Progress report

Discusion of Pishtech's game VR Sportfishing

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Progress report

Postby paul » Tue Feb 09, 2010 5:01 am

I want to give everybody a quick update on how the new features are coming:

Have you ever started a project and found everything you do leads you to five more things you need to do? That's how this update is going. The list of things I need to do keeps growing, but it's still coming along. For example, adding the first river meant adding the ability to walk freely, since it's the sort of river you'd most likely fish from shore or while wading. I've got free walking working now, but that proved more complicated than I anticipated. It was fine on flat land, but didn't look so hot on slopes and of course the landscape is almost all sloped. Tonight I finished changes to adjust the walking animation on the fly to compensate for slopes. That's a matter of measuring the slope between the feet, lowering the body to keep the lower foot on the ground, and adding additional bending at the hip, knee and ankle of the uphill leg to a level appropriate for the slope. It's not as fluid or natural as it could be with a motion capture system, but it's a lot better than walking around on hills with flat-floor motion and in time I can refine it further. Next I'll need to put some limits on the amount of slope you can walk up or down, and the depth to which you can wade.

This also opens up an issue of walking. It's a long hike from the bait shop to the waterfall. I haven't decided yet if I'll leave it that way or allow you to pick from several starting points when fishing from shore. Since you can save your game at any time and place I'm tempted to leave it as it is, so if you want to fish up by the waterfall you'll have to hike there.

Here's another can of worms this river opens up, but it will lead to a fun new feature: Wading means waders. I could edit the models of each of the actors to add waders and retexture them to have a version wearing waders, but it's a lot of repeated work to do that to all the characters. That got me thinking that it's time to improve the models in general. Rather than add waders to a bunch of separate characters I want to build one new character that can be all characters. By that I mean I'm going to add more bones to the skeleton that will allow me to programatically adjust the features, and make certain parts like the hair and hats separate models, and use separate texture files for skin, eyes, hair, shirts, pants, shoes, etc. What that will mean in the game is that you'll be able to customize your character. Want a wider nose, higher ears, smaller cheek bones, a different skin color, facial hair? You'll be able to personalize your character however you like.

As you might guess that one is going to take quite a bit of work, but I think it will be worth it. I'm not going to wait until that's done to let people try out the hiking and wading on the first river, though. We'll just have to put up with wet blue jeans for the first beta test of the river.

I'm also working on improving the appearance of the water when the reflections are turned off. That's not quite done, but it's much better than it was.

I wish I could give you a date for the first beta of the river, but I'm still running into new complications and it's really hard to say right now.

Paul
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Re: Progress report

Postby gonefishin » Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:14 am

These new features sound nice, but I hope existing things are improved upon, especially fish fights. I actually enjoy VRSF more for its nature simulation than actually catching fish. The fish don't put up much of a fight; there's no action, no engaging animation or sound... just, reel, here you go, a fish. The VR element is nice, but doesn't give me the thrill of catching fish. I'm going to be honest... I'm spending my time playing Bass Pro Shops - The Strike, even though it's not as intelligent of a simulator as VRSF. Why? Because the gameplay is a lot more engaging. The fishing controller action is simply awesome. I feel the rush I get when I catch a fish in reel life.

Complaints, I know. But hey, I'm a consumer doing my part :)

The mapping system doesn't work in the Sept. 2009 build. I've yet to try the December build, so maybe that issue's been addressed.

I'm optimistic about future updates. I'll take a wait-and-see approach. I know Paul is working hard. I will continue promoting his games.
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Re: Progress report

Postby codafish » Wed Feb 10, 2010 5:48 am

I prefer shore fishing and don't make making the character walk to the right spot. It would be interesting to see other animals around the place like birds.

I'd be interested in any ability for VR Sportfishing people to interact with each other using the network.

For example:

- fishing derbies where real people participate
- online fishing trips for fun
- ability to use chat
- ability to take pictures of best catches and to share them
- ability to take scenery shots and share them
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Re: Progress report

Postby paleodust » Sun Feb 28, 2010 4:31 am

How's it coming Paul? Can't wait to see what you've got going on in the Skunkworks! 8)
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Re: Progress report

Postby paul » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:00 am

It's coming - I've got lateral rod movement working, but I'm still making some tweaks. The shore fishing makes the first-person control and camera views more complicated. I've switched it so clicking the right mouse button turns the mouse-look on and off, so with one click you can leave it in that mode, or lock it in place while you're fishing to keep the camera from moving when you really want to move the rod. The camera won't automatically follow the bait any more, so that's more realistic. I've been working on the fish AI for the river, too. For one thing Fishlogix didn't know it was a river and predicted the trout would all be dead by mid-summer - which they would if a clear and shallow body of water weren't fed by cold springs and/or at high alititudes. Now the game lets Fishlogix know it's a river, and to factor in a steady supply of cold spring water, so the trout are happier. When resting the fish now correctly stay facing upstream and swim as hard an necessary to stay even with the current. Next is getting them to factor in the current when selecting where to hang out, which Fishlogix can help with, and getting them to cruise occasionally.

