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Author Topic: Steel Beasts Dynamic Terrain Will Come After New Terrain Engine  (Read 103580 times)

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Offline Rinix

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Re: Steel Beasts Dynamic Terrain Will Come After New Terrain Engine
« Reply #285 on: March 30, 2019, 12:07:58 AM »
https://www.steelbeasts.com/topic/11302-eta-on-terrain-patch/?page=13&tab=comments#comment-188355
Quote from: Ssnake
I was about to write up something over the weekend but since I'm struck down with a nasty lumbago that makes me afraid of going to bed I might just as well write it now. Nothing better than making public announcements in a sleep-deprived state of agony. :|

Overally the current beta version looks quite decent and almost release worthy. But we've's busted the deadline for a release in April (or May) because we're not quite done yet (if tantalizingly close), and because of the production lead times for a new printed manual and the mentioned installer media for the map files. Even if we could fix that by Easter, a release in early May is out of the question because we're effectively shutting down the company in May so we can relocate parts of the team (including myself) to Sweden for the ITEC exhibition.
This is a very important event for us, so we need "time for ourselves" to prepare it properly (and to respond to customers afterwards). So, I'm shooting for a release in June.

Late June appears to be absolutely realistic. It gives us time to run the manual print, it allows us to collect preorders from you so we know what production size we should aim for, we might even pre-release the map data installer for those of you who want to download the bigger part of the installation in advance of the program release. That might also help to spread the peak load on the server. And in July and August, we usually are left alone by our military customers, so we can be on full alert for the wave of support cases that are inevitable after each major release. I'm pretty sure, there will be more cases than normal, simply because a few key elements (everything related to map data) will change.
I ride inside Steel Beasts.

Offline Frankie

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Re: Steel Beasts Dynamic Terrain Will Come After New Terrain Engine
« Reply #286 on: March 30, 2019, 02:12:56 AM »
Been waiting for YEARS for a SB Pro PE major update....what's a few more months? Or more. Heck I can wait another full year because the military customers may have demands that will impinge on their quiet period of July-August. But after a full year more of waiting, I will quit waiting. Haha.

After the Dogs of War are let slip, let us smoke the Pipes Of Peace.

Offline Cougar11

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Re: Steel Beasts Dynamic Terrain Will Come After New Terrain Engine
« Reply #287 on: March 30, 2019, 03:10:50 PM »
Been waiting for YEARS for a SB Pro PE major update....what's a few more months? Or more. Heck I can wait another full year because the military customers may have demands that will impinge on their quiet period of July-August. But after a full year more of waiting, I will quit waiting. Haha.
I quit waiting more than a year ago. I love the game when playing multiplayer on a high Sim level. This update that I paid for years ago has given me a sour taste, and idk if I will ever go back.

Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk


Offline Rinix

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Re: Steel Beasts Dynamic Terrain Will Come After New Terrain Engine
« Reply #288 on: March 30, 2019, 03:36:18 PM »
I quit waiting more than a year ago. I love the game when playing multiplayer on a high Sim level. This update that I paid for years ago has given me a sour taste, and idk if I will ever go back.

Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk
I don't know if this will change your mind, but there is more to 4.1 than the new terrain engine. As I mentioned a while ago in this topic, there will also be new vehicles, dynamic terrain (craters and earthmoving), new grass and trees, and new lighting.

Meanwhile: /topic/11302-eta-on-terrain-patch/?page=13&tab=comments#comment-188369
Quote from: Ssnake
Quote from: Scapper_511
How about screen-shot worthy? :P
In due time. Some essential artwork is still in preparation.

https://www.steelbeasts.com/topic/11302-eta-on-terrain-patch/?page=13&tab=comments#comment-188372
Quote from: Apocalypse 31
Lets get some shots of the new infantry
« Last Edit: March 30, 2019, 03:53:40 PM by Rinix »
I ride inside Steel Beasts.

Offline Rinix

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Re: Steel Beasts Dynamic Terrain Will Come After New Terrain Engine
« Reply #289 on: April 11, 2019, 04:19:24 PM »
https://www.steelbeasts.com/topic/11211-ui-scaling-for-uhd/?tab=comments#comment-188625
Quote from: Ssnake
There isn't much I can add here.
We're in the process of hiring a new guy specifically tasked to design the components of a new UI. But even then replacing a (literally) hand-written UI from 700,000 lines of legacy code is hard work with high development risk. It's somewhat inevitable to do it, so it will be done. But it's not something that we could or should do while we're still working on something like the new terrain which also changes everything. For the beta team, the last three years were hell, and with the GUI replacement, it's going to be one or two more years of hell, minimum.
I ride inside Steel Beasts.

