Performance, Player focus / FOV and more

Pre Release DevBlog - 01

Performance, Player focus / FOV and more

1024 576 Jaws of Extinction

It’s development blog zero one…

The first official development blog and we have a bunch of stuff to go over in the first edition on the Jaws of Extinction pre release devblog…

So each week fortnightly on a Tuesday, we will be releasing an overview of the weeks last two weeks progression in development and everything else from other realms of the JoEDevTeam.

The Development meeting Live Stream

So, as you all may know that while our kickstarter has been on going we have been live streaming every Thursday. We will be continuing the stream live on every other Thursday after our kickstarter has finished. Here are the highlights where we go over most of the stuff mentioned in this blog, as well as fixes made for issues we came across during the livestream.

 The New Look Warehouse (WIP)

So last Tuesday, we posted about the new look to warehouses on Lockcrest prison island. Just a note: Everything that is done within the demo / prologue project will carry over to the full JoE project.

Prologue - Warehouse complete look 003

We have worked on the exterior look of the warehouse buildings, by adding new textures to the main building and adding ivy growth from the roof down. The ivy covers all four sides of the buildings and we will have added guttering with water dripping effects and completed the interior by the end of the week, so we will go over that a bit more in next week’s devblog.

We also added our new door system to replace the old placeholder. The system is more dynamic and can now open either inwards or outwards depending on how it is set. We did this to allow for further development down the line, just incase we choose to have doors always open away from the player. The new door system also added sound effects that is also ready to implement the new enemy attraction system that we will talk about further in this blog.

Continuing with loot containers & pickups

The week of the 25th / 26th we started updating the loot system and last Wednesday we continued with this, creating individual loot lists for each loot container as well as world meshes for each item in the loot list. Rendering out some sound effects for opening and closing containers, as well as adding our new enemy attraction system to all lootable containers. See more about the enemy attraction system below.

Enemy attraction system

As well as enemy hearing and seeing you, we have created a system that will make sure that they know something is going on when a player is looting, banging fences, opening / closing doors and so on. Our enemy attraction system pings like a radar echo in a 3000 unit radius and checks all enemy in this area. Telling the enemy to investigate the object that has been used to make noise. This is usually a loot container or a door opening and closing.

The enemy does normally take their time getting to the location and if the are far away will lose interest before they even reach the object. Creating additional noise or triggering the enemy attraction system additional times during this time will have a more positive chance of the enemy reaching the object without losing interest and reaching its destination sooner.

We will be going over this in later blogs, when the system has been developer further.

 Amy’s makeover… 4k Texture update

We decided that the main protagonist in the upcoming demo / prologue needed a bit of an update. A few months back, we gave the character Amy a complete overhaul changing body morphs, slimming down her body reducing breast size and also changing her hairstyle to a more manageable plait.

Amy - Texture Update

As an additional update this week, we completely redesigned the textures for a more realistic look. We added skin blemishing and a paler complexion as well as new eye materials and reduced the gloss and reflection of the eye.

Although the textures have been made with 4K resolution in mind, we will be setting the 4k textures only available on Epic textures  in the graphics settings. This will go for all of the 4k textures, but with landscape textures staying at 2K due to tiling and UV adjustments.

The next steps we will be taking with characters will be configuring morph targets for facial animation as well as implementing all the new melee & defensive animations, but more on that at a later date.

Character underwear concept

Releasing the update with Amy in a compromising pose. Demonstrating the texture updates, brought up subject of underwear. We have always planned for underwear to be a thing. Instead of blurring out genitalia for content creators and censorship, we thought fixing underwear to the character would solve this problem and save us from the ugly pixelated genitals.

Performance: Object & mesh culling volumes

Used in many open world games as well as different level of details for static mesh items, we have added object culling volumes to the mix. Object culling volumes will remove the render visibility of a static mesh. You may of seen this playing Ark or Rust with bases not loading in at X distance from you and as you get closer it partially starts to load parts of the building in.

Smaller items will be culled at a closer range to a large building, but due to finely tuning this with the LODs for the static meshes, we have tried to minimise noticeability by the player.

Performance & Lighting Management: Static & dynamic lighting configurations

Lighting is one of, if not the largest drain on performance in game development. So with a mix of adjusting  dynamic, static lighting as well as light culling and shadow occlusion and around 12 hours of light cooking, we can increase performance dramatically. In the last live stream, we were still using fully dynamic lighting and even though we have tweaked shadows as much as we could, performance drops were still noticeable as you will see in the stream as well as OBS/Twitch lagging at times.

This was just a reason to rework the lighting and shadows even more. By only using dynamic lighting where needed and baking in static lights in places not requiring shadows, we could boost performance massively. We still have some work to do on lighting and lighting performance, but hopefully we should be able to show you some examples soon.

