Coroner's Blog
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Author:  coroner [ Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:11 am ]
Post subject:  Coroner's Blog

i'd thought I could use this thread as a kind of blog, so ppl can read what I am actually doing and thinking about the project "Close Quarters Battle", say CQB.

Please don't reply in this thread, open another one for comments.

First off, I'd like to thank Diane and the community for the hospitality here in the forum. I am also happy to see Liquid and Lok around again.

Second, and very important, I would like to mention again that this project evolved from plans for private LAN and ther is no commitment from my side that something is going to be released, though I very much hope to be able to.

Third, since I want to avoid any confusion about this issue, CQB will not be a bugfix and update to TCE 0.49b. Design ideas for QCB route more back to Q3TCs inventory system merged with the true-scale and movement system of TCE, as well as with its weapon behaviour model and, finally, merged with role-play-game character generation elements like Abilities/Perks (also known from Cod4 and MW2). Initially, also the bodycount (team deathmatch) experience will be in the focus, along with reinforced objectives like CTF.

What's tossed around at the moment is:
A major design change will be to put much more emphazies on the character customization and on very detailed and route-rich maps. In combination, these features should offer a huge variety of individual playstyles.

To be continued ...

Author:  Liquid [ Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:01 am ]
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my involvement is completely theological at this point ;)

Author:  coroner [ Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:46 pm ]
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It's been some time ... so, I thought I could share some news again.
There is some steady but slow progress at the moment. I fixed the bbox issue where shots were not registered when players touch an object that they use as cover. Usually, the piercing bullet did not do damage in this case. In a LAN test I also stumbled across the ugly jittery player movement of stock ET which I almost forgot due to the long absence. Now, playing mostly Cod4 in LAN, it really sucks to see that awful jittery moves in TCE. Anyhow I was able to fix it, don't know whether it ever was an issue with dedicated servers at all. Now I have to interpolate the third person lean movement, too. It suddenly sticks out from the otherwise smooth movement.

Gameplay wise I did some revisions of the weapon simulation code. CQB is based on the 0491 internal which used a new unified simulation of all weapons already, which I guess is a bit different to the public version. Thus, it doesn't make much sense to talk about changes with regard to 049b. The general goal for me was to tone down the exaturated representation of recoil in TCE. New values are based on the bullet impulse rather than on the kinetic energy which is more realistic. During testing I also introduced a server variable to switch between arcade/hardcore mode, uuh, yeah, which even enables a crosshair for hip fire. Don't know whether this will make it to a release version ever, but don't be scared in hardcore mode will be as always without crosshair. Generally, I would like to exchange hip fire against unaimed shoulder position, but I guess for the third person view it has to stay hip fire, so that you can really tell whether somebody is aiming or not.

That's it for now, Coroner

Author:  coroner [ Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:34 am ]
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the weekend was busy but I managed to make some progress with CQB. Todays blog will be on the weapons in CQB. As I mentioned already, the weapon selection in CQB is based on the goal to have really uniquely behaving weapons without multiple different models that would basically offer the same style of playing. This saves a lot of development resources, however, one feature of the TC family I'd still like to maintain are the different weapons for the both teams. The weapons will have addons like suppressors or reflex sights or akimbo for which the player will have to spent design points to use them. A second change from the former weapon system is that there are more options for sidearms that they will be more powerful gameplay wise.

There will be six primary weapons all offering different pros and cons and all suited for different styles of game play. For the specops team (tentative terrorists equivalent given in []) the following collection is planned and partly implemented (addons are given in brackets). Without addons all weapons offer iron sights:

