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  1. #1
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    The Next Unity Training Project (Minecraft Like Game) - Work In Progress

    As those of you know who where following last nights radio show or have listen to it, by now you've realize that I was so exhausted that I could barely carry on an intelligible conversation. Apart from that if you were able to make out my slurred speech and fumbled words you now know that I've been hard at work developing the project for the next training series. Drum roll... yes it is a Minecraft like game except there will be no crafting. Well I don't think there will be, depends on how much I can get accomplished in a short period.

    So how about a screenshot or two.


    Now the first one image is when I was using a height map to determine the elevation of the terrain and it looks good. Which is kind of why I used it as the first image going for that shock and awe effect. But it has some draw backs. One being that because it is a height map it doesn't change much. There are some tricks that I used to get some variety like scaling and panning the sample area to get around this, but at the end of the day you would still start to recognize the same areas over and over. Another draw back is it pretty cluttered. Trying to get around requires a lot of jumping if you want to build something there's a lot of excavating that has to be done etc. Again this can be hacked by adjusting the vertical scale of the height map but then we lose the nice high mountains unless we do a lot of fancy number crunching. So if we have to do a bunch of number crunching then...


    Alright this one might not have quite the visual bunch of the first image. But look at all the nice flat plains and low terraced plateaus to build stuff. If you want mountains to climb we got those too. What's even better is that its all procedural. So you'll be able to customize your terrain by adjusting some sliders at the start of the game. And since the system use coherent noise at it's heart if you fine a terrain you like just remember your settings and you get the exact same terrain every time.

    Now that the surface side of this is looking the way I want I have to finish tweaking the cave system. Once that's done I'll take a look at probably some sort of user inter face or maybe some tress and water not sure yet. Hmm...

    Of course maybe I should take some time and build something in the world to show off since there are 31 different block types at the moment with room for 21 more. Or I could go digging around and see what is to be found underground.
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  2. #2
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    Looks awesome! Trees and water should be after having the cave system done!

    Looking forward to this!

    AND I GUESSED IT!

    Anyways, I was going to try this out myself, but when trying to figure it out on paper, I figured I didn't have the mathematical skills to do it yet, since I know nothing about noise and fractal math.

  3. #3
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    I am very intrigued by this. I thought about tackling my own minecraft clone to sort of knock myself back into the swing of things.

    What exactly made you want to tackle this next?
    Hello everyone and welcome to another 3DBuzz VTM, and tonight we'll be programming in Brain****!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by m50 View Post
    Anyways, I was going to try this out myself, but when trying to figure it out on paper, I figured I didn't have the mathematical skills to do it yet, since I know nothing about noise and fractal math.
    Yeah neither did I till I started this project. On the outside one would think its only blocks how hard could it possibly be. The further I get into this the more there is to learn and figure out before going on to the next part. On the plus side the cave system is now finished


    Not sure if this will convey what's going on or not but the boxes under the green / brown boxes at the top are actually rooms and tunnels. The important thing is that apart from a single texture atlas and the UI stuff everything you see in this image scene is generated procedurally the moment you run the game. Not even the polygon meshes, no prefabs here. The meshes are all calculate via scripts. It was the only way to get the performance needed to pull this off.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziaar View Post
    What exactly made you want to tackle this next?
    At first it was to leverage on the shear popularity of Minecraft. There are a ton of people who are or have thought about making there own version of the game. I also held the false belief that this would be a simple fun project that would be easy to knock out. That is where I was very wrong. The basic idea itself is extremely simple and I had the first prototype up in running in less than an hour. But that's where the simplicity ended and the challenge began. This game is about performance and tweaking and ringing every little bit of framerate you can. The first iteration of the program was a dead end, I took it as far as possible but there was just no way to make it go any faster using instantiated prefabs. So I had to throw the project away and start over with another approach which is coming along quite nicely if I may say so.

