Post news RSS Freeworlds: Tides of War - Massive Asteroid Fields *updated*

A short introduction of a new developer and a test video about the possibility of creating massive asteroid fields on the Freelancer engine.

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Hi there :)

Some may know me, but I think the majority doesnt, so let me introduce in a few sentences:
Im w0dk4 and I have played and developed Freelancer at the Hamburg City Server for over 5 years.
After all the time, I thought it was time for a change to get new motivation and yeah, it worked (at least for the few weeks since I have joined) ;)

While I hope to bring as many useful features from my past experience to this mod, Im also looking for new challenges, such as adding more clientside features to Freelancer. So yeah, what am I doing? I am basically hacking and hooking the FLServer and the Freelancer client, so Im definately in the feature and gameplay development rather than in the art creation process. Therefore you may not see that much eyecandy in my development blog, but since the exception proves the rule, I can already give you eye-candy with my first-ever blog post - yay ;)

So, while I have been working on a lot of stuff lately, the last few days I have been looking deep into the asteroid field code.
The Freelancer engine always has a lot of problems when things get massive (i.e. 2x or 10x the scale of vanilla Freelancer). In particular, asteroid fields just vanish when they are placed too far from the center of any system. That was a big issue for us, since our systems are massive, they easily scale 5x bigger than any vanilla Freelancer system. Thats why we werent able to place massive large asteroid fields, and we were also limited in the actual positioning, meaning we couldnt even create small asteroid fields around objects, that are placed far from the center of the system.
I was able to find the responsible code and make some adjustments. I was also able to place multiple asteroid fields on top of each other, so that we can have very diversive asteroid fields, with planet-sized asteroids and very small asteroids and anything in between.
One remaining issue is the performance though, since asteroid fields can easily take down your high-end computer if we dont watch out.

Anyways, here is the promised eye-candy, a video featuring the (I think already outdated) Coruscant system with a massive asteroid field. Notice the scale and notice the (supposedly) little asteroids that you see when the Tie Fighter approaches the planet, they are not little, they are just being rendered from a very large distance.
Oh, and please watch in HD ;)



Quick Update:
The transition between the few big and the many small asteroids obviously wasnt so nice to watch. While that was intentional due to performance reasons, I just optimized another version of the asteroid field that no longer has rough transitions, but also does not feature as many asteroids in close proximity. The following scene renders at a minimum of ~40 fps on a C2D E6750 and Geforce 8800GT (the former one rendered at ~80 fps):


Comments
L0X0R
L0X0R

i dont like the way they launch with the sounds and the way it flys up its all to similar to original freelancer just wondering if it could be chaged

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FW:ToW_Sushi
FW:ToW_Sushi

Well, those are custom scenes. And, if you don't want to see it, you just press "ESC" :)

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orangeduckster
orangeduckster

haha you should make it like 3d asteroid game.

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FW:ToW_Sushi
FW:ToW_Sushi

lol...not a bad idea :D

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SinKing
SinKing

Does NASA know you've been to space?

Neat! Just the transitions from like 3 asteroids to 3 billion seems a bit sudden.

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w0dk4 Author
w0dk4

Yeah, I hear ya. Check out the second video I posted, it no longer has that rough transition.

As said, performance is really a restriction when it comes to rendering asteroid fields.

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Bird_of_Prey
Bird_of_Prey

Amazing work! How many of those asteroids are destructible?

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Rion_Elite
Rion_Elite

awesome job, just wondering has the 'sub-light accelarator speed now replaced tradlanes ? and what about hyperspace ?
thanks.

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calmflow
calmflow

In larger belts, with larger debris, will we be able to push the asteroids about?

The problem i have had in other mods is piloting a captal ship, coming out of a jump gate into one of those all asteroid systems and getting stuck like a whale in a thong.

So in summary, will we be able to manouvre our way through in larger ships or are we still stuck on the outskirts?

Better still, are we even able to pilot the capital ships in Tides Of War?

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FW:ToW_Sushi
FW:ToW_Sushi

Well, systems in FW:ToW are 1200km in diameter, unlike the 400km of normal FL. We don't have systems that are completely covered in asteroids, either. Just thick belts that capitals will be able to fly around; which makes sense - you wouldn't want to go into "sub-light hyperspace" in to an asteroid field :)

As for capital ships, yes. Here are some images of some of the ones you'll be able to fly: Moddb.com

Every model you see there is flyable. And those Desktops are our actual models used in the game :)

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calmflow
calmflow

*Danger, Will Robinson* prepare to be hunted.

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Holzbein
Holzbein

hmmm the system looks unrealistic, evrything seems so close together ... well second vid looks better but the clouds and athmosphere-sound doesnt fit ...

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FW:ToW_Sushi
FW:ToW_Sushi

Not sure if you've ever played FL before, but believe me, this is the most realistic that planets have ever looked. Most planets in FL are around 4km in diameter. Suns are 2km. So when we have planets that are 40km in diameter and suns at 50-60km, it looks a lot better.

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