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Phoenix's .plan

Last updated: 2017-02-10 20:41:55

02-11-2017 02:41 (GMT+0100)

My creativity has been in a slump, so I've not made as much progress on the laser as I wanted. Mesh work is about 50% done on that. Angs7 helped me find and correct a few problems with the dynamic lighting code, and we have cinematics working in non 4:3 aspect ratios now, so widescreen players, which I think is most everyone except me now, can see the intro videos, etc, again. I've also logged a few more minor bugs. Work continues, if slowly.

09-23-2016 00:37 (GMT+0100)

Two of three Slipgate weapons are completed. The Mjolnir and Prox Launcher are modeled and textured. The Laser Cannon is currently in the mesh generation stage.

03-15-2016 18:18 (GMT+0100)

The Team Arena weapons are almost 100% coded. I have a lot of model and texture work to do and some minor bug fixing, but it's moving forward. Slipgate and Strogg now have some very fun toys.

12-28-2015 01:04 (GMT+0100)

I have finished up all of Earth's Team Arena weapons. Earth now has a dynamite pack to fill in for the Team Arena Prox Launcher. I'll be posting some screenshots of this soon.

So what's next? Slipgate and Strogg weapons! These should be fun to do.

02-12-2015 01:22 (GMT+0100)

I hadn't realized that it's been over a year since posting. Gameplay modes for Team Arena are fully implemented, along with powerups. The Team Arena persistent powerups work, along with classic CTF techs. It's also possible to use them together, or to have persistent team-assigned CTF techs spawn in place of the persistent powerups. The Kamikaze and Invulnerability Sphere all work properly. Progress is being made on weapons, albeit slowly. We're also working on improving the dynamic light code so that weapon and projectiles will properly light dark areas instead of adding light to already bright areas. That's been a problem with Quake 3's dynamic lights since its release.

I've also completely reprogrammed the BFG9000's flash code so that it works the way I've wanted it to since the beginning. Prior to now it's been OK-ish for working in 3D, but it's never been 100% true to how Doom's trace array pattern works. In the original Doom you could not look up or down, but your shots automatically would aim up or down to a point. Same with the BFG flash effect. I wanted this entire system to work like it was on a pivot, so that the flash effect would aim up or down relative to where the player was looking. This not only duplicates the behavior in Doom, but in full 3D, but also properly balances out the damage behavior on the gun.

So where am I at present on things? I've been on a bit of a hiatus, catching up on a few games I've neglected to play while recharging my creative batteries. I already have Doom's weapons for Team Arena functioning, and two of Earth's three weapons, with the third weapon in-progress. Once I get back into full development mode I'll be finishing up Earth and moving on to Slipgate and Strogg. After that, I'll try to remember to post another .plan instead of just posting in the super-secret testing board. ;)

12-18-2013 00:49 (GMT+0100)

I suppose I should update this thing. It's been a while.

I've been working on gameplay modes, specifically compatibility with Team Arena. If you own the mission pack you'll be able to play it from within Generations, but with our own take on it. As with normal Generations, the Arena Gladiators class will be largely untouched. Where the fun begins is the other Generations will be able to use the Invulnerability Sphere, Kamikaze, and Persistent Powerups, as well as participate in the CTF, 1-flag CTF, Harvester, and Overload game types. In addition, there's the option of having the classic CTF techs floating around a level in addition to the Persistent Powerups. You can also choose to replace the Persistant Powerups with Persistant versions of the CTF techs. There's also the chance of adding some new (and classic) weapons into the mix for the other four Generations to receive in place of the Team Arena Prox Launcher, Nailgun, and Chaingun.

Work continues on the mod, so do not fret.

06-22-2013 08:46 (GMT+0100)

I've been doing code cleanup and optimizations, and fixing some broken stuff that was poorly coded at the time. Some of our decision trees are lengthy and I'm reworking them into using arrays instead. Dry boring stuff, I know. It's necessary in the long run though for other features to work, and has needed doing for quite some time.

In other news, I just completed a hardware upgrade. In addition to being just a good thing overall, it has drastically sped up the modeling program I use, so the player animation work should go more smoothly when I get back into that. I do still some older hardware to test Gen on for performance comparisons, so I'll have a good range of old plus new.

Plans for now are to continue the cleanup, optimizations, and bug-fixing.

01-14-2013 03:52 (GMT+0100)

Well, one rant later and I just realized I haven't updated this since March! I suppose I should say something about what's been going on.

Player animations have been what has taken more time than anything else. It's been hard to get to, and I've had to learn how to rig and physique models to animate them properly. It's time-consuming and tedious. Besides the default class models, I have Mynx animated for the Earth Soldiers. This took some time as it's been a learning experience as well as having to fix some offsets on some of the guns. Other players will be animated from the third-person view in between other work, but it's going to be slow going. I've broken off from that to do some other work.

Proper teleport effects for all of the generations are now completed, and Doom's invulnerability effect now grey scales the world as it's supposed to. I realize some people might prefer a full negative world in place of the classic monochrome, so I'll make that an option. At present I'm working on coding in the item and weapon pickup and respawn sounds and effects. It's the little stuff like this I love doing as it throws in the nostalgic touches that just make the game feel so much more complete.

03-10-2012 11:01 (GMT+0100)

For tl;dr types: We're working on it, we'll be done when we're done, real life takes too much time up and there's nothing we can do about that.

Now that that's out of the way, for those interested in real explanations and insight I'm going to deviate from my usual plan notes to take some time to rant, specifically about YouTube users. I've just read, and responded to, a lot of negative comments about our progress, or lack thereof, but YouTube has a character limit on comments. Our site doesn't, so I'll go into full rant mode here.

