Hi! I'm Dirkson. I'm trying to make one of the most accurate space combat simulation games. Ever.

For some reason this includes a lot more space cows and butter than I thought it would.

So far it's got voxels, multiplayer, heat simulation, kilometer long spaceships, real world materials, organic ships, and awesome music. Eventually, it's going to have AI crew, inertia, planets, and more.

  • Want to build a granite mothership with dozens of fighters? You can do that.
  • A spinning battleship with a three meter thick titanium hull? Sure, that too.
  • A butter asteroid-tug than melts whenever you turn on the engines? Of course!

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Backend Work

News 0 comments

Hey all!

So image updates have been sparse since the last livestream. Why? I've been rearranging some of the ScrumbleShip backend. Let's dig into that a little.

Backend

Currently, the way rendering works is something like this:

    • One thread locates and Caches nearby blocks within your ship, storing its result inside the ship memory structure.
    • Another thread picks through your ships, locating and assembling blocks into a list. Then, it orders this list, and copies the Cache from its location in the ship memory structure to a temporary Voxel List. Once it's done with that, it goes through every other ship and does something similar.
    • The render thread uploads the entire Voxel List from system memory to gpu memory, every single frame, then renders it with a single opengl draw call.


There's a lot of weird behavior too, like backwards sharing of ordered ship-lists, which causes threads to wait for each other.

The biggest problem with this system is that it requires me to re-send ALL the voxel data EVERY frame. As the ScrumbleShip engine gets better at rendering voxels, I can both send more voxels to the gpu, and send more data about those voxels to the gpu. So I'm starting to use too much bandwidth between the computer's memory and its graphics card. For example, the extra data sent by the lighting change needlessly costs us around 10fps.

So reducing the number of sends is a high priority on my list. But as I was studying to fix the problem, I noticed several interesting facts about the current rendering pipeline, and I developed a plan to make it better. Here's an experiment I did to prove a particular point:

supposedtolooklikethat

This proved to me that I COULD render efficiently using multiple opengl draw calls, which opens up a lot of interesting optimizations.

So the new plan is:

    • One thread maintains lists of ships in distance orders and hands them out as-needed.
    • Another thread maintains lists of ship chunks in distance orders and hands them out as-needed.
    • Another thread uses these ordered chunk lists to create a list of visible blocks.
    • The caching thread goes through this list of visible blocks, preparing nearby blocks for rendering and storing the result in the ship chunk list.
    • The rendering thread goes through the list of nearby blocks, uploading their data to the gpu as they get close enough to render. Then it goes through the list of visible blocks, rendering them in batches using separate opengl
      draw calls.


What advantages does the newer pipeline have?

    • It'll render the nearest blocks, regardless of which ship they're in. No more weird block-unloading when two ships are close together
    • It'll operate smoother on multi-core machines, with less time wasted on waiting for other threads
    • It'll render very large ships and asteroids, up to 1km in diameter. The current system can't handle asteroids much bigger than 100m across.
    • It'll use less system memory to do the rendering.
    • I only need to upload/remove block data from the gpu when its render status changes, rather than every frame. Potentially 10-15fps boost.
  • It'll open the way for the following potential optimizations:
  • GPU-based Occlusion Culling, potentially a 2x-5x rendering performance boost.
  • Voxel-face rendering instead of entire-voxel rendering, for a potential 2x performance boost.
  • Distant ships can be rendered as billboards, for a solid performance boost.
  • Geometry-shader based dynamic voxel creation, with an unknown (1x-5x) performance boost.

Any disadvantages?

    • Rendering in multiple opengl calls costs anywhere from 2 to 10fps.
    • It causes Dirkson to work for a couple weeks on features that don't yet make good screenshots, videos, or bleeding edge releases.

At this point, I estimate I've got maybe another week left to switch to the new pipeline. Then I should start putting out cool videos like this one again:

I'm aiming for the next full release sometime in February. It'll contain the lighting changes, lots of performance improvements, the mining torch, a complete UI overhaul, and a building-system overhaul.