Offline Rinix

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Re: Steel Beasts Dynamic Terrain Will Come After New Terrain Engine
« Reply #290 on: April 16, 2019, 02:54:50 AM »
https://www.steelbeasts.com/topic/10539-sb-pro-pe-40-hardware-recommendations/?tab=comments#comment-188760
Quote from: Ssnake
I'm happy to report that the same version 4.0 benchmark scenario performs much better on my main machine (i7-4770K with GTX980) with the latest 4.1 beta version, passing muster to be rated "good". None of the scenes yielded less than 45 frames per second, with an average frame rate of 54. A lot of hard work by artists, beta testers, and programmers alike has paid off big time. 6,000m+ visibility settings will no longer be prohibitive for reasonably powered machines (case in point, my machine is about four or five years old now). :)

The beta team will start a more thorough and systematical test with the benchmark scenario so that we can provide ratings for a bigger spectrum of CPU and GPU combinations, so please don't treat this as the final result. But, I'm almoste elated. It also confirms what I wrote three years ago, that there wouldn't be the one easy fix to boost the frame rates. Rather, a lot of different optimizations had to be made, but they paid off as far as I can tell.
I ride inside Steel Beasts.

Offline Frankie

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Re: Steel Beasts Dynamic Terrain Will Come After New Terrain Engine
« Reply #291 on: April 16, 2019, 03:18:22 AM »
Good news indeed! I too am Elated. Elevated. Electrified. Keep up the good work eSimGames and release the next version before Christmas.

After the Dogs of War are let slip, let us smoke the Pipes Of Peace.

Offline Rinix

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Re: Steel Beasts Dynamic Terrain Will Come After New Terrain Engine
« Reply #292 on: April 16, 2019, 03:43:41 PM »
https://www.steelbeasts.com/topic/12623-wondering-about-a-few-things-regarding-the-update/?tab=comments#comment-188772
Quote from: Ssnake
Quote from: Scrapper511
1. How will the new terrain affect hardware requirements?
Not at all, as far as we can say at this point. Performance seems to increase over 4.0 actually, although these are preliminary results. I will post the hardware recommendations in this forum, as soon as the beta testers have completed a broader survey of CPU and GPU combinations.

Quote from: Scrapper511
2. How did the bridges, on-ramps, and adjustable height features turn out?
There will be features to build ramps (including curved ones), to raise or depress roads and streams. There's a leveling and smoothing tool for roads, and under buildings. To that extent the initial capability is there. It's the details that make things more defficult. If, say, you build a straight ramp with a continuous slope and the road for which you do this has a number of T-intersections along that ramp, chances are that each T-intersection will end up with a steep bump simply because roads going uphill are usually with variable slopes. So you'd need to build the ramps only from one intersection to the next. Which makes the tool difficult to use, as long as we don't complement it with additional functionality and automation functions. 
We wanted to develop a new map editor, but ran into scheduling conflicts. So, that part of the job will need to be addressed in a future version.

Quote from: Scrapper511
3. Any new 3D objects for the map editor?
Yes.

Quote from: Scrapper511
4, Has the map-editor changed in functionality whatsoever?
Yes, see #2.

Quote from: Scrapper511
5. Any new vehicles included?
Yes!

Quote from: Scrapper511
6. How much for the new printed manual? What's the new content?
The manual is now 221 pages without cover (so, about 10% longer). We went through every chapter and tried to cross-check if what's written there is still accurate. Large parts of the Map Editor chapter and the file structure of map files had to be rewritten. So it's mostly about what's new in version 4.1 compared to previous versions (since our customers will continue to use older and the latest version for a while). The price will be comparable to previous printed manuals, but is not yet determined. We will offer preorders for manuals and bundles with other items that we'll offer with a substantial discount. But we still need to figure out the details.
I ride inside Steel Beasts.

Offline Rinix

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Re: Steel Beasts Dynamic Terrain Will Come After New Terrain Engine
« Reply #293 on: April 22, 2019, 04:24:31 PM »
https://www.steelbeasts.com/topic/11302-eta-on-terrain-patch/page/14/?tab=comments#comment-188982
Quote from: inexus
Lets see if it will ever happen. Been told for so long that one reason after another that it is constantly getting postponed. The graphics engine is so old and outdated. Sorry to sound pessimistic but the please look back at what improvements ther has been over the last many years. Im impressed with the patience people have in this forum to keep saying its ok.

https://www.steelbeasts.com/topic/11302-eta-on-terrain-patch/page/14/?tab=comments#comment-188983
Quote from: Ssnake
A lot of the changes that we had to work on were really hard to do. That invoked a lot of uncertainty about projected release dates. But I am now confident that we have a near release-ready product by now. I admit that I had my doubts around end of 2017/mid 2018 whether things would work out, but the latest version that we have demonstrates much improved frame rates (that is, better than in 4.0). This required a myriad of optimizations - including a complete replacement of all vegetation artwork to allow for the instancing of trees, and ground clutter. And the biggest effect was to be seen only relatively late in the process (like, a week ago). It's one thing to know that such a change is coming, and another to experience the effect first hand.

