Terrain and More Terrain

hchris asked me what we were doing with Grome exactly so I thought I might opine about it in this post.

Grome is a pretty robust terrain generator and editor.  As a matter of fact, Epic has integrated it for their Unreal3 clients.  It’s very intuitive once you learn the UI and the toolset.  When we started to design the Rapid Action system, we knew that we needed to do something about our 8 triangle octet based terrain.
The reason we went with that in the beginning of our development for WWIIOL was based on the fact that our playable terrain is half scale of western Europe.  It’s easily the largest playable, contiguous map in the industry to date (11,583 sq miles, generated through digital elevation maps).  To have a highly tessellated terrain for that would be a nightmare of collider issues and frame rate stutters that no player would ever put up with.  Combine that with the fact that the visible distance for a player in the game can be anywhere from 700 meters to 1000 meters and you can see why we went with the 8 triangle tile set.

Since the Rapid Action maps would be considerably smaller, we wanted to make sure that their resolution was at a lot higher level.  We searched around and looked at many different third-party packages and settled with Grome.  It could handle large terrains, we can control tile set resolutions within the same terrain model, we can generate texture masks and even use it to generate our clutter object and tree masks.  Like I said before, it’s very robust.
Having said that, it’s not very practical to use in the campaign game.  Just think about all of the terrain tiles that would have to be replaced.  Not only that, but terrain tiles of (at the very least) 1500 triangles is quite a jump from EIGHT (8).  Some of the tiles in some of our RA maps are around 10K triangles.  Crazy huh?  A lot of research and testing would have to be done in order to even think about using higher resolution terrain in the campaign game, so for now we are only discussing it.

As far as personal stuff: well I am still hard at work on my project: The Wreck.
I finished Gears of War 3, both in single player mode as well as co-op mode…awesome game.  I love the over-the-top art direction and third person action.
Played some more Dragon Age 2 DLC.
Getting geared up to watch the Texas Rangers in the World Series.

Go Rangers!

No Easy Button

With the emergence of art houses specializing in game art content creation, more refined art programs and software that seems to just “do things”, it gets harder and harder to explain that there is no “easy button” for creating art.  Art is very subjective, and because of that, it seems either everyone is an artist, or an art critic.   There are still folks that think you can sprinkle some magic faerie dust over the computer and out pops well done, very efficient game assets.  Believe it or not, there are still some very talented artist working in the gaming industry and it takes more then a robust piece of software to create amazing things with.
Ok, rant over.

My continued education with Grome is coming along, although I had to put it aside for a bit to fix little art glitches and bugs for 1.34.  I’m still in love with the idea for futuristic mech type action, with infantry for RA.

On a different note, I finished Gears of War 3 last weekend, I love that franchise.  If you didn’t know, Ice-T of rapping fame, loves it too.  Well he found a new way to play, utilizing his girlfriend’s “assets” to make it even more enjoyable.


Yes this again.

Just to remind you guys, and for you to spread the word to anyone that gives a shit, I am on Twitter. My goal for the month of October is to reach 50 followers. Surely there are 50 folks on the OT forums or in the Barracks that follow twitter and can hit that little green button “follow”?  @gamedude_toto

Anyway, been working hard to learn Grome, the terrain editing software for use with our Rapid Action stuff. It’s not too difficult once you get the hang of it. It can turn out some fantastic terrain if you can sculpt with a paint brush. I’ve also been fixing art bugs directing art traffic and pushing a mech themed RA idea which continually gets turned down.
Handle “Volcol” has been doing some great work for us, he’s reskinning some existing vehicles for us now.

I heard “more Salma” in the last post….so here you are!

Americans are coming…or they have came..er come..oh whatever.

After years and years of trying to champion the cause of Americans in WWIIOL, we finally have them.   In a limited fashion, but they are there, running around, all up in your kitchens.  Right now they are featured in the “Rapid Assault” version of the game.  Time will only tell how far they may go.  Now if I could convince someone that “mechs” are the next logical step forward.

For now, my work consists of art bug fixes, tweaks and clean up.  That’s one thing I sometimes grow weary of working on a historical based game:  it’s hard to get the creative juices flowing when everything is already determined for you.

OMG! I need followers!

In this day and age of social media, your importance and measure of your success in a given industry seems to be how many bloody followers you can accumulate.   So I guess, in the grand scheme of things, I am very unimportant in the game biz.   I have nine dedicated followers…a few of whom are family.  Can I get any lower?   So if you read me here, and are on twitter, do me a favor and follow.  Spread the word.  Help Toto regain some self-esteem. @gamedude_toto

CRS is chugging along, and there is a lot of work for me to do.  I was just speaking with Chris (Martini) today about giving terrain builders the ability to set tile parameters for layered textures.  He told me he would get back to me.  Hmmmm.   I should be finished rigging the latest installments of weapons today, then the polish comes.  Ramp has updated my infantry blending tool and things are looking up again.  Myself and Andrew have been trying to come up with a proposal to eliminate the open-flight file format, and stick with some industry standard stuff.  FLTs are becoming a pain in the ass, and killing the art production pipeline.

To close this little installment, I would like to give a shout out to James Chilton.  He’s been doing some top notch art work for us…stuff you’ll get to see pretty soon.