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Alpha 7

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Krom

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Post 04 Sep 2016, 13:35

Alpha 7

Image

Download is available at: http://www.knightsprovince.com/downloads/

It took a long time, but the list of improvements is also long:

    Improved Win/Defeat graphics
    Reworked terrain to allow for textures
    21 new terrain textures
    Terrain surfaces painting with weights in MapEd
    Improved and reworked some house models (Stonecutters, Sawmill)
    Improved water reflections
    More temp house models (not final)
    Performance charts show CPU and GPU usage
    Autosave interval now can be changed from settings
    More placeholder sounds (not final)
    Automated game installer
    Allowed to build towers within 10 tiles from houses without need for a road (not final)
    Packed all data files into a single resource file
    Reworked fighting mechanics to be less random (not final)
    Show unit hitpoints and damage in GUI (not final)
    Allow to select and see basic info about enemies houses/units and animals
    Placeholder houses now have player flags too
    Added separate “neutral” player in MapEd for animals
    Made animations smooth on high frame rates by adding interpolation between frames
    Tweaked wares production rates
    Improved how AI selects houses to build
    Fixed how AI plans and stocks defence lines
    Added developers function to save a game into a mission script
    Units thoughts are visible at any zoom level now
    New campaign map “Bad Neighbours”
    Indicate when house has no connecting road to be built or has no worker assigned
    This is still Alpha, there are likely a lot of bugs, flaws, incomplete things, broken mechanics and such.
Knights Province at: http://www.knightsprovince.com
KaM Remake at: http://www.kamremake.com
Original MBWR/WR2/AFC/FVR tools at: http://krom.reveur.de
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Vatrix

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Post 04 Sep 2016, 15:20

Re: Alpha 7

No way! Gonna play it right now! :D

Edit: Btw win/lose graphics is awesome!
I fixed The Shattered Kingdom and The Peasants Rebellion here!
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sado1

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Post 05 Sep 2016, 21:29

Re: Alpha 7

Quick impressions from the game and (mainly) map editor:
1. The game seems to like to crash sometimes on start (on every second start of the game?), I don't try to resize/maximize the window either (well, I just switched to fullscreen mode to avoid the crashes). Seems like there are some problems with my Intel card, as its .dlls are what I see being mentioned by the error message when resizing the window, even when I had to switch to my NVIDIA card (Optimus technology on a laptop), because the Intel card screws up the shaders too (same as in alpha6). Generally when the game will start, it will most likely continue working.
2. For whatever reason, and it seemed intentional since I can do that for any other types, I am unable to change the weights between the mountain and any other type of terrain, which makes the transitions kinda boring.
3. You might consider making an option for fixed top camera view for the editor, or even some sort of limited free look, to make map editing easier.
4. I don't know how to explain this, but the terrain elevation feels... low-poly? Aliased? http://screenshot.sh/oAjmIberEqfuk Maybe I simply don't know the right way to make mountains yet, but you can see on the screenshot that the tops of the mountains, and especially the 4 tiles space, in the middle between those mountains, look quite bad. Enabling AA in settings didn't help.
5. I'm unsure whether "undo/redo" is working as well as it did in the Remake, I'm guessing you might've intentionally crippled the option to not remember too many steps for the time being
6. I'm not sure how to express what I mean here, but mountain shading seems less visible than it was in the Remake. Possibly it's due to me elevating in Remake style, since real shadows work a bit different here... might need to get a hang of it first...
7. I like the new editor, once you get hang of the elevation, weights, new terrain types, you can see it's going to be a bit easier and much more fun to make maps here. I'm guessing the time and skill needed to make a quality map will be much lower too, even those pseudo mapmakers making Cursed remakes, will probably be able to make somewhat nice maps.
8. Nice that you can elevate MUCH MUCH higher than in the Remake. You can make quite convincing mountains now.
9. I like the new terrain textures a lot, but the grass texture will definitely need more variation, as I said some time ago. Maybe a more "clear" grass texture is needed too, an of course some grass objects. I love the "dark themed" terrain types, that's exactly what I regretted not having in the Remake when trying to make a dirt map. We definitely will need skeletons, gallows etc. objects in the future :)
10. I don't entirely know how decals work. How do I make a nice looking wall that isn't "in the middle of the ground"? How do I make stone/gold/iron mountain - first mountain, then add decals? (in case of stone just the decals?)
11. It hurts to not be able to use all the options of the Editor only because my resolution is 1366x768. I know the long term solution is probably to just rearrange the menus a bit (or use my PC and fullhd tv, but I really prefer mapmaking on the laptop), but is there a chance for scrollbars?
12. Are decals supposed to be invisible? They have the same color as the terrain they are put on.
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Krom

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Post 06 Sep 2016, 04:47

Re: Alpha 7

Hey sado, thanks for feedback! :-)