B&T MP9 [MAC M10] (Silencer or Akimbo)
9x19mm, 1000 rpm
Short range

Franchi SPAS 12 or M1014 (Choke disperser)
00. Buckshot
Short range

H&K UMP 45 [MP 5/40] (Silencer or Aimpoint)
.45 ACP, 600 rpm
Short range

Colt M4 [AKS-74U] (Silencer or Aimpoint)
5.56 NATO, 750 rpm
Medium range

Barrett REC7 [AKM] (Eotech)
6.8 SPC, 700 rpm
Medium to long range

KAC M110 [M76] (4x Scope)
Long range


Glock 18 SF [Beretta 93 R] (Akimbo)
9x19mm, 1200 rpm

Glock 21 or some 1911 (Silencer)
.45 ACP

Mossberg 590 Compact (Choke Disperser)
00. Buckshot

IMI Desert Eagle (Aimpoint)
.50 AE

Author:  coroner [ Fri Apr 16, 2010 11:49 am ]
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... time for some news, again.
The weapons are shaping up very well. The AR-15 based rifles are all in the game, along with the UMP and the MP5/40. Aimpoint and Eotech reflex sights are implemented and in game, offering real projection of the reticles on the target spot. In combination with the vector based aim code, they offer a real advantage as soon as the player is moving and the iron sights get slightly misalighned. I just put the MP9 and the M76 in game. One new thing about the sniper rifles (M110/Mk11 and M76) in CQB is that they can be selected without the scope. In this case the backup iron sights come into play, offering accurate and powerful semi auto rifles. Thanks to the vector aim code, the weapon behaviour feels much superior compared to current commercial games to me while weapons finally offer the same details with 5000-10000 polys.
I am looking forward to play testing to make the six primary weapons really unique in their behaviour.
Overall, there will be about 130 unique weapon combinations of primary and sidearm per team. I also decided to make all sidearms identical for both teams, giving more space for a wider variety. Next to the Glock 18, there will be a 1911 based .45, Glock 20 (10mm), and the Desert Eagle. The Mossberg 590c will get a double-barreled sawed-off as small brother at a later point.
Ui-wise I added anisotropic filtering (I actually had never activated it until now) and the two settings for drawFPS (average and average plus range).
Currently, I am working on the AK which will either be a AK-47 or 103 equipped with ris mounts.

Author:  coroner [ Mon May 03, 2010 12:19 pm ]
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Well, blog time again. Some of you might have followed the discussion in the other thread.
One idea that ironed more and more during the last weeks is that I would like to publish something soon and early during the development, basically as soon as all basic features are in the game. The release will also be stand-alone in the sense that it does not require TCE. In agreement with this goal I limited myself to finish the first set of guns and to proceed with some other game elements that have to be implemented.
For the first CQB test version, a limited set of weapons will be available, probably Beretta 93R, Glock 20, Mossberg 590C, and as primaries MP9/Mini-Uzi, UMP45/MP5, Mk11/M76.
The next step is to bring the abilities/perks to life, which is quite simple in many cases. Some changes have to be applied to the leaning system which will depend more on stance (crouching, moving, etc).
The distribution of character skins also has to be changed since CQB should be 12 players max with each having an individual skin at any time.
The only thing that causes real headache is the single map that is going to be published in the test version. I would really like to push it up to the new graphic standards, probably it has to be a small place done from scratch. Still this requires a lot of work.

Author:  coroner [ Mon May 10, 2010 2:13 pm ]
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The last days have been busy with work on TCEs q3map2 and mapping. Finally fired up GTKRadiant 1.4 again. One goal for CQB is to achieve a visually different look when compared to TCE. TCEs look was strongly dominated by distance fog and at times quite low contrasts. Some might even say it was "wasched out". Historically, the look evolved from design considerations related to well visible enemies also in darker areas. For CQB, I would like to return more to contrasty scene exposures as well as to the originally more moody style of Q3TC 0.45. I therefore did some experiments with changes to parameters in the perceptual tone-mapping code in TCEs q3map2 as well as in the dynamic eye code in CQB with very pleasing results. Currently I am working on a small test level which is based on some geometry of an old Q3TC map that was further developed for the unpublished Elite626. It's fun how many detail models we can use nowadays and how much the look of the game is influenced by a large number of TCEs excellent models (thanks to Liquid and Bruce). I hope to be able to share some WIP shots soon, though this week will be busy with RL work.

Author:  coroner [ Sun May 30, 2010 8:28 am ]
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Hey there, dropping in again.
Last weeks were quite busy with real life, so the progress with CQB is limited. Nevertheless, I was able to address some issues.
Next to fixing a bug in the physical player movement system, I did some tweaking work on my level. I also improved the projective player shadow routine a bit and made the darkening of the shadow depend on the ambient and direct light relationship. One other issue that really annoyed me was that current nvidia drivers (maybe also some others) produced some z-fighting problems for decals. Fortunately this aged Idtech3 engine is even tweakable enough to be able to fix things like this. Most importantly, I guess, I finally digged out some old resources I started with to fix the "floating hand" in the third person anim. And after having fixed some problems with stance transition anims, I finally got a new third person anim for the former ETish "hip fire" stance working which is now replaced by a shouldered one. Also the aimed stance was fixed, is now dependent on the weapon, and the "floating hand" is history. Nothing is perfect but much better and much less ETish look and feel.
I uploaded some WIP shoots to Diane's ftp, so probably there will be some screenies around soon. That's it for today. Cheers, Coroner