    The 1st attempt had it's challenges that had me try to find solutions to for about a week. At the end of it I was able to have about 30,000 blocks on the screen at a time with about 30fps. No where near what is needed. The current version caps out at just under 900,000 blocks and runs around 200-300 fps. A substantial increase in performance. The trade off? Days with out sleep scouring everything I could find on dynamic mesh generation, multithreading, loop optimization, array handling, and a ton of trial and error, okay and maybe a bit of cussing thrown in for good measure.

    Today was a whole new set of challenge on getting a terrain system put together that was customizable, scalable, random, repeatable, and had the ability to generate caves. And that;s not even the end of it the list goes on and on.

    Like I said I was so very wrong about this project. The math and systems that are in place to make this game work make the 3rd Person Character System look like the Simple Game Series by comparison.

    The good thing is that this game has been a blast to make from start to finish. Once these video go out they are going to have a ton of really cool tricks to add to your Unity game development toolbox.
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    Last edited by chronos78; 11-28-2010 at 11:19 PM.

  5. #5
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    That sounds awesome Lee. Absolutely cannot wait to see those videos. I knew there would be lots of problems tackling a minecraft clone, but most of my concerns were around the infinite dynamically generated terrain, not about things like performance. Though on the performance, I did know some performance considerations would need to be taken, such as not rendering blocks that couldn't be seen(like unmined dirt/stone etc... just having the surface skin being rendered since that's all the player would be able to see).
    Hello everyone and welcome to another 3DBuzz VTM, and tonight we'll be programming in Brain****!

  6. #6
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    Yeah about that infinite dynamically generated terrain. Well you see that one still got me stumped. Still having all kinds of problems with shifting things around in the 3d array and regenerating the meshes fast enough so that you don't notice or more importantly so stuff doesn't shift across frame calls so a gap opens in the ground and you fall into the abyss. Its not pretty. Spent the better part of the day yesterday and a good part of it today and still don't have and acceptable solution for that problem. Though the terrain generation code is ready to support it the moment I can get the array and mesh shifting working.

    Oh and did I mention the problem of figuring out what block your selecting on when things start moving around. Not fun considering that there are 512 blocks wedged into a single mesh. You have to figure out which triangle face you've hit, figure out its midpoint on the edge the joins it with the other face, use that to figure out where the center of the block would be relative to the mesh, translate that into world space, which then needs to transformed into chunk space which then needs to be transformed to the 3d array coordinates that hold the whole thing. Works fine till everything starts offsetting. Let's just say it gets complicated.



    Update:
    ........................

    Thought about it and I decided I couldn't call it a night with the last thing being me gripping about how incredibly hard some of this stuff is to figure out.

    Play time. It is a game after all.


    Admittedly it's the most impressive structure ever built in a block placing game. Though it does point out that you can if fact actually build things in the prototype. You may have also notice I was messing around with the terrain system so that it now will place some different texture based of of elevation in addition to the noise filter. Breaks up all that green quite nicely. Think tomorrow I might put snow on top of the mountains before I give trees a go.
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    Last edited by chronos78; 11-29-2010 at 12:40 AM.

  7. #7
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    omg, :O sweet dude

  8. #8
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    Hi! cool..
    Looking foreword for this project..

  9. #9
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    Interesting. Im curious, As you're building it yourself, have you made a good editor for it? say a click and drag to place a row of blocks or anything. Im not sure how that would work but you would be on to something cool if there was an editor along with it to kill out the hours and hours you would spend on Minecraft digging away at each block when someone wants to build an on-scale model like i've seen..

    (at least thats how i assume its done) But yeah man, looking good.

    Edit:
    Drum roll... yes it is a Minecraft like game except there will be no crafting. Well I don't think there will be, depends on how much I can get accomplished in a short period.
    ah. how fun it is to read.
    Last edited by Twice; 11-29-2010 at 07:13 AM.

  10. #10
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    this will be an interesting project especially since I have never played minecraft but very cool non the less
    elevating to new levels of knowledge (that's the plan at least )

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