开发近况 - A bit of history (2008.7.24)
In the past weeks, I’ve been concentrating on the new website. Thanks to Amshai and Choub, the layout is pretty much finished, but a lot of components are still not yet integrated ( like the galleries, videos, forums, etc… ). Choub is in charge of this part, so don’t hesitate to cheer him up !
Breslin is filling the new website with content. I’m helping as I can, I’ve been particularly busy on the integration between Joomla and SMF forums, which is more or less working now. Unfortunately, it doesn’t feel “polished” yet, and I’m afraid it’ll still take many weeks to bring it to the “professional” level.
I’ve also been busy on the programming side, on all sorts of various topics. One of them is an experiment to port the procedural generation to the GPU, instead of the CPUs. The motivation for that is that space-orbit views aren’t looking good enough to me. It seems nice in screenshots, mostly because I choose the best ones to publish, and because there are clouds covering the nasty artifacts… but the landscape from orbit isn’t terrible. It is very aliased, and the texturing is too vertex dependent, which means lots of popping when a terrain chunk gets split.
The best way to fix those problems is to generate terrain at the pixel level, but unfortunately that consumes a lot of performance, and it cannot be done practically on the CPU anymore, at least not with the relatively complex heightmaps I need to generate to achieve a good variety for a game such as Infinity. I’m also cleaning the terrain engine for better performance and flexibility, so that 3rd party developers ( once the engine is released ) can use the terrain component in all sorts of projects.
There’s nothing more frustrating than to hear lies, or at best mis-informed people, speaking about Infinity, and how it’s been in development “forever”, and how it is vaporware.
For example, on “that other forum”, somebody mentionned that he had been following Infinity’s development since 2002. Wow, I certainly didn’t expect that.
I mean, this genius has been following development of a game that didn’t even exist in the mind of its creator yet ! How brilliant is that ?
Sometimes I wonder if people consciously lie, or are just terribly confused with some other game, or … ?
The idea of Infinity was born in 2004. Before 2004, I had been busy on other projects, such as LightSpeed, a high-speed futuristic racer ( ala Wipeout ). Here is a screenshot from it:
This project died due to the lack of artistic content. I had teamed up with 2 other people, a musician and an artist, but he slowly lost interest and/or was too busy with his studies IRL, and so while we achieved a playable prototype ( you could race over a whole lap, but there was no AI or multiplayer ), the project died.
The death of LightSpeed didn’t happen over night. During end 2003/early 2004, I started to experiment a spherical terrain engine: the first prototype of Infinity’s planetary engine ! But I must point out that I didn’t have the idea of making a game yet: it was just a fun experiment, and the engine behind it ( if you can call that an engine ) was DirectX9-based. I didn’t work on this very seriously, only a couple hours here and there.
An image of this first prototype
A learnt a lot of things from this first version of the planetary engine. In fact, the most valuable lesson is that it teached me what to avoid, and confronted me to problems that I didn’t suspect ( such as floating-point precision to handle realistic scales ). At the same time, it became obvious that with more work, the technology could work, and that a game could be based on it… and what better concept for a planetary engine than a space-based game ala Elite ? That day, Infinity was born, and the first line of the engine added.
The very first backup of Infinity’s engine source that I have, which contains only a few tens of files, is dated 24 June 2004. This can effectively be considered the birth date of Infinity’s development ( or close to it, by a few weeks ).
During end 2004, I developed the engine basics: the renderer, the scene-graph, the plugins system, etc… and I continued to experiment various prototypes ( such as the clouds prototype ).
I started my gamedev.net journal in end 2004, but I only spoke about the engine at that time, I didn’t announce the game.
I opened the website in september 2005.
So if somebody says that he has been following the game before mid 2005, take it with a grain of salt.