Cheers!
-Dirk

Asteroids

Asteroids

News 0 comments

Asteroids are awesome, contain valuable minerals, and will butter your toast for you.

ScrumbleShip 0.3 - Phoenix

ScrumbleShip 0.3 - Phoenix

News 8 comments

Just another dead game? No, not quite. ScrumbleShip releases its biggest update ever. Also the dev talks about feelings and stuff, but then gets right...

Shadows and Inventories

Shadows and Inventories

News 3 comments

This past week has included a few fun new additions for ScrumbleShip.

Shaders so sharp you'll cut yourself

Shaders so sharp you'll cut yourself

News 17 comments

We increased the number of polygons on screen by a factor of 10. Here's how.

ScrumbleShip Alpha Demo 0.23 - Windows

ScrumbleShip Alpha Demo 0.23 - Windows

Demo 1 comment

Alpha release 0.23 of the ScrumbleShip Demo, released for free on a Creative Commons License.

ScrumbleShip Alpha Demo 0.23 - Mac OSX

ScrumbleShip Alpha Demo 0.23 - Mac OSX

Demo 0 comments

Alpha release 0.23 of the ScrumbleShip Demo, released for free on a Creative Commons License.

ScrumbleShip Alpha Demo 0.23 - Linux

ScrumbleShip Alpha Demo 0.23 - Linux

Demo 0 comments

Alpha release 0.23 of the ScrumbleShip Demo, released for free on a Creative Commons License.

ScrumbleShip Alpha Demo 0.20 - Windows

ScrumbleShip Alpha Demo 0.20 - Windows

Demo 0 comments

Alpha release 0.20 of the ScrumbleShip Demo, released for free on a Creative Commons License.

ScrumbleShip Alpha Demo 0.20 - Mac OSX

ScrumbleShip Alpha Demo 0.20 - Mac OSX

Demo 0 comments

Alpha release 0.20 of the ScrumbleShip Demo, released for free on a Creative Commons License.

ScrumbleShip Alpha Demo 0.20 - Linux

ScrumbleShip Alpha Demo 0.20 - Linux

Demo 0 comments

Alpha release 0.20 of the ScrumbleShip Demo, released for free on a Creative Commons License.

Post comment Comments  (180 - 190 of 222)
Meow_Meow_
Meow_Meow_

Really annoying lighting glitch makes it hard to play, otherwise 10/10 for u!

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dirkson Creator
dirkson

Can you guys describe the lighting glitch a bit more for me, or maybe take a screenshot? I think I know what you're talking about, but I'd like to make sure.

-Dirk

Reply Good karma+1 vote
Meow_Meow_
Meow_Meow_

I got screenshots, Moddb.com

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Meow_Meow_
Meow_Meow_

Well,the glitch is like, when u use a light, made of any material, make everything kind of black and white when u stwitch off flashlight. With just flashlight,its better, but sometimes the same thing happens with a light. Ill try to take screenshots.

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dirkson Creator
dirkson

Awesome! I'll add this to the bug list and commence work on fixing it. Thanks!

-Dirk

Reply Good karma+2 votes
psykogundam
psykogundam

interesting. CPU intensive for some reason. (was getting FPS drops) serious lighting problems from flashlight and the props. The flickering light makes it frustrating. otherwise, very good idea. will follow this one.

win7 64

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mechwarrior24
mechwarrior24

Looking good! I especially like the unique graphical approach, very stylish.

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keyersuzi
keyersuzi

hwo dose a bussiness or company control what people do in their spare time D:

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dirkson Creator
dirkson

Threat of legal action, and/or firing.

It's not exactly ethical what Yam's company is doing, but there's very little we can do about it.

-Dirk

Reply Good karma+1 vote
Piemanlives
Piemanlives

sue? bring this to the attention of others?
anyways just found this looks interesting

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mechwarrior24
mechwarrior24

....

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ScrumbleShip
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Orangehat Tech
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Highest Rated (4 agree) 10/10

The parts of this game that are already in place are awesomely fun, and once the rest of it is in place, there will be nothing like it anywhere. 10/10 for concept and fun.

Apr 5 2012 by dubyrunning

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