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The One Man MMO Project
The story of a lone developer's quest to build an online world :: MMO programming, design, and industry commentary
Stretch Goals
By Robert Basler on 2018-08-27 02:34:37
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com

I've been working on one of my stretch goals for the Bold New World update: a new sky. It might seem a little weird to work on the sky when RTS games focus primarily on the ground, but occasionally players do see the sky with the game camera, and I'm hoping the sky helps upgrade the marketing screenshots I make using the free-look camera.

[Sun, Sky and Cirrus Clouds]

The sun and sky are working, along with cirrus clouds. I really like that I can move the sun around in the sky now. It was a little tough finding art for the cirrus clouds because none of the texture sites had anything I could use, and the sky here was obscured by forest fire smoke so I couldn't take my own pictures. Finally, on the third pass through all my photos I found a shot of the sky in Leamington Ontario, and one of the sky over Georgia Straight that I was able to combine into workable art. I'm still adding cumulus clouds, some interesting sky elements, and the simplest-possible weather system to run it. I'm trying to figure out if I can do any sort of day/evening effect since the sky does a really nice looking sunset. (Nighttime was a stretch goal that isn't going to happen.) I had a funny bug where I couldn't figure out why the sky was black when the game started. I thought I was having some sort of texture initialization problem, it turns out the sun was just behind the planet.

I did an experiment to try to improve terrain texture blending. The idea hit me late one night while reading Twitter, and I was up until 5am thinking about how to implement it. The idea was to use this cool texture blending technique and then use the terrain textures' luminosity as an alpha mask (thinking that most of the rock textures have black in the cracks, and lighter colors everywhere else.) It sort of worked in some places, but it was horrible in some other places, and overall it just didn't work as well as I would have liked so I ripped it out again. I need to figure out another solution.

[Failed texture blending experiment, original algorithm on the left]

One huge relief - I solved Miranda's out-of-memory crashes. I had been worrying about that for a while, since most of the solutions I had come up with were pretty terrible. Then I had a bright idea, and fixed it in about two hours.

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