Too many people seem to not grasp the concept of "real life". I think either they're very young, unemployed, or some combination of the above, but for whatever reason they think we can just wave a magic wand and have this done already. Here's how most people have to live. First, you wake up, spend about half an hour preparing for work, then you commute to work - sometimes this can take another 20 minutes to an hour - work for however long, let's say 8.5 hours if you include a 30 minute lunch for a full time job - and then there's the 20 minute to 1 hour commute home, an hour and a half to cook and eat dinner, half an hour to prepare to sleep, and if you're lucky, get 8 hours of sleep. This totals to 18 hours and 10 minutes at a minimum, leaving roughly 5 hours of non-mandatory time at a maximum available for doing other things. Throw in schooling for someone and that time rapidly approaches zero. So anyone working full time, or working part time and schooling, or any combination of the above has very little time. Throw in children, if any, and that time goes negative, meaning sleep goes out the window at that point.

Now as for myself... being Phoenix doesn't mean I automatically have all the free time I want either. I have very serious responsibilities, plus I have to eat too, and it takes me a lot longer to do things than it used to. I don't get a free pass on real life responsibilities just because I have feathers. Games are a HOBBY. Regardless of how much I might like or even love playing them, other stuff can and does take priority.

So next time anyone feels like pissing and moaning about how long it takes to get Gen done, or why there's no update, consider the following:

1) Real Life takes priority. We do stuff when we can, with what little free time we have.

2) More people on the team will not necessarily help. Nobody knows the mod as well as we do, and educating them would take time - time we could use working on the mod - and plus, Phoenix is dictatorial and not easy to get along with, and doesn't want to waste time arguing with newbies. He knows exactly what he wants the mod to be like, and will accept nothing short of near perfection when it comes to the nostalgia part and game mechanics.

3) If you have never worked on a mod project like this - and I guarantee that if you're not on our team you have not - then you have NO CLUE how much work this all takes. We have pushed the Quake 3 Arena source code literally to the breaking point on several occasions, and done things with it that even John Carmack probably did not expect could be done without rewriting major parts of the engine - and that's BEFORE we got a hold of the engine source code.

Now with all that said, I want to make it clear that I DO understand people being impatient and wanting to play the newer version. Questions have been asked about why we have no released a new version since .99f. There's a lot of reasons for that, but the primary one is that major stuff has to be done all at once that partially breaks the game while it's being implemented. First-person view weapon animations was one. Third-person view weapon animations is another. The former is done, the latter is being worked on currently, and it is a lot of work. Releasing the mod in a broken state is something we are unwilling to do. The other major reason is as follows: .99f showed what the mod is mostly about. Prior to that, we've had a lot of minor releases, bug fix releases, and concentrating on getting the next release out pushed back the seriously hard stuff we're doing now. It was decided after .99f to concentrate on pushing ahead and finishing all the major stuff we wanted to go into 1.0, and adding extra touches, such as additional gameplay modes, etc, after the grind work is done. That freed us from the "Got to get the release ready" scramble.

Now hopefully, for those who have bothered to read this, you'll understand that we're not taking so long due to neglect or because we don't care. We DO care, which is why we're taking so long. We want this done right, and we want it to blow the fans away when it's done. While the Quake 3 Arena era may be fairly over except for some die hards, it's the die hards of Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake, Quake 2, and Quake 3 Arena that we're doing this mod for in the first place.

So keep calm, and let us carry on.

06-17-2011 15:01 (GMT+0100)

I haven't had time to do much work on Gen or the side project. Part of this is just general warm weather business, and part of it is the release of Duke Nukem Forever. It's been a long time since I've played a new game, and I feel I've earned a little bit of fun time.

05-13-2011 16:19 (GMT+0100)

I've been working on a little side project for one of the site members. Normally I don't do requests but my creativity for things like gib models has been a bit lacking, and I needed a break to do a purely "fun" project anyway. Not that working on Gen isn't fun, but a change of pace can help in the long run. Anyway, that's nearing completion so work on Gen should resume soon.

04-08-2011 08:07 (GMT+0100)

I've sidetracked off gibs for a bit since I'm not in a modeling frame of mind right now, so I'm engaging in some feature creep. The Doom plasma effect has been decent, but I wanted to make something more classic and after tuning up the BFG9000's flash effect and learning how to make Q3 properly colorize things, I produced some new plasma sprites that are more of a classic style. I've also been working on adding some new burn mark effects and bullet hole decals, as well as energy burns for various weapons.

In addition to this, I went nosing around in the Doom source code and after shorting out half my brain I figured out how Doom's angles calculate for bullet and shotgun spreads, and I learned a bit about how random patterns generated in Doom differ from the Quake series of games. I've tuned the Doom weapons in Generations to be more authentic in this respect. The shotguns, pistol, and chaingun feel like they pattern more correctly to me, especially the double-barreled Doom death cannon since it is most heavily affected by the random behaviors. Maybe only a purist would notice a difference but nostalgia is what Gen is all about.

Oh, right. A .plan is about what I'm intending to do, not what I've been up to... Well a recap is always nice to placate those that think I'm just asleep on my perch, so there you have it. As for what I plan, the short-term goal is to finish up the energy impacts and then get the gib models done so I can dispense with the current placeholders. Long-term I need to code in per-class teleport effects and item pickup and respawn effects, as well as continue animating additional player models with new actions for holding their weapons properly. I will be concentrating on the Earth Soldiers class first, and I'll move on from there. Beyond that I'd have to check my notes and I don't like planning that far ahead anyway.

