU bottlenecks, also a growing problem as GPU performance races ahead of CPUs, handle hundreds of detailed unique procedural objects efficiently, and get away from visual artefacts that were ruining our shiny new art. But there quite a few things we wish we had done better, wanted to improve or raised questions for the future.

Our material system was cumbersome and complex to use, overhauling it is something we've considered many times. We need artists to make correct materials easily and intuitively, and without consuming a bunch of resources. Our new material system is pretty much fool proof, and can handle complex materials much more efficiently.

Here's an example of better materials and shading, as a direct comparison to the previous version:



The other big topic was global illumination. We had something crude in place so that we could handle light and darkness without light leaking through walls, but that was it. Without direct light everything looked very flat and disconnected, and light would still leak even through doors. It was also limiting the size and layout of our environments, turning off beyond a certain distance or depth. Outdoors we had to use another solution entirely, with its own limitations.

Any kind of baking is a content pipeline nightmare and of course can't handle dynamic lights or objects anyway. AO just darkens corners that shouldn't have been lit in the in the first place, and real time solutions are glitchy screen space things that don't work well with a forward renderer. Raytracing solutions have silly hardware requirements, are still cumbersome to use and not as detailed as you might think.

So, we just needed a new GI solution that could capture even small details in a huge volume of space, is fully dynamic, and blindingly fast. It sounded impossible, but we did pretty well.

This doesn't mean you'll suddenly be bedazzled by crazy effects, it can do that too when appropriate, but it's not our style anyway. It means things looks more realistic and less... wrong. The following screenshots clearly demonstrate what the GI system does for lighting.

First, this is what things look like with a constant ambient term. This is the typical look of rendering without any kind of GI. It can be slightly improved with effects like AO, but you still have flat lighting everywhere, even where there shouldn't be any.:



In the old renderer we were actually so unhappy with how this particular environment looked that we broke our rule and baked in some AO to complement the flat lighting. But our new GI gives much better results than we could have hoped for with our previous baked solution:



This is a drastic improvement. There's lots of depth, more detail, very soft shadows, lights actually look bright. It looks much more realistic and it's much easier to understand the 3D space. This is completely real-time, no baking or even configuring, it just works with fully dynamic scenes and lights.

It also does wonders with emissive objects. The glowing jar here is not a light source, but it creates realistic lighting and even soft shadows. These emissives can have any shape, and will look spectacular with the upcoming force thaumaturgy.



The rendering improvements don't stop there. Everything is new and improved. Better shading, shadows, reflections, subsurface scattering, hair, displacement mapping, post-processing and support for various new features. It's better, faster and can handle whatever we might throw at it in the future, like large streaming outdoor environments.



ITEMISATION CHANGES

As you may know we've been working towards replacing all weapons with new more realistic ones that are also procedural and always unique, along with various improvements to weapon mechanics. These will be added soon along with an arena overhaul, but much of what we've developed here and some general itemisation changes are already applied to armour in this update.

Previously armour came in some randomised colours and with a handful of fixed modifiers, such as rusted, crude, superior etc. Items now have very realistic procedural materials with variable quality, condition and dirt. These all work independently, and items can also have additional traits. The same item can be made from different materials now, and materials can add their own traits.



There are many detailed parameters defining how each item can be made, or how entire outfits should be assembled based on context, wealth etc. Other improvements include supporting dyes and paints that give us more flexibility in colours and materials, and will allow players to customise their items. we've increased our previous limit of 4 materials per item to 8 so we can do some fancy new things. We have more detailed, procedurally generated text descriptions.

So there's a lot more of that subtle realism which is an important part of the Exanima experience here, more variation, more world building tools and some deeper player interaction. Besides dyes, we'll allow you to clean dirty items, and in the story there will be a way to improve the condition of items, which is very important. All those useless and identical rusty items now vary in quality and traits, and with some investment could become your best. It's no longer a matter of simply collecting the best and discarding the rest, but deciding which items you want to invest in. Even items found very early in the game could be valuable.



HUGE ASSET REMASTER

A new rendering engine and new material system meant almost all our existing assets no longer worked. We introduced a compatibility mode for old materials, but it limited and even when it works it doesn't look very good. This means we've been redoing most of our materials and textures, and in the case of the early content in the game, we just remade most assets from scratch, including tilesets. We kept the original design and aesthetic, but rebuilt assets leveraging our new tools and methods and making various improvements along the way.

