This is the first development update for Littlecube Valley. Over the last three months, I had to do a major overhaul of the custom voxel engine. Broadly, the goals were to severely reduce memory usage and eliminate redundancies in engine subsystems. About two months were spent on refactoring engine code.
1) A lot of redundancies were eliminated and so is the removal of unwanted virtual memory. The usage of virtual memory is also now more optimised and does not hog the system unnecessarily. The same goes for system memory, which currently now uses only about 100 megabytes.
2) Rigid body physics had been removed and will only be used later for unpredictable physical interactions such as voxel destructions. Voxel-based physics had been added as a replacement and also to allow for much better integration with existing voxel data.
3) Non-terrain based structures can now be added using coarse-level voxels. Its modelling and texturing pipeline has been established and optimised. The image below shows the character standing outside a cottage.
4) The shading pipeline has been redone to remove some redundancies and
also to achieve a flat shaded aesthetic with subtle grid outlines and thick silhouettes. The character model has been reworked to get the aesthetic of being made up of many tiny little cubes. (The image above might be too dark to recognise, but it is visibly clear on my iOS device).
5) The terrain can now be modified and adjusted for placement of structures and roads. The image above shows the dirt and muddy ground that had to be levelled before the cottage structure could be placed upon it.
6) Automatic geometry culling now allows the roof of the cottage to be removed when the character is inside. The image below shows a portion of the roof removed to show the interior of the house. Additionally, surfaces will be shaded with much darker tones when their adjacent geometry is culled.
7) The options menu now has functionality for rotating the camera view and adjusting the elevation culling. The image below shows the visual controls submenu.
8) The following images show the various orientations of the cottage after the camera view had been rotated.
9) The image below show what happened when the elevation height is adjusted. The higher the elevation height, the less culling the system will do.
The next development update will be focused on getting the details of the cottage structure such as the door and windows, the thatch hanging off the roof, the interior furnishing and the exterior untidiness.
I will also need to plan the road network and a few more
plots of land for other cottages. There will be different structural designs and layouts for the cottages.
However, none of the initial cottages will be spick and span. Players will eventually be required to choose a suitable cottage, fix up the place and clear the mess, and place interior furniture and other objects.