The buzz surrounding E3 2012 is inescapable, and it’s becoming clear that gamers are seeking new and evolving frontiers in multiplayer World War II gaming. Enter Heroes & Generals, the upcoming combined online first-person shooter and strategic campaign from Denmark’s Reto-Moto, formed by the visionaries behind the Hitman franchise and a roster of top industry talent.
To mark the occasion of E3, today we offer fresh new screens and artwork, including images of the forthcoming light tanks, MC with sidecar and two-man bicycles voted for by the Heroes & Generals community, and a glimpse at combat badges from H&G’s unique character advancement system.
UPDATE 2: When you logon to the game our H&G Sync tool will now look for dangerous filenames and fix them, so it should be safe to run disk cleanup again. As far as we know Microsoft is still working on a proper fix for the bug.
UPDATE: We have located the error, and it’s a bug in Microsoft’s Disk Cleanup tool, which is triggered if the full path of a file becomes longer than about 260 characters. As a result Disk Cleanup starts deleting things it should leave alone.
So this is actually an issue with Microsoft’s tool, but we are working on making a workaround instead of waiting for them to fix it . Meanwhile, if you wish to run Disk Cleanup, you should locate and delete the %temp%\hng folder first.
A handful of players have reported, that running Microsoft’s Disk Cleanup tool, after installing Heroes & Generals, will corrupt their Windows installation. We have tried to reproduce it this morning and can confirm that this is happening at our test-machines also.
Disk Cleanup is a Windows tool, which is used to delete temporary files on your hard drive. Heroes & Generals installs by default in the %temp% folder, so the Disk Cleanup tool apparently corrupts the Windows installation, while trying to remove the Heroes & Generals files.
It appears to be a bug in the Disk Cleanup tool itself, so please don’t run it until we have investigated further!
We currently have a lot of server issues making it hard (if not impossible) to play the game at the moment.
We suspect the issues to be ripple-effects of the server stress test last week and are working hard to solve the issues. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
UPDATE: We have temporarily shut down access to the servers, while we try to fix the issues.
This week we held a server stress test, where we wanted to see how many players the servers could handle at the same time before crashing. And the test was very successful in the sense that the severs did crash. Unfortunately this already happened when we had around 650 users logged in at the same time.
We have now gathered a huge amount of data from the test and we know what went wrong, but we still haven’t identified all of the reasons why. We’re working hard on fixing the issues and will get the servers back up as soon as possible.
We would also like to extend our gratitude to all who logged in and helped us at the test!
We know that it was the first time many of you tried to log in and it may not have been the most fun experience in the world not to be able to play when you have waited a while for a beta-key. But quite soon the servers will be up again, and hopefully we have fixed the bugs causing the servers to crash, so you can log in and play again.
7000 new Beta-keys
We also sent 7000 new Beta-keys this week. So if you have signed up before (and including) the 29th of May you should have received a key – if not, please contact sjupport. But don’t contact support if you know that you signed up after the 29th of May! ;)
Last week we kicked off a screenshot competition on facebook, where you can win exclusive Heroes & Generals gear (T-shirt, USB-ke, etc) but we extended it this week because of too few entries. Now we have (in writing moment) 12 entries and more are welcome. The competition ends Tuesday the 5th of June at 10.00 CEST. So go on and post your entry (as soon as the servers comes up, so you can grab some shots of course) and remember to “Like” your favorite entries to vote!
Propaganda this Week
The server stress-test today was successful! Our servers crashed and we’ve closed down access to the game.
We’ve now sent the servers to the infirmary and we’re analyzing the data collected from the test.
We expect the servers to be up again within the next 24 hours.
And a big roaring “THANK YOU!” goes out to all who participated in the test!
See you back on the Battlefields soon!
– The Reto-Moto Team –
7000 Beta-keys has just been sent by email, and we’ve also sent a “reminder-mail” to those who hasn’t activated their key during the Alpha-phase.
And remember to join our Server Stress Test Today at 18.00 UTC!
It can take up to a few hours for a mail to find it’s way, so remember to check again later today and also check your junk/spam folder.
See you on the Battlefield!
If you don’t have time for playing, but still are near a computer at 18.00 UTC – please just log in.
The primary goal for this test is to see how many players can be logged in at the same time, so a simple log in really helps us a lot !
We have a new server stress test Today (Thursday the 31st of May), where we test how many users can be logged in at the same time. Access to the servers is closed until the test starts, but the servers will remain open after… well, unless you succeed in crashing the servers. ;)
If you try to log in before the test starts you will see a count-down to when the servers opens and if you can’t log in today due to the stress test, then please try again tomorrow.
The servers opens today at:
|PDT||EDT||CEST||UTC / GMT|
|Thursday the 31st of May||11:00 am||2:00 pm||20:00||18:00|
PDT = Pacific Daylight Time (US westcoast summertime)
EDT = Eastern Daylight Time (US eastcoast summertime)
CEST = Central European Summer Time (Central europe summertime)
UTC = Coordinated Universal Time (Server time) / GMT = Greenwich Mean Time
We’ve been running with Cascaded Shadow Maps (CSM) for quite some time now, with a user adjustable cascade count ranging from 1 to 3 cascades. The last cascade (number 4) has been a one time calculated shadow map for the entire scene, to avoid shadows missing in the distance. The last has been an important addition to standard CSM as we have airplanes in the game, and the landscape just looks flat if we omit it. Initially we talked about precalculated shadows/lighting, but we wanted a more dynamic solution to allow weather changes, and didn’t want to increase the download size of the game.
Even though CSM solves a lot of issues with the quality when covering a large area, they have some really heavy performance requirements. Especially when running with 3 cascades, the number of objects visited and revisited during drawing can become very high. In certain scenarios the CPU time for setting up the objects to be rendered would climb up to 16-20 ms on high-end machines, effectively dropping the framerate from 60 fps to 30 fps.
So I started looking around for alternatives to the CSM and fell across an article written in GPU Pro 2 by Pavlo Turchyn about the game Age of Conan. They were fighting the same issues as I was, but had solved the problem by switching to Adaptive Shadow Maps instead.A debug view of the Adaptive Shadow Map Tiles. The red lines shows the active tiles, and the white lines shows the current camera frustum as seen from the light.
In short, ASM works by dividing the world seen from the light source into tiles, as compared to CSM where it’s the camera frustum that is divided. Each tile is then given an index into a tile map and a shadow map for that tile is calculated and stored in this tile map. For those familar with virtual texturing/mega textures etc.. the algorithm is very much the same. To avoid rendering many small tiles in the distance, the tiles are combined into progressively larger tiles in a quad tree hierachy using the distance from the camera as a guide to the depth of the quad tree. This quad tree is evaluated each frame, and if a new tile has entered the visible range or if the quad tree detail level has changed somewhere, the new tiles are calculated. Typically a single tile every several frames has to be recalculated, giving a huge performance burst compared to CSM.
ASM has one short coming. It doesn’t do dynamic shadows from vehicles or characters. To overcome this problem I maintain a separate shadow map for dynamic objects and combine the ASM with the dynamic during drawing.
The next major release of the game (internally called Avery) will contain the new shadow map system.