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MattScott

CEO


Hi everyone,

 

First, I want to acknowledge that I have been absolutely terrible about providing updates on Fallen Earth.

Certainly COVID-19 has had an impact on the studio's ability to work on multiple titles at once, but this mostly rests on me.

I kept scheduling an update for you guys, and then by the end of a 10-12 work day, I just couldn't seem to find the time.

 

Second, I want to set expectations (again) for where we are and where we aren't. This project is #3 on our priority list right now.

As a company we can only do so many concurrent projects with the staff we have.

 

1) We need to get the APB Engine Upgrade out the door. Internally, we have been forced to keep shifting the date out due to performance issues, but we have reached the "all hands on deck" point. This needs to ship, so we can free up developers to focus on other priorities. 

 

2) After that, we have also committed to a Live stream of Unsung Story for those backers who have waited 5 years to get a glimpse of the game they funded. So the rest of the studio is working overtime to prepare for the June 1st stream.

 

I want to be clear that Fallen Earth isn't loved any less in the studio. Temporary circumstances have forced us to be very specific where we are putting our resources. The team is excited to get back into the Wastelands, so we can get you guys the game you deserve too. We are still very much in the early, exploratory phase of development where we were testing various solutions to each system that needs to be ported. But here is a description of the short term roadmap to get to our first internal milestone:

 

- Recreating the terrain

This effort got fairly far along, but there is still work to do. While the basic shape of the terrain is in, there are 2 subsystems that haven't been ported. The first system uses image "stamps" to deform terrain based on where the original designers placed them. These stamps create more interesting geometry and help break up the height mapped look of what we have now. The second system uses nodes that form lines and areas to deform terrain for roads, hills, lakes, and other areas where geometry has been "carved" away by the remnants of humanity to build their structures.

 

- Terrain texture layers

This technology has gotten quite a bit better since Fallen Earth was written. The team was starting to identify the strategy for "splatting" or compositing textures on the terrain to create more variation and interest as the player moves through different ecosystems or biomes.

 

- Foliage rendering

This is likely one of the biggest areas where I think we can make the world of Fallen Earth feel more realistic. Foilage systems have become so much more powerful and now contain more realistic looking plants and trees. The team was exploring how to adapt the game's foliage data so it could be applied into Unity's systems. This combined with the above terrain enhancements should be impressive in the final product.

 

- Streaming the terrain and objects

The original code was very good at rendering chunks of terrain with only the nearest objects to you. In the new code, we've gone with an entirely need way of chunking up the map that will require us to stream in pieces as you run around. We had just started experimenting with a couple techniques, before the devs got pulled onto other projects.

NOTE: We have a basic demo for the terrain that I took screenshots from, and these scenes run extremely slow because all of the terrain and objects across the entire world of FE are rendered.

 

- Fixes to imported assets

We also found some bugs in our importer that created inverted normal maps, didn't assign textures properly, or created rigs wrong. We were in the process of fixing these bugs, so we could delete the imported assets and reimport everything from scratch. Then we can re-run the process that builds the various layers to the map, so we can prep streaming.

 

- Character assembly

With all the pieces for characters imported, the team had started work on the code that assembles the player with the proper body proportions, head, tattoos, clothes and items. We hit an immediate snag on supporting "selection sets". These are lists of faces on the model that can be shown or hidden by name. The original code used them to hide the areas that are covered up by clothes.

 

- Basic movement prototype

This is our first milestone for the project. With all of the above tasks completed, the plan is to (1) assemble a character (2) load into the world and (3) run around the environment with active collisions preventing you from walking through objects. This wont be connected to any servers or running any multiplayer code. It's just a milestone to test everything all together and see how it looks.

 

 

With all of that in mind, I thought it would be fun to post some WIP screenshots for classic Fallen Earth locations, so you could see how some of this is coming along.


The shots below show the assembled terrain, buildings, objects and props for the entire world. You'll notice in the upper right hand corner, that we're sticking with the game's original coordinate system. This allows us to hop around the map to inspect things. There are no terrain textures yet because the layering system hasn't been implemented. Just imagine this is Fallen Earth in winter ?. Oddly, that effect is enhanced by a good number of the objects that are embedded too low into the ground. This is because we're still missing those two subsystems that I mentioned above that deform the terrain in smaller areas. You'll also see some texturing artifacts on the buildings and objects. Everything looked good as we inspected a couple buildings at a time during the import process. But when we assembled the whole map we found areas that still needed work in the importer.

 

Clinton F.A.R.M.

 

clinton-farm01.PNG

 

clinton-farm02.PNG

 

Embry Crossroads

 

embry01.PNG

 

embry02.PNG

 

Los Alamos

 

los-alamos.PNG

 

Haven

 

haven.PNG

 

Watchtower

 

watchtower.PNG

 

Odenville

 

odenville.PNG

 

And a bit of a fail with Boneclaw… Apparently the ramps for this area are heavily carved out from the terrain, so much of it is buried.

 

boneclaw.PNG

 

I appreciate your patience.

Stay safe.

 

Thanks,

Matt 

 

the-oasis.PNG