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Thread: The Dark Mod

  1. #101
    New Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Yes. We will.

    The dark mod is a BETTER ENGINE. It is a next-gen engine, which has normal maps built into its architecture, instead of bolted onto an old engine. It supports pixel shaders much more cleanly, and the results are really obvious. It's a future-built engine, designed to still look good in the future, and to be expandable as computers get better.

    (We seriously need a FAQ, guys.)

  2. #102
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Greece
    How's this engine going in terms of water? I'm asking this because all the images that i can remember from D3 previews had dark corridors and nothing else. Can this engine handle big water levels well like FC for example? Links/screens if possible? I'm asking this because i have not purchased the game yet, i might do so however just for the Thief mod.

  3. #103
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: ...and mastadons
    The game itself doesn't have any large bodies of water whatsoever, not even for detailing and atmosphere, but the effects and physics are easily modded into the game so you'll more than likely see some Darkmod maps with bits 'o teh drank in it.

    For Example....

  4. #104
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Greece
    Interesting read. Thanks

  5. #105
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2004
    Location: Back Home
    Working on FAQ.

    Q. What is the Dark Mod?

    A. Go blow a fag.



    ooh...you had to be on comm chat.

  6. #106
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: ...and mastadons
    But waht aboot tha peepil taht do not teh smok?

  7. #107
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2004
    Location: Back Home
    Blowing a fag isn't smoking. But a least you wouldn't get cancer that way. Perhaps.

    Sucking a fag is still fairly innuendic, even in the UK. Did you know that 'anal bum rape' is cockney rhyming slang for 'fish and chips'?

    If you believed that, you're a gullible American fool. Who'll get a severe... something... when visiting London.

  8. #108
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: ...and mastadons
    Hold on a sec, I need to write these down...

  9. #109
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2004
    Location: Back Home
    Why oh why did I write anal bum rape? I mean, why both anal and bum? In the heat of the moment I must have overlooked the fact that it has to be anal to be bum and vice versa...but considering the logistics, I realise my obvious tautology.

  10. #110
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: ...and mastadons
    Don't worry about it. One day, taking good behavior into consideration, we might think about forgiving you.

    But I doubt it.

  11. #111
    Having just played the Doom3 demo, I am (even more) extremely interested in seeing what you guys can do with The Dark Mod. Two things I was worried about were sound and AI. Well, the AI seems capable, and interesting (perhaps quite malleable with the SDK), and the sound code, for what I've seen of it, seems quite damn solid. Unlike old id games, sound is now occluded by solid walls, and seems to pathfind/go around corners as it should.

    It should be sweet. Hope you guys have good programmers, as that could make or break the effort!

  12. #112
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2004
    Location: Back Home
    Sound is occluded? That's news to me.....during my tests, it was lessened somewhat, but that could be attributed merely to the falloff of the sound shader with distance.

    But, all is not lost, as we can simply build in the trace() function to decide how loud, if at all, the sound should be heard based upon the player's position.

    And yes, this might slow up framerates slightly, but we'll be using many fewer special effects and AI at once, and Thief is slower paced anyway. So we'll be pushing the detail up slightly.

  13. #113
    Hmm. Well I'm no authority on it (just played through once so far, last night) but there were spots that I made an effort to listen in and things seemed right. As my example, the spot where two workers in orange jumpsuits are talking about rumors about people seeing something ... or something... anyway, when the sealed door near them closes, you can't hear them at all, from the other side of the door, or from the wall right next to and opposite them. And, several times I stood in front of a sound source, then walked around a corner and turned back toward the corner, to hear it coming from in front of me (so it rounded the corner) instead of to my right or left.

    I'll make a more conscious effort tonight if I can.

  14. #114
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2003
    Location: On my bicycle \o/
    I had a pokey around the mars city underground level. There are a couple of opportunities for testing sound occlusion here - notably the conversation between the technicians working in the access tunnel. Sound doesn't occlude. At least not on my PC. There is a bit of a difference between the way that sound is rendered by EAX (which can be dependant upon how groovy your sound card is) and the kind of usefull data that can be parsed to AI.

    I don't know how a simple trace is going to help? You'll be wanting to implement some kind of zoning or pathfinding system if simulating sound occlusion as affected by open and closed doors is what you're after. Oh, and while I am feeling critical I'd be cautious about claiming that there will be less AI and more detail. There are rarely more than a couple of AI at a time in Doom 3. It's carefully controlled and scripted that way through out the game. Thief is far less scripted - its not unthinkable (read: its quite likely) that numbers of AI could gather in a high poly area while chasing down our protagonist - or that fan mission authors might want to have a bunch of AI in one place. I'd be assuming that all the modifications - player movement, ai, sound occlusion, guaging how hidden in the shadows the player is etc will cause quite a performance hit and I'd be aiming at compensating by having less detail - not more.
    Last edited by jay pettitt; 22nd Sep 2004 at 19:07.

