Saturday, February 25, 2006

Air Ace and the Torque Shader Engine

Ok, I've just laid in supplies for the weekend. MP3 player is at the ready and the world is locked out for the weekend.

Things have been going crazy recently, both at work and in my games. I can't really talk about work (students may be watching), but I can certainly talk about games.

Jeff Tunnell posted This blog entry about blogging and how people are linking up and talking about games. It makes an interesting read in that Jeff is probably more active at reading about games and other developers (and dev news) than most and even HE has taken to filtering out the noise.

I just kind of wish that GG had a similar filter for thier website in that the number of lame-brained posts is staggering. Mostly the only method of filtering out the noise is to stop reading the forums. I now just really scan the .plan areas of the site, even then I usually only look at the posts from people I know or have mentally bookmarked.

Anyway, back to the games. Well, Air Ace is shaping up really well. Nothing much different in game right now, but behind the scenes there is so much going on. New art content by the bucketload, new planes, tanks, troops, ground items, boats etc. If i was under any delusion before that this game would fit on a small download, its basically gone straight out of the window now. The damn thing is huge!

Now of course, art content does not a game make, but it's just impossibly hard to sell a game without great art. Luckily the technology side of things isnt the main drag-factor there (we are using the Torque Shader Engine and it is moving along nicely to provide us what we need eye-candy wise.

Now I don't want to toot my horn here (well, ok, just a little bit), but if you look at the quality of games using TSE, I still don't actually see much of an improvement over TGE from many of them yet. I think in fact, that Air Ace is one of the few games where you can actually see the difference TSE makes! Not only that of course, but as we progress and TSE delivers the milestone stuff that Brian and Ben are working on, Air Ace will move forward in leaps and bounds graphically! Those shadows and terrain enhancements are almost custom-tailored to Air Ace's needs!

Well, now that I've claimed that, I can't not post a screenshot can I?

This is a shot of the new stuka that Dante is creating. Of course this is a very rough early preview, so for instance the airfield is just a quick placeholder and the scene doesn't quite "gel" right, but at least you get the idea.

The other thing of course, is that I really would like some better editing tools for the terrain. More specifically, I want to be able to incorporate arbitrary meshes in the terrain (for instance for an airfield, so we can bake textures for lighting etc) and have them embed in the terrain so there is no z-fighting etc.

I'm sure Ben has this all in hand though. Can't wait to see the GDC demo's!

Anyway, thats enough bravado about Air Ace. I'll talk about how great Tennis Twins (working title) is coming along next entry, plus more about the AI pack, Horses, various dev stuff!

.Zoom out.

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