1. These are the most common issues of crashreports. I could not find a solution to them yet :-(
2. I have plans on fixing that, thanks for reminder
3. Good idea
4. In my todo list, terrain building is one of the most complicated KP systems
5. It should be 64 at the moment. In Remake it's just 40.
6. Mountains do look flat/unlit in KP, I'm thinking on how to improve that, thanks for reminder
7. I'm looking forward to more ideas for making editing a better experience
8. :-)
9. Sounds great ) Unfortunately previous terrain texture artist had to quit. Finding a new one for the task (of equal quality and style and cost) might take some time.
10. There are left/right wall endings decals, They still need a lot of work on variation and variety. Iron/Gold are decals for mountains (which is likely to change). Stones can be put anywhere (models might change too)
11. I'm thinking of gameplay approach - split static menu into moveable frames, then you can position minimap and players on right and have tools on the left. Or any other suitable way.
12. This is a bug, decals will be visible

This was a very good good feedback, thank you!

Please note, map editing becomes more of a thing in KP, but still it is likely, that terrain format might change or even become incompatible (of course, if there are nice maps from you, I'll have to make a converter), so don't invest too much time into details (e.g. flat / mountain transitions, resources placement, fine-tuning of terrain blends, etc.), cos it might change in Alpha 8+.
Knights Province at: http://www.knightsprovince.com
KaM Remake at: http://www.kamremake.com
Original MBWR/WR2/AFC/FVR tools at: http://krom.reveur.de
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The Dark Lord

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Post 06 Sep 2016, 19:32

Re: Alpha 7

sado1 wrote:I'm guessing the time and skill needed to make a quality map will be much lower too, even those pseudo mapmakers making Cursed remakes, will probably be able to make somewhat nice maps.

Image
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Krom

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Post 08 Sep 2016, 18:37

Re: Alpha 7

Specially for sado, moveable frames in MapEditor - (https://www.facebook.com/knightsprovince/ topmost post)
Knights Province at: http://www.knightsprovince.com
KaM Remake at: http://www.kamremake.com
Original MBWR/WR2/AFC/FVR tools at: http://krom.reveur.de
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SilverWarior

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Post 09 Sep 2016, 03:53

Re: Alpha 7

Here are my impressions on Alpha 7

1. I don't experience crashes at start as sado1 mentioned but I do get an Exception if I'm switching between windowed and FullScfeen mode and changing the Antialiasing setting at the same time. If I change these separately there is no exception raised.
So I assume the bug lies in code used to reinitialize renderer. My guess is that at certain point during this process there is no valid handle either to game window (I noticed it gets recreated every time) or there is no valid handle to the underlying API (OpenGL or DirectX). The later would also cause such exceptions on computers which are automatically switching between integrated and dedicated graphics card since rendering handles get recreated.
Here is part of the long indicating what is happening at the time:
  Code:
04:53:05.406     6,393s    5136ms     gMain.ReinitRender
04:53:06.089     7,076s     682ms     Init render at: 1936x1056
04:53:06.243     7,230s     154ms     Exception occured: Exception: Unable to set the pixel format.
04:53:08.113     9,100s    1869ms     gMain.ReinitRender
04:53:08.144     9,131s      30ms     Init render at: 1936x1056
                                      OpenGL Vendor: ATI Technologies Inc.
                                      OpenGL Renderer: AMD Radeon (TM) R9 200 Series
                                      OpenGL Version: 4.5.13416 Compatibility Profile Context 15.300.1025.0


And some info on my graphics card logged by game
  Code:
04:52:59.323     0,311s       6ms     Init render at: 1366x788
                                      OpenGL Vendor: ATI Technologies Inc.
                                      OpenGL Renderer: AMD Radeon (TM) R9 200 Series
                                      OpenGL Version: 4.5.13416 Compatibility Profile Context 15.300.1025.0

2. When I have Antialiasing enabled some of the textures don't get rendered properly. For instance roads are partially obstructed by terrain. And it seems that this is affected by the camera distance. Closer I move the less noticeable the effect is.
This is how it looks zoomed out. You barely see where roads are
http://imgur.com/a/96dfO
Closer zoom - you can see roads more clearly but not still not quite
http://imgur.com/a/9lGrU
And a nice close zoom where roads are seen as they should be
http://imgur.com/a/ZAqMY
I have encountered similar artifacts in few other games and with several different ATI/AMD based graphics cards. My research on the problem so far indicates that ATI/AMD cards have difficulties with some shaders since they do not do shader code correction before compiling as Nvidia cards do which could result in poorly compiled shaders. Unfortunately I lost a link to information about which shader techniques are most commonly causing this.
3. Sometimes game window fails to register mouse click as it should and therefore the mouse click is registered by background window (most often the KP splash window). Can't successfully reproduce this to track the possible cause. Havent experienced this by any other game.
4. In "Treasures" level of introduction campaign I get defeated screen if I destroy enemy buildings. Is this by design or is perhaps an error in mission scenario? I haven't encountered this on Alpha1 scenario. Also I haven't played all other scenarios so far.