Player functions: character focus & field of view

We had a basic version of this function in place, but had been disabled while we adjusted other settings on the player cameras. We have added an example below of this functionality in play. Inspired by the focal zoom from popular franchise Arma (yes and DayZ), we have placed our own spin and feel to it. By clicking the right mouse button (with no firearm selected), the player’s camera will change the field of view of the camera and acts like a zoom function. We have made this more like a cinematic focal interaction with adding a focus to the player camera as well. By default, the players eyes will focus on items, adjusting the vision on items in the distance or close to the camera. This works hand in hand with the FOV.

Additional models: Tool chests for quad workshop

Troy has been working on a tool chest for the quad workshop, while Chris has started making parts for the quad for repairs and crafting as well as the odd bit laying around the workshop. More on Chris’s progress next week.

Make sure to checkout Troy (@ToxicSludge77) and Chris (@Greavsie93) on social media.

Snap on tool chest

Story progression

Welcome to my first blog post as the lead story artist for Jaws of Extinction. Crafting a story with a beginning, middle and end that works for multiplayer has been tricky – in this post I’m going to give you an overview of how I’m doing it.

The main problem I’ve had to overcome is how, in a single player game, any given event will only happen once. For example, you might meet a character who tells you where an item is and then dies. This becomes problematic in multiplayer because if something important happens to one player, all the other players might miss it.

There have been two answers to this. The first was to embrace the issue. Rather than only having a linear storyline that you follow from the beginning to the end we have also created a world that lives and breathes. You could play the game multiple times and see different things every time you play, bump in to different characters, find different things, overhear different conversations. This lends itself well to the idea that we want the game to be as realistic as possible. Each NPC you meet will have a story that will unfold at the same time as yours, just like in real life.

Running alongside this is the main story. As you play you will uncover things that will lead you to new locations and to meet new people, creating a long and in depth quest culminating in one specific ending. Once you have reached the end of the main story you will be able to carry on living on the island, playing as you were before but with a new perspective. That’s a little cryptic, I know, but to be any more specific would give too much away.

So there you have it. I’ve explained it as best I can without betraying secrets, but if there’s anything specific you want to know then just ask.

Joe Fyfe Hardy
Lead story artist

And finally… JoE Kickstarter campaign

As our Kickstarter campaign finished tomorrow morning (July 5th 2017), we could not forget to mention it in our first blog.

We had an amazing start and everyone that supported us no matter how big or small you are all amazing in our eyes. Unfortunately the campaign does not look like we will be successfully funded, but reaching 36% of the goal was still an amazing achievement. Getting featured by Kickstarter themselves in the first day, basically show us that we were on the right track with our campaign. It was just unfortunate that we did not have the following that we needed at the end of the day. Still being an unknown amongst the indie game scene, but not without amazing support from you our followers that have been following for a while and some amazing new faces shocking us all with a top tier pledge made within the first 24 hours.

Also one thing that was against us was the fact that we had no demo for anyone to test and play, as we are just taking too long and maybe we should of had the demo ready for when the campaign launched. So that is what we will do.

So what’s next for funding?

We are not giving up, we will continue to develop the demo and full game and keep posting updates daily on social media and now our devblog weekly, with fortnightly live streams over on twitch (https://www.twitch.tv/kyecreations). Once we have completed the delayed demo / prologue we will relaunch Kickstarter one final time and see how we get on.

If you can not wait for our Kickstarter relaunch and would like to support us and get the same rewards, you can visit our GoFundMe page https://www.gofundme.com/joegame and still get most of the same benefits. You never know, if we hit our goal before the Kickstarter relaunch, there may be no reason to relaunch Kickstarter at all.

Remember to follow us on social media and other…
Steam Store Page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/617850/Jaws_Of_Extinction/
GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/joegame
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoEDevTeam
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JawsOfExtinction
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jawsofextinction
IndieDB: http://www.indiedb.com/games/jaws-of-extinction
Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/kyecreations
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFs_Mxm4UU-aMSwG4p7rZAg

Let us know what you thought of our first blog and if you wanted to know anymore information, just send us a tweet or message. Your feedback is always appreciated.

This weeks log

1 04/07/2017
  • updated The new look warehouse building exterior with foliage and texture adjustments
  • updated Replacing old doors with new advanced door system
  • updated Continued configuring loot containers and pick ups
  • new Creating and adding world meshes for all loot items
  • new Adding individual loot tables on per loot container base
  • new Added new Enemy Attraction System to lootable containers and doors
  • new Amy 4k texture redesign, master material setup and eye gloss and reflection
  • updated Performance tweaking by configuring Object and Mesh culling volumes
  • updated Lighting management with enabled static lighting and reducing dynamic lighting
  • fixed Performance fixes by adjusting lighting and shadows from building and street lighting
  • new Player functions: character autofocus and controlled field of view zoom