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

Explosion Design

I’ve spent another whole day working on particle /explosion stuff and tools. I was very pleased with the explosions in GSB. They look like this:

But much better in motion. I think that’s not bad. However, just because I think it’s not bad doesn’t mean it can’t be a factor of ten better. I’m aiming for ILM-standards, so there is a huge way to go.

GSB had a particle editor, but it wasn’t as good as it should be, mainly because it was built as an external program, and a crap one. I am notorious for making rubbish tools. I should just ask Eskil to make them. Anyway…

Here is the very first attempt at the explosion / particle editor for LB. It’s not vaguely finished, not even by 50%, and I really need to support zooming in! Anyway, the main thing is that it’s built into the game, which means a lot less hassle to edit effects and then toggle back into the game and see how it looks. Plus it uses the exact same source files as the in-game effects, so it’s less messy.

To be honest 90% of the effort was a re-jig of the class structures for a lot of my particle code, rather than actual tools production. Obviously all the GUI code there and the graphics are from GSB, don’t worry, I’ll get a brand spanking new GUI design for the new game in time.

I’m determined to finally make a game that has decent tools from the start, to make me more productive.

In other news, I was woken at 3AM by the death screams of what sounded like an injured pterodactyl in the garden. It *might* have been some less exotic bird, but I’m not so sure. Glad I hadn’t just watched some creepy horror movie.

6 thoughts on Explosion Design

  1. Should we read anything in to the fact that there is a desert looking background on that explosion? Probably not, but it’s always fun to speculate. =D

  2. Obviously it’s Gratuitous Land Battles. Once that’s a success he’ll try to combine the two and either make something awesome or shatter his brain, leaving him a stroked out vegetable. I applaud such heroic effort though.

  3. Yeessss… land battles… One step closer to 4x gratuosity! :) Seriously though Cliff it’s amazing to watch you build bigger and better with this new project.

  4. This is nicely timed for me, since I’m hosting a programming contest on the LÖVE forums (warning: shameless self-plug: the catch is that the whole file has to be 4KB or less).

    I’d like to include GSB this as a research subject. Is that ok? Any particular video showing off explosions that you are particularly fond of?

    Also, a slightly higher-res second screenshot (one where the letters could be read) would be much appreciated – As well as any hints that you might have for others dealing with explosions.

  5. I knew it! I knew it had something to do with land and battles! :D
    Anyhoo… I know you made a particle effects generator ages ago that outputted the explosion as a series of image files (I think. I may be getting confused). Is there any chance of doing the same for the GSB generator? You could even sell it as a development tool!

  6. The better ILM (and cinematic) explosions are composited from real footage before being manipulated. This is, in my opinion, definitely worth the effort and much more fun. Purely generative special effects have been around as long as computer graphics existed and we’re so conditioned to seeing it that they’re downright bland. Photographically captured textures are the defining visual effect what set Max Payne and the Call of Duty series apart when they were released.

    Stage effects and fireworks are relatively cheap (or you can use propane/methane/petrol/hydrogen if you’re careful). All you need is a high speed camera (dslr with custom firmware will do) and a green/blue screen (mdf and spraypaint). To put things in perspective, the directors of The Dark Knight went to the trouble of renting out Battersea Power Station so they could make a giant fireball to manipulate into the batman logo (visible for a handful of seconds in the title sequence) because that’s how big a difference photo capture makes. Give it a go ;)

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