I also experienced some random errors like Access Violation caused by trying to access non existent object and some range checking exceptions but they seem pretty random so can't figure out what is causing them. They might be caused by some pointer math if you rely on it or trying to access array items out of array bounds which in the end means you are accessing memory that may belong to something completely different. This could lead to very unpredictable behavior of application and bunch of random crashes (know from experience :$ ).

Any way great work on the game so far. I did manage to get few hours of nice uninterrupted gameplay out if already. I'm looking forward to future updates.
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Krom

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Post 09 Sep 2016, 04:10

Re: Alpha 7

Thank you for detailed analysis!

1. This one of the most "popular" crashes I get. Hopefully steps you describe will let me reproduce and finally resolve it!. I have filed an issue into bugtracker (https://github.com/Kromster80/knights_province/issues/5), so it does not get lost in here )

2. Very strange indeed, especially the sharp change between road render quality in 1st screen on top.

3. I guess destroying splash window might be a good idea (https://github.com/Kromster80/knights_province/issues/6)

4. Reported and will be fixed (I screwed mission goals. To win destroy Purple's town, but don't destroy Yellow's)

AV and RCE errors - only a crashreport from r4320 could help (if you have r4317 please update, crashreporting was missing there)

Thanks again for great and helpful feedback! I appreciate it :-)
Knights Province at: http://www.knightsprovince.com
KaM Remake at: http://www.kamremake.com
Original MBWR/WR2/AFC/FVR tools at: http://krom.reveur.de
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SilverWarior

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Post 09 Sep 2016, 18:39

Re: Alpha 7

Krom wrote:2. Very strange indeed, especially the sharp change between road render quality in 1st screen on top.


Actually the change is gradual but I didn't want to post to many pictures and zoom factor between those that I did take I not uniform.

Krom wrote:3. I guess destroying splash window might be a good idea (https://github.com/Kromster80/knights_province/issues/6)


Maybe destroying the splash window is not necessary. You could just hide or minimize it.
Besides if the splash screen is set as MainForm of your application destroying it might just complicates things more since destroying it at runtime would cause the application to shutdown. This is common both in Delphi and Free Pascal (I forgot which one of them are you using for development).
Also getting rid of the splash screen altogether might force you to shutdown the game completely when reinitializing the renderer due to window recreation which is not required right now. Again it all depends on your renderer initialization code.

Krom wrote:4. Reported and will be fixed (I screwed mission goals. To win destroy Purple's town, but don't destroy Yellow's)


Good to know so now I can finish the campaign without hacking some progress save files.

Krom wrote:AV and RCE errors - only a crashreport from r4320 could help (if you have r4317 please update, crashreporting was missing there)


Will send them next time. That is if my AV won't block MadExcept from sending them. I had some problems in the past so I'm not using MadExcept with my projects.

Krom wrote:Thanks again for great and helpful feedback! I appreciate it :-)


I'm always glad to help if I can especially to fellow Pascal Game developers
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Krom

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Post 11 Sep 2016, 20:28

Re: Alpha 7

SilverWarior wrote:2. When I have Antialiasing enabled some of the textures don't get rendered properly. For instance roads are partially obstructed by terrain. And it seems that this is affected by the camera distance. Closer I move the less noticeable the effect is.


I had another idea - please check your GPU settings and see if there's a sort of switch between render speed versus quality. Those render artifacts look like insufficient depth-buffer depth. Maybe your GPU is set to "speed" and given AA it lowers depth buffer precision to the minimum? If that's the case - try setting the GPU render towards "best quality" mode.
Knights Province at: http://www.knightsprovince.com
KaM Remake at: http://www.kamremake.com
Original MBWR/WR2/AFC/FVR tools at: http://krom.reveur.de
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SilverWarior

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Post 12 Sep 2016, 06:52

Re: Alpha 7

Krom wrote:I had another idea - please check your GPU settings and see if there's a sort of switch between render speed versus quality. Those render artifacts look like insufficient depth-buffer depth. Maybe your GPU is set to "speed" and given AA it lowers depth buffer precision to the minimum? If that's the case - try setting the GPU render towards "best quality" mode.


I believe that I have just tried out any possible combination of my graphical settings that can be changed by my graphical drivers with no luck in solving the problem. Luckily my graphical drivers allow me to set custom graphical settings for each individual application/game so I didn't have to worry about screwing up graphics in other games.