Author:  coroner [ Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:33 pm ]
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Hey there again.
Well, this time I don't have much to report, majorly due to real life issues. Now I am really happy that I didn't announce any release date or made huge promises. The main advantage with this policy is that I can still enjoy working on CQB without feeling preasure and with making only limited progress. Yeah, its actually really fun. Even if I come to think about it and work on it only every now and then, I can finally enjoy it. In the end it will hopefully pay out for everyone.
So, what happened? I've once more increased the number of internally handable weapons which is necessary to handle all the addons in such a stupid and quick and dirty way as I do it for now. I am not happy with it, and have a better system 75% in code since old TCE times, but I felt that sticking to the proven system is safer and faster right now, at least for the first release.
This brings me to the plans for the first release.
In the meantime I decided to allow a combination of sight and supressor attachments which results in four version of a each primary weapon (bare/red dot/suppressor/both). As a sidenote, I also studied some other free games (can't remember the names) and figured that they allow for various modifications and customizations like barrel length and ammunition which reminded me of plans back in Q3TC times.
To keep things doable I've set up a three stage plan for the weapons. The initial release will have the weapons with * and the follow up ones additionally the ** and *** ones.
As you will see, I've included a .338 Lapua bolt action rifle in the final release (would otherwise be sad to leave the existing anims and my own recorded large caliber shell sounds unused). Additionally, so many ppl were asking for it.

Primary weapons (Specops/Terror):
MP9* / MiniUzi*
UMP45* / MP5/40*
MP5K*** (both teams)

M4Commando(Vltor)* / SG552*
SCAR6.8 or REC7** / AK47**
AKS74U*** (later SG552 will be both teams and AKS for terror only)

Mk11* / M76*
M1014** / SPAS12**
TRG42*** (both teams)

Sidearms (both teams):

I also started to develop a story behind the whole TC franchise (who needs this?) with a main protagonist. It's not quite ironed yet but I can tell as much as that the roles of good and bad are less stereotype'sh in CQB.

Author:  coroner [ Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:47 am ]
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Goodbye Hitboxes.
Well, real life is still busy, nevertheless I have something to report. Catching up any of the loose ends of development didn't seem appealing during the last week so I grabbed ETPro's Realhead code and merged it into CQB. After getting the routines to run I started writing my own bone-based hit detection code which is in experimental but working state now. Currently about 16 bones (like lower left leg, upper left leg, ...) are traced as a cylindrical tube volume capped by half spheres. That works quite smooth to approximate the player model. The whole bone stuff follows the animations and bending, turning like done on the client side. That's it already for today.

Author:  coroner [ Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:46 am ]
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Hey again.
I'd like to start with some comments on discussions I've followed in the forum and I do it here, so it is comprehensive to read for ppl that are not reading the forum otherwise and easy to find again, additionally.

One suggestion or thought which is coming up repeatedly is about engine switch. For CQB I can clearly say no. There are multiple reasons and you can also be ensured that there was much consideration from my side before I came back to W:ET again. One main reason to stay idtech3 based is that the existing code base makes it possible to get something like CQB done at all. Never forget, there is like 10 years experience and countless man-hours involved and I know every line of code by heart, so to say. Another issue with modern engines is the huge workload required to get decent bump/specular textures and many other assets done that would be on par with the AAA quality of plain color-channel texs we have now. The third main reason is the existing very well known production pipeline including (most importantly) the map editor and the md3 model pipeline.

That brings me directly to the question of how much is doable with that old battle horse idtech3? A lot. You have to feel comfortable with the retro look due to lack of bump/specular, though. - As a side note, I have to admit I started seeing it as a feature and it gives a good feeling to be so far off the current games that the hunt to somehow try to catch up is finally over. - So, what's doable? CQB is aiming at 50.000 - 60.000 verts per scene @ 60 Hz, which on average compares to a similar amount of triangles. At my machine (3 GHz Core2 and GTX 275) this runs with stable 100-110 fps. It still runs well on my aged Laptop with a NV 7400 Go (can't remember the fps right now). In the years to come, most ppl will be able to have stable 60 fps with very rich graphics this way. So, were would the limit of idtech3 be? There is no hard limit for polycount, the problem however is the architecture of idtech3 which misses vertex buffer objects (VBO). As such, there is always the bottle neck of compiling vertex arrays and sending it to the graphics card on a frame basis. As hardware will be faster and faster, we probably can do 200.000 polys at stable 60 fps in just a few years. The issue is more that it could be done today already if VBOs were available (see Xreal and other idtech3 beef ups).

