Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Level-of-detail in particles and debris

It took me a while to get support for this in. I still need some decent tools to get my particle effects placement faster and easier.

Anyway…. there is now some basic LOD support for particle emitters and the debris particles. That means I can have buckets of both and only render what I need (although tragically you still need to update a lot of it for consistency sake). here’s a screenshot showing debris increasing as you zoom in. It doesn’t look like I’m zooming in the way I cropped the screens, but I am :D

It’s faked a bit with a sudden detonation, so the screen looks a bit sparse, but it looks very cool in the game :D. It’s nice that it fades into view rather than having any popup.

I’ve been adding in hulk textures for all the frigates today, doing texture-atlases for the fighter hulks, and re-rendering some of them to prevent black jaggies around them at low zoom, designing some more AI fleets and generally fixing and tweaking.

7 thoughts on Level-of-detail in particles and debris

  1. Ok, stupid question with the debris: Will ships take damage or require shields to defend themselves from debris? I mean, not that GSB is designed to be super-realistic, but that’s a huge concern with any sort of combat. Things don’t usually go real well for the people in rank 2 when rank 1 gets turned into shrapnel.

  2. I was just going to ask about that. Perhaps fighter hulks could deal damage on impact, a la A-wing vs Super Star Destroyer?

  3. You guys need to remember that even though you see this on a 2d plane, this is all taking place in a 3d environment. Any debris that does strike a craft would most likely be considered harmless when you take into account that these ships are hardened enough to take enemy fire.

    Plus, Cliffski installed debris-level shield emitters on all hull sections as part of the standard ship package, duh!

  4. I see, you’re right, odds are the fighter hulks would miss, but it might be a way to give fighters a little advantage against ships with heavy anti-fighter grids.

    As for the shields, I’m pretty sure bubble-style shields like these have a kind of size filter to determine what gets blocked, so that 2 warships in close formation don’t deflect each other. I’m sure fighters would fit this size gate, as cariers would need to open shields to let fighters out.

    Anyways, lets think balance. We got a big cruiser with a lot of shielding and a serious anti-fighter loadout. Including the fighter hulk damage thing gives us the option to just throw fighters at it for the sake of looking cool. A swarm of tiny ships getting zapped mid-flight and crashing against the enemy ship’s armor. That’s the kind of cinematic stuff everyone needs more of.

  5. If you have LOD and can determine the current famerate,
    you could offer the option “fixed FPS”.

    This way the programm automatically adjusts the LOD in a way,
    that the FPS will be around 40FPS for example.

    So the user does not need to care for adjusting values in the options.

    If the game runs slow, the LOD kicks in earlier.
    If the game runs too fast, you can activate additional effects / debris and such,
    to have better visuals.

    Any PC setup will then have a fast running game, and
    the quality level it can actually provide.

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