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 1 
 on: January 25, 2019, 09:28:48 AM 
Started by Verdite - Last post by Holy Diver
Hey, 2019, I've added a demo's download link to the top-post. It's a big file. I've been feeling afraid a new version/demo may never see the light of day of late, and so am putting this file here, to showcase what SOM can do with all original artwork.

Some thoughts:

I think the Moratheia.ini file has the thumbsticks rotated. That is a feature I've yet to work into the game player. You may want to get rid of those lines in it.

In the Moratheia Ex.ini file you might look at function_overlay_mask and change the last 1 to 0 so it doesn't appear when the game starts. I don't recommend turning it off completely because it allows F3 mode to be invincible, which you will need because the damage ratings are all over the place. The damage calculus is modified to make the monsters reasonably fun to spar with. The F3 mode is different from the original, in that you will experience ill-effects and maybe take damage too, up to a point, but will not die. This makes it more fun/true to the experience. If you fall off the map it should return you.

The cracks (kind of like on the PlayStation) are because of the do_aa extension. It enables a novel form of antialiasing that doesn't tax your CPU/GPU one iota, but these cracks appear when models are not prepared to work with this feature.

 2 
 on: January 25, 2019, 07:51:40 AM 
Started by Holy Diver - Last post by Holy Diver
FYI: Right now the latest SomEx.dll is technically a demo build, and so is not yet in the updater menu. Link below. Since I'm not working on SOM a lot of late, I might try to put a new release out before long. I know there's a lot in this demo build that accrued working on this King's Field II demo.

http://csv.swordofmoonlight.net/SomEx.dll/1.2.2.9.zip

 3 
 on: January 02, 2019, 06:55:52 PM 
Started by Holy Diver - Last post by Holy Diver
Damn! it’s been 3 months without an update. I guess I should put something… here.



First of all, I’ve not been on break. Mostly I was busy using Sword of Moonlight to make a game (demo) for once. I found out it takes a lot of time/work to make a video game. After I got to stopping point, I have gone back to working on a COLLADA software library. I actually did that some in October, and then took a break, before returning in December. I’m working on that at my own glacial pace. I will eventually get it into some art software useful for working with Sword of Moonlight. I just don’t know when. I can’t even guess. It is a very serious library. It’s not actually about COLLADA, it’s really XML Schema for C++. But COLLADA is a veritable labyrinth of XML; so it’s worth it to invest as much as possible into the foundational infrastructure. I hope it will be of use to others. I hope the same for Sword of Moonlight. Despite the crushing yearly reality that none of you out there seem drawn to these things as am I.

Please try out that demo. One benefit of making a game is I get to see Sword of Moonlight through an author’s eyes. It’s hard to explain, but when you primarily develop software, it’s not good if you don’t use the software, and depend on it. To some degree, because I didn’t feel like it was ready to make games with, I’d resisted putting myself in that position. As a programmer alone you can’t see the forest for the trees so-to-speak.

 4 
 on: December 15, 2018, 12:38:34 AM 
Started by Holy Diver - Last post by Holy Diver
Oops, I said the opposite of what I meant in the last post.

ANYWAY I'm right now not working on SOM. Off-topic, but I may not post anything for a while, so just FWIW I made a Patreon page for King's Field II the other day here (https://www.patreon.com/posts/kings-field-ii-23273769)

I think I updated it to include some fixes and a new feature for looking up and down that can see over ledges. It's pretty cool.

For a few days now I've been getting back into COLLADA-DOM work (https://sourceforge.net/p/collada-dom/discussion/531263/thread/6445b0224b/) which I'm seeing through before I return to SOM.

P.S. Truly random sharing... I recently learned I'm pretty different from most people because of a crazy thing called "aphantasia" that you can find videos about on YouTube. It's apparently why my memory fades quickly, and I don't hold grudges long, since I can't remember anything anyone's ever done to me for long. Yesterday I struck up a discussion here (https://www.reddit.com/r/Aphantasia/comments/a5jwxz/unknown_until_2015_how/) because what I find most strange about the subject is that no one ever talks about its opposite (phantasia?) to each other, even though it's about the strangest thing people do. Or maybe no one has ever talked about it... or even thought about it. It seems to be the opposite of what meditation is, or a fog in your mind. True it has some benefits, but it seems easy to think of a lot of downsides that it could have. Some may even be profound.

 5 
 on: December 09, 2018, 10:46:02 PM 
Started by Holy Diver - Last post by Holy Diver
For the record there's a new demo here (http://www.swordofmoonlight.net/bbs2/index.php?topic=286.0) that is King's Field II with VR updates.

