Friday, December 25, 2009

Repository Move Complete

All systems green now. See the boards for information on what you need to do.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Repository Move In Progress

The new repository is in place and appears to be working good enough, the DNS settings were changed so that the old URL would point to the new server but the propagation of the DNS settings may take up to 2 days. A minor change may be required on the clients to access the new repository, however, everything has been maintained including all logs.

Once the repository is accessible I will be updating the information on accessing it as well as how to make the change (hopefully) without having to re-download anything.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Planned Repository Move

It is planned that the repository will be moved to a new faster server within a week. Once the migration process start, the repository will become read-only until the move is complete.

If you have uncommitted content please commit it as soon as possible.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

New Tools

Zachary Turner has just finished work on his first tool for I2B, which is the "Dictionary Editor". This tool will help designers edit the class dictionary without risk of introducing typos. Another closely related tool is the "Prototypes Editor" is also underway. Both tools will be combined into a single executable to allow for easier cross referencing.

The reason these tools are being built at this time is that the programming group is already ahead of schedule, so putting more effort on tools would help the content group speed up their production.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

DirectX Implementation Under Development

A new member has joined the I2B group, Gustavo, as a graphics programmer. He will be building a DirectX implementation for our graphics interface. This task has been on our list for so long but never received enough attention or resources.

How will this new implementation turn out is yet to be seen. Hopefully, we will be posting good news about it soon.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Quite period?

Seems like things have been quite over here. This does not mean we were idle, I would like to remind everybody to keep an eye on our boards because this is where most of our discussions are at this time. I suggest everybody subscribes to the boards of interest to be able to participate in relevant topics without missing them altogether.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Status

I've been very busy and have spent a limited amount of time on the project, but from Monday 5th october I will start arranging meetings again. I may not be on broadband at my place, it depends how so I manage to get round to setting up my computers. But I will be less busy from then on and will attend at someone else place. I will be recruiting more members prior to that day so we can get more done more quickly. Currently I'm working on a feature in my scene editor which converts html to a scene, which may sound strange to some, but this would be a efficient way to create complex UI screens, since the artists and designers are proficient with web design; any web designer would then be able to create UI XML for our engine without knowledge of how the engine works or about the scripts; it is just a matter of 5-7 days before I can start it, and it will only support the HTML tags and custom tags we are interested in. It will save time, making adjustments to button positions, sizes can be made instantly this way. alot of time and it would mean we could easily find more people to help with the demo. As for game maps, the scene editor would handle that.

I will aso be creating a generator for sci fi space bases, buildings and machines, perhaps 2-3 weeks work or so, but it will produce about 300-500 basic sci fi buildings and machines, with our exclusive royalties. It will be a challenge to make them look extremely different from each other, but I've done a reasonable job with the rocket and planet generators. I will attempt to perform boolean operations and polygon optimization so that the objects can be used in the 3d engine aswell. Obviously in a sci-fi environment, there are alot of buildings in machines everywhere; think starwars death star; so to imagine 1 or 2 people modeling one object per hour to make up an entire universe would be unlikely. Instead I will program Cinema 4D to do the job; so the artists can focus on the primary 3d objects such as spacecraft, characters and weapons.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Repository Up and Running

Our repository is finally up again and we're back in business. No changes are required to access the repository.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Back in action

I'm finally back online and ready to resume I2B work. The repository is still not back online, as I'm still figuring the best way to set up the server.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Scene editor














I have been busy building an alternative scene editor and incorporating it inside a software package which is part of a game design tool project. I intend to invest more time on the editor so that more people can get involved with the scene building without having to learn XML and the I2B script. As the first step, I have developed the following functions:
  • Load XML and format if necessary. It will overwrite the existing XML file and 'empty element tags' to full ones. (My parser does not read empty element tags)
  • Load the Class Dictionary
  • Load Assets and populate sprites in a list
  • Load Prototypes and populate an entity prototype list
  • Create entity instances a scene (After selecting a prototype in a list which turns creation mode on )
  • Drag entity instances around (After escaping creation mode by pressing escape )
  • Rename the instances
  • Visualise their bounding box area, anchor point and center point
  • Save the scene file

The next step will be correct bugs and tidy things up. The main problem is the fact that the engine reduces images larger than 4096 pixels in height or width. I will provide a means to work with glyphs, more than 1 layer and large scene areas with different parallax settings. Provide a means to create prototypes, edit properties, create classes, load scenes, edit sprites, edit actions, edit events and anything else required to develop I2B scenarios quickly.
The program uses two executable; a main interface and a scene canvas. The attached zip file contains GDesign.exe in the root folder which is all that needs to be run, Direct X 9 would need to be installed for it to work. It should then ask you to specify where your scene folder is stored, EG: c:\I2B\Repository\Binaries\Spacecraft\.

