GMT et HexWar ont diffusé la semaine dernière quelques nouvelles captures d’écrans de la future version informatique de Command & Colors – Ancients. Images malheureusement de petite taille, permettant tout juste d’apercevoir ce que pourrait donner le jeu. On remarquera tout de même que le terrain sera moins vide, avec désormais des arbres (qui de plus seront animés) ainsi que des rochers, et qu’il pourra aussi bénéficier de différents niveaux d’élévation. Enfin un autre capture d’écran permet elle d’avoir un aperçu d’une ébauche de l’interface.
Pour en savoir un peu plus sur Command and Colors – Ancients, qui comme on le voit est encore en plein chantier, voyez les notes des développeurs ci-après puis reportez-vous aux fiches de la version avec pions et plateau en carton.
I have another Dev Diary for Commands & Colors Ancients digital update this month, from our friends at HexWar. This one’s on how they’re creating and enhancing terrain and environment in the game
Dev Diary 3
The aim in recent development has been to bring the setting of each battle to life. We need to make sure we have all the tools needed to develop the scenarios, and that all the assets going into the environment both look great and perform well across each platform. We have also been working on the terrain rules and scenario special rules.
We have added some environment details by including trees and rocks scattered about the battlefield. Each of the trees is animated to give the terrain some life and draw the player into the setting and current battlefield. This is actually quite challenging to implement. The CPU is quite sensitive to the number of animated objects on screen at once. However new engine features in Unity allow the trees to be drawn with less processing using GPU instancing. This process makes use of more modern graphics cards and moves the heavy work for animating and drawing these objects from the CPU to the GPU.
The shape of the terrain itself is generated from a heightmap which can be modified in the level editor. Terrain features such as hills and rivers are selected from a texture atlas. The stamp is then placed on the heightmap in the correct position. We then take this heightmap and deform the terrain mesh in the shader.
The deformed terrain is a challenge for the user interface to work with, as the game requires we can click and select a hex very accurately. Each individual soldier must also interact with the heightmap for their movement over the new terrain to be believable. To achieve both of these goals we create a collision mesh and a navigation mesh for each scenario. The collision mesh accurately matches the terrain and can capture the clicks or touches from the user. The navigation mesh is used by each soldier to plan a path to walk over the terrain. This makes each battlefield a believable world to interact with. The player issues orders onto the battlefield and then each individual soldier will follow those orders.
Terrain doesn’t just look great, it has to have the right rules to have impact on the gameplay. For example some tiles may be impassible, or may affect the number of combat dice that are rolled. Having a digital version of the game is great because the computer can handle the combat calculations and enforce the rules correctly. The next step is to communicate each of these rules clearly in the interface, this is especially helpful for new players to the game trying to get a handle on the game rules.
In the future we will be showing off the user interface. For now, here’s a sneak peek!