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1352921 Posts in 62429 Topics- by 54175 Members - Latest Member: hawkdanny

December 18, 2018, 06:29:37 PM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsThe Hit - Contract-killing and dynamic narrative in a procedural city
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Author Topic: The Hit - Contract-killing and dynamic narrative in a procedural city  (Read 6256 times)
aDFP
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« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2016, 05:28:42 PM »

Just a very quick update to let you know that my facade builder is working once again. I broke it sometime during the recent iteration of the city generator, and it's taken me all day to track down exactly why it wasn't working.

Only the outside faces of each facade are visible, which is why the buildings are looking a bit transparent in these shots. That'll be fixed when I get the interiors working again, which shouldn't be too long now.

And here's a shot of the entire play area. Once I've finished getting the automatic voxel object placement system working, I'll start adding some variation and making some interesting feature buildings. That should be my chill-out task over Christmas, ready for me to start making some more videos again in the new year.
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aDFP
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« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2017, 04:06:19 AM »

Small & boring update, because I've been making improvements and simplifying things, rather than taking great strides towards a fully-playable version. That'll come soon, but the boring stuff is necessary too.

Since Christmas, I've been working on a lot/building editor, and a minor rewrite of the building generation code. This is mainly because I need to get the interiors working, but also partly because a few bugs have crept in to the building generator, and it's easier to make progress if I can isolate the building systems.


I'm trying to make all the editing tools as fast and intuitive as possible, so the main editor is a simple 2D painting tool. New lots can be created by hand in less than a minute, though I'll link this to my cellular automata systems at some point, and hopefully reduce that time even further. Terrain and structures are derived from this data, and with the addition of a small number of randomly-generated value maps, a varied and (hopefully) interesting city can be created with the press of a button and a shareable seed value. So far, the value maps are wealth and density, which can be clamped to generate everything from busy commercial centers to poor rural areas (or sparse, wealthy areas rural areas and densely populated slums, depending on how the values are clamped).
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Schrompf
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« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2017, 04:49:55 AM »

Impressive tech. Keep going!
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Let's Splatter it and then see if it still moves.
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« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2017, 06:22:33 AM »

Impressive tech. Keep going!

Thanks! I often feel like I'm not making anything worth showing off, because I'm putting speed of creation well above prettiness. I figure I'll make it fast first, then work on making it look good later.

IMHO, speed of asset creation is the number one thing holding back narrative games. Current AAA workflows give us games where the player has no more influence over the story than you do with a TV show, and greybox development results in games where the gameplay is almost entirely divorced from the graphics. I honestly don't know how anyone expects a decent story to come from a system where the gap between thought and expression is two or more years. So yeah, speed is key. A few more systems to hook up, and I'll be putting the (typewriter) pedal to the metal... Looking forward to it Smiley
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« Reply #24 on: January 10, 2017, 06:46:54 AM »

That's a good attitude out there, putting speed over prettiness will pay off in long-term for sure!
Really good stuff, I'm looking forward to your progress.
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« Reply #25 on: January 10, 2017, 08:52:26 AM »

I vaguely remember you talking about dreams being a part of the game in the devlog for the previous iteration of The Hit. Is that still something you're considering?
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« Reply #26 on: January 10, 2017, 08:57:01 AM »

Wow dreams sounds like an interesting feature. I reallly hear what you are saying about asset creation speed and tying the gameplay more closely to the content and narrative. I look forward to experiencing this!
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aDFP
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« Reply #27 on: January 10, 2017, 09:18:40 AM »

I vaguely remember you talking about dreams being a part of the game in the devlog for the previous iteration of The Hit. Is that still something you're considering?

Yes, dreams are still very much part of the plan. They should actually happen largely as a by-product of the character and narrative/semantic systems, once I get those in there. I'll talk about those more when they're further on. Right now I'm focusing on making an interesting (and busy!) game world and getting the core mechanics working.
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« Reply #28 on: January 10, 2017, 09:23:47 AM »

That's fucking badass.
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aDFP
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« Reply #29 on: January 12, 2017, 07:25:54 AM »

Fixed some bugs, added some features and tidied some code. Reckon I'm just about ready to start adding interiors to this.