12-16-2010 16:39 (GMT+0100)

Per-class gib effects and first-person death cameras are in the works. There's not a whole lot to say about that except that things are going to be getting a bit sloppy. :)

10-22-2010 14:54 (GMT+0100)

It's amazing how I get creative when I get sick. I'm still not entirely sure how that works, but muzzle flash effects are just about complete. I've also thrown in a few new special effects on some of the weapons, and fixed a bug in the new particle system. Things are looking good so far. Hopefully I can keep up the creative mindset even when I'm not feeling poorly.

09-14-2010 15:20 (GMT+0100)

Some good news! The Napalm Launcher is now net-friendly again, without having to sacrifice any of the new behavior. I've also made nails, rockets, and blaster bolts much more network efficient as well. I can now return to working on other stuff.

09-01-2010 14:41 (GMT+0100)

So much for working on muzzle flashes. I got sidetracked with something major. During my attempts to improve the flamethrower's behavior, it was brought to my attention that the flamethrower was causing lag again. I did some testing, and sure enough, ALL projectiles using the new trajectory code were introducing network overhead. It never showed up in local testing because local servers behave like a LAN connection, so it wasn't until someone had thrown several flamethrower-happy bots on my test server that it showed up. What made for perfect Q1 and Q2-style projectile movement was exactly what made the network code inefficient. It seems I had resurrected Quake 2's "laggerblaster" without intending to.

Not one to be discouraged, I decided to test other weapons. Doom's projectiles use Q3-style projectile code, and I found that saturating a map as long as Mpterra1 with Doom plasma, even while using the Time Accelerator, did not use any more network code than pretty much standing still doing absolutely nothing. I had wondered why projectile logic had been changed so much in Q3, and I found out why. The old frame-by-frame position updating done in Q1 and Q2 was very packet heavy.

That gave me the unfortunate task of rewriting the projectile code yet a second time so that it can be more efficient. The good news is that it works, at least so far. I have Strogg's hyperblaster equally efficient as Doom's plasma rifle, and grenades bounce and tumble properly without visual glitches. I have cleanup to do so that moving platforms and rotating cylinders, etc, behave correctly with the new projectile code, but the network efficiency is a huge gain. It's a slowdown in progress but worth it. If all goes well the new flamethrower effect, along with all other projectiles belonging to Earth, Slipgate, and Strogg, will be completely network friendly once all is said and done.

05-08-2010 11:48 (GMT+0100)

As usual what starts as a small project for me turns into something a lot larger than I initially pictured. I intended on only getting third-person animations for a few key weapons like the axe swings for Ranger, dual gatling guns, etc, but it went a lot farther than that. Sarge, Doom, Ranger, and Grunt now hold all their weapons correctly, and just about every gun is animated from third-person as well as first-person now. The animation system itself is pretty much done, so it's just a matter of working on the other models whenever we get a chance in between other tasks. I'll be giving muzzle flashes some attention again now that this particular beast has been tamed.

02-01-2010 04:13 (GMT+0100)

Something we've been needing to do is get third-person stances working for specific weapons. The major requirement is the Dual Gatling Guns. Up through .99f you could not tell if an Earth Soldier had one or two gats up unless they were shooting at you. In addition, Quakeguy never properly swung his axe, and anyone with a pistol looked pretty funny holding them. We're in the process of implementing new model stances to correct the uglier problems related to this sort of thing. If you've seen our "Merry Christmas" picture, you've seen a little peek at the axe motions. I know Tabun's not too thrilled about this, and rightly so. It's grind work, and I've not had as much time to get the framework in place as I'd like. There has been progress though. All the iconic characters except Grunt have their functions in place. Once I finish up the Q2 Grunt then we can tweak the models over time while working on other things. I haven't forgotten about the muzzle flashes either. I need to do some touch-up work to Doom and Earth, and implement flashes for Strogg. Hopefully I'll get more free time to work on Gen. It's slow going, but we're still far from being on life support. :)

10-08-2009 05:39 (GMT+0100)

One web host move later, and a lot of work, and of course I had to get into something completely new before finishing what I originally started. I still have muzzle flashes to do, but I finally bit the bullet so to speak and tackled the problem of Quake 1 and Quake 2-style particles. I've never liked having the particle system in cgame as it caused huge frame rate loss when a lot of particles were in view. I moved the particle functions into the executable, and the result is fully-functional Quake and Quake 2-style particles. From explosions to railgun trails to orbitting BFG particles, it's 100% oldschool in its look and feel. This is something I wanted to do since before the Quake 3 source was released. Now I can get back to work on muzzle flashes, etc...

07-16-2009 17:43 (GMT-0500)

In addition to muzzle flash effects, I've been giving the Napalm Launcher a bit of an overhaul. There have been some graphical improvements to the effects, along with some changes in how the weapon behaves. Instead of just sticking in place, napalm will now slide over surfaces, against walls, and can even be bounced around corners to a small degree. The weapon feels more fluid now (no pun intended). It is still a close-range weapon, though it's more intuitive and you can still saturate areas with fire, but a little skill and finesse in handling the weapon will be much more rewarding than just straight "spray and pray" tactics. Work continues on this, and I'll be finishing up Earth's muzzle flashes soon and starting on Strogg's hopefully soon, though I may have some other work to do over the next month. That will depend on the availability of our pixel procrastinator from his heavy schedule.

05-01-2009 22:41 (GMT-0500)

I'm working on Earth's muzzle flash effects now, though I have some graphical ideas in the works for Strogg as well. I really need to play a bit less Team Fortress 2 as well. Spy's sappin' my Gen time!