I've almost finished a new system for placing objects in the world. When I'm done with the fish AI and walking interface I'll load up the landscape with trees, bushes, grass and logs and boulders, get the waterfall and dam in there and let people give it a try. I still wish I could name a date, but I've just got to keep crunching on it.

Tight lines,

Paul
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Re: Progress report

Postby Fisherman » Tue Mar 02, 2010 4:06 am

That sounds great, Paul. I'm sure it will be worth the wait....
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Re: Progress report

Postby reelfish074 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:40 pm

sounds great! but what do you mean "The camera won't automatically follow the bait any more"
what mode will it do that? because if you are in first-person mode, it would be very annoying to keep moving your head towards the lure.
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Re: Progress report

Postby bman123 » Wed Mar 03, 2010 2:54 am

sounds good what species are there going to be for sure
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Re: Progress report

Postby paul » Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:48 am

When I first release a beta of the river it will only have rainbow trout, but this beta is just one step in a larger update. In the second wave of changes I'll add brown trout, probably brook trout, and a meadow stream plus fly fishing; in the third wave I'll add a bigger river based on the upper Mississippi, adding catfish and possibly carp. Then in one more wave of updates I'll add a river modeled on the Columbia which will add salmon, steelhead and white sturgeon. I'll release each of these updats as a beta until they're all complete, then make it the official release.

I think the later waves will go faster than this first one. Adding moving water with current effects, fish AI for current, walking and wading, and the overhauled system for scenery objects has been a ton of work. Once that's done adding new rivers and even species is comparitively easy. The fly fishing will be a lot of work, though. All of this will make it easier for people to create their own lakes and rivers, too.

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Re: Progress report

Postby bman123 » Thu Mar 04, 2010 2:53 am

thanks paul do u have a guess on time of beta???????????
thanks Brandon
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Re: Progress report

Postby paul » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:27 am

I keep thinking I'm within a week or two of the first round of beta and then I uncover some new issues. I'll do my best to get this first river out for testing in about two weeks, though.

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Re: Progress report

Postby paleodust » Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:45 am

Wow! That sounds like a major undertaking. Thanks again for your efforts to make this project rock!
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Re: Progress report

Postby reelfish074 » Thu Mar 04, 2010 2:43 pm

WHOSAIDWAHBOUTSTURGEONCATFISHCARPSALMONANDTROUT!?

anyways, sounds great! can you add some smallmouth into the new river?
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Re: Progress report

Postby bman123 » Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:57 pm

thanks paul and smallies would be great!!!
Thank you
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Re: Progress report

Postby paul » Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:03 am

Still plugging away - the good news is the new object system (for trees, rocks, logs, buildings, all sorts of things) is working well now. As of tonight the current, depth, object position and collision data are all loading and saving correctly. It looks like the new system makes rendering scenery objects quite a bit faster than the old method. I've got a Vista laptop with integrated graphics that never could handle the game with water effects turned up, but now it can, reasonably well at least. In fact it seems to be such a big improvement that I'll probably redo all the existing lakes, remapping the trees, weed beds, etc. That actually won't take long with the new system for adding objects to the map. There's a bit more to do on this system, mostly making objects fade into view as you approach rather than popping up when you get close enough to view them, which will be a nice improvement. Part of this object system is handling collision checking for every object must faster now, so logs, trees, stumps, etc. are all potential obstacles for your boat, and may be barriers that you'll have to walk around. I spent most of the weekend troubleshooting the collision system. It was working overall, but not smoothly, so if you walked on the dam (yes, there's a dam now) it was as if there were a bunch of invisible bumps on the ground, but I've got that solved. The fish are mostly behaving in the current now. I've still got to connect the current data to Fishlogix, which will help the fish choose appropriate levels of current. The trees, logs and boulders will all affect fish behavior when all is said and done. This has been a lot more complicated than I expected (working some late nights lately), but it's proving to be worth the effort.

Tomorrow I intend to get the waterfall done. There's a bit more I've got to work out with the current, some memory cleanup to do, well, there's a very long list since everything I do leads to several more I want to do, but I'm not going to wait until everything is perfect to let people have a look. This Saturday I'll try to put out a beta (or maybe I should call it an Alpha since there are quite a few more things I plan to do.)

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