Most of the systems are already prototyped, so this shouldn't take too long (he said optimistically). I'm aiming for fully-explorable interiors with unified colour schemes, fully-interactive furniture (open every drawer, sit on every chair, climb every mountain, etc.) and also getting all the above working with 10,000 or so NPCs. No biggie.
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aDFP
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« Reply #30 on: January 14, 2017, 02:03:54 PM »

Some bug-chasing aside, building interiors are coming along nicely. Like the lots, they're based on 2D maps for ease of creating and editing. Each building has space for four floor layouts at the moment, though these can be duplicated (and I may end up adding more). I'll probably use these for lobby, upper floors, penthouse and basement. I'll also be adding randomisation and persistence, so every room in the city should be unique, to some extent.

Walls are next, though I'm probably going to have to rewrite the facade generation system slightly to account for interiors, so I'm hoping to have those done by next weekend. I'll try to get a new build online when I do. I'll be shifting my focus after that to pedestrians, AI and the interaction system.


in-game shot of a building with interior floors and ceilings (but no walls yet). Colours are temporary.


Video taken from the building/lot editor, which is now accessible from the main menu.


I ran up against Unity's vertex limit yesterday, so this is a (partially) new city generator. The city is now divided into 64x64 meter chunks, which seems to work well enough for now.
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« Reply #31 on: January 14, 2017, 05:37:55 PM »

I was one of the backers when The Hit was on Kickstarter, it sucks that it didn't make it. But this is looking wonderful, even better than before. Keep it up!
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« Reply #32 on: January 14, 2017, 08:25:56 PM »

Wow this is awesome. Don't know how I'm just seeing it for the first time. Definitely following this  Beer!
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« Reply #33 on: January 17, 2017, 02:21:40 PM »

Building interiors are getting there. They're still in need of some refinement, but I'm pleased that they don't cause any noticeable drop in frame-rate, even on my under-powered laptop. I'll switch my desktop on tomorrow and try to capture a better video.

I'll need to rewrite a couple of systems slightly, in order to get them working 100%, but I'm not expecting that to take more than a couple of days. If that's the case, I'll be on course for uploading a new build to itch.io this weekend. After that, I'll switch gears again so I can focus more on gameplay and AI, and hopefully have a gameplay video ready for you soon.


I was one of the backers when The Hit was on Kickstarter, it sucks that it didn't make it. But this is looking wonderful, even better than before. Keep it up!
Hey, Pineapple! Glad you're still here. I'm not sorry the Kickstarter failed. That game was a compromise, when I'd decided to rush out a simplified version, and gradually rewrite it into what you're starting to see here. Starting again has been stressful, but beneficial, and this one will definitely end up being a better game.

Wow this is awesome. Don't know how I'm just seeing it for the first time. Definitely following this  Beer!

Cheers! I am seriously lousy at promoting my stuff; I tend to just hide away in my dev-cave and tweet occasionally. I'm trying to my 2017 my year of frequent updates though, so you found me at the right time.
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« Reply #34 on: January 17, 2017, 07:44:18 PM »

This looks neat! Definitely drawn to the "destructible everything". I like the look too but the shading is bizarre and blob-like -- have you considered just making it flat?
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« Reply #35 on: January 18, 2017, 02:06:08 AM »

This looks neat! Definitely drawn to the "destructible everything". I like the look too but the shading is bizarre and blob-like -- have you considered just making it flat?

Yes, and it will be. I'm relying on someone else's tangent solver at the moment, which produces nice shading on complex objects, but looks a bit crap on very blocky graphics with lots of 90 degree angles. I will write my own at some point, which isn't even huge task, but I'm actually happy to keep the graphical errors for now. I've still got a lot of detail to go into the game (interiors, multi-layer facades, street furniture, signs, trees, pedestrians etc.), which will change how things look dramatically. If I get too attached to a particular style now, then I'll just get in my own way later, when things start looking very different to how I expect them to.

Don't worry, when I do get around to improving the graphics, I'll throw every shader and effect I've got at the game. I'm even planning to randomise these to create dozens of different 'look & feel' variants, and narrow it down to whatever works best, from both a visual and gameplay perspective.


For now, the interior mock-ups are probably closest to the level of detail I'm aiming for. More than this will depend on when I can get my poster generator working, and what effect on frame-rate it has when I start adding posters and litter.
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aDFP
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« Reply #36 on: February 23, 2017, 05:49:27 AM »

Hi, Dan here again with another irregular update. I'm working across multiple fronts right now, so here's an update on two separate, but related things.