03-26-2009 19:05 (GMT-0500)

Doom's muzzle flash effects are complete! Now I have to decide if I want to tackle Strogg or Earth next...

02-23-2009 19:35 (GMT-0600)

The server transfer went well enough, and Idlebot is up and running without serious problem. In addition, I've finally been able to get some work done. Muzzle flash graphics are done for the Doom Chaingun and BFG9000. That just leaves the rocket launcher and some cleanup on the shotguns and I can move on to Earth and Strogg next.

01-17-2009 02:01 (GMT-0600)

Not much to say. Progress has been slow. Idlebot will be transferred to a new server system soon. This will free my backup system for testing and development use so that I have more than one set of hardware for testing, and more than one operating system available as well.

09-03-2008 15:28 (GMT-0500)

I've taken a rather long hiatus for a few reasons. First is my nest has needed some severe re-engineering. That took a lot of time and effort, and I'm not completely done, but I've finished the bulk of the more exhaustive work. Second is that I've been mentally burned out and very tired of late. I cannot mod when I'm not feeling creative, and my creativity has been zero. Last, I've been playing a lot of Team Fortress 2 for the last two months. It's a very fun game, and I think I've played enough of it for a good fill for a while.

So what's my plan? Continue work on the muzzle flashes for now of course.

05-11-2008 11:32 (GMT-0500)

My time has been very limited owing to more pressing obligations so work on Generations has pretty much stalled at the present for me. Prior to my hiatus I managed to create a new rocket explosion for Doom and I have started work on some muzzle flash effects for Doom as well, and I've figured out a way to better optimize Doom's plasma effects while retaining colorization so it should cut down on some graphics overhead once I get that in place. I'll be tinkering with this for a while as I get time available.

03-19-2008 20:54 (GMT-0500)

I've been working primarily on some timing tweaks for weapons. All non-Arena weapons that rely on animation frames no longer have a delay when pressing the attack button. Previously the idle frame had to finish playing out, which was adding in some latency. I've also switched the Earth, Slipgate, and Strogg projectile weapons from a world-based timer to an entity-based timer for their movement. This means faster response times all around for projectiles and weapons in general. Testing has gone well so far, and the feedback has been all positive in regards to the weapon timings. I've also tweaked rocket jumping physics a bit so that no one class has an advantage in this department for normal play. We'll see about oldschool mode later.

I'm actually not quite sure what I want to work on next. It's not for a lack of things on my to-do list, I'm just uncertain as to whether I want to fix bugs or creep in some features. I suppose I'll just update this again once I start into something major.

02-29-2008 18:32 (GMT-0600)

I'm having fun writing new shell casing ejection code! Something that's always bugged me about Q3 is that the casings just spawn in mid-air with no discernible source. Most of our new weapons have ejection ports and moving gun bolts, so I wanted to make a more appropriate action. So far I've tested this with the Earth Soldiers and it works quite well! The gatling guns dump a lot of brass out, and the MP-40 looks superb kicking out the little 9mm casings. Slowed down you'd think these might be real firearms. The bird is happy and will proceed to modify the other classes in similar manner. I'm looking forward to watching Strogg's chaingun dump out an insane amount of shell casings from its ejection port.

02-10-2008 02:56 (GMT-0600)

Grappling hook code is debugged, finally! There's only some sound stuff to clean up and the hooks are done. Offhand grapple works like a charm for those who want fast, lithium-style play. This all took a lot longer than I wanted but ended up being more polished than I expected. I'll probably work on some much-needed effects coding next.

01-21-2008 22:29 (GMT-0600)

Grapples are mostly debugged other than some minor sound issues, so weapon grapples are 99% done except getting some new sounds in place and a tweak to the cable model. I'm working on the offhand grapple right now.

01-01-2008 23:20 (GMT-0600)

Half-Life 2: Episode 2 and Portal have pretty much owned my time of late, and everyone's been busy with holidays anyway so I've taken a brief hiatus to relax and get some game time in. Work on Gen to resume shortly.

11-19-2007 17:05 (GMT-0600)

Plans are working again, so it's a good time for an update.

Weapon-based grapples are in the tweak and debug stage. I have Arena's grapple working, so all the hooks are functional. After finishing up effects and debugging the hooks I'll work on a universal off-hand hook for those grapple monkeys who want a faster game. I'll have to check my notes on what I want to work on after that.

10-02-2007 16:16 (GMT-0500)

More progress on the hooks, finally I have new code in to make the grapple cables function the way I want. This is a vast improvement over the code I was having to use before. The hooks all clamp to surfaces properly now as well. I still have debugging, some cross-class interaction stuff to fix, and I need to update Arena's grapple function and effects but it's a definitely a step in the right direction.

09-16-2007 16:40 (GMT-0500)

Not been in the mood for debugging grappling hooks much, so I've been working on some other stuff as time permits. I did manage to find and fix what was causing the map rotations to not function properly on the server. This should fix the map randomizer for good I think. I'll tie into the hooks again here fairly soon.

08-13-2007 22:21 (GMT-0500)

Grappling hooks are coming along very well. We're almost done with the models, so that means I get to do a lot of code debugging and special effects tweakage. Yay!

Afterwards, who knows. I've not thought ahead as to what we're doing next. I'll post about that when I know something. ;)

07-14-2007 16:15 (GMT-0500)

Since the new forums are online, I'll be resuming work on those grappling hooks.

06-12-2007 20:50 (GMT-0500)

I've been bug fixing and working on coding up an appropriate grapple for the Doom class. I've hit a few snags and it's slowed me down a bit, but I have the basic concept nailed down.