I've been trying to improve depth cues in VR. I think feeling like a little kid on the ground is actually how it should be. So I'm going to back to using the actual pupil distance for the scene in the next release. Even though I don't like it myself. It can be lowered down...

I'm trying to figure out something about skewing the matrix that from I'm told is supposed to be done if your eyes don't match the lenses. But I am not finding enough information on the subject, and I cannot make decisions based on my own experience because my eyes are within a millimeter of the lenses...

As for the floor feeling like you are sitting on chair maybe (or short like a child) my reason for finally accepting it, is if I close one eye, and vice versa, to see what the parallax is like, it looks if anything as-if it's too far a way. (CORRECTION: Oops, wrote "not far enough away.")

I'm thinking that the reason is, the ground is too spare, and also I think having a body double to use as a reference would make a big difference. I find that standing near an NPC helps a lot to get a sense of real scale. It seems to me like it's close enough, if not precisely correct.

 6 
 on: December 07, 2018, 05:00:17 PM 
Started by Holy Diver - Last post by Holy Diver
Follow-up: I had a pretty miserable evening yesterday of working on making this feature not clip through walls. I stayed up too long, but lucked out by the end of it.

These things are tricky to implement, since SOM is a polygon soup approach to clipping. Make no mistake, I like this about SOM very much. But it is trying.

What I ended up with was a combination of suppressing the feature when pressed up against walls, combined with suppressing it when there is not enough clearance in front of your character to bend over.

I think it needed both, but I might go back and reevaluate. Trouble is it doesn't kick in until you start looking down far enough (or up, but that is much less of a problem.)

Blending these suppressing conditions together was just a matter of dumb luck. It has to look smooth. I just experimented with many ways, and eventually got lucky. I was relieved because the experimentation process was not fun.

The need for clearance does not cover the entire body, leaving up the possibility of standing over things like a table in front of yourself. It would have been too complicated to try to expand the body size anyway, and I don't think it needs to be any larger than it already is, since it's just a circle/cylinder.

The clearance distance to make it work is exactly an equal sized cylinder placed in front, half way so they overlap equally. Other sizes just don't work. Probably because the clipping code (now) ignores things that have a center on the opposite side of the wall. It needs to be constant because there can't generally be feedback in these systems or they just twitch unpleasantly.

As an accident, the ability to look all the way down (or even further) is not suppressed with back against a wall. It doesn't lean forward, but you can still look down. I left it this way, since I think if you were really walking a ledge with your back against a wall, you wouldn't want to lean forward anyway, and if your weight is pressing against the wall, it can't really be going in both directions (i.e. butt against the wall, leaning forward) simultaneously. I mean, it can, but it would suggest more freedom than is otherwise accommodated by the other features. I think losing the ability to look down at your feet, on the ledge you are walking would be bad...

Prior to this feature it wasn't really possible to look that far down. You can see your shadow in the bottom half of the screen... but not the center. It lets you see more of your surroundings. Incidentally, anything less than 45 degree zoom sees through the wall. I suppose that requires work. I've gotten used to higher settings, even though I don't like how they distort tall/high structures. I like having the option to switch to lower zoom settings, if only for sightseeing.


I have to add objects and NPCs to the clipping regime. I guess they will all have to be considered. I don't think I've ever done a custom NPC clip test before. For some reason it barely passes through KF2's lighthouse. I'm not going to try to fix it. I think there must be something about its clipping geometry that is unique/warrants investigating.

It looks good on KF2's jagged cave walls. I changed the sinusoid function to look smoother. It makes the transition less obvious. I liked the original's qualities, because it kind of pushed against the wall, and also the ground, because it started on an upward trajectory instead of a flat part of the curve. I tried different options, and went with the smoothest one overall. It is better that way overall, for just looking up and down in the range that does not spring back.

If I ever get to adding SIXAXIS support I'm certain that outside of menus turning the controller sideways will be used to look around corners. Unfortunately there is no way to do that with the regular inputs. Face tracking is another option. I think turning sideways is the only input that would be reliable enough, since it can accurately gauge the pull of gravity. Everything else is only suitable for gestural inputs. Note, you can just walk around the corner, except for when there is no floor, and so you would fall if you do so. Which is what I'm really talking about, I guess. It's possible to see around corners, but not without ducking down.


P.S. I did more work with that VR business yesterday. I found an error in my code that suggests at least part of the time I was imagining any perceived benefits. So I've even more doubt. In VR the cliffs seem very underwhelming. Maybe it's because you can see them in their entirety up close. They feel like a two story house at most. I don't know if it's a problem with VR. Depth cues are very hard to reason about in VR. I mean from a development perspective, I'm always doubting it I'm doing everything correctly or not. I've put out another call for help in this (https://www.reddit.com/r/learnVRdev/comments/a4153r/skew_matrix_beneficial_or_detrimental_projection/) and another Reddit channel via crossposting.