4.1 will bring much improved AI in select demonstration cases, for both vehicles and infantry, especially when navigating obstacles such as "parked cars" on the road side, "blocked" bridges by one immobilized vehicle, dealing with water, and wadi edges, infantry formations moving in urban terrain. Again, these improvements required massive changes to much of the underlying legacy code. Which, in turn, created a few hundred bug reports that had to be identified, reported, supplemented with a test case, then solved (and be tested again and again in daily automated test procedures).

Finally, 4.1 will also come with an entirely new model of high explosive and fragmentation effects. We couldn't finish that work, but we have reached an intermediary stage that will already bring a lot of pretty cool improvements. But replacing the legacy code was, again, a tough nut to crack for the same reasons as outlined in the "AI" section above.

The changes in the file structure for the map files caused a massive cascade of other changes since we wanted to retain user flexibility and some degree of convenience for multiplayer sessions; like the ability to pull a missing map from a server simply by copying a unique identifier code and pasting it into a dialog in SB Pro (and then to be able to define more than one server from which to query your files ... so every community can set up their own server, if so desired, for their own set of map files). Again, all that needs to be tested.


You all cannot thank the beta testers enough. They really had it rough. More than any of you, we want this to be over!
So you can believe me, we will not delay the release a minute longer than absolutely necessary. We're mere humans here at eSim Games. I cannot divine the future. I understand that you as customers want to know what's ahead, and I admit that we made a serious mistake in April 2016 when I released videos of the new engine in the mistaken belief that we would be ready a few months later when the beta testers told me that we were not. In April 2019 I'm telling you that we will be ready in a few months with more confidence because I've learned to listen more closely to the beta testers, and the beta testers have learned to voice their objections more bluntly.
I ride inside Steel Beasts.

Offline Frankie

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Re: Steel Beasts Dynamic Terrain Will Come After New Terrain Engine
« Reply #294 on: April 23, 2019, 02:43:54 AM »
Nice to hear the good reports. How about some WIP screenshots then?

After the Dogs of War are let slip, let us smoke the Pipes Of Peace.

Offline Rinix

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Re: Steel Beasts Dynamic Terrain Will Come After New Terrain Engine
« Reply #295 on: April 23, 2019, 05:02:18 AM »
Nice to hear the good reports. How about some WIP screenshots then?
As Ssnake has already said, we're going to have to wait for those.
I ride inside Steel Beasts.

Offline Rinix

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Re: Steel Beasts Dynamic Terrain Will Come After New Terrain Engine
« Reply #296 on: April 23, 2019, 04:04:04 PM »
https://www.steelbeasts.com/topic/12623-wondering-about-a-few-things-regarding-the-update/?tab=comments#comment-188999
Quote from: Scapper_511
Thanks Ssnake. In the 'patch ETA' thread, you reiterated the difficulties involved in reprogramming legacy code. Out of curiosity, how much of the legacy code has been reworked up to this point? I mean, if there's such a thing as completion, how close are you folks to it? Do you see a day where the needs of an entirely new program/engine will supersede the need for backwards compatibility? It would suck to lose maps and scenarios but it sounds like a new program/engine would make updates easier?

Edit: Also, thanks for adding a new comment in the 'hardware requirement' thread. Great news there.

https://www.steelbeasts.com/topic/12623-wondering-about-a-few-things-regarding-the-update/?tab=comments#comment-189000
Quote from: Ssnake
I don't have a percentage for you.
What I can tell is that we would never release something that would invalidate maps and scenarios. Even a completely new engine would at least have to be able to import legacy scenarios and maps, and save them in the new format. You created all that content. We won't throw away what's not ours.

We have, indeed, discussed whether we should better start from scratch, or make a more "gradual transition". I think we have now a better understanding of the implications of a gradual transition. But even then, from scratch is a high risk development strategy. Say, we'd need two years to create some prototype that could then begun to be tested, and then another three years to add all the content and functionality that's in SB Pro as we know it. Five years later we end with a product that may be easier to maintain, but it's representative of the state of Steel Beasts five years before, just with new bugs that are, allegedly, easier and faster to fix. Where's the benefit for the customer? Why should anyone pay for this? You already have a version that works, and our promise would be to charge full price for something that is defined as "all new, and just as good" with, probably, the sole additional benefit of higher frame rates. That doesn't make sense, even if the most devoted Steel Beasts fans might actually be willing to pay, just to support our work. Thanks for that, but we also need to convince the average user.