05-10-2007 20:20 (GMT-0500)

Several bug fixes later I have the Slipgate hook pretty much working the way I want, sans some minor details I have yet to throw in. In the process of getting the grapples to work the way I want I managed to fix a rather strange bug in Quake 3. If you load up Q3DM0 and do a "give all" and fire the lightning gun in front of the mirror you might see a little surprise - the beam doesn't draw from the gun, but rather from "dead space" in front of your mirror image. I've found out why and fixed this. I've also been doing some code cleanup and debugging on the napalm launcher and Thunderbolt's beam effects as well. After I get done with that it's time to start hammering out some grapple models!

04-19-2007 12:29 (GMT-0500)

Success! I have the Strogg Troopers grappling hook code functioning 99% perfect. I have a few minor tweaks to make, but so far it's doing exactly what I want it to do. Some bug testing is pending to put it through its paces. Next stop will be the Slipgate grappling hook, and from there I can adapt the code to get all our other hooks working properly.

04-14-2007 19:16 (GMT-0500)

The work on the grappling hooks is fairly early, but its progressing well. We're discussing different effects for the grapples and I believe I have a good framework set up on how we want them to behave. We already know what we're doing model-wise and we have the Earth Soldiers grappling hook already meshed out. Fans of Q1 and Q2 CTF will get to see their respective grapples that they know and love.

In addition to the work on the hooks, I've made some modifications to the dynamic light handling for projectiles that should cut down on some of the framerate loss when firing the hyperblaster and Doom plasma rifle.

03-18-2007 20:06 (GMT-0600)

I have old-school environmental blends working for all classes with just some minor cleanup work to do. I also have old-school viewkicks for Strogg and Slipgate, and I'm mulling over damage kick behavior changes for Doom and Earth. Not much to go there except cleanup. After this is complete I'm going to begin fixing up some grappling hook code which desperately need some reworking to function with the new weapons frames code.

02-18-2007 21:06 (GMT-0600)

The transition went well, and I've played through both Doom 3 and Resurrection of Evil. Aside from some nitpicks, I liked both games. I'll have to see about playing UT2004 and Half-Life 2 on my next single player foray.

Regarding Generations, I'm back coding some stuff again. I've been working on old-style damage feedback for the player, environmental view blends, and I've optimized Doom's invulnerability effect. I've managed to squeeze some extra FPS out of it and hopefully I've killed off the "turn the screen pure white" problem for good. We'll have to see during testing.

01-22-2007 02:13 (GMT-0600)

I just upgraded my system. That means I've been taking a break to catch up on some games that have been staring at me for some time now. Doom 3 has consumed much of my time this last week. Installing programs has consumed the week prior. I still have a lot to do in copying over my system, but the upgrade was long overdue. I still have several games I want to play that I've not gotten around to, but I will try to balance development for Gen, transitioning files over, and gameplay so I don't neglect any of the important stuff.

01-02-2007 14:40 (GMT-0600)

Even more progress. Doom weapon animations are done. Earth's are getting there, I'd say bout 60-70% complete. I've been in the process of working on some effects code while Tab completes the animations. And some people thought we'd never have working animations. Well, what do you have to say for yourselves now, hmm?

09-17-2006 20:10 (GMT-0500)

Doom's animations are nearly done. We only have one Doom weapon left to finish animating (three guesses?). Earth changes have been going well, and the frames code is finished except for a few minor cleanups client-side. Some nifty effects have been added, like moving machinegun bolts, proper knuckle action on the luger, and bullets feeding into the gatling guns. I'm working on getting a movable bolt modeled for the M-82 rifle as well.

Not much else to add to the .plan at the moment without throwing spoilers in. Suffice it to say that we're making steady progress in the right direction.

08-23-2006 21:59 (GMT-0500)

Moving right along... Tab's one-upped me on the Chaingun and updated the Plasma Rifle model with a fitting replacement. The Doom plasma rifle was the first weapon model I had done, and it was physically more primitive than my later works, BFG10K for example. I was a bit more concerned with polycount at the time, and I was experimenting with Q3 shaders and probably overdid it a little bit with the FX. We managed to keep the custom colorization on the gun without it being too overpowering. I kind of miss the circuitry-look on the receiver area, but the plasma effects work well on the new mesh. Tab did a nice job in bringing my old design up to date.

We're also progressing through the Doom animations. It's been an ugly process but the end results are looking good. We're not going to post any teasers. You'll just have to wait for the next Gen release to see the guns in action. Muhahaha! I can be evil at times, I know, but hey, we can't show everything off in advance. We have a few Doom weapons down, and a few to go.

Earth's gunframe code is so far a cakewalk, as I expected. I'm halfway done with the server-side stuff and I got my first compile without any errors. That makes a coder either very happy... or very worried since something ALWAYS breaks. I expect to have Earth's weapon frame code done and working very soon. I'm also planning some minor changes to how some of Earth's guns work. Most of this is consistency and code cleanup to fix some ugly bits. Some of it will affect weapon behavior, but nothing is slated to get a major overhaul, so Earth fans, don't panic. I don't plan on breaking your favorite guns, only making them run smoother.

That's it for this .plan update!

07-06-2006 18:33 (GMT-0500)

Doom weapon frame code works! I'm very pleased at how this came out, so the code framework for Doom's animations is 100% complete (barring any last-minute bugs of course, of which I'm sure I'll find some at some point). I've tested and verified the animation code with two models so far. No, not the Combat Shotgun, I'm not telling which ones. That means the most difficult part of the animation code is behind me. Earth's animation code will be a cakewalk compared to this.

