Contains XL Engine Launcher, version 0.199 of DaggerXL and build 9.50 of DarkXL.
The recipient of every major "Best RPG of the Year" award, The Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall revolutionizes the world of role-playing games, creating a new standard in 3D graphics and role-playing expansiveness. The second chapter in The Elder Scrolls, Daggerfall contains, literally, hundreds of hours of gameplay. Prepare to experience your new obsession.
Starting off in Daggerfall can overwhelm the senses. No other game has such a huge world to explore. Travel around a land mass twice the size of Great Britain, exploring dungeons, castles, tombs, and even alternative dimensions. Just to walk from one end of the world to the other will take over 2 full weeks in real-time (we actually tested this!) Converse with over 750,000 characters that inhabit this world. Daggerfall is a game that sets new boundaries with over 200 hours of gameplay. It's no wonder that it took almost 3 years to develop this epic game.
You can literally do anything you want and go anywhere you want. Join a guild and climb in rank to become a respected member of a Knightly Order. Become a spy and infiltrate the royal ranks, and even rebel against your own king. Become a thief who slips in and out of the shadows and steals the rare treasures of the world. There are six different endings, if you choose to play out the main story quest, but ultimately the life you choose to live will be a unique experience that no other gamer will encounter.
With all the major parts in place, next steps are all about improving overall appearance and boosting performance. I will tackle performance in the next and final part of this series. For now, let's take a quick look at adding some visual appeal.
My first job is to improve texturing. All the screenshots you've seen so far have just been a flat grass texture. I implemented a basic simplex noise setup to create tiled patterns like below.
I then used marching squares to handle tile transitions from water > dirt > grass > stone. Daggerfall actually has a wider range of possible transitions (e.g. water > grass) but for simplicity I've only implemented the basic transitions so far. With marching squares the transitions look like this.
I also added a little fog so distant terrain gradually blends into horizon. This gives the atmosphere a greater feeling of depth at long ranges like you would see in the real world.
The final step was to add nature flats (vegetation, rocks, etc.) to scene. This is just a basic random function with a density set per tile type. This could be expanded later to change vegetation density based on any number of variables. Finally, we have a world that almost looks ready to explore.
There's still a great deal of work to go before this is ready. Due to the rapid nature of development, nothing has been optimised yet and performance is very poor. My first priority is a full performance review of the entire tools to get this where it needs to be. Everything from loading textures and models all the way up to drawing terrain and foliage needs to be improved. This will unfortunately delay the streaming world features until early next year, but the end result will be a much improved code base.
Another, smaller item will be the overall scale of terrain and distribution of vegetation. If you look at the coastal Sentinel screenshot above, the terrain ramps up much too rapidly. I need to set terrain scale based on biome (e.g. desert is flatter than mountains), and terrain noise based on biome (e.g. desert is more rolling than mountains). This is just a matter of tuning the numbers going into terrain generation for an overall more pleasing game space.
On the whole, I'm very happy with how the streaming world is shaping up. It's basically where I want it in terms of recreating Daggerfall's simplistic overworld, and just needs performance and aesthetic tuning. I can't wait to get all of this completed so you have a whole world to build on using Daggerfall Tools for Unity.
This will be my final post for the year. I'm shutting down work at the end of this week and will be spending valuable time with family. I wish you all a very happy and safe Christmas and look forward to catching up again in the New Year.
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