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Portalus Games | Official Site
MMORPG | Setting:Historical | Status:Final  (rel 01/22/08)  | Pub:Portalus Games
PVP:Yes | Distribution:Download | Retail Price:Free | Pay Type:Hybrid | Monthly Fee:Free
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New Dev Log

Posted by Jon Wood on Jan 10, 2006  | Comments

New Dev Log - Pirates of the Burning Sea -

Below, you will find a sample of a new Dev Log from Pirates of the Burning Sea. This was was turned out by Heidi, and it talks about Portals and The Nav Zone:


Portals and Nav Zone

The Nav Zone

It’s been close to a year since I’ve actually written a dev log, and a lot has changed since then. I’ve been frantically divvying my time between adding new features, and then going back and improving the performance of a bunch of existing ones. In general, I’ve been moving my focus more towards the client sides of things – mostly physics and graphics. Some highlights were:

  • A new physics system
  • A new (more efficient) ocean vertex shader
  • A bunch of new features in the ocean pixel shader
  • A new ocean decal system, so we can put cool effects on the ocean surface
  • A new (faster) way of reading and writing objects to our database.
  • Many many changes to our lighting
  • A new portal system

A portal system is a way to more intelligently decide what we draw and simulate within a scene. Basically, we divide the level into a series of “rooms”, which is essentially an group of stuff you expect to see at a single time. Connecting these rooms are volumes called “portals”. Those allow me to tell which rooms I should expect to see from other rooms. So when I’m in a room I can quickly determine which portals I see, which I can then use to quickly determine which other rooms I can see from which I can determine … etc. etc.. Anything not seen is discarded and not drawn. Not terribly exciting, but it allows us to have bigger “play areas” and to allow you to stay in them longer before we have to have a giant load from the disk. One of the problems found along the way was that our art really wasn’t created with this system in mind, so I had to write some code to appropriately split the art along the boundaries of the chambers. While this wasn’t terribly tricky it was gruelingly slow. Hence the part of my job where I go back and make existing stuff work faster.

Read it all, here.