The next phase is getting all these Doom weapons animated. I'm in the process of cleaning up the directories and prepping all the models so Tab can work his magic. The guns run at a much higher framerate than the Slipgate or Strogg weapons, which means the animations will be really smooth if you have a really high framerate since it will involve less interpolation and more actual frames in the models.

As an added bonus I've updated the Doom Chaingun model. I was never really happy with how the barrels looked from first-person, so I reworked them to be higher-poly. They look really Doom-ish now. I also updated the bullet belt with better-looking bullets. The rest of the gun is fine as it is, so I didn't modify anything else. The Doom weapons were the first set of weapon models I did, and I was a bit more polygon conscious at the time, and a lot less experienced in making models. I felt it was only natural to bring this one up to date visually with some of my newer work.

06-10-2006 06:06 (GMT-0500)

The code for Doom's weapon frames is 100% done server-side, and about 50% done client-side. Functionally the guns time correctly as far as dishing out damage is concerned. Right now I'm finishing work on the sound triggers. After that I have to implement the animation subframe system, which I have to invent before it can be implemented. Ahh, the joys of asynchronous timings.

05-16-2006 00:17 (GMT-0500)

Progress is still ongoing, though not at a "deathmarch" pace by any means. Realworld concerns have cut into development time for both Tab and myself. Not much can be done about that, so bear with us. There has been progress though. I've successfully compiled a new, stand-alone executable for Generations. It's currently what I would consider an alpha build, and so far I can compile it for both Windows and Linux. I've implemented several bug fixes as well as a few minor features so far. It's safe to say the long uptime bug for servers is dead, which means 1.0's release won't require server admins to restart their servers once a day.

Right now I've put a hold on engine work in order to do some work with the Doom weapon frames. This is a little trickier than Strogg or Slipgate since Doom ran on a completely different timer. Right now I'm mapping out how to best implement this into Gen. I've been doing some testing to see if we can increase the server framerate from a 20Hz to a 40Hz clock. This will help resolve some timer issues if all goes well and if there's no appreciable increase in latency. It will give me a lot more flexibility in weapon timings, and I think we can get a lot more timing precision out of it. Besides making Doom's guns work right, it will, I think, make the game more responsive and increase playability. Once the frames are coded for Doom's weapons we can begin work on animations for them. Earth's weapons will follow.

04-02-2006 05:34 (GMT-0500)

It's official. Generations is moving to a stand-alone executable. This is being done for several reasons:

1) Bug fixes. There are a few problems with Q3 (The long server uptime bug for starters) that just need fixing. I intend to implement said fixes.

2) Functionality. Some things have become exceedingly difficult to do within the .qvm's without access to the engine. Other things cannot be done within the .qvm's at all.

3) Enhancement. Q3 looks great. Generations looks great. Both can still look better. Some effects may work better done engine-side as well.

I'm sure there are other reasons we can think of, but this is the basic list.

03-24-2006 18:00 (GMT-0600)

I had to switch linux distributions because I could not install the libraries I needed to compile on Mandrake. I got kubuntu working (with some minor difficulty). My initial engine attempt failed. It was not stable. Id's cons script was to blame, apparently it's either not well written or the more modern linux installs don't handle it correctly. I worked around that with a patch for the makefile that allows me to bypass the cons script and so far so good. My Quake 3 build is the proper file size, and I've done some initial stability testing with positive results. The next phase is to do some heavy burn-in testing. Once it's confirmed stable I'll see about better organizing my compile process, but things look good so far.

03-18-2006 23:15 (GMT-0600)

I have a working Linux install, and I've done some testing of Generations .99f and the current non-public beta. So far so good, everything works properly. My plan is to get the Quake 3 Arena engine source to compile under Linux. The long term goal is to create an enhanced version of the Quake 3 Arena engine, and shift Generations to a stand-alone executable. It will still require a retail installation of Quake 3 Arena to play, and the executable may (or may not) be able to play Quake 3 Arena outside of Generations, however the goal is to enhance functionality for Generations above and beyond what I'm capable of doing within the virtual machine files.

What are the implications of this? Well, several bug fixes for starters, including the "long server uptime" problem. In addition, I'd like to implement a better particle system into the renderer, enhance the sound playback functionality, and tweak the dynamic lighting code. I'm sure I'll think of some other things I'd like to do, some shader functionality enhancements come to mind.

The downside to all of this is I have no way to compile a stand-alone executable for Mac OS. I don't own a mac, nor do I have the money to go out and buy one. This means Mac users will lose out unless I can get someone on board who can compile for Mac OS. I've been weighing this carefully, I don't want to exclude any players if I can help it, but the engine limitations are becoming an increasing source of frustration. Compiling for Linux is necessary since most servers host on Linux or BSD. Windows is the environment most players use for gaming, so that's a no brainer. We have very few Mac players at the moment, so at least temporarily Mac functionality will be non-existant within the executable.

There is an upside to this, however. The engine source is governed by the GPL license, which means I'll have to make it public as soon as I have a public engine release. This means anyone who gets the urge to compile the executable for a Mac can do so after the initial engine release. This will be separate from the Generations game source, which will remain closed as it is not governed by the GPL license.

02-24-2006 20:00 (GMT-0600)

I've been on a sort of mini-hiatus for a while now. I've been tied up with real life concerns and I've had almost no time whatsoever to devote to modding. I did get one project done, which is now in Tab's domain for further work, but coding has been stalled for a few weeks. I'll get back to work soon.

