Week 14

This week's high point was the integration of the exact mapping rendering routine. For those of you unfamiliar with the technique of exact mapping, or Z-mapping, it is a rendering method that helps correct deformations imposed by perspective on textures. Maps can get stretched or crushed in the process, making them rather unattractive. While Z-mapping corrects these flaws, few games use it because it eats up a lot of machine power. Our algorithm, which also uses Gouraud (which let us play with the lighting) hardly takes more time than regular mapping, but the quality of the rendering leaves no room for comparison.
The city is growing, thanks to the work of Olivier and Pierre, and a player can now start walking around. The number of facets is increasing, we are beginning to work on the different routines needed to maintain the frame rate. Fabien has programmed a "cone" of vision, which is a routine that eliminates all objects beyond the edges of the screen. This lets us increase the size of the city as much as we want without sacrificing the frame rate. But the main routine will involve elimination of covered objects. Currently, when one building is in front of another (thus hiding it), the program calculates and displays them both, even the one that is hidden. An elimination routine will get rid of the unneeded calculations. We hope to get a savings of 60 to 80% of machine time in this way.

Lots of new stuff this week involving the game. It is slowly coming into form, and watching it progress day after day is a real pleasure. Vehicles now move around throughout the streets, and we are hoping to integrate the first people walking in the streets, next week. Thanks to a lot of technical and graphical work, we should be getting to a point where it can handle a large number of vehicles and people, thus giving us a vibrant city in real-time - a first for a video game.

The Game Pay is beginning to come together too - Fabien and I have set up the basis for the interface between different modes (Hand to Hand combat, Gun Combat, Psy Power and Sorcery). It's still rudimentary, because we don't have all the animations yet (Philippe is working on it), but the interface as designed on paper seems to work. The player's character now has about 20 animation sequences. The main job for our animator lies in creating transitions between animations so that transitions can take place without skipping.

In conclusion, we do have some bad news: we had to give up on the Imagina film project. In order to stay on schedule with it, we would have had to put the game on hold for the week and concentrate all our energy on the film. The team voted unanimously to keep working on the game. We will still finish the film, with a less hectic pace - by launching the calculations at night. When it is done we will use it to promote Omikron with publishers. We will be putting some extracts for downloading on the site very soon.

Sorry about the lack of new pictures last week. Reading and rereading the Game Design before sending it off to publishers took all my time. And the major progress made in the game development this week took all of the graphic artist's time. However, Antoine has promised to finish the routine that lets us get screen-shots of the game. We will have real-time images within the week (I promise, otherwise I'll give you Antoine's e-mail address and you can gripe directly to him). Thanks for all your many, enthusiastic e-mail messages. Keep on writing to us!

Autor: David Cage
Source: Quantic Dream

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01/06/1997 Week 14
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10/07/1996 Week 1

Week 14 Monday, January 06, 1997

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