It’s hard to go by in our times without hearing something about politics. New law here, meeting of the heads there, corruption scandal over there. But usually it all starts with one and the same thing – elections. If you want to get in and stay in “the game”, you have to get elected. That is what this game is all about – winning the elections. Any means necessary.
This is the game me, Alessandro Suraci and Cyrill Averbeck have created during Gameplay Design course at Chalmers University. The game revolves around the world of politics, parties and elections. The whole essence of the game is the decision between standing up for your party or… well, yourself. This game is played in teams (which are considered to be political parties) and in order to win you have to be both the best within your party and your party has to be the best. This leads to amount of interesting dilemmas – should you try to crush opposing party or backstab your colleague, should you try to be hard working and honest politician or go dirty and expect to get away with it. It is fun, addictive, beautiful and sarcastic game for anyone who is at least a little bit aware of the politics!
We have published our game on The Game Crafter website. It’s quite expensive, unless you are living in the USA. Here is the link:
This is the application that my group have created while doing Interaction Design Project. This application is an attempt to explore the possibilities of enhancing festivity of running events and increase the interaction between spectators and runners. You can download and check it out on Play Store 🙂
Alas, the first year of my master program has ended and I have decided to share one additional project I have been working on the last half of the year.
Actually, the course that I want to talk is Advanced Computer Graphics, which was extending through out both Study Periods of this semester, thus I am posting about it just now, when it is finished.
The course was essentially about doing a project work in a field of computer graphics with a chosen topic. And I chose spherical harmonics, because I was fascinated after our teacher introduced it. How powerful and fast it could be to make nice effects, such as world-space ambient occlusion and inter-reflection. Thus I have been working ever since the first seminars of this course in the end of February.
I’ve decided to try to work with OpenGL wrapper for Java – LWJGL. Thus I was able to work quite seamlessly both on my Windows and Linux installation (which I switched quite often). To begin with, I’ve wrote some helper classes to hold the information about vertices, vertex array objects and so on. But then the first problem occurred – I couldn’t find a decent model file loader for Java. Thus, I wrote one myself. I’ve spent quite a lot of time, but I wrote an OBJ file loader including with materials and textures. It is not fully finished (e.g. doesn’t support smoothing groups and such), but it was and is working for my needs. Later on I’ve implemented the classical rendering (the switch between classical and spherical harmonics could be seen in first part of the demo). I did that because I wanted to have some kind of point of origin, with what I could compare results of spherical harmonics (SH) rendering. And I wanted to test my OBJ loader without delving deep into SH calculations. After I’ve completed the classical rendering and OBJ loader, I’ve continued to work with implementation of SH.
I am not going to explain all the mathematics behind the SH because even for the course mates it was boring 😀 Thus I will tell what I have done with SH implementation. First of all, I’ve implemented all the methods required to calculate and use SH, but then, with increasing complexity of models, calculation times were going over the top. To construct SH for simple model with <1000 triangles would take about a minute or so. Thus I proceeded with research and implementation of ray tracing acceleration structures. That is construction of SH heavily relies on ray tracing from each of the model’s vertices. Because I’ve already had a small class representing axis aligned bounding box (AABB), I’ve decided to go for hierarchical AABB acceleration structure. According to my research it is not the most efficient structure, but it was efficient enough for me. After I have completed that, super complex models with hundreds of thousands triangles would be ray traced in a matter of minutes, thus it was sufficient enough. But still, the result of ray tracing is more or less pre-processing of the model.
That is why I have implemented SH saving/loading. Very simple and plain text format (I was inspired by OBJ format, thus very similar) which stores all the coefficients for SH for a certain OBJ file. If SH file is not found or is not representing the OBJ file (hash check! 🙂 ), all the SH harmonics are recalculated and saved again. This literally reduced pre-processing time almost to zero. Because of some complex models and high amount of spherical harmonics data, sometimes files with SH coefficients exceeds hundreds of megabytes, thus it takes a bit of time to load them up.
So, after core technology was done, I headed for the implementation of somewhat of a game. Downloaded several freeware models, created some myself. Created some what system for having complex models with separate parts, implemented interface, AI for enemy tank and even added fog effect so that background would blend seamlessly. I was almost ready to go. Almost.
After the supervision it was suggested for me to make something more, thus I have additionally implemented a skybox. It was rather easy to implement, but actually I was impressed about how it changed the feeling of the game. Because the skybox changed the ambient color of the background, I had to change the color of the fog and tweak the fog itself, but it was worth it. Then I have continued with the most interesting suggestion for me – screen-space post-process pass for volumetric shadows. Technically it is simple radial blur, but after some struggle with framebuffer objects I have implemented it and combined with the skybox it ended up to look super cool. At last, as a final touch I’ve added some textures to make it less plain and a small bar for displaying player’s health.
Below you can see the tech demo – a small video which I have compiled out of all small videos which I’ve taken through out the development.
Study Period 2 is nearing to it’s end, thus I decided to post about what I’ve been doing. Well, I’ll post only half of the stuff what I have been doing, because the other half is still in progress as one of the courses I read this SP is going to span over the next SP, too.
So, what I was doing? Simulation Engines. Course where we were supposed to build a simulation engine. We were working in teams, quite large, I would say. My team was made out of 6 members. After initial discussions we decided to make a fun “build and shoot” game, where you have a cannon, which you shoot, a heart, which you protect, and a bunch of building blocks which you use to protect your heart. Oh, by the way, each member had to implement different part of the engine, and in our case, those parts were software engineering (gluing part), artificial intelligence (smart part), physics (realistic part), graphics (cool part), multimedia (sounds and GUI part) and networking (social part). And I was responsible for the social part, networking. My extension idea and purpose was to create seamless connection between players, so that there would be no hosting or joining, nor lobbies or master servers. But that’s enough of talking. Here are some screenshots. And, of course, download links are below.
As it was suppose to be, Sp1 has ended. Last week was literally a mess. I think I’ve beaten all my “stay indoors for x days” records, because I did that for 3 days in a row… Yep, it’s not that much, but it is a lot for me. So what was last week?
Today (OK, it is after the midnight so it is officially yesterday) we had a GUI/Game prototyping workshop. The task was simply create a game in several hours. We decided to take one of the classic games and somehow enhance it’s gameplay and create neat and clean graphics. After hours of work and stressful last 15 minutes, here is what we’ve got – ping pong competitive and sometimes cooperative game for 4 players. Although this version is slightly modified and without sound (because of legal reasons), but it is still more or less the real deal 😀
By the way, there is no instructions in game, so here it is:
Last week in Prototyping course we had a lecture and workshop on 3D printing. And we were planning to play some RPG on Sunday. And we were quite short on dice. That is how idea of modeling and printing my own custom die was born. The first thing I wanted to try is to make empty die with numbers on the sides and some cool thing (like small castle) inside. But then I realized that such kind of a die might be terrible unbalanced, that’s why I sticked just to the numbers on the sides. Here are some screenshots of modeling and the actual result. I am very very happy about this.