Much talking, the bottom line is that excellent models and excellent textures with decent poly detail in stable stock W:ET is much more than buggy beef-up engines with old maps and strange wanna-be bump/specular maps.

Finally, a friend uploaded a camera screen capture showing off CQBs new free look feature. It's not best quality but you can see some action and how CQB will look. Thanks for that and enjoy:

Author:  coroner [ Thu Jul 08, 2010 11:53 am ]
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Time for a small update again.
I am currently trying to finish all the loose ends of development with the release of a first test version in mind. All first-person weapons for the first release are done and working, some third-person models have to be finished, but since the are based on the TCE TP models, it is nothing big. I would say, the first version is 75% done. They deployment menu is updated with six loudout profiles which can be saved and which replace the old indentity choices. The identity (playermodel/skin) is now decided by the server to make sure all 6 players per team have a unique skin. I also fixed some stuff mentioned in the forum regarding server crashes and exploits. The loadout profiles will also be carefully checked for integrity on the server before they are applied. There is still some way to go but I try to not add new features anymore and to wrap this up.
One thing I just postponed is to add new cracking flyby sounds for supersonic projectiles and to use the current whizzby sounds only for subsonic, supressed ones. Would be nice to have, as CQB also has ballistic bullet tracing which with the average engagement distances in mind only really counts for subsonic bullets.
That's it for today. Stay tuned.

Author:  coroner [ Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:19 am ]
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Good and not so good news.
I had the very first alpha test fight against some bots in the weekend, after finishing the third-person weapon models. That's very good news, I guess.
I could track down a number of issues, thats's what the rudimentary bot system is good for. Unfortunately one issue were major framerate drops with the new player shadow projection at certain spots of the test map. Even more unfortunate, I couldn't really isolate the problem in a number of map compiles and various code iterations. The problem with the decal projection is burried in WETs engine and there is no obvious reason (from looking at the geometry) why framerates should drop in some spots and are perfectly fine in others. I guess, I could figure it out by having a look at the Q3 source, but this wouldn't help. An alternative is Ydnars new decal code in WET which I disabled in TCE cause it doesn't work with skybox entities. Without the skybox entities it works fine without fps drop, however, it allows only too few shadow decals to be added per frame, so part of the shadows would randomly flicker and dissappear. Except for removing the nice new shadows (as cvar option) I don't see a nice solution right now.

Author:  coroner [ Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:58 am ]
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Very good news.
I managed to bust all issues with the new projective shadows and now CQB actually offers more performance with them compared to TCE with the old ones.

I also tracked down (and fixed meanwhile) a number of bugs during test sessions with bots. I further improved the hit detection, rewrote the handling of portal scopes and improved the graphics of the scope overlay, optimized the particle system for smoke (though there is still headroom). I also improved the rendering of the own legs/feet, that I added along with the free look feature. You can see some action here:
As a sidenote, the bots are a debugging tool and are the same as in TCE. At the moment, I have no plans to improve them.

Next steps on the way to a first alpha are the player skins and the radar. The radar will show own team members and will disguise all firing opponents if they don't use suppressed weapons. Furthermore, all sighted opponents that are either shot at by a team member or only sigthed and focused on for a while are automatically added. I will probably remove the appearance of team/opponent names in the center screen area and add an option to mark the own members in first person view like in 0.48.

Author:  coroner [ Mon Jul 26, 2010 7:26 am ]
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No huge progress but nevertheless something interesting to report.
Firstly, I finally touched the gravity setting which was, so far, never changed from its original Q3/ET setting. I've written about this issue earlier and basically it means that gravity was always twice as high as it should have been. In game, the effects were a too fast falling acceleration resulting in too fast up/down jump movements and resulting in unrealistic (too high) jump heights required for a correct jump length. CQB now uses the physically correct gravity setting resulting in strongly reduced jump heights while maintaining the jump length. All objects like crates and lower ones use the new mantling action to climb/step on/over. A nice side effect is also that the remaining jump action looks slower and less hopping like. There are still some issues to finish, particularly coupled to sprint acceleration.
Secondly, I did the first linux compile and Tier indicated that he had a first look at the Mac SDK again.

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