Walkabout Release 1 Patch 2
by Daniel Buckmaster · 04/20/2013 (4:25 pm) · 7 comments
Hey everyone! I'm sure you've all been waiting with baited breath to hear these very words: Walkabout's next patch is here! Owners of the kit can download it from the download page. This version is called R1P2 (for Release 1, Patch 2), and it's very incremental, but no less significant. There aren't really big feature upgrades or exciting new documentation, but I'm still excited to be able to say that this patch fixes Walkabout's support for huge NavMeshes. You can now build a NavMesh that's pretty much as large as you like!* The problem was an obscure memory leak due to a logical error I made, but it's all fixed now, so without further ado, here are a couple of beauty shots!
*Within reason, of course. There's still a limit on the number of tiles Recast can accept!
During the build...
The desert example level now includes a 2048x2048 NavMesh for you to enjoy. Rendering performance still isn't wonderful. Making performance acceptable without being a hardcore graphics programmer will take a substantial redesign of some code, so I decided to leave that until the next release. For now, those of you who need excessively large meshes will have to put up with the performance hit, or uncheck the box that lets the navmesh render at all. Sorry!
The FutureThe distant future: the year 2000...
In my last blog, I asked what you guys wanted to see next in Walkabout. It seemed like everyone wanted large navmeshes, which is why I'm so happy to have solved that issue. One of the next most-requested features was improving the cover-point generation. Lots of people also seemed excited by the idea of assigning specific animations to off-mesh links (for example, specifying a 'drop down' animation, or a 'dive through window' animation). There was talk about doors and elevators, as well. So I've decided on a couple of major features for Release 2:
- A better cover-point generator. My goal is that cover points should be pretty much automatic - you shouldn't need to tweak them at all except in very special cases. This also includes a better and more tweakable cover-finding algorithm.
- Doors! Torque has lacked a standard and sensible way of creating doors for quite some time, and I think it's finally time to tackle the issue head-on. What I'll do is develop the fundamentals of door interaction separately, and hopefully pull-request them for inclusion in T3D. Then I'll build some extra niceness into Walkabout for interacting with them - for example, avoiding paths through locked doors, or travelling to a door's opening button before going through the door itself.
- I want to re-introduce multithreading to Walkabout. This might be a bit much for one release, but my ultimate goal is to allow multiple threads to build the navmesh, resulting in a much smoother editing experience while you're building the mesh, faster build times, and better in-game performance if you use dynamic mesh updates during gameplay.
- Automatic navmesh updates when you create or move objects in the editor. I know this wasn't a huge priority for people, but I think it'd be an awesome feature, at least to experiment with. This will probably be contingent on getting multithreading to work, so you're not getting little pauses in your editing.
- A new test level demonstrating a simple shooter-like level with a terrain, interiors, bridges, etcetera. This should make a good benchmarking tool for stuff like cover-point generation. It'll also serve at the centrepiece for a demo that I'll put out with the release. Addon guru Twisted Jenius encouraged me to have a demo ready for Walkabout's debut, but I never managed to get on top of it - so release 2 seems like a good time to rectify this. (If anyone wants to work with me on this, please let me know! I'm not much of an artist myself, and as it is the level will probably end up being built in the sketch tool ;).)
I didn't choose to go with the custom animations because this is a much more game-dependent feature, and one that would require me to create lots of additional art, maybe to the extent of a whole new example character to go with the kit. Which, don't get me wrong, is something I'd love to do, but it just makes it that much harder for me to get releases out.
Another thing I'll be doing, hopefully, is going back to the recast Resource with what I've learned from Walkabout, cleaning it up and fixing bugs, and submitting a pull-request on GitHub. That'll take a back seat to working on Walkabout itself, but again, it'll hopefully be an end-of-the-year thing.
Oh, and of course, the site needs a revamp. Specifically, I'm trying to move away from a system that requires me to email people, since the automatic mail seems to be rejected by lots of people's email providers. At the same time, I don't want to have to keep account data in my database. As usual, if you have any trouble downloading stuff from the site, please email me and I'll fix you up as soon as possible.