Skip to main content

Procedural terrain for Real Time Strategy.

The current phase of development is taking longer than I'd like because of the difficulty of designing procedural terrain for Real Time Strategy games.





In many RTS games water is impassable, this makes bridges very important strategic locations. But the flip side of this is that units that can go through or over water become valuable too.

Unfortunately it's not so easy to just let any unit become amphibious. If a unit can go through water it needs different pathfinding, it also needs to know the difference between moving in to water from the shore, and moving in to water from a bridge. Most RTS games are not true 3D. So bridges, though they look like they are raised up above the surface of the water are usually not. Driving your tank over the side of the bridge and in to the water would give some funky results.

So I need to mark tiles as water, but also mark bridge tiles. An option would be to add impassible tiles along the edges of the bridge, so you just can't drive off or on to them. Another option would be to hard code amphibious units not to go from bridge to water or vice versa.

Another problem is to keep the nice flowing appearance of rivers while making them modular. I want them to curve but that means either writing a lot of heavy code (which will get executed when you start, lagging the game start up more than I'd like) to curve them by hand, or cutting them in to sections and treating them just like terrain tiles.

The same issue is attached to roads if I want to handle them as objects instead of just different textured terrain, though there's the problem of making them intersect...

Other problems include placing and keeping track of walls, buildings and such. Also code for more types of terrain such as fields and woodlands.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Make your game models POP with fake rim lighting.

I was watching one of my son's cartoons today and I noticed they models were using serious amounts of simulated rim lighting. Even though it wasn't a dark scene where you'd usually see such an effect, the result was actually quite effective.



The white edge highlighting and ambient occluded creases give a kind of high contrast that is similar to, but different from traditional comic book ink work.


I'll be honest, I don't know if there's a specific term for this effect in 3d design, since my major at university was in traditional art. I learned it as part of photography.


You can find plenty of tutorials on "what is rim lighting" for photography. It basically means putting your main sources of light behind your subject so that they are lit around the edges. It can produce very arresting photographs, either with an obvious effect when used on a dark subject...


..,or as part of a fully lit scene to add some subtle highlights. See how alive the subject look…

How to... build a strong art concept.

So you want to make some art assets for your game. The first on the list is a Steampunk Revolver for your main character to shoot up Cthulhu with. Quickly opening your internet browser you start with a Google image search. Ah, there is is!

It might be a good idea to find a few influences so you don't accidentally end up copying a famous design.


Just mash them up and you're ready to go! Off to your favorite modeling program.
But wait! isn't there more to building a strong design concept than that?

Of course there is.
One of the diseases of modern design is that of recursion. Everything is a copy of a copy of a copy. This is especially a problem with "historical" concepts. Over the course of that recursive process the concept becomes infected with modern design elements, and ends up looking very similar to everything else that anyone else has ever made.
If you want to come up with a really fresh idea, you have to get beyond secondary references and go look at real …

Skynet

Ok, so it's not exactly skynet, but I have got my first AI state working, kind of.


The first state is "HOLD" in which case the agent stays in place where they are and shoots at any unit that comes in range. When I started writing this module, I found that the existing method of triggering actions wasn't good enough to allow the AI to choose the best weapon or target. It worked by simply sending a command to the unit to trigger the currently selected action.

If the action is valid, it triggered, if not it didn't.
That's fine for play controlled units, as that's all they need to do. But AI needs to know in advance if the action is valid. The player can get that info from UI feedback, but that wasn't available to the AI player.

There were three problems:

1. The UI feedback duplicated code in the action trigger function. These  two sets of code could get out of phase so that UI feedback was wrong.

2. The action trigger didn't give enough feedback for …