Random thoughts: walls and more
Ok.. so we're going to have walls that can be placed by players anywhere they want. That means we need a model for each type of wall. I was thinking on the latest of my recent bus journeys (bout 3 hours of staring at the seat in front of you) that hey.. maybe this is my job. So I started thinking how exactly we'd get it to work.
Now the nicest way to have this would be to have the wall slowly build over the time period necessary to construct it. One way I thought of doing this was having the model animated. Say from frame 1 - 100 the wall will be built. This will provide a nice steady build. No waiting an hour and suddenly another quarter of the wall appears. I was also thinking that these here walls are gonna degrade over time as well. So why not have frame 100-200 show the degradation of the wall until it eventually disappears. Frame 200 will just be a few rocks left in the vague form of a wall in any case so it suddenly disappearing won't be too big a deal.
As long as there's no problem with that method then I can get to work on a wall we can use to test the engine when it gets to that stage. It must also be "tileable" so for example if the base model is 1 metre in length and you want to build a wall 5 metres in length it can repeat 5 times without looking bad.
When you want to paint a wall you'll have to plaster it first. This flattens the face selected and gives it a plaster bump map with a grey colour. (no colour texture). From there you can pick out any colour you want and just put it in as the base colour. The texture in the wall will be given by the bump map so it won't appear as a bland texture.
Any problems so far with implementing any of this?
I think it would be a good idea to have a starting town mostly run down (buildings around 50% degraded). There would be 15-20 houses in it that can be claimed by the first to arrive. This will give the first players on the server a nice boost and will pursuade them to stick around if nothing else. However to actually benefit from these houses they would have to renovate them. Seeing as they would be very basic houses (stone and wood) the work could be done by the player themselves after gathering the necessary resources.
This brings up another question about how a town is actually formed. I would like to see a system whereby a town hall must be constructed. Once this is constructed by one or more people (expense to build must be tested so we are not flooded by 1 man towns) the leader of the town gets the option to name it and set the town centre (within a certain radius of the town hall).
This town centre will have two roads going through it. These will primarily be just a guiding hand as to where to build the first houses. After that roads can be placed by the town leaders.
This leads on to something that has been brought up before. Town specific constructions such as roads or public amenities or improving the town hall (I would like to see that as a step to upping the status of the town itself provided the population is high enough). A tax on all people that reside within the town could be sent to the town halls coffers from which it can be spent on whatever the town leaders deem necessary. The tax level can be set by the leaders (low to attract newcomers, high to improve the town more quickly).
Ok. So for example we have our starting town. The first 20 (or so) people on the server take up residence there. A 2 day election is called for a town leader. This gives them time to get to know eachother and for nominees to campaign among them. During the last day votes can be cast by going to the town hall and selecting from any of the nominees.
Once the leader is chosen he can elect people to the council. By this stage we'd hope to have a town of around 50 people so perhaps 4 or 5 council spots will be open. The exact size of the council should depend on the towns population.
Tax is gathered from the residents. Even if they have no monetary gains from selling products I would recommend that experience gained by them should be taxed at the rate and converted into gold for use by the town. So by 2 or 3 days in the town should have enough money to start repairing the town centre and town hall as well as the roads in the town. The house repairs should be left to the individual residents.
Now, two weeks down the line our little town is really starting to grow. Maybe 200 residents have placed their houses within its bounds. Technology is booming and the first shops are opening for business. Time this village grew up. After passing a certain population size the leader is given the option of expanding the town hall and thereby increasing the status of the town and increasing the territory that it controls.
Ok. Started rambling a bit there but that's how I think usually.
One more thing for now.
What are the chances that we will have some sort of blooming effect in the game engine? There are several different options ranging from the relatively easy to include post frame edit to the full scale High Dynamic Range Rendering seen in HL2s Lost Coast and the UT 3 engine.
Now I'm assuming the latter is not really feasible for this engine so how about the post frame option?
All this requires is that any pixel in the frame with a brightness higher then 95% (or thereabouts) is blurred out over the surrounding pixels. I've used this when rendering in 3DS and it works suprisingly well. As long as it doesnt drop the framerates too much I would definitely recommend using this.
I just think that we need it in the game to keep up with what will be the standard of graphics in the coming year or two.
" There's nothing like a bit of destiny to get the ball rolling " - Terry Pratchett - The Wyrd Sisters