Epsylon - The Guardians of Xendron takes the player on a journey to a futuristic world investigating a very special Science-Fiction setup. With a team of rather different characters the player investigates, and if required fights, his way through a large case. How you solve the case is though up to you. Combine the strength of your team members is important as no team member alone can crack the case alone.

Report article RSS Feed The Big News Pack 5/6

Lots of time passed with too many updates to fit in one news post so it has been broken into 6 weekly parts. Here is therefore part 5/6. Since this is now only about game scripts related stuff it's under the game profile instead of the engine profile.

Posted by Dragonlord on Jul 11th, 2010

Actor classes updates

   The design of the actor classes has been reworked and improved. So far various classes for the different actors existed to test the individual features. These features have now been collapsed into reusable base classes HumanActor and DragonActor. This way adding new features and characters is easier.

   This includes also the dragon locomotion system which has been added to the game scripts similar to the one used in the animator editor during development. The locomotion system still has troubles and needs more work but the basic pieces are in place. To handle turning better collision detection has been augmented with some additional code to allow testing for rotation collisions. The code is currently still a hack as the bullet physics is supposed to take over this job later on (still a few problems in the way hence the hack is still in place). What does this mean now for the movement of the player? The main problem with dragon characters is that they are not rotation independent viewn from above. If you do not want to go through narrow places this is not important and a large cylinder can be used. For this game though the dragon actors have to be able to also get through narrower places. For this the rotation has to be taken into consideration. The way it is implemented right now before each motion the actor is checked for hitting geometry using rotation. The rotation is then blocked if a wall is hit. Doing the check like this allows a player to squeeze against walls and getting away from them easily. This system still has room for improvement though. Getting through doors still requires some aiming. That said this is not that bad though as a dragon in a narrow places would have troubles to maneuver in the real world anyways.


If you have troubles with HD: YouTube

    There exists an idea for doing a different kind of rotation testing which does not require actual rotation testing. Rotation testing is a nuisance and difficult to handle. This idea would require some unusual handling of the dragon character to work but it should be much more stable and less error prone. This will be tested in the time to come to see if it works better. Most important is that it fells well for the player to navigate.

Trigger system

   A trigger system has been added which works similar to existing trigger systems in other games. In this game there is triggering and connecting. Certain objects can be linked to others using named targets. Linking objects requires the two objects to know about the type of each other. This is useful for certain cases but not for others. For example this does not work well for generic triggering like switching on and of a light source or triggering generic actions when an entity enters some location. To handle this triggering has been added.

    Triggering works rather simple in that a trigger expression can be specified for „trigger*" type object properties. For example a light source has a property „triggerActivate". This defines an expression to be evaluated and the light is activated if the expression evaluates to true or false otherwise. A trigger expression composes of trigger names, modifiers and logic operators. Modifiers can negate (!) a trigger (hence return true if a trigger is not fired) or refer to the current state (@) instead of the global state. Triggers always store two states. The global state indicates if the trigger has ever been fired while the current state indicates if the trigger is currently in the fired state or not. Depending on what kind of trigger action you want to use either of the two can be useful. Logic operators exist two, the and (&) and or (|) operator. Parenthesis can be used to group sub expressions. So for example an trigger expression could look like this:

(@trigPlayerInArea & !trigActionA) | trigActionB

   This would fire if either the player is currently in a trigger zone named trigPlayerInArea and trigActionA never fired so far or if trigActionB fired sometime earlier. This system is rather simple and allows to trigger objects which have no idea about the type of each other. Objects can have more than one trigger expression affecting different actions. So for example a door can have „triggerOpen" and „triggerLocked" both with their own trigger expressions. The door would therefore only open if both triggers are true. Granted you could do this like „triggerOpenExpression && triggerLockedExpression\" in this particular case too but it can happen that a door turned locked due to scripted means not using a trigger expression. Hence multiple trigger targets are possible allowing to combine the two worlds for a lot more flexibility.

    In general the Trigger System is an addition to the Connection System. Combining the two allows for very dynamic game scenarios difficult (or even impossible) to do with other game engines.


Outlook

   The last news post in the big news pack is going to deal with the new map geometry in general and launcher improvements. You've seen already a bit of the geometry in the preceding news posts. This one though is going to show more.

Post comment Comments
AtlasTasume
AtlasTasume Jul 12 2010, 2:52am says:

The dragon stuff looks cool. BUT. The first person view from the dragon is messed up. A dragon's eyes faces directly forward, there would be no "disconnected" view, as it is in this video.

0 votes     reply to comment
Silverfisk
Silverfisk Jul 12 2010, 9:38am replied:

Dragons are fictional creatures, so the dragon's eyes can face in any direction the artist likes. Also, I think it's awesome and would be delighted to try playing a game like that.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Dragonlord
Dragonlord Jul 12 2010, 2:04pm replied:

They are like birds. The eyes face sidewards. Since that would be too confusing for the player the cameras have been placed in a way that they face 45° away from the viewing direction. This way you get a split view (they don't see 3D instead 2 times 2D) and as bonus 180° of field of view instead of 90° as it is common for first person games. This is also more natural since it makes no sense for a flying animal to have its eyes facing forward instead of sidewards. Have a look at birds and you'll see what I mean.

+2 votes     reply to comment
(ska)Diesel
(ska)Diesel Jul 12 2010, 6:11am says:

Looking nice so far Dragonlord. I really like how the dragons front legs jump to higher surfaces leaving the hind legs on the floor. The split view is a bit disorientating... IMO you should just have one view but give it a nice wide angle...kinda like the alien view in the old Alien VS Predator game.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Dragonlord
Dragonlord Jul 12 2010, 2:08pm replied:

You can set an option to switch back to old FPS view mode. Doing so you loose the 180° view of view but you can take a look at your own snout. Most probably the field of view will be bumped to 110 or so degrees. Having larger field of view though is tricky and is in its own way disorienting. I don't know though right now what field of view they used on the aliens but it definitely gave them a particular way of perceiving the movement.

+1 vote     reply to comment
5heepman
5heepman Jul 12 2010, 1:18pm says:

I think the dragon view is very intriguing; it seems like a pretty cool concept, if it was implemented well.

+1 vote     reply to comment
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