To operate, you simply need to select an asset file in the file browser. You must first select a file such as LotusAssets.xml, then it will display 'Assets' as the file type if the program recogonizes your selection as an asset file. Then you double click to load. You will see a list of assets appear in the asset browser, which will take a while to load, especially if you are loading many assets.
Next you need to load a prototypes file, such as LotusEntityPrototypes.xml, in the same fashion as done with the assets file; the difference is that the entity browser is loaded with entities you can insert. Once you select one, you can select the canvas and plot the entity in the scene. You can edit previously created entities after pressing the escape key to exit creation mode.

I will be uploading the latest editor in the group page.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Update

I've added one of the last entities for the demo, although there are lots of map assets needed. Since I am offline, I will now complete more of my alternative scene editor which can be used whilst the official one is being completed, allowing for more creative members to participate in developing the game without taking up much time.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Repository is now Read-only

As planned, the repository server is now read-only. As soon as the new server is prepared, the URLs will be updated and we can commit again. In the meanwhile, any changes should be submitted as patches against a known revision number.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

Runtime issue fixed

The critical issue we had that prevented our redistributables from running on other machines was finally resolved. It was caused by a combination of outdated DLLs and missing post-build events.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Extra Demo Graphics

Whilst focusing on scripts and issues running the engine, some spare time has been spent texturing and modelling.





Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Demo script design

I'm starting to design the script for the demo; that is what will happen (not the syntax).
http://boards.i2black.com/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=139&p=796#p796

Feedback will be much appreciated, although it is not finished

Monday, June 22, 2009

Build server going down

Our build server is no longer working since we made the switch to VS 2008. It will need to be reconfigured to build under the new environment. So I will be taking down the server.

Please note, that I am planning on upgrading our repository server in August. Around 10 August our current server will be made read-only (so that we still access our files) to avoid losing any changes and a new system will be built to take over the service.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Scene development tutorial

I will be recruiting more members soon and have started creating a scene development tutorial for new comers and others who are interested in making scenes and maps, prior to the scene editor being available. A programmer should also take a look to check that what I've written so far is accurate.

http://boards.i2black.com/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=132

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Mantis Back Online

I have finally managed to upgrade Mantis to the latest version. The new version provides RSS feeds (the main motive for the upgrade), so I encourage all developers to subscribe to them.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Collectables


Rockets

Shells

Chemical

Power

Iron Ore

Copper Ore

Silver Ore

Gold Ore

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Upgrading Issue Tracker

I will be attempting to upgrade our Mantis installation to the latest version. If you encounter problems accessing it in the following days, don't panic... yet.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Multidirectional Sprite XML Tool Update


The tool is now working with the new syntax. Until the sprite editor is ready for multi-directional sprite creation, the MakeMultiDirectionSpriteXML.exe file in the tools folder can create your XML. There is also another which will perform the rotations for you, but this will not be ready yet. The official sprite editor will perform this action in the directions tool as planned.

Weapon Selection


Work in progress on the action bar which will need to store up to 10 actions or toggle devices. The screen shot has 8 in total, the last being a toggle button for the force field. As illustrated by the numbers, each can be selected by the number keys; and probably activated by space-bar.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Build Server Back Online

Our repository was down due to a wrong configuration I made, but it's up and running now. Also, our build server is online once again, please see the details of how to access it on the boards.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mokhtar M. Khorshid Returns

I am about to take off and head back home now. I will be available online more often now and will meet you all in the next meeting.

I can't wait to get back to I2B work!

Eli's weapon models for the demo

01


02


03














04

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ship Selection



I'm currently working on the ship selection scene. The work I'm undertaking involves creating unique buttons and rotating ship animations for the users to observe the look and specifications of all available ships. Certain ships may need to be unlocked by reaching a certain stage or by making a certain achievement.

