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Learn about game development technology

Entries in this blog

Load files from URL

I have been spending most of my time on something else this month in preparation for the release of the Leadwerks 5 SDK. However, I did add one small feature today that has very big implications for the way the engine works. You can load a file from a web URL: local tex = LoadTexture("https://www.github.com/Leadwerks/Documentation/raw/master/Assets/brickwall01.dds") Why is this a big deal? Well, it means you can post code snippets that can be copied and pasted without requiring download o

Josh

Josh

Voxel GI: GPU Acceleration, corrected bounces, and reflections

I've moved the GI calculation over to the GPU and our Vulkan renderer in Leadwerks Game Engine 5 beta now supports volume textures. After a lot of trial and error I believe I am closing in on our final techniques. Voxel GI always involves a degree of light leakage, but this can be mitigated by setting a range for the ambient GI. I also implemented a hard reflection which was pretty easy to do. It would not be much more difficult to store the triangles in a lookup table for each voxel in order to

Josh

Josh

Voxel GI: Light Bounces

I implemented light bounces and can now run the GI routine as many times as I want. When I use 25 rays per voxel and run the GI routine three times, here is the result. (The dark area in the middle of the floor is actually correct. That area should be lit by the sky color, but I have not yet implemented that, so it appears darker.) It's sort of working but obviously these results aren't usable yet. Making matters more difficult is the fact that people love to show their best scr

Josh

Josh

Voxel GI: Colors and Fast Downsampling

The polygon voxelization process for our voxel GI system now takes vertex, material, and base texture colors into account. The voxel algorithm does not yet support a second color channel for emission, but I am building the whole system with that in mind. When I visualize the results of the voxel building the images are pretty remarkable! Of course the goal is to use this data for fast global illumination calculations but maybe they could be used to make a whole new style of game graphics.

Josh

Josh

Vulkan Voxels

I have resumed work on voxel-based global illumination using voxel cone step tracing in Leadwerks Game Engine 5 beta with our Vulkan renderer. I previously put about three months of work into this with some promising results, but it is a very difficult system and I wanted to focus on Vulkan. Some of features we have gained since then like Pixmaps and DXT decompression make the voxel GI system easier to finish. I previously considered implementing Nvidia's raytracing techniques for Vulkan bu

Josh

Josh

Advanced Lua Debugging

I've had some more time to work with the Lua debugger in Leadwerks Game Engine 5 beta, and it's really amazing.  Adding the engine classes into the debug information has been pretty simple. All it takes is a class function that adds members into a table and returns it to Lua. sol::table Texture::debug(sol::this_state ts) const { auto t = Object::debug(ts); t["size"] = size; t["format"] = format; t["type"] = type; t["flags"] = flags; t["samples"] = samples; t["faces"] = faces;

Josh

Josh

Debugging Lua with Visual Studio Code in Leadwerks Game Engine 5 Beta

Leadwerks Game Engine 5 Beta now supports debugging Lua in Visual Studio Code. To get started, install the Lua Debugger extension by DevCat. Open the project folder in VSCode and press F5. Choose the Lua debugger if you are prompted to select an environment. You can set breakpoints and step through Lua code, viewing variables and the callstack. All printed output from your game will be visible in the Debug Console within the VS Code interface. Having first-class support for

Josh

Josh

Leadwerks Game Engine 5 Beta Updated with Pathfinding, Bone Attachments, and more...

A new update is available for beta testers. This adds navmesh pathfinding, bone attachments, and the beginning of the Lua debugging capabilities.New commands for creating navigation meshes for AI pathfinding are included. NavMesh Pathfinding In Leadwerks Game Engine 5 you can create your own navmeshes and AI agents, with all your own parameters for player height, step height, walkable slope, etc.: shared_ptr<NavMesh> CreateNavMesh(shared_ptr<World> world, const float wi

Josh

Josh

Bone Attachments

In Leadwerks Game Engine 4, bones are a type of entity. This is nice because all the regular entity commands work just the same on them, and there is not much to think about. However, for ultimate performance in Leadwerks 5 we treat bones differently. Each model can have a skeleton made up of bones. Skeletons can be unique for each model, or shared between models. Animation occurs on a skeleton, not a model. When a skeleton is animated, every model that uses that skeleton will display the same m

Josh

Josh

Leadwerks Game Engine 5 Beta Update

An update is available for beta testers. What's new: GLTF animations now work! New example included. Any models from Sketchfab should work. Added Camera::SetGamma, GetGamma. Gamma is 1.0 by default, use 2.2 for dark scenes. Fixed bug that was creating extra bones. This is why the animation example was running slow in previous versions. Fixed bug where metalness was being read from wrong channel in metal-roughness map. Metal = R, roughness = G. T

Josh

Josh

Leadwerks Game Engine 5 Beta Update

A new beta update to Leadwerks Game Engine 5 is available now. New stuff: Streaming terrain CopyRect and Texture::SetSubPixels Texture saving Note that the "SharedObject" class has been renamed to "Object" and that math classes (Vec3, Vec4, Plane, Mat3, etc.) no longer derive from anything.