 7 
 on: December 06, 2018, 12:57:25 PM 
Started by Holy Diver - Last post by Holy Diver
I had an unexpectedly interesting afternoon yesterday after I happened upon a VR article (https://www.roadtovr.com/vr-expert-to-oculus-rift-devs-make-sure-youre-doing-3d-right/) that recommends skewing the projection matrix that each eye uses...

That said, most of the comments say that this is not correct for their Oculus brand sets, and so I'm not positive it's right for PlayStation VR. I've written the person who is the subject of the article. It suggests that they say the Oculus does implement this in its proprietary driver set. But that's just an optimistic reading of their quotes.

What I can say is following the links here (https://web.archive.org/web/20170924184212/http://doc-ok.org/?p=77) and here (https://web.archive.org/web/20170919095247/http://www.orthostereo.com:80/geometryopengl.html) leads to some code that was enough to make it clear what is recommended. But it doesn't seem to provide an explanation of why this approach is correct...

What I can say is, it felt much better to me, and looked more correct, especially in places that had looked artificial to me before. By feeling better, I mainly mean that every time I can remember moving around with the controller while standing up wearing the VR helmet my legs would go wobbly, especially at the take-off. I didn't feel that any longer with this modification. It's possible I imagined the whole thing. But there seems to be something to it, maybe.

Something I wrong was I glossed over the "frustumshift" formula on the page with code, thinking that the screenZ part was farZ instead, since taking the near/far ratio is pretty common for setting up projection matrices. I wasn't going to use the screenZ part at first, but by doing this, my first experience was as if the "screen" was at the very back, on what is called the far-plane, which for SOM is the map's draw-distance.

I haven't yet played with this. I intend to today. My plan was to set the screen on the near-plane. Which is the closest you can anything. I don't actually know what the screen represents. I think for a "CAVE" system it is the screen on the wall. Maybe for goggles its the lens, but I don't know. If it's the distance of focus, it could be a good way to get started with adding focus to the VR experience... that is to focus on what is the average distance in the middle of the screen.


But something I noticed yesterday, is only tracking the direction rotation wise doesn't really feel right when looking down, because our heads are stuck onto necks, and our eyes aren't in the middle of the neck, and they don't just roll down to look down! Why this looks funny is you feel like you should be looking down at something, but instead its further out beyond your head, and so you see the side of it at a shear angle instead of the top. Like a headstone (a familiar sight in King's Field) for instance. Because your body in front of it, you cannot look down at it, without climbing on top of it, like an idiot...

Which is actually how it is without VR too, but you don't notice it so much, because you notice a lot in VR you don't notice otherwise. Which is why I believe if nothing else it's a very good tool for artists. Like I recently noticed that the terminals in the save room in KF2 are actually hovering 0.125 meters off the ground!


Well, I haven't begun to try to do an effect like this for VR. But I thought about how it might be done, and instead quickly mocked something up for without VR. This turned out to actually be a very interesting feature, that I believe will be in the next release, and will be a part of KF henceforth...

The feature is really very simple, and I guess it was not obvious to me, or required some thinking outside of the box. I've long wanted a way to see below ledges. I thought before that it could be implemented with a guardrail style system, but have long had reservations about guardrails too. Although I very often wish I had them, so that I can walk around more focused on scenery than my feet in the games!

Currently it's possible to look below ledges by ducking down, since you can't move then, and so you can freely lean out over the edge. So there is something you can do while ducking you cannot do while standing. It's not good to have that of disparity. And so I feel very motivated to rectify this.

The way the new feature works is you just look down. And where before if you look down far and let go it would pull you back up to a middle angle, just like pushing off walls, etc. Instead, once you get into that extreme looking down angle, it begins to transition to leaning out, and in order to still be able to see your feet, it's made possible to look down further than 90 degrees at the extreme.

It's also possible to look up, but is not nearly so extreme. Only because necks/backs are not so limber in that direction. Still, if you found yourself at the mouth of a cave that exits into a chasm, you can look up at the wall outside the mouth. So that you can freely look everywhere. The most dangerous place to look would be to the sides. I don't have system for that quite yet. With VR it would work to just look sideways.


The quick job I did of it today feels okay but has some discontinuities in places, when doing unusual transitions. It doesn't work with the Action button. It wasn't supposed to work when squatting down, but for some reason or another it does a little bit... I think I know why. But it's kind of interesting, because this can be a way to initiate a crawling mode, which would be just like squat-walking, but even lower to the ground. This system provides a visual cue that your head is looking down close to the ground when ducking in other words. It looks like your ready to start walking on your hands, or might turn your head to listen the ground. Which would be a pretty cool feature.

