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Merlin

December

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Merlin   

Here is a summary of the things that we have been working on over the past month!

  • Updated the game to use v4.6 of the engine.
  • Made substantial progress on our website front-end.
  • Major work in overhauling movement animations using motion capture data.
  • Added basic implementation of throw-able and handheld items.
  • Added grenade explosion damage, effect and sound playback.
  • Added initial grenade explosion sounds.
  • Implemented positional damage based on body hit location.
  • Completed the M249 model (the US Army automatic rifle we will be using).
  • Continued work on detailing our current environment and added new additional environment models.
  • Completed final work on the voice implementation and ironed out most bugs with it.
  • Added the ability for the player to configure the volume settings for the entire game, effects, voice, and music.
  • Implemented a system for easily balancing the volume of various effect types in game.
  • Added support for Linux dedicated servers (we also are ensuring the game compiles and cooks for Linux clients from now on as well).
  • Implemented separate recoil/bolt/trigger fire animations.
  • Implemented bolt locking/catching when out of ammo.
  • Implemented +1 round in the chamber for tactical reloads.
  • Implemented different reload times for tactical vs dry.
  • Made vertical view (looking up and down) networked.
  • Added basic view interpolation to the engine, which makes other networked players looking in various directions be smoothed.
  • Made improvements to admin functionality.
  • Added a simple crash log & dump reporting system.
  • Made numerous big fixes and minor improvements.

 

Additional I'd like to mention that we just recently passed the 1000 member mark on these forums.

 

Thank you to everyone who has helped so far in letting people know about the game.

 

I would encourage everyone to continue spreading the word about Squad, especially to people who are past and current Project Reality players!

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Assifuah   

Hell yeah! Motion capture is the way forward, you can even get decent mocap data from the PC version of the Xbox Kinect... it's great and has become relatively cheap with some DIY configurations!

 

Great to see all the progress. :)

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"Additional I'd like to mention that we just recently passed the 1000 member mark on these forums."

 

How about rewarding us with a shiny Squad web-page?

 

 

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It would be silly for Squad not to cross platform Windows, Linux and Mac.

Steam natively support all 3 operating systems plus you would easily get 10%-20% extra revenue by releasing the game to Linux and Mac players.

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MadMak   
  • Added basic view interpolation to the engine, which makes other networked players looking in various directions be smoothed.

I don't understand. What is this?

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Merlin   

I don't understand. What is this?

 

Before adding this seeing another player look around on networked multiplayer was jittery, now it is smooth.

 

Imagine a sped up clock where the second hand is now moving at a smooth constant speed instead of ticking for each second.

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Psyko   

  • Major work in overhauling movement animations using motion capture data.

 

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1663270989/project-perception-neuron

That is a project for a cheap mocap kit on kickstarter if you guys are interested.

 

I don't think people appreciate the work that goes into mocap, its not actually a short-cut, it's more work than usual to retain the detail of realistic movements, so if you're interested I can explain the process.

 

The way it usually works is, through a combination of a fractal suit that has Sierpinski triangles printed on it (not necessary, but the huge VFX studios use them for major motion pictures), facial fiducial markers with a camera that is mounted onto a head rig looking back at the face, IR markers stuck to the major appendages and in some cases radio receivers for tracking that is difficult to see. the animator takes the raw data, matches the geometry to the facial fiducial markers and the body's major poses and goes through the reference footage piece by piece and matches it to the model, simply hooking the raw data up to the skeleton doesn't cut it, you can, but it typically comes with jerky snapping movement that is distracting to the eye, it needs to be cleaned up, they use the fractal suit and it's printed triangles as reference for the animator's animation and delete all the redundant keys so its not so heavy, and then the animator cleans up the keys that are left to retain the raw data's realistic look. Most of that is because you have to reduce the amount of activity in the scene to reduce render time, and also so it will run in realtime while you are actually animating it, you cant animate efficiently if your scene is running at 5 fps, its torture. But in gaming, the animation you do gets split up into individual consecutive frames in other words the keys dont need to be cleaned up, you can pipe it right into the animation file for testing purposes and stuff, so you can retain raw data without slowing down the game, however it will slow down the 3d program you are using to animate. But you still need an animator to make sure there's no popping, sliding of feet, or glitching through objects etc because that will still happen.

 

The reason Chuc in the past animated the way he did, painstakingly keying movements, which seems like a lot of work, is because there is no substitute for an animator's eyes. Straight ahead animation, and keyframe animation are much faster methods of animating than using mocap. And yes i have done a little mocap as my own personal work, and its more work than its worth. heres an example of how it can be irritating. lets say the team wants the soldier to run at a certain speed, usually you just say "its this duration, so its got to be this many keys" then the animator does a walk, or a run cycle or whatever to match the time. But with mocap its the opposite way around, the actor decides how fast they go, then the animator has to animate all that reference footage, then the programmers have to tailor the game's run speed to the actor instead of the other way around. It has it's uses, but it can be a lot of work for something so trivial. 

 

The reason i'm saying this is partly, because I don't like how mocap can take animator's jobs away depending on the application, and also it can reduce the quality of the animations in the game, it's for this reason that most and i mean most as in over 90% of animations in games are not mocap, even arma3 is hand animated. (it's hard enough competing against animators for jobs, but to have to compete against programmers who think they can be a substitute for a century old institution is frankly a little bit insulting, To people like myself who went to college and have to kiss asses to get work and even now I'm working for free to simply be in the industry.)

 

That being said, I think the Squad team is capable of utilizing any tool at their disposal with great precision and skill, so whatever methods they chose, either as a fundamental ongoing technique or just as an experiment is part of the natural progression of the team. There's pros and cons, and I wouldn't bother with it in the long run. Get an xbox kinect hook it up to windows and experiment rather than forking out hundreds of dollars for a setup that your going to shelve after a couple of months.

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Merlin   

Just to be clear to people, we are not actually recording the motion capture ourselves (this is beyond our price range currently), but rather integrating some purchased animations which heavily used motion capture.

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  • Implemented positional damage based on body hit location.

 

Anyone care to elaborate on this? Does this just mean that if you get hit in the ankle it has a different damage amount than if you get hit in the neck?

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Merlin   

Anyone care to elaborate on this? Does this just mean that if you get hit in the ankle it has a different damage amount than if you get hit in the neck?

 

Yes, just simple damage weights based on hit location for the time being.

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