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Category Archive for: ‘Tech’

Fishing for frames.

We are continuously trying to improve performance as well as add more content to the maps. These two things often pull in opposite directions as more objects in the game gives more hiding places while also hurting performance. We try to keep ahead of the issues of bad performance by tracking performance over the different builds.


[image caption=”Jefferson build – Average framerates (< 60)"]http://www.heroesandgenerals.com/community/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/J60.png[/image] [/fancy_images] [raw]

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Big Brother is watching you perform bike stunts!

A while back Fry-40 sent us a Youtube video of a bike stunt he did in game. We thought it was fun and shared it with you here.

We decided to use this as a test case of how our own capture system works, so Reto.Ogssan dug around in the server records and found the time and place where the stunt happened. Then we grabbed the corresponding data-files and set to work.

As you might know, we record all game sessions and we can play these back when needed, this is both a nifty tool for making videos, but also a secondary part of the Anti-Grief system, as it lets us playback situations from the game and look for bugs, cheats, exploits, random griefing etc.

Reto.Colding was the man with the binary camera (and full control of the weather).

New LOD Models and textures

One of the things we need to do when creating buildings and other props for the game is to build LOD (Level Of Detail) models. LOD Models are low-resolution models that are used when you are looking at something far away. If you imagine a door with hinges, keyhole, door handle etc. When you are 50 meters away you cannot really see any of these, so there are no reasons for the computer to spend CPU and GPU power drawing them.


Continue reading to see how we got there :-)

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Clear sky to overcast from a rendering perspective

To penetrate and dissipate these (ingame) clouds of darkness, the general mind must be strengthened by education. – Thomas Jefferson

This time I’ll write a bit about our upcoming real-time volumetric cloud system. Unless something goes horribly wrong and the sky is falling down the new clouds should make an appearance in the Jefferson build.

About a year ago I wrote the code and shaders for the current cloud system, that uses sprites to render the clouds seen in the action game. At that point I was already pursuing various options for rendering clouds in a different way, that I wasn’t satisfied with the quality and performance I could achieve using sprites, but due to lack of time I had to let go of the research and use the sprite system.

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Overdraw: An effects dude’s worst enemy.

I would just love to see a thick black and grey smoke slowly sweeping throughout the battlefield and to see smoke and dust linger for several seconds after various explosions and impacts – however…

this will destroy the performance and the frame-rate will drop through the floor, making everybody curse at me and scream and yell and shake their fists in my general direction! SO…

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How much power does Heroes & Generals use?

Behind every action game bullet and every strategic movement a server is using electrial power. In this post I will tell you a bit about the use of power switching on the backbone network.

Here is the picture of the power used by the backbone network. All servers is connected to dual power supplies in the servers. This is for safety use, if the normal powers drops it will switch over to the backup power. We have two power feeds.


This is the power consumption in the morning Central European Time. In the morning there are lots of players and more players give more power use by the servers.

 

 

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Level building pipeline

We are hard at work with new levels with shiny new tools! In today’s post I’ll tell you all about how we work, why it takes time to make a level and what we’ve been doing to remedy this.

”NOT

You have to consider that for every new, unique environment we want to put in the game, there is a lot of man hours and coordination involved. The environments have been created first, that is, the textures and geological rules for how the terrain features should be generated. A new one of these is a big decision as it takes time to make and affects everything that will go in it. We stick with it for potentially many maps. Then level design and level building is done using one of the environments, and any special models can be planned alongside this. A new environment can also be planned and created alongside a level design. When planning new models, we aim for re-usability, not only to have the option to place it in other levels, but also in case anything should happen to that special level they were made for. If we decided to cut a hypothetical Paris-level, it would be a shame to have a beautiful hypothetical Eiffel-tower just sitting on our hard drives! These are just some of the considerations we need to take into account when we want new map content in the game.

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