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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
Bold New World is Code Complete
By Robert Basler on 2018-09-24 02:38:49
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com

This week I finished the last planned new feature for Bold New World. All that is left now is finalizing the art and bugfixing. It's been a while since I've blogged about the game. That is at least in part due to the fact that things were not really working out.


A feature I really wanted to include is Bold New World is atmospheric effects: embers and ash falling after explosions, sparkles when harvesting, seeds drifting in the air. Atmospherics don't look like much in screenshots (although you can see them in this screenshot) but when they're moving, they bring life to the world.

[New HDR Sky and atmospherics (bottom centre)]

Trying to wrangle dandelion seeds to photograph them is super-frustrating. Static electricity, paper curl, laptop fans, even breathing or moving too fast would instantly mess up a shot I had carefully arranged with tweezers. And using a macro lens the focal depth is so small you have to take a lot of photos while holding your breath and leaning in slowly to get a sharp one.


The physically accurate sky didn't end up working. Well, the sky and sun worked fine, but cirrus clouds had problems with floating point accuracy, and cumulus clouds had a whole bunch of tweakable constants I would have had to spend a lot more time working out values for. I had spent three and a half weeks on the sky, it wasn't looking as good as I wanted, so I decided to just cut my losses.

[Those circular color bands are caused by floating point error.]

It still gnawed at me though, and last week I realized I would be better off to just replace the sky with a spherical HDR photo. Miranda's old sky supported lighting changes and animated clouds, but I wanted something better looking, so I picked a sky from then spent a few hours trying to figure out how to get it into Miranda. Miranda's renderer is not HDR. GIMP 2.10 supports HDR so I tested out the free low-res image the site offers before laying out the money for the higher resolution version. GIMP allowed me to resize and export the photo as a PNG so I could try it in-game. I needed the full res version though because a 2K wide image isn't really enough pixels for a 1920 wide screen. It looked blurry.

It turns out that the high res 20,000x10,000 image was too large for GIMP. Any attempt to open the full-resolution file would crash GIMP. I googled around for solutions for a while, but after trying a few different programs, I was able to read the image with ImageMagick and then paste it into GIMP for editing. Getting GIMP 2.10 to work was a bit of an ordeal, none of my existing plugins worked so I needed to hunt around and update each one individually. The only issue with the skies from is that there are buildings and trees in them. I used Resynthesizer to clean up the horizon line, although with such a large image, the new GIMP took over a minute to do a magic wand selection. What should have taken a few minutes was several hours work. Ouch.

Color Grading

Color grading has become a popular tool in cinema, so it's not surprising it has become popular for squeezing the last little bit of value out of game art as well. Miranda now supports color grading on a per-biome basis. Which actually isn't that tricky to do. Miranda maintains a target color grading bitmap and then just LERP's to it over a period of several seconds. The only clever part is that it changes immediately whenever a loading screen is displayed.

[I haven't done Miranda's Color Grading yet, but this glitch pic I got while debugging is sure pretty.]

Draw Distance

I also increased Miranda's draw distance 800m, but I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to keep that because I've noticed that the game has started running out of memory again.

Map Legend

You may have noticed that Miranda's trailer displayed place names and coordinates in some of the scenes. I always thought that was a cool idea, so now the game displays where the player is whenever they move to a new location, along with the coordinates of the camera. It was fun coming up with place names. The only difference from the trailer is that the game displays a box around the text - but only because Miranda's Chromium UI doesn't support translucency. Yet...

And Now

Things have going a lot better the last couple weeks. I started on the final pass on Miranda's new art on Friday, redoing some of the terrain textures I made before I had worked out the final art process. (I'll blog about that later.) There are also still some substantial bugs to solve. I'll keep you posted.

By Luke Thorne on 2018-09-28 12:53:55
Homepage: email:lukeypukey36 at gmail dot com
hey rob its luke here, haven't check up in a while because i moved house and had to reset my pc. As i have reset my pc how can i get my hands on a copy of the game again please?
By Robert Basler on 2018-09-28 18:21:51
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com
I will send you an email.

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