Welcome to the inaugural entry for the weekly development journals! The goal of these journals will be to better inform you what's going on in the development process.
This week, three main things have been worked on:
- Map Editing
As you saw in the last blog post, the lighting system has been revamped. The result is a much more beautiful game:
Even so, the lighting engine is about to be completely revamped. Read on for more info!
No longer will you have to play on randomly generated terrains! In the next update, we'll be rolling out an in-game map editor that will let you build and save maps. Although online collaborative map building will not be supported in the first iteration of the map editor, we're planning to add that in in a future release.
The map editor will let you fly around without the constraints of the physics engine (or, if you want to test out your map, you can turn the physics back on), mass-edit the world by selecting chunks of blocks, and place player spawn points. "Smooth" terrain will also not be supported in the first release. As with lighting, read on to find out!
I've always wanted to get rid of the sharp edges of the blocks in War of the Voxels. Right now, the "smooth terrain" is a bit of a hackish solution - instead of snapping the noise-generated heights of all the columns of blocks in the world to integer values, the surface blocks (the highest blocks in each column), are assigned heights of the noise value at that position. Unfortunately, sometimes the height of the noise function at a specific point in the cube will either be greater than 1 or less than 0, in which case the algorithm constrains it to 1 or 0, resulting in the artifactual ridges you see in the screenshots:
To remedy this issue, we're going to be completely revamping the terrain rendering system, and transitioning to new algorithms such as Marching Cubes. Here are some examples of terrains created with Marching Cubes:
As you might imagine, adding these new algorithms is a very large revamp. Many things, like the lighting system and the collision system will also have to be revamped. Therefore, we'd like to ask you to give us some time with the next release! It likely will not be finished until the end of summer (and perhaps longer). In the proposed implementation of marching cubes, environmental blocks, such as grass, sand, and dirt, will automatically be molded to fit the environment, while building blocks, such as wood, stone, and metal, will retain their blocky look.
That's it for this week, tune in next time! :)