The interface is a work in progress, the flow chart shows what needs to happen in this scene.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Map Creation

For those who are interested in creating any maps for the demo using XML, you are welcome to volunteer even if you do not know how to use XML, this may be your opportunity to learn. Until either the official or my personal map editor is ready, manual use of XML is required to place anything in the engine.

If you would like to learn more please let me know

Texturing Tasks




We are going to need to animate and render entities for the game map; mostly weapons, spacecraft, space stations and turrets. Further details are going to be posted in the forum. 3D models such as Eli's above need texturing. See the forum, graphics section.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Scores and event displays



The basic requirement of the players in the demo is to destroy a number of targets in a space zone; each target leading to the next in a pathway to completion. The players will also be interested in obtaining score for what they achieve in order to differentiate themselves from their competition and to aim for candy in the form of a first place position showcased on the website.

We can submit the score to MySQL via a HTTP post to a PHP page from within the game. Preferably these players will register themselves with a username and password in order for the PHP to autheticate and process the MySQL query online; otherwise guest accounts could be generated with limited features; further submission details can be discussed later.


The score sprite tile shown is set up in the demo_assets.xml file to store each figure in an animation element. Using the necessary actions and triggers, we can spawn the score entity at the position of the destroyed target with a matching score property. The score entity should gradually rise upwards to move out of any distracting explosions without being to difficult to read; before disappearing after rougly 3 seconds, or how ever long is best. The score can be added to the player's total score since the demo's start; and added to their total score online.

The rating used to determine the best player could be calculated by the amount of score earned divided by the amount of games played. In other words; the less games played with higher scores, the better; making it impossible to cheat the rankings by eliminating an easy target over and over again in repeated new games.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

More ship prototypes for the demo


There are a number of single component ships being modelled for the demo's AI and Human factions.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Philip Murray Returns

Well he is rather busy; we will need to first have a few discussions to get him up to date and then arrange small tasks for him to assist with.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Repository Downtime

The repository is going doing as a precautionary measure today for 4 hours.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

General Window Archive






I've created some general purpose windows in Cinema 4D, 180 in total, uploaded in the Archive/GraphicPrototypes/Manufactured Elements/Windows folder. Feel free to use these grey scale renders to make textures and height maps for entities with windows.


You can also access to original C4D file, or request a .OBJ. I have saved the first 5 as OBJs.

As a reminder; the WIP prefab folder is where the basic 3d primitive models are. The archive is where more complex game ready objects (and textures) are stored. At the moment, the archive content is geared towards the demo, not the 3d engine, so the models there currently have an excess of polygons, but when working on the 3d game, a little more time will be spent keeping the polygon count down.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Leapfrog



This is The Leapfrog, she's the example ship I'm using to explain the 3d modular ship- which, as I've said, isn't really much different from that in 2d.

The leapfrog is made of up tile-like map data which defines the hull (as you can see from the skeletal version), to which objects (like the canons, the accordion airlock, the engines, etc.) and decals (like the "L-52" and "Frog") are affixed.

The hull configuration consists of one byte per cube (as seen in the skeletal version- 3 bytes of header data define the bounding box). These pieces, when rendered, access different models that fit that configuration (each relatively simple) as defined by the type. To these are applied the appropriate multitextures as defined by the type and in the map data.

The hull types themselves are stored as in a 'palette' of materials referenced by two bytes in this example (we could probably safely scale this back to one byte- 256 different kinds of armor per ship being more than adequate, as it's unlikely that even more scavenging players would often reach it).
This is primarily an issue of game logic, the style of model only representing one byte in each type- other values include things like damage resistance, weight, materials, etc. (these are of little concern to the rendering, so I won't address them here)

After the model has been determined, and the base texture, more local map data defines colour (one byte)- basically 'paint job'- as well as damage/grunge (done through multitexturing) and joint fusing (which I'll address later).

From there, various items (decals and objects) are affixed to the hull, which acts as a matrix of hard points- they have different logistical considerations, which I won't go into here.

The Leapfrog is a small ship- comparable to a simple starting ship. Her map data is only about 1.5 kb (this can't be compressed much further, as it's almost entirely non-redundant binary). The average ship would be about four times her size, though map data for such a ship would only be about 2 or 3 kb. A large ship would be about ten times her size (bear in mind this means more 'decks' and not necessarily much larger on the screen)- probably between 4 and 5 kb. A very large ship might be 10 kb- though once they get large enough, there's some redundancy in structure that would lend itself to some compression). An asymmetrical, and very complicated, space station might be 50 kb. A planet might be several hundred kb.