12-18-2005 18:41 (GMT-0600)

Idlebot lives again! I had to replace some fans on the processor's heatsink and install a new hard drive, but Idlebot is back up and running. This means the test server is back and faster than before, and I don't have to worry about burning out the laptop by running it 24/7. That's the good news. Now that I'm (hopefully) done with computer repairs for a while, maybe I can actually get in some coding time, provided I can remember just what I was doing when I had to stop...

12-08-2005 19:28 (GMT-0600)

Those wonderful winter preparations have been taking up all of my time, along with having to repair several computers within the last two weeks time. Idlebot also died within that time, and since I've needed the work space (and monitor space, etc) Lappybot has been offline a lot as well, which means no test server up and running. One PC I had just replaced a mainboard in blew its power supply, which meant I had to replace that, retest the system, etc... it's just been a mess, what can I say? Snow is now on the ground (joy) and the cold winter days are here a little earlier than I'd like.

On a higher note, I have a replacement mainboard and CPU that might resurrect Idlebot that was kindly donated by a friend of mine - the same one whose power supply went pop. It's an ATX board as opposed to Idlebot's old AT board, which is great because I have my old ATX case all lined up for it. I also have a new power supply of my own, so if all goes well (and I have the time) I'll be upgrading my main system's power supply and swapping the old one into Idlebot's new case. That means Idlebot may be back in action after this weekend, and I may be done fixing equipment for a while (I hope).

10-30-2005 20:14 (GMT-0600)

What can I say, being sick sucks! I've had one hellacious lung and throat and eye infection. I'm still fighting it off, though I'm not coughing up nuclear waste anymore. As a result of this, my coding activity, along with any OTHER activity, has been nonexistant the past two weeks.

I am getting back into the code though, and I've already fixed a few bugs. I'll be back in gunframe land soon enough, so I should be able to pick up where I left off a few weeks ago. I still have some repairs to make around the old nest that were also put off by this illness, so I have to balance my time accordingly. Progress is slow right now, but it's that time of year when winter preparations pimpslap you across the beak, and some things (like coding) have to take a back seat to, oh, not freezing my tailfeathers off when it eventually hits 10 below.

09-21-2005 17:34 (GMT-0500)

Well the Q3 server uptime bug has been solved. I've posted my fix on the Quake Standards Group boards. Shepard and EdSchouten were kind enough to make some patch files, so anyone doing engine ports has this fix available to them.

After being braindead for a month, I'm venturing back into the frames code, trying to iron out some synchronization issues on the client. It's an ugly thing to attempt, but I've made some progress. Hopefully I'll have this prototyped out soon, which will allow me to (finally) start making forays into the Doom Warriors and Earth soldiers weapon frames code. Progress may be slow right now, but it's just the calm before the storm.

09-12-2005 22:06 (GMT-0500)

I've been making some forays into the Q3 Engine source after a bit of a burnout hiatus, and I think I've made some real progress with the "choppy server" behavior. I'm running some tests which should hopefully confirm my fix for it over the next day or so. If this works, I'm going to share my findings with other engine modders so hopefully this problem will go away once and for all.

08-12-2005 14:21 (GMT-0500)

Weapon animations code got tiring, so I took a break to work in some special effects. I've reworked the blaster bolts to look more Q2-ish, and I've coded in Q2-style impact effects. That means animated explosions, blaster hits, etc. Still have to do the new models, but the code works.

I've also been working on the particle system. We have Q2-style particle effects for just about everything. There are some problems I need to attempt to work through with processing efficiency if too many particles are in the scene. We'll see what happens. I'm still working on the effects, but for those who wonder if Gen can get closer to the old games visually without looking uberprimitive, well, you'll see eventually. :)

06/04/2005 18:56 (GMT-0500)

I suppose I should update this thing. Work is progressing with the weapon frames stuff. We have frames done for Strogg and Slipgate, with some graphical issues to clear up and some code cleanup to do. The functionality so far is superb, I'm quite pleased with how it's turning out, even if progress in the code area is a bit sluggish. Tab's done a great job on the animations, so those missing the old-school axe swing are going to find that the impossible has been done, and we weren't lying about those weapon frames. It's going to be a while on Doom and Earth because I have to rewrite a lot of stuff before I can even think of framing them, owing to timer concerns. Still, we're a long way from where we were!

On a sadder note, Idlebot has died. I can no longer get the system to POST properly, and when I can it won't boot fully into Windows. It's a hardware problem, I think either power supply or mainboard. A power supply I can replace, the mainboard is a Socket 7 with a K6-2 processor. I was hoping it would wait to go until I could upgrade my main system, but such is life. I might swap the power supply out and see if that fixes it. If not, well, it's been a pretty faithful servent in spite of it.

02/22/2005 19:32 (GMT-0600)

The weapon animation is progressing well, much faster than I had originally anticipated. 'nuff said.

02/08/2005 03:06 (GMT-0600)

The .99f release party went well! We had no hosting problems this time with the files mirroring, and everybody had a blast.

Now that .99f is out of the way, I'm going to begin working on code for the weapons animations. For those of you who thought this would never happen or was impossible, just wait until you see what we've got in mind. We're not going to spoil it just yet, but it's going to blow you away.

01/23/2005 01:51 (GMT-0600)

Christmas came and went, and so did a few bugs and necessary code changes. Progress has been made, and we're in the final pre-release bugtesting of .99f to make sure nothing goes wrong when players install. The release will be finalized once this process is completed!

12/09/2004 02:36 (GMT-0600)

Well blown routers suck, that's all I can say, and so does Linksys now. I replaced my old BEFSR41 v2 router with a new BEFSR41 v3 router. Well guess what? I couldn't scan my own beta test server with it, nor could I DCC transfer even though I had forwarded all the proper ports. I suppose you could say they noobified these in the interests of an "easy setup" for the casual home user who doesn't intend on, well, actually ROUTING anything...

