Hi Friends! Devblog 59 is already upon us, We have been hard at work planning out the new year, and we hope that we can showcase some of the cool challenges and tasks we are working on.
Disclaimer: All of the content below is heavily work in progress and is subject to change.
There are many games that are top down. There are many games that have a non-fixed camera. There are many games that have a day-night cycle. There are few games that try to combine all of those in an mmo. Foxhole presents a very unique challenge in making certain objects, the Foliage has proven to be one of the most difficult things for us to figure out.
In Reality, the sides of an object most perpendicular to a light source will receive more light. You can see it clearly in the image I made below.
Most foliage in video games is just a texture on a translucent plane (sorry to ruin video game magic folks) Almost all leaves you see in a game is just a cutout shape with no dimension. This process is called baking.
Foliage like trees usually presents fewer problems as a tree usually have large shapes that are naturally facing up. Smaller objects like grass, flowers, and plants usually grow out of the ground straight up, essentially growing parallel to the sun. When the player looks down on a handful of planes with pictures of grass on them the illusion breaks. The player first notices that there are just a bunch of planes, then they begin to see really harsh unnatural shading.
In order to counteract the problem, we began to manually manipulate the object's normals (essentially Handles that control how a 3D is shaded and appears) to fool the game engine into thinking that the object is indeed perpendicular to the light source, while its position, and rotate actually remains quite parallel. In lay man’s terms, Its a trick.
Depending on the object we are able to control what angle these "normals" are. So if the object is perpendicular to the games light source, which in our case is always the sun or the moon, we leave the unaltered. If its an object like grass, that naturally grows straight up and down parallel to those light sources we force its "normals" upwards, making it flattering to the viewer.
You can read more about it here.
More Work? Alright...
I don't have much to say today, but boy do I have something to show! Even though the town revamp has been pushed to the live game, that doesn't mean its over! We're continuing to make more buildings to add life and variety to foxhole. Most recently I've had fun working on a new garrison structure, The Bell Tower, which will be the tallest mountable garrison in foxhole to date. I have also updated the existing church to fit in with all the new buildings we've added.
Myself and Leon have also be working on some new assets for the smaller villages in foxhole. We always wanted to make the smaller living areas on the outskirts of towns feel more like country side and less city, these new assets will hopefully convey that feeling.
Reaching the finish line
The player population spike over the holidays has breathed a lot of new life into the project. Many of our regular community contributors are getting a healthy zap of attention resulting from the expanded player base, but not everything is rosy. The surge of players has also led to a surge of mod reports. Accusations of griefers, trolls, and spies has been a more-than-daily occurrence.
The number of mod reports since August was nearly quadrupled in December! And while we don’t expect that number to stay high, we also want to be adequately prepared for any other spike we may receive in the future.
So in the coming weeks we’ll be reviewing and updating our present community moderation model. Unfortunately I don’t have much to share in this regard as it’s all still very much fluid, but we wanted you all to know that we have heard your concerns regarding the trolls, and we’re kicking into gear.
However here are a few of the issues we do feel pretty strongly will make it into 0.22 that you can look forward to:
We’re going to remove the cross-faction all-chat. You’ll have to have those arguments on Discord instead.
A *one-time-only* free faction unlock for players under rank 4. This is for those new players who foolishly pick the opposite faction as their friends (this happens a lot).
A message to be sent to players when they are banned, giving them information on how to appeal, and for what reason.
That wraps up another Dev Blog. Be sure to check out our Foxhole Dev Stream for more information about upcoming features. If you have any burning questions you want answered be sure to tweet them to @Matt directly on Discord or Twitter, if your question gets selected it will be answered Live on stream!