Monday, July 10, 2006

Cosmic Engine Demo Release

Well our beta is finally live. You can give it a whirl at:

What can it say? Well I'll start with the bad (since that is what most people will notice first) and then get to the good.


There's no game. Yeah it's a engine demo, 'nuff said. Check back for more game later.

It's buggy, oh yeah, it's beta. Beta = buggy. Any bug you find, we already know about it :-) Putting this out was an effort in developmental transparency. We wanted to get it out there to the people, it's been in closed rooms for what seems like forever.

Speaking of transparency...

Transparency isn't completely correct yet, most noticeably in the opening sequence when the text panel comes down. Oh well that was a late addition.

There is no networking. WHAT you say?! That's right single player only (if you can even call it that). Again this is because we set a deadline to make it public and that had to be turned off until we can set up a server to connect to. As I wrote before, we are using DarkStar and our object message layer, so the networking is working fine. THE DarkStar Man (Jeff K.) is getting close to allowing us to hijack some Sun server loving, so networking will mark the next major milestone public release (and actually introduction playability as a game feature!)

Performance. There is ONE huge performance issue and here it is. Because the ground is deformable, and I needed to work on adding features vs. this fix, all the geometry is dynamic all the time. That is, it all must be moved across the bus and therefore certain views on certain hardware really hangs. When the world is all static, 60hz is cleared on all target hardware, but as posted it's gonna slow down sometimes. This is the biggest performance killer and it is an issue in how I am using Java3D. The world needs to be set up not using J3DBuffer (NIO) or with a different J3D hint or something. One reason I really wanted to get this out was so I could bother J3D guys about this one issue.


X3D exports and loader are working famously, thanks much again to Aaron and his RawKee Maya X3D exporter.

Physics and collisions. They work for about 99% of the possible execution paths. That is, you CAN break it if you try. This is the kind of thing that just gets ever refined test after test. If you want to break it, try this. Hold down the key while driving. Maybe jump sometimes. Rise, Repeat.

Particles. They work and are efficient. They need more ark work and all the characters still have the same green feathers. That's just dumb, I'll to get on fixing that one.

Deformable world. Yeah baby, you can deform ANYTHING in the world. And you can break it up bad too, there is no limit. So this can bust collision, screw up physics, all that. By the way, “r” reloads the world, i.e. Undoes your damage if you want to keep testing with out a complete exit/restart.

The glow effect on the ground under the gryos. This is was an important effect because it works basically like (fake) shadows would and shows a decent graphically capability. I don't know of another J3D demo that shows that and its' too bad. BTW you can toggle that with "o" (actually I just changed that, but I'll put it back tomorrow)

Many others too numerous to mention and that nobody cares about so I'm done for now. Of course I'll be posting all kinds of fixes from here on out so you can watch these things slowly melt away in the near future, but in the meantime get over there and blast some space avian tail feathers!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Cosmic Engine Demo Release Date Set

3) Cosmic Birdie Demo - now I've played this, and its fun! Are we going to see the GDC/JavaOne demo release any time soon?


I guess I can say this now, there will be a semi-public release after this holiday week. So I'll go ahead and commit it to Monday, July 10th.

A couple notes though...

This will be single player only with very little "game". That is, the build will not allow networked play isn't really set into gmae round format. It's "open" play in an arena level. There are many reasons for this, but the main reason is for testing purposes. Most people that will be testing will only need to get in and out and see what's happening with the graphics, physics, collision, motion, UI, and gameplay elements. Also, the connecting and hosting UI is a mess and unusable for all but the internal team. The next major public release will have playable networking.