The reality is, Steel Beasts isn't one computer game among many others that you play. If you want to master it, it's an entire hobby. Which is probably the hardest sell. And with a decision for development from scratch we'd just have doubled the price, and added five years of product stagnation. I may not be the world's greatest entrepreneur, but this doesn't sound exactly like a winning strategy to me. Maybe I'm just lacking the vision. ;)
I ride inside Steel Beasts.

Offline Rinix

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Re: Steel Beasts Dynamic Terrain Will Come After New Terrain Engine
« Reply #297 on: April 24, 2019, 04:32:03 PM »
https://www.steelbeasts.com/topic/12623-wondering-about-a-few-things-regarding-the-update/?tab=comments#comment-189042
Quote from: delta6
Have you made the concertina deployable in the same fashion as roads??? Will we be getting mortar pits,berms,and smaller bunker emplacements???

https://www.steelbeasts.com/topic/12623-wondering-about-a-few-things-regarding-the-update/?tab=comments#comment-189043
Quote from: Ssnake
For one of these, the answer is Yes. :)
Others are still on the list.

https://www.steelbeasts.com/topic/12623-wondering-about-a-few-things-regarding-the-update/?tab=comments#comment-189046
Quote from: Scrapper_511
Ssnake, do you now have a good estimate of how big the installation file will be? In an older thread you mentioned possibly 20GB. Has it increased well beyond that size? I'm curious since my primary drive is an 80GB SSD which SB resides on (for speed) along with Win7.

https://www.steelbeasts.com/topic/12623-wondering-about-a-few-things-regarding-the-update/?tab=comments#comment-189048
Quote from: Ssnake
The program installation itself will not grow substantially. Sure, it's bigger - new artwork comes with new textures, so there's a bit there.
  • Version 2.656: 0.99 GByte
  • Version 3.027: 2.37 GByte
  • Version 4.023: 2.45 GByte
  • Current 4.1 beta: 2.77 GByte
This can be approximately doubled as far as the disk space requirement after installation is concerned.
Map data, on the other hand, will come separately, and can be installed in any other directory (including different disk drives). This is one of the major deviations from traditional file path conventions (which was largely dictated by Microsoft recommendations for Windows application in multi-user environments; we try to stick to the rules). Instead, Steel Beasts 4.1 will store the path to the map files in a registry key so that subsequent installations will still recognize the directory even after a complete reinstallation. So, if your C drive is pressed for disk space, that's the way out for you.
I ride inside Steel Beasts.

Offline Rinix

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Re: Steel Beasts Dynamic Terrain Will Come After New Terrain Engine
« Reply #298 on: April 25, 2019, 08:53:34 PM »
https://www.steelbeasts.com/topic/12623-wondering-about-a-few-things-regarding-the-update/?tab=comments#comment-189079
Quote from: Ssnake
Quote from: Ssnake
For one of these, the answer is Yes. :)
Actually, make that two, I just noticed.

https://www.steelbeasts.com/topic/11302-eta-on-terrain-patch/page/14/?tab=comments#comment-189074
Quote from: Ssnake
Correct, version 4.0 and 4.1 are still pretty close to each other as far as the render engine are concerned. But even at eSim Games, the days of DirectX 9 are numbered.
I ride inside Steel Beasts.

Offline Rinix

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Re: Steel Beasts Dynamic Terrain Will Come After New Terrain Engine
« Reply #299 on: April 28, 2019, 06:39:18 PM »
https://www.steelbeasts.com/topic/10539-sb-pro-pe-40-hardware-recommendations/?tab=comments#comment-189189
Quote from: Ssnake
The more thorough evaluation comes back slightly less positive with above 40 fps as the lowest, and above 49 frames on average, on default settings, in Full HD resolution.

With minimal settings (no shadows, no antialiasing, no nothing) I could even get an Intel HD4600 graphics chipset to work in HD resolution, with an overall "not recommended" verdict (but still above "unusable"), where the minimum framerate was above 21, and the average framerate being a somewhat respectable 32. An hour into the test the graphics developed strange artifacts.. Pretty much anything above one notch in the graphics settings made Steel Beasts top responding, however, so definitely "not recommended".

Overall, and this is still preliminary, we can at least see that different cards/video RAM/CPU combinations deliver different results again (that is, other than "poor", which was the universal result with 4.0). While that isn't where I'd like it to see, it's still a marked improvement over 4.0 results. In all fairness towards the programming team I have to point out that if the settings are dialed back to where they were when we started with version 3.0, the framerates are quite comparable.
I ride inside Steel Beasts.

 

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