First is the NPC system. I've had these guys working in the game for a while, but they've been hiding in the background while I get the new city construction system working. That's starting to look pretty solid now, so I figured I'd tidy up the NPCs and get them walking around again.

They're actually using two navigation systems at the moment, a simple one for when they're in the distance, and a more complex one for when they're close. The main difference with the complex one is that it incorporates local avoidance. It's simple enough to work with several hundred NPCs at once, which I'll need if I'm going to simulate a city convincingly, and some of the missions will include some very large crowds (think rallies, demonstrations and riots, as well as concerts and sporting events).


The character generator is due for an overhaul soon, so this is hopefully getting near to the last time I'll be showing off these dudes. The next version will have greater detail, more variety, and more curves (and actually less polygons, 'cause these are really badly optimised).




The other thing I'm working on this week is generating a city from a texture (or rather from a 1m-per-pixel texture and a couple of lower-resolution value maps). The lots and buildings are already created this way, and I'm currently writing functions to create roads and walls, and dynamically place scenery objects based on pixel colour and surrounding pixels. That's going more smoothly than I was expecting, which is a rare treat. Realtime changes to the world, like parking cars or destroying walls, will be immediately echoed to the NPC navigation/interaction map, so you'll soon be seeing NPCs getting in and out of vehicles. I also need to update the vehicles, but that's a job for another day...
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« Reply #37 on: February 26, 2017, 05:04:58 AM »

After fighting off a pack of wild bugs, the texture-to-city tool is done! It consists of two parts, which I'll drastically over-simplify here: first, the road analyser scans the map for all black pixels, and divides them into straight roads and junctions so it can be linked to the vehicle navigation system (which I need to dig out and get it working with the new, curvier terrain system).


Then, the map is divided into city blocks, and each block processed separately (I initially tried to process the city in 32m or 64m chunks, but that created too many issues with features which span multiple chunks. It all gets divided up later anyway when the meshes are built, so this way is far easier). Features like doors and street furniture are hidden and the map is scanned and turned into ground areas and buildings, then the hidden features are added back in. Simple! (Well, it's simple to use now, which is the important thing).


The second image here is basically a stress-test. I took the output from the city generator, and fed it back into the texture-to-city tool (I've got to figure out a better name for that). The tool doesn't subdivide terraced or semi-detached houses, so the long lines of connected buildings got turned into super-giant monsters instead. The height is calculated by the total area of the building, and multiplied by a factor taken from the wealth and density values, so yeah, big buildings. I was surprised that it generated anything, tbh. I thought those would break it completely.

The upshot of all this is that I can definitely confirm there will be multiple cities in The Hit. It's a feature I've had in mind since the start (going all the way back to Syndicate, my original inspiration) but wasn't sure until now that I'd be able to deliver. Now I know I can hand-make an entire city in a day, adding new cities will be easy.

Anyway, next step is to add street furniture back in, but I'm going to try and spend the rest of today relaxing with some movies and a copy of GIMP, so I can doodle some more interesting city layouts.
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« Reply #38 on: March 04, 2017, 03:26:54 AM »


Pedestrians! Lots of pedestrians!

The two main things I've been working on this week are the texture-to-city system, and NPCs. NPCs are looking pretty much how they were in the last version of the city. The differences are that they're ever-so-slightly smarter, and they can now walk on hilly terrain.

The texture-to-city systems is coming along too. Both the screenshots below, as well as the video above, are generated from this small image.




I'm working on getting multiple object types working before I start adding dozens of different features; so far there's volume objects (streetlights) and block objects (the benches), and I've made a start on the walls. I just need to add a couple more things to the map analyser and apply the object scaler to the wall objects, and then I can start adding multiple walls, fences and hedges.

There's no navigation tags on the objects yet, but they're coming soon. I'm developing a generalised system, so everything will eventually be interactive and destructable. I'm making this with multiple mobility systems in mind, such as free-running, skateboarding, etc., but I haven't factored them into my development plan yet. One day...

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« Reply #39 on: March 04, 2017, 03:32:58 AM »

If I can drive a car through a wall to run down a target, or destabilize the base of a building so it collapses with the target on an upper floor, I will be more satisfied than I can say and this will be the best game ever
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