I also learned that I could still have KP antialiassed if I set antialiasing in KP to none and then override antialiasing settings with my driver. This might give me even better results since with my driver I can force antialiasing to 8xEQ with Edge detect antialiasing level and supersampling as chosen antialiasing method. And when I do so I don't experience any visual artifacts and KP looks pretty nice eve on lowest resolution.
I also tried any other possible antialiasing combination when overriding them with my driver to see if any of them might cause same artifacts but none of them did.
But if I then also enable antialiasing in KP while still overriding antialiasing settings with my driver those artifacts are back.

So I assume that the cause for these artifacts might be in the way how KP initializes renderer when antialiasing is enabled.
After looking around the web about problems of AMD graphics cards with depth buffering I only found this

[quote][/Btw, beware not to include GL_STENCIL_BIT in your mask. AMD has/had a bug where when you do this, the blitted depthvalues get screwed up. I don't know if they fixed that yet. quote]

BTW do you know of any application to debug rendering process. I have seen a video once when someone used such application actually se how different games do the rendering of their scenes step by step.
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Krom

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Post 12 Sep 2016, 07:38

Re: Alpha 7

I do set GL_STENCIL_BIT = 8, which seems to be the case here. Anyway, setting AA through driver is much better approach. Sadly I could not find a way to list available AA modes (http://stackoverflow.com/questions/6129797)

"application to debug rendering process" - gDeBugger is a nice tool that comes to mind.
Knights Province at: http://www.knightsprovince.com
KaM Remake at: http://www.kamremake.com
Original MBWR/WR2/AFC/FVR tools at: http://krom.reveur.de
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SilverWarior

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Post 12 Sep 2016, 09:29

Re: Alpha 7

Krom wrote:I do set GL_STENCIL_BIT = 8, which seems to be the case here.


So this is the cause then. What would it take for you to modify your rendeing pipeline to not rely on setting GL_STENCIL_BIT?
It is not so much about me. I can live without AA since on larger resolutions AA isn't so important. Also I found a nice workaround. Not this is about other players that have AMD based graphics card and would probably just move on to play other games after seeing those visual artifacts in KP.
And based on the fact that I found info about this in a old post from 2012 it doesn't seem that AMD is in any hurry for fixing this bug.

Krom wrote:Anyway, setting AA through driver is much better approach.


For those of us who now it is possible but unfortunately most of the people doesn't know that. And even worst is that if you are using drivers that ship with windows (as many people does) you don't even have this option.

Krom wrote:Sadly I could not find a way to list available AA modes (http://stackoverflow.com/questions/6129797)


About this I think that best bet would be to get in contact with Sascha Willems author of a small utility glCapsViewer (http://www.saschawillems.de/?page_id=771) whose purpose is to get detailed capabilities of your graphical hardware. And the best thing is that glCapsViewer was initially developed with Delphi so he might even help you implement such feature in KP as he has experience in programming with Object Pascal.

Krom wrote:"application to debug rendering process" - gDeBugger is a nice tool that comes to mind.


Since my last post I have tried several (haven't tried the one you suggested yet) and for some reason most of them failed to initiate debugging process. Some reported that GL scene was not created in supported way so they could not attach debugger to it. Others would simply freeze.

Luckily I then stumbled on GPU Perf Studio 3 (http://developer.amd.com/tools-and-sdks ... erfstudio/) which is even being developed and used by AMD which guarantees me best compatibility between the program and my hardware.
With it I did managed to sucsesfully initiate the debugging process and start analyzing the rendering process. But I could not determine the cause for those artifacts. In fact when debugging those artifacts have become even more unpredictable. While in game visibility of those artifacts depends mosty on zoom level during debugging process the visibility of those artifacts was also affected by their position on the screen (roads rendered near the edges of the screen had much noticeable artifacts than those rendered on center of the screen which had much less noticeable artifacts).

Any way I was a bit surprised on how you are actually rendering the whole game scene. I would have never guessed that you are rendering the ground in chunks.
Do you perhaps do this for possible optimization where you can reuse part of already rendered terrain and then only render additional terrain that would have come into field of view when moving camera around?
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Krom

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Post 14 Sep 2016, 04:19

Re: Alpha 7

Does it look the same in Alpha 7.1 ?

Stencil operations are quite useful and I would like to keep them.

OpenGL drivers shipped with Windows are usually 1.1.0 or 1.4.0, definitely not good for any gaming.

Did a quick check - I don't see anything about AA modes in glCapsViewer either.

I do render ground in 8x8 tiles chunks. They change quite often on builders actions (dig, roadworks and such), also that's how terrain gets frustum-culled.

P.S. Sorry about short replies, I'm not very good writing
Knights Province at: http://www.knightsprovince.com
KaM Remake at: http://www.kamremake.com
Original MBWR/WR2/AFC/FVR tools at: http://krom.reveur.de

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