It also has problem with clipping if something is in front of you. I still have to work out these kinks. It will probably start to feel a little bit better after a few releases out.


For what it's worth, I think VR could benefit from showing the character's feet. It would help to have a basic sense of a body. If so I'm thinking that the feet could only appear when looking down like this. In VR you can look anywhere, and so it might be hard to control. But what I mean, is when running I think you cannot quite look down far enough to see your feet. And maybe that's a good thing. It would mean that they don't have to be animated most of the time. And the same can apply to walking also.

In general I don't like the idea of seeing things in front your view. I think it cheapens the experience. I want to not have anything obstructing my view. The reason I think feet might help VR is because I think without feet the brain might expect to see its own feet. But I'm hoping if there are feet there it will accept them, and maybe even be happy with a character that is not the same height as the audience. Plus, in my own time with it, I just feel like feet would help when I look down. I can't explain why. Maybe it would just be a reminder that there is a character there.

 8 
 on: December 04, 2018, 05:15:54 PM 
Started by Holy Diver - Last post by Holy Diver
UPDATE (VR mainly)

FWIW I just reuploaded the demo ZIP file (again) after luckily noticing that somehow the code for selecting tiles when looking up and down was using the wrong axes for PlayStation VR. I don't know how it ever seemed to work before! I thought there was just a problem with looking straight up and down since it's kind of north/south pole kind of deal then... where there is no real sense of what direction you are facing on the compass. But somehow other than that it seemed to work before...

But now I don't see any problems with looking totally up or down. I got a hint something was wrong because titles started disappearing without VR, and I couldn't reproduce the problem. It's funny how things like this aren't immediately obvious, and can go unnoticed for months.

http://www.swordofmoonlight.net/holy/KING'S%20FIELD%20II.zip

I also determined that the FOV really should be 94 instead of higher. I don't know why, but 94 doesn't feel right for jumping or falling. There must be another explanation. But I was able to determine higher values did not scan right when looking at the Magician Lamps up close. So I'm undone that in the INI, and have added the font fix for the letter f also. The Mincho f looks perfect with PMincho. I don't know how that got bumbled in the font... I wonder if the current version of PMincho still has that crappiness factor. Something will have to be done about it. The fix in the demo is just a bandaid.

Also, the tile selection is now updated in the menus. With VR you can look around the room in the menus. The tiles were not updating. Sometimes it seemed like they didn't need to be updated.... most of the time in fact. It probably had something to do with the up/down bug. Without it the problem was very evident.

 9 
 on: December 04, 2018, 11:35:37 AM 
Started by Holy Diver - Last post by Holy Diver
Ever since I first uploaded the new demonstration I've been taking it very easy. Instead of jumping onto a new project, I've just been picking at some of the leftover parts in order to eventually be able to include the features in a release.

I did finish the item menu stuff, and even got ItemEdit to tilt the item sideways.

Because I've been using the PMincho font instead of Mincho I ran into some trouble the other day with the spacing on the back side of the lowercase letter f that is just atrocious...

I don't understand how a font can be released so bad, even if Japanese don't need f as much as English publishers. If fi is written, the dot of the i runs into the f. And frankly the font I'm typing this in does the same thing, though not so severely. Likewise fa puts top serif of the f over the a. It looks really bad with PMincho. Because nothing else is spaced like that, and it has big round serifs. It runs into letters so it looks like that combined "ae" pseudo letter.

So because of this, I used the synthetic font extension to do this:

Code: [Select]
[Script]
system_fonts_to_use = 1000 "MS PMincho" U+0000-0065 U+0067-007F

This is not a fix I can recommend, but in this case, it goes to great length to make f use Mincho instead of PMincho. And it looks close enough. All letters in Mincho have equal space.

But it turned out this extension still needed a lot of work. In one case, there was a bug because I'd never tried to use it with more than one range per font...

But after that there are layout issues with multi-line and right-aligned text. Right-aligned was never implemented, but multi-line, maybe I broke it somehow.

Anyway, I worked with the text stuff for about a day all told, spread over a few days. So now it works, but right-aligned is limited to single lines. Sometimes I cheat and put extra lines into single line text. That's how the built-in English menus look better in many ways. But right-aligned text is pretty rare, and limited to setting values and numbers for the most part.

I want to replace all of this stuff with "Rich Text" at some point. That's just a decent size job. The script system uses Rich Text. I have to revisit it to fix a bug sometime in the coming weeks. I might take another look at it. It's quite a beast.

