Testers wanted

I’m searching for testers. Hardware preferences are:

- Quadcore CPU
- 512 MB RAM
- Shader v2 or v3 on the GPU

required OS are:
- Windows XP
- Vista (only with OpenGL/ICD patch)

You can contact me per email:
alesto[at]simerge[dot]com

[EDIT] I’m searching now testers with Quadcore CPUs.

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Backgrounds

I’ve imported backgrounds from X3. The screenshots show the solarsystem “santa romera” from I-War2.

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Asynchronous content loading/generation

Content loading is a well known problematic. Most games store resources on disk which are loaded at startup or at begin of a new level. The same counts for content generation.
A typical solution of this problematic are loading zones. When the player moves into one of these zones, the game will be paused and a notification or a loading progress bar is showed. After all required resources are loaded or created, the game can be continued.

In my case, one of the most time intensive processes is the terrain generation. Depending on the complexity of a terrain, one patch of medium size can take up to 1-2 seconds. The peak amount of generated patches is reached when the player lands on a planet or if he moves over the surface at a high velocity with a low altitude. My first version of the terrain engine freezed the game during each terrain generation process. At the lowest altitude the player could move only two hundred meters without any freezes.

Frequent content generation processes can bore the player very soon. So I modified the engine to use an asynchronous content generation method instead. The only difference is, the game keeps running at the same time any new content is generated/loaded. Especially content generation profits from multi core CPUs.

The second version of my terrain engine is based on the concept of Thatcher Ulrich (See Chunked LOD). First it generates a terrain patch at the lowest detail level. After that, it chooses some patches near the player and divides + refines them with a higher detail level. This process is iterated continuously until a satisfying level of detail is reached.

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Importing starsystems from IW2

I’ve finally managed to import a starsystem from IW2 successfully. These starsystem maps are already populated with all sorts of habitats, stations and mines. So they are an ideal playground to develop the AI and an artificial life engine.

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First AI routines

I’ve newly implemented my first AI routines which will be used in very much cases. Not only by NPC ships, but also by rockets and in autopilot mode.
Because the AI isn’t reading controls I want simply bypass the physics engine and define tracks instead. For this purpose I’m going to use splines (special type of curves). But in some case an AI driven object will be switched back to physics engine, for example if a collision occurred.

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First orbital stations

I’ve finally managed to import station models from X3. They always look very pretty. Even then when I don’t use much shaders on them and not much effects. The designers of the game X3 did their job very good.

front

appartments

very near

In near future I plan to implement a first person mode in Simerge. For this purpose I’m going to develop a portal engine with indoor and outdoor connections. And room to room connections. On this way I promise myself to render all geometry fast.

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About Simerge

Some people asked me about this work and I’ve taken some time to create a small description. If you’re interested to see it you can follow this    link

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First Simerge game testbed

I’m currently working at my first techdemo of Simerge. I’ve temporarily overtaken the design of the game I-War2. That’s because it gives me some sort of satisfying feeling when I see its beautiful magic being set up by my game engine. And of course, I get that necessary motivation I need to go on :D

The user interface of the demo consists of transparent and anti aliased vector objects. The anti alias effect gives the user an intention of smoothness and is very eye friendly. The interface can remain very simple while attracting the player.

In this demo the player is able to fly in a solar system with a velocity above the lightspeed. The solar system is procedurally generated by using three random numbers. The generated information are planet types, positions and names.
Currently the planets are rendered very simple. In next versions I will finish the conversion of my planetary engine for this techdemo to give them a detailed look.

I-War 2 cloned user interface

Flying in the orbit of a planet


starmap

A starmap, where player can choose travel destination

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Some quick shots of the planetary engine

One year ago I’ve created my first working planetary engine. Here are some screenshots of it I’ve posted at gamedev.net and different forums. This engine uses procedural generated heighmaps for planetary terrains and should give the player a feeling of total freedom by discovering endless unique worlds.

The planetary engine itself is a little bit outdated and uses DirectX 9. Simerge will use a fresh new OpenGL based planetary engine. The new engine will be optimized for better rendering performance and lower memory consummation. Additionally I’m going to use a multithread supported out-of-core paging.

Dry river

Dry river

Sun is going down at evening

Sun is going down

Approaching a planet

Approaching a planet

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Simerge blog launched

I’ve created a blog for my experimental space game project called Simerge. The name stands for “merged space simulations”. My aim is to create a mixed genre space simulation game which contains elements from games like X3 Reunion and I-War2. Additionally I want to implement seamless atmospheric flight on planets.

This blog should serve as a provisional presentation site. I will post news and screenshots about Simerge regulary.

Hope you will enjoy your stay and, of course, post comments.

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