Josh

Josh

Streaming Terrain in Leadwerks Game Engine 5

The terrain system in Leadwerks Game Engine 4 allows terrains up to 64 square kilometers in size. This is big enough for any game where you walk and most driving games, but is not sufficient for flight simulators or space simulations. For truly massive terrain, we need to be able to dynamically stream data in and out of memory, at multiple resolutions, so we can support terrains bigger than what would otherwise fit in memory all at once. The next update of Leadwerks Game Engine 5 beta suppo

Josh

Josh

Leadwerks 5 Beta Update

A new beta is available in the beta forum. This adds new texture and pixmap features, Basis texture support, and support for customized project workflows. Use of Basis textures brought the download size down to less than 300 megabytes. New Lua examples are included: Build Texture Build Cubemap SetSubPixels

Josh

Josh

Building Textures in Leadwerks Game Engine 5

The new engine features advanced image and texture manipulation commands that allow a much deeper level of control than the mostly automated pipeline in Leadwerks Game Engine 4. This article is a deep dive into the new image and texture system, showing how to load, modify, and save textures in a variety of file formats and compression modes. Texture creation has been finalized. Here is the command: shared_ptr<Texture> CreateTexture(const TextureType type, const int width, const in

Josh

Josh

Project Workflows

It's funny how all of the various features in the new engine are interconnected and development just flows from one to another. I was working on terrain, and I needed to save out some texture data so I implemented Pixmaps, and I wanted to add Basis support and DXT decompression, and then I started converting texture formats, and now I need a way to manage this all. This is an idea I have had for several years and I finally got to try it out. Leadwerks Game Engine 4 has a strictly defined wo

Josh

Josh

Basis Universal Texture Support

Last year Google and Binomial LLC partnered to release the Basic Universal library as open-source. This library is the successor to Crunch. Both these libraries are like OGG compression for textures. They compress data very well into small file sizes, but once loaded the data takes the same space in memory as it normally does. The benefit is that it can reduce the size of your game files. Crunch only supports DXT compression, but the newer Basis library supports modern compression formats like B

Josh

Josh

Advanced Terrain Building in Leadwerks Game Engine 5

In Leadwerks Game Engine 4, terrain was a static object that could only be modified in the editor. Developers requested access to the terrain API but it was so complex I felt it was not a good idea to expose it. The new terrain system is better thought out and more flexible, but still fairly complicated because you can do so much with it. This article is a deep dive into the inner workings of the new terrain system. Creating Terrain Terrain can be treated as an editable object, which i

Josh

Josh

Pixmap Class and DDS Saving

Textures in Leadwerks don't actually store any pixel data in system memory. Instead the data is sent straight from the hard drive to the GPU and dumped from memory, because there is no reason to have all that data sitting around in RAM. However, I needed to implement texture saving for our terrain system so I implemented a simple "Pixmap" class for handling image data: class Pixmap : public SharedObject { VkFormat m_format; iVec2 m_size; shared_ptr<Buffer> m_pixels; int

Josh

Josh

Terrain Compression

I wanted to see if any of the terrain data can be compressed down, mostly to reduce GPU memory usage. I implemented some fast texture compression algorithms for BC1, BC3, BC4, BC5, and BC7 compression. BC6 and BC7 are not terribly useful in this situation because they involve a complex lookup table, so data from different textures can't be mixed and matched. I found two areas where texture compression could be used, in alpha layers and normal maps. I implemented BC3 compression for terrain alpha

Josh

Josh

Terrain in Leadwerks 5 Beta Updated

A new update is available for beta testers. This adds a new LOD system to the terrain system, fixes the terrain normals, and adds some new features. The terrain example has been updated ans shows how to apply multiple material layers and save the data. Terrain in LE4 uses a system of tiles. The tiles are rendered at a different resolution based on distance. This works great for medium sized terrains, but problems arise when we have very large view distances. This is why it is okay to

Josh

Josh

Documentation and Code Details

Documentation in Leadwerks 5 will start in the header files, where functions descriptions are being added directly like this: /// <summary> /// Sets the height of one terrain point. /// </summary> /// <param name="x">Horizontal position of the point to modify.</param> /// <param name="y">Vertical position of the point to modify.</param> /// <param name="height">Height to set, in the range -1.0 to +1.0.</param> virtual void SetHeight(const int x

Josh

Josh

Leadwerks 5 Beta Update

A new update is available for beta testers. Terrain The terrain building API is now available and you can begin working with it, This allows you to construct and modify terrains in pure code. Terrain supports up to 256 materials, each with its own albedo, normal, and displacement maps. Collision and raycasting are currently not supported. Fast C++ Builds Precompiled headers have been integrated into the example project. The Debug build will compile in about 20 seconds the first run

Josh

Josh

Terrain Building API in Leadwerks 5 Beta

An often-requested feature for terrain building commands in Leadwerks 5 is being implemented. Here is my script to create a terrain. This creates a 256 x 256 terrain with one terrain point every meter, and a maximum height of +/- 50 meters: --Create terrain local terrain = CreateTerrain(world,256,256) terrain:SetScale(256,100,256) Here is what it looks like: A single material layer is then added to the terrain. --Add a material layer local mtl = LoadMaterial("Materials/Dirt

Josh

Josh

How to Fix Slow Windows 10 (this week)

Here are some things I did in the last couple days to fix a computer that was basically unusable. It seems that Superfetch was rebranded to "SysMain" in an update and automatically re-enabled. If your computer is grinding away either the CPU or disk usage while doing nothing, this is the culprit. Disable it in Windows services. The XBox games bar is suspect. I recommend disabling it now that FRAPS supports Vulkan. Some features in Visual Studio are making it unusably slow. In

Josh

Josh

Leadwerks 5 Beta Update

A new beta is uploaded with lots of new features and improvements. Things are really taking shape! Animation is now supported and it's really fast. Two examples are included. Package loader plugins now supported, VPK package loader for Source Engine games included with example. Added localization example. Shaders folder very neatly organized, now contains shader family files. Config folder eliminated. Engine headers cleaned up and organized. Lots

Josh

Josh

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