So I replaced it with a D-link DI-604. Much more intricate interface, a lot more to digest, but a hell of a lot more you can DO with it. My server scans fine, and my only gripe is that it took me all night to get DCC working properly. I finally did, so my router woes are over for now, hopefully.

Also, I've decided in the interests of consistency the bugpatch for Gen will be called .99f. I know, I know, I didn't want a .99f but .99e1 or .99e_1 or .99ea would get too confusing. Keep it simple is the way to go. Now if I don't have any more hardware problems I'll be wrapping up the new version SOON. I want this out before Christmas and I'm going to do everything in my power, God willing, to get this thing done!

10/10/2004 00:33 (GMT-0500)

The bugpatch is going well. So far we have only one known bug left from .99e that still requires investigation. I've fixed the portal shaders and broken sky on Stormatorium that resulted from some glitches getting our FFA mappack put together. Normally those things wouldn't slip out but it was a rather hectic week getting .99e finished, prepped, and released on schedule, and even then the files didn't mirror properly for 12 hours so technically it was released a day late.

I won't comment as to a release date for the bugpatch, but we should finish up final bugfixing and testing soon.

08/30/2004 01:10 (GMT-0500)

I've had a bit of a break, and I think I'm about ready to begin work again on the mod. I'm in the process of working on the bugfix patch and improving the map rotation handling. We've got a few rather confusing bugs to work out at the moment that are slowing things down. All of the map pack issues so far appear to be resolved, and the missing huds are fixed as well as the Doom chaingun. Once these other bugs are isolated and straightened out and the improved map rotation code is done then we'll release a bugfix patch. I promise it will be small, and it will be soon!

08/05/2004 15:39 (GMT-0500)

It's been a while since I've updated. I've been very busy getting the last work done for the .99e release of Generations Arena. So far everything is looking good, and it should be ready to rock everyone's world just before QuakeCon!

After release I will probably be taking a brief hiatus to unwind a bit and catch up on some other matters that need my attention, lack of money being a serious one of those. If anyone wants to donate to the "Keep Phoenix from going bankrupt" fund just shoot me an email and I'll give you the name of who to send the check to! (this is my financial agent, so no, don't think this is a way to find my "secret identity" or any rubbish like that!)

Afterward, I plan to begin tearing into the much anticipated weapons animation system. When the code for that is ready we can begin work getting those weapon models animated. Nifty, eh? We've come a long way for .99e, a lot farther than I had initially anticipated for what was supposed to be a "bug patch" at the start. With new Slipgate weapon models, new powerups courtesy of Tabun, and even more solid gameplay than before, plus two new mappacks on the way with it, Generations Arena is looking better than ever!

06/21/2004 22:11 (GMT-0500)

I'll be on and offline here and there a bit over the next week or so. I've been cured of the illness that's been plaguing me, however it's left me in a bit of a state. Sometimes the cure can be worse than the disease, at least, for the time being. I'll be back to work on Generations fairly soon.

05/28/2004 19:31 (GMT-0500)

The .plan system is back up, so it's time for a post! For those curious about my health I am getting by. I've felt better, but I've felt worse as well. I've made some excellent progress on the Generations code, primarily in the area of projectile interactions with mover entities. I'm in the process of properly adapting projectiles and movers to work the way they did in Quake 2. This will be of particular interest to our mappers who have requested func_train and func_rotating style entities to behave the way they used to. It is my intention to have these cleaned up and finished for our .99e release. I know we've taken a long time on this one, as with previous releases, however this is become less of a "bug patch" and more of a full build. Simply put, if you liked .99d you're going to love .99e.

04/27/2004 09:01 (GMT-0500)

I must apoligize for being away for a week without notice, but things have not been going well for me of late. Last Thursday I was in the middle of adding a ducting mod to my PC to help with cooling when I fell violently ill. I was in a lot of pain, feverish, and very weak. I've been unable to eat for the last 4 days and I've been extremely nauseous. Obviously I was unable to finish reattaching my PC to it's docking bay so I've not had computer access until now, not that it would have done me much good since I'm very dizzy and typing is difficult right now as it is.

Sometime/2004 ??:?? (GMT-0500)

I'm afraid I won't be online much until I get over this spell, and my work on Generations is going to be stalled until I feel well enough to continue. There's nothing I can do except ride this out for the moment. I know you're all wondering what's wrong with me, but I will be alright and I'm working to get this illness resolved once and for all. It's going to be a bit bumpy for me between now and then, so I only ask for your patience until I can get past this.

Whenever/2004 ??:?? (GMT-0500)

Well as everyone knows, I've not been feeling too well on and off the last few weeks. This continues to be the norm, however I am working to address this problem. It does affect my ability to work on Gen to some degree, along with everything else in my life, so this requires patience on my part and yours as well.

I have been doing some model work, and the Slipgate weapons have been coming along nicely. Code work has been progressing as well, with only a few major hurdles left in the way for .99e, and a few minor tweaks as well. The biggest hurdle facing me right now is the mover code. Id, it appears, never finished writing the prediction code for func_rotating, and the movers were not inflicting damage either. Damage was easy to fix, but the prediction is going to be a bit trickier. I tried fixing it once before without success, so a change of strategy is in order. I'm also working to clean up the jittery behavior on movers when they clip something, such as a player, and pin them.

When .99e is completed we will be releasing a map SDK that includes information on the new shooter entities along with a few sample maps so a mapper can understand how they work and include them in any Generations Arena map they wish.