Character assets have also received a significant update, humans and creatures have all been improved, with particular attention given to the undead.

We've covered almost everything, but it is an ongoing process, and many more assets will be properly updated or improved further. Weapons will soon be replaced with their new procedural counterparts.

All our lighting will also receive an update in future, when we did our lighting we were working with a much more limited lighting engine, we can do much more interesting and diverse lighting now with the new features.



BETA BRANCH - INCOMPLETE

We've had to cut some content that was still giving us issues at the last minute, namely the market and sewers, but this will be reintroduced over the next week or so with patches.

As mentioned, not all assets have been updated for the new renderer, and while everything should work, we still need to really tweak how it all comes together.

Most of our optimisations have been targeting mid to high range hardware, and the GI performed so well on our target hardware that we stopped optimising it. However, we are aware that on very low end GPUs and minimum settings the GI can still have a bit of an overhead, not to worry though as there's lots of room for high level optimisation and you can expect big performance improvements.

At least some AMD setups/drivers are performing much worse than they should. We still need to investigate the issue properly and we expect to see much better performance when resolved.

Some intel drivers launch the game showing strange bright colours when in full screen. We'll try to fix this, but in the meantime simply toggling in and out of windowed mode (alt+enter) seems to fix it.

You can expect some stutters the first time you play, but these will go away. Once everything has been properly sorted out and updated we should be able to get rid of them permanently.

We have made sweeping changes to itemisation, and had to configure literally thousands of parameters in one go and many complex randomisation mechanics. It will take some time for us to get a proper idea of how it should all be working and also to properly take advantage of all the new features. Feedback on these features is welcome.

If you do have feedback or issues to report feel free to join us on our Discord channel https://discord.com/invite/Z5aV2bF we're there all day every day and it's a great community.


Changelog for version 0.8.1.5:

• All new rendering engine

• Dramatically improved performance

• Fully dynamic indirect lighting

• Realistic procedural material system

• Improved shading for all material types

• Improved reflections

• Improved shadows

• Huge remaster of most assets, major updates to early content

• Remastered character assets, creatures, undead

• Items now have independently varying quality, condition and traits

• Items can now be made from varying materials, materials can add traits

• Detailed and intelligent item and outfit randomisation features

• Support for various modifications to items

• Support for more complex item material configurations

• Accurate procedural item descriptions

• You can now clean dirty items with a brush (more mechanics coming)

• New music track for early game levels added

• Fixed and improved all camera rotation controls

• Reduced GPU and CPU activity while the game is minimised

• Fixed character being spun around when prone

• Fixed unstable muscle behaviours in ogres

• Fixed camera vibrating at low speeds

• Many other bug fixes and improvements


That's it for now. We'll be patching this regularly and adding some more features and items. The arena and procedural weapon update is coming soon.

Best,

Bare Mettle
 
you may already know this but,(as i am playing with a toaster) if you turn super sampling off it results in a rainbow screen-glitch which only disappears when turned back to low. the game looks 10x more beautiful with this update but *my* game runs and looks much better with SSampling turned off.
 
"Items can now be made from varying materials, materials can add traits"

So does it mean players are now able to craft items or that items can obtain random properties as loot?
From what i read in Discord straight "Minecraftlike" crafting of items won't be a thing in Exanima/Sui, although there will be alchemy, mostly related to Thaumaturgic part of the game, that i suppose will affect items like Fire-Longsword or Potions.
 

Midcal9

Member
From what i read in Discord straight "Minecraftlike" crafting of items won't be a thing in Exanima/Sui, although there will be alchemy, mostly related to Thaumaturgic part of the game, that i suppose will affect items like Fire-Longsword or Potions.
Has anyone found at least one non default weapon then? I haven't been able to find a single "procedural sword" that looked like those that were showed to us in Coffee Diary thread.
 

Ganthor

Member
Has anyone found at least one non default weapon then? I haven't been able to find a single "procedural sword" that looked like those that were showed to us in Coffee Diary thread.
Only procedural armor/clothing are in the game, proc. weapons aren't in the beta branch yet
 
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