  15. #115
    Quote Originally Posted by jay pettitt
    I had a pokey around the mars city underground level. There are a couple of opportunities for testing sound occlusion here - notably the conversation between the technicians working in the access tunnel. Sound doesn't occlude. At least not on my PC. There is a bit of a difference between the way that sound is rendered by EAX (which can be dependant upon how groovy your sound card is) and the kind of usefull data that can be parsed to AI.

    I don't know how a simple trace is going to help? You'll be wanting to implement some kind of zoning or pathfinding system if simulating sound occlusion as affected by open and closed doors is what you're after. Oh, and while I am feeling critical I'd be cautious about claiming that there will be less AI and more detail. There are rarely more than a couple of AI at a time in Doom 3. It's carefully controlled and scripted that way through out the game. Thief is far less scripted - its not unthinkable (read: its quite likely) that numbers of AI could gather in a high poly area while chasing down our protagonist - or that fan mission authors might want to have a bunch of AI in one place. I'd be assuming that all the modifications - player movement, ai, sound occlusion, guaging how hidden in the shadows the player is etc will cause quite a performance hit and I'd be aiming at compensating by having less detail - not more.
    Very good points. I agree with you on the sound propagation thing.

  16. #116
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2001
    Location: Marlboro, MA, USA
    I don't see any problem with the detail and polys and AI gathering and stuff, because if this mod really is developed well it won't be done for a few months at least, and then good FMs will take many more months, so we won't really see great fruit from it for another year, and if it's a good system we'll make FMs for a few years to come, so over the next year or two more and more and more people will continue to upgrade their systems and graphics cards, so we'll be able to push the envelope further and further.

    Another thing is that doom 3 has lots of fast action, which made it more important to limit AI and geometry, but Thief (if FM authors choose, of course) is slower paced and more sneaky, so performance is not such a priority. Thus, a lower framerate is more acceptable, and eye candy might be preferred.
    The Keep for Thief 1 and 2 FMs, Shadowdark for Thief 3 and Dark Mod FMs

  17. #117
    Quote Originally Posted by jay pettitt
    Sound doesn't occlude.
    Are you talking about it not pathfinding/going around corners, or even just being blocked by doorways? I'm not sure about the former (still need to verify or not) but there is no doubt it's blocked by closed doors. Or is that not being debated? I listened to the brown jumpsuit guys talking about the rumors of seeing something, and as the door opened, closed, opened closed, the conversation could be heard, not heard, heard, not heard...

    I'm using a plain ol' SBLive! with whatever drivers are the last ones available for use with XP.

    Edit: With regard to the poly issue - toward the end of the demo, (spoiler warning here, I suppose) there's a spot where it starts to get thick and there are between 3 to 4 AIs on the screen at once, and my measly 1.4 GHz processor ran it just fine on medium detail. Probably not a huge issue.

  18. #118
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2003
    Location: On my bicycle \o/
    3 to 4 AIs. Look out. Its not a lot is it. Doom is scripted to the extent that where multiple AIs appear at the same time it is in a low poly area. Spiders and other creepies that appear in groups get reinforcements only when enough spiders have been squished. Corpses dissolve when new AI enter the game. These are luxuries that the unscripted thief style of gamplay can't stretch to.

    Err, yes there is doubt about sound being blocked by doorways. I've run through various scripted conversations in the game to test this out. I've found that while conversations stop and restart depending whether you are out of the room and a door closes and that sounds fade with distance, but sounds are not actually blocked by closed doors. Unless your SB card is doing something my nVidia soundstorm widget isn't. Obviously you can't rely on hardware details to affect AI as gameplay would change dramatically from one machine to another. But as you allude to in your post this is unlikely as SB and soundstorm are pretty much comparable regarding features support for sfx.

    Which level are these jumpsuity guys you mention? - perhaps I should check them out just in case.

    Yep thats a fair point Komag. I'd guess that even a year is pretty hopefull. Performance hits and thier implications can be tested once there is some code and content to try out. But it seems likely to me from the extent and care that has clearly gone into designing and scripting Doom3 to avoid performance issues that they must be sailing pretty close to what is possible with the current generation of hardware.

  19. #119
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: ...and mastadons
    Komag pretty much took the words right out of my mouth.