I first noticed the problem with f after I tried changing the name of the healing water item to Elfin Water. I really struggle with what to call items in games. I want them to be more like literature, but games can be so abstract, it's not always practical. I was calling the item Arid Water to communicate that there is something about the water that is not normal. The fisherman says as much. But I think I decided that did not line up with how I was thinking about the names presently, and didn't fit with the other kinds of colored water.

The original name for this item is probably blue healing water, or something like this. That might sound natural in Japanese (I wouldn't know) but it doesn't flow in English, and neither does it have any literary quality.

I would be tempted to call it Blue Water, if water were not really blue, or if it was not too simplistic. The English games call it Blue Potion if I'm not mistaken. Anyway, it may not seem important. I'm trying to establish a feel for a new translation, but while I will put this feel in the demo, it will be moved over to a separate English script file before the project is completed. The final project file will use literal English translations, and possibly Japanese first, with English in parentheses. A Japanese script will convert these names to their original text.

My rationale for how to name items is that they would be called what Alef would call them to himself. He is a highly educated prince, and so would know all about Melanat that is known. Some things deeper into the island my be unknown to travelers, but many things like the nature of the island's water would be well known to all. In that case "Arid Water" while mysterious to the audience is not in keeping with Alef's internal voice.

Likewise I have to answer questions like, what would locals call a Dragon Fruit? I thought dragon fruit too prosaic. I did not feel that's what it would be called. There is a fruit called "dragon fruit" in real life, but other than grapefruit there are not many fruits with the actual word "fruit" in their name. And this fruit is the fruit of the Dragon Tree, which must be a very important tree (it's actually a "clonal colony") to the people of Elegria. I don't know if they would eat as food or not. So I changed it to Dragon Seed, since it looks much like a seed, and is a seed, and technically that still meets the definition of a literal translation, even though seed is a secondary meaning. But then I thought more, that this does not seem natural either. Right now I have called it Dragon Eye, because it looks like an eye. Like a cat's eye marble. It seems to me closer to what a people would call such a thing. To go further might be to construct a name from Latin or something, but that is too far in my opinion, because I want to keep King's Field language matter-of-fact.

I'm trying to come up with suitable names for the items. Sometimes it's torture. For the waterfall cave mechanism, I ended up calling it a Fire Mask instead of a Skull Key. Skull key is a literal translation. But it isn't a skull, and I am avoiding using the word "key" for these items that are really just shapes. The word key appears in too many item names, and I would prefer to limit it to actual keys. It is a carving of a kraken maybe, but an abstract one if so. It looks more like Cthulhu...

I was calling it Sea Monster. But felt that that name no longer felt up to snuff. Sometimes I decorate the item names, with an adjective. But I wanted some to be more straightforward. Like instead of calling the dragon shape, simply Dragon I opted to call it Marble Dragon. I felt it worked better, and it's not easy to tell what it is made of. The fountain room seems cut from special blue marble, so I felt it fitting. The texture is actually identical to that of the waterfall cave mechanism, and also the iron mask, and treasure chests' locks. I guess it's iron then, but on the dragon it's stretched out and smudgy so that it doesn't really look like metal.

I couldn't think of a name for the "sea monster" and so I turned it into a mysterious name that is really an inside joke, because if you look at the monster its jeweled eyes are made of the Fire Crystal's texture/material, and the rest of it is the same as the Iron Mask. So I called it the Fire Mask because it's also like a mask, although not one that could be worn. Just a decorative face. I liked this name. It's not at all a literal translation, but it seems to suit it better than the all of the alternatives...

I worry about what game guides will do with different names from the original game's. But the problem is unavoidable I guess, since an independent translation is necessary. Games present so many challenges like this. They are truly the enemy of the verbal.

 10 
 on: November 30, 2018, 06:06:04 AM 
Started by Holy Diver - Last post by Holy Diver
Patch

http://csv.swordofmoonlight.net/SomEx.dll/1.2.2.9.zip

I've updated the DLL file (EX/SYSTEM) since I won't get another chance to, because I'm trying to add a feature to the PRF files so to control how items appear in the menus. I've already modified the PRF editor, and I'm not sure if I can modify the player easily or not, but I'm going to try. If the operation is a success the demo's PRF files won't look right in the future.

THERE ARE NOTES in Reply #34. Nothing major. Just icon and window position/full screen toggle fixes/changes.

The options I've added to ItemEdit are: Turn 90° Turn 180° and Tilt To Side. The goal is to not change the appearance of existing PRF files. At least not with respect to their tilt axis. The options are in the window's menu because there isn't room for anything more in the layout.

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