Monday, March 16, 2009

-nix-

Actually, not very relevant.

Friday, March 13, 2009

3D Rendering

Hi I2B members,
I'm Riccardo and I recently joined the I2B project as a 3D graphics programmer.
I'm 31 and I'm Italian, but at the moment I'm living in the UK. I have a true passion for videogames, I have always been playing them, and I'm really excited to join such a big project. I looked at the code and arts, and I was impressed. I'm very glad to work together with such talented people.
My first contribution to the game is an X file loader and renderer with OpenGL. Here it is a screenshot of the very first 3D rendering. I'll do my best to improve it soon.


See you on the next MSN meeting, or on the boards.
And forgive me for my crap English, I just moved in UK some weeks ago and I still have to practise the language ;)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Programming Strides

We have been quite for some time over here in the programming department, but we haven't been sleeping... at least not for the whole period.

As some of you already know Riccardo has joined our group as a graphics programmers and has already started making measurable contributions. Most notably, he is now working on our 3D engine to render .X models.

Meanwhile Thales has been busy building the last needed major feature required for the demo namely the action to shoot projectiles. This is almost done now (in revision 1148) and can be tested in Startup.Script4 (press 'x' to shoot, z & c to rotate the turret).

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Maintenance Underway

Our repository server is down for maintenance and should be back up and running in less than an hour.

Friday, February 27, 2009

PvE - General Mission Map Flowchart





This flowchart breaks down how a general mission will work. Although adjustments may need to occur, it reveals a number of multi-player actions. Dialogue and battles have not been described in this one.

Monday, February 23, 2009

PvE - General Zone Map Flowchart





This flow chart begins to discuss what takes place within the PvE aspect of I2B during events taking place within zone maps. Although general, further flowcharts based upon processes within this, will break things down and hopefully reveal important actions unforeseen.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Map Scene Components


Components for map scene design.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Switching Scenes

I've recently separated the scene loading functionality from the scene switching to allow pre-loading of scenes. As usual issues have surfaced but today Thales nailed the last one of them and we can now switch scenes at runtime while keeping the old scenes in their exact same state.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Creating visual primitives






Firstly I will be creating 100+ basic primitives. Then I will use these primitives to create small entities like gadgets, weapons, map sections and symbols. Finally, the small entities will be used to make the complex entities, modular ships and map scenery.

Basic primitives. Any 3D modeller is welcome to join in by copying what I'm doing, and placing the work as I have done in the WIP/3DObjects/Detail folder. The themes for primitives range from machinery to nature. There are JPG previews, .OBJ files for editor portability , source files and .X files for the 3D engine. For the 2D engine, I will texture and render PNG files later, along with any texture artists who join.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

MSG and Edit GUI assets completed

Message box and its transition, along with an edit box background added to the repository.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I2B menu logo added

I've created logo for our scenes such as main menu, options, new game, credits etc. Pieces of the logo floats into the screen from a distance and forms the logo.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

New Programmer

Hi I2b members,
I am a new member in your group, joined as programmer.I was given the task
for integrating jpeg images by i2b software lead,which i completed and commited the code.I really like the way and the structure in which you all do your work...Its really very professional :-). I am 24/m/india..have done my BS in computer science,very passionate about
games.Will get to know each one of you shortly.....

ENJOY GAMERS.....:-)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Forums Reopened

We have re-opened our ancient forums after upgrading, refining, and removing all the dust.

It can be accessed at http://Boards.I2Black.com. At this time the forums are for our internal discussions only, but we may open public boards as well in the future.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Menu logo

Ok, one minute everything is running normal on my machine, the next minute I'm having problems seeing anything in the game engine and I can't save .pngs from one of my editors. Something tells me my graphics card drivers might need an update.

I was about to inspect the main menu logo in the engine; I was going to put a black hole behind it and have the logo travel through it and into position. So far I've just added the logo. Can someone tell me how it looks above the buttons; is it efficient? is it aligned?

When I resolve this graphics card issue I'll add the black hole (which is currently too large at 7mb) and the button updates.

Human Spawn Icon

Icons

Here is the set of icons as per size and description requirements.