    One big advantage that a Thief-like game will have over Doom 3 is that the enemies aren't nearly as flashy. Imps come packaged with lightsourced fireballs they throw constantly accompanied with nice glowy pentagram texture overlays, Hell Knights and just about every other enemy in the game are in the same boat. Regular Thief guards won't have that problem, they'll just walk around, talk, or chase you down...nothing flashy. So from that standpoint the enemies in the darkmod will be less graphically intensive and more processor intensive, that might allow us some room for extra level geometry.

    It's also rare to ever see more than 4 guards at once in any Thief game. As long as an FM designer is careful, he can avoid having alot of enemies crowd in any single area.

  20. #120
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2003
    Location: On my bicycle \o/
    I'm going to have to take back my claims that sound occlusion doesn't occour with doors. Trouble is that conversations pause when you leave a room and the door closes, and restart when you re-enter, which makes it hard to tell. But the video introduction to mars base that plays on the very first level, just past the bio scan provides a good example to check the effect out. You can nip back in to the bio scan chamber and still here the video play. Once the doors close the volume from the video drops significantly, but you can still just hear it play very quietly. cute. How this information can be passed to AI is another question, but the effect is certainly there, which is a good start.

    Renz, Imps with fire balls vs guards with torches? My concern is mostly that the amount of modding required will cause a processor hit. Calculating how well hidden by shadow the player is will require a function to be called at least every few ticks. Thats a whole extra process that Doom 3 presumeably doesn't bother with. I'd guess that would be the worst culpret for a speed hit because you'll need to do that process continually. Extra work for dealing with noise and AI, for instance, need only happen when a noise is made, rather than every few ticks, but it will still add up to slower performance than Doom.
    I'm not so worried that there may be 20 guards running about or something - but that you can't control very well if 4 or 5 guards chase the thief into a high poly area - or an area with a collection of unconscious bodies on the floor. Whatever, we'll get to see what happens when the Dark Mod team get some code and content together to play around with.

  21. #121
    Perhaps also, when editing, you can set a door's properties to block sound or not, and in some cases the designer forgot? May sound like I'm reaching for hope, but I sure as hell hope that's the case with Thief 3 full as well, because it's sure not working right in the T3 demo. Also, it might be that it can exist in varying degrees - I've heard some sound through a door, and other times (the two guys), nothing through a door.

    Anyway, my point with the 3-4 AIs was not that that's a good limit or such, but that my below-minimum-spec machine handled it without problem, so machines within spec would certainly do even better. Besides, the team will (presumably) finish The Dark Mod in the future, when machine specs will be higher.

    The jumpsuit guys are in the demo levels, so early on. I can't recall if it's after the pair of guys where one is in the wall conduit or not. Oh! It's the two working just beyond a door which is right next to the kitchen, I think. With them, the closed door blocks their sound for me completely.

    I'm itching(!) to get to my PC and try this again.

    Edit: Argh! too late. Well, I'm still itching. Maybe it's this rash, though.

  22. #122
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: ...and mastadons
    Quote Originally Posted by jay pettitt
    Renz, Imps with fire balls vs guards with torches? My concern is mostly that the amount of modding required will cause a processor hit. Calculating how well hidden by shadow the player is will require a function to be called at least every few ticks. Thats a whole extra process that Doom 3 presumeably doesn't bother with. I'd guess that would be the worst culpret for a speed hit because you'll need to do that process continually. Extra work for dealing with noise and AI, for instance, need only happen when a noise is made, rather than every few ticks, but it will still add up to slower performance than Doom.
    Right, but while all imps have fireballs not all guards will have torches. It's an admittedly small balancing effect that might give us some extra play in other areas.

    I have no doubts that the mod will have a few framerate hits due to the AI and other required checks (shouldn't have told Fingernail that we probably wouldn't need extra CPU requirements now that I think about it), but as long as the coding isn't too sloppy they won't be severe. We won't know that or anything for a fact til we get the SDK, but to me it seems more of a concern to keep in mind rather than a severe obstacle to overcome.

    I'm also planning on keeping performance up by limiting the amount of brushes and moving lights in an area to somewhat modest amounts. But once we get some basic AI in place I'm gonna build an ultra highpoly room and throw about 4 or 5 guards in it to see how it handles.

  23. #123
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2003
    Location: On my bicycle \o/
    There is an unexpected feature with sound occlusion and doors in theif 3. Leaning against a closed door will fix the bug and the sound will occlude properly once you lean away. Shame that.

  24. #124
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2004
    Location: Back Home
    Meh...in the future, people will be slower, so framerate will be less of an issue.

  25. #125
    You all needn't worry. I'm sure DarkMod will rock your worlds!

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