Monday, February 25, 2008

Oblivion!

W007! I got Oblivion working at about 10 fps with distant land, trees, and buildings on. I didn't put AA on for Obvious reasons, but bloom works well. I love Oblivion. I don't care what all the Morrowind fanboys say, it's just better in every way. First and foremost the graphics are vastly improved. No longer do you have segmented bodies and nasty fog (without mods, that is). You have highly detailed and randomly generated trees. Every character is unique save for the hair and items. There is amazing quality textures and normal mapping. When you look at bricks and stuff from a distance they appear to be high poly. I also love the fact that the spell effects are looking better. Invisibility and cameleon distort the area behind the target and restoration makes the target glow white-green. All the cities are very detailed and you can even see reflections on the windows (though they look sort of reflection mapped). I don't play with grass on, but I downloaded a low low poly grass mod... it made the grass look ugly as sin. I am just gonna use low poly next time. Not low low poly. I turned the eyesore grass off.
It works great with Windows Vista however you have to turn the sidebar off or else it will flicker through the game occasionally. Oblivion is a ram hog but other than that the only thing that really is of concern is the graphic card. True, a Geforce 6100 is still outdated but I have become so used to playing games at 10 fps that it hardly bugs me. Using OBSE (Oblivion Script Extender) I am able to get faster loading times to the point that it is much faster loading than even Morrowind on my current hardware! I believe that they vastly improved the way they load files. I'll provide screenshots with the FPS counter enabled sometime, but for now I cannot as I am at school and I also need to do homework on the computer. It's just typing though. About 8 pages of typing. I guess if I can waste my time on this blog typing incessantly I can do well typing schoolwork. But I digress, the topic I am discussing is games.
The gameplay in Oblivion is much improved. I find it much easier and more intuitive than Morrowind. They also vastly improved sneaking. You just tap one button and you sneak until you tap the button again. This makes it easier and you will find that you will be wanting to sneak more. What is the motive for sneaking? On Oblivion, depending on your sneak level, you can inflict 2-6 times damage by attacking while sneaking. This comes in handy when you can attack your enemy with a bow and arrow from a distance then run backwards shooting at them until they reach you when you can finish them off rather easily with the sword. The only problem I have with this is that it is easy to accidentally forget you are in sneak mode and pickpocket someone rather than talk to them; moreso than in Morrowind. Other than that it is a welcome addition to the already phenomenal gameplay.
Another great addition is the schedules of the NPCs and the Radiant AI. Radiant AI as some of you may know is a new feature that makes the NPCs follow a schedule such as eating, sleeping, and working making them on the move unlike Morrowind where they just stood there looking stupid. They also do little things such as conversing with other NPCs, reading, taking an afternoon stroll, shopping, and hunting. The NPCs all are fully voice acted and a pleasure to interact with. I find that Radiant AI (although having many glitches that you can find on youtube) is an excellent addition to the game and can add new gameplay possiblities. The guards too are also affected by this though they still maintain their posts when working. Sometimes it can be fun to follow someone around town just to see what they are doing while admiring the AI. Some quests even rely on this to make you understand their schedule.
I'll go into further detail later, but overall this is an awesome game filled with replayability, excellent gameplay, great quests, fun dungeons, and lots and lots of mudcrabs. I find that every session spent playing Oblivion is one that I do not regret. I find myself playing multiple characters just so I can experience the game from every possible character, from the hero, to the theif, to the guy who follows people around like a creepy stalker, I love playing this game. Like I said, more on this next post.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Oblivion

I just got Oblivion! I can't have grass or distant land on or it will be very choppy, but other than that it seems to run really well! I am happy to finally play Oblivion because I hear it is awesome! Everyone was right! Imma go download a low poly grass mod after school when I get home.

Monday, February 18, 2008

New computer! ZOMG!

Here is my older much more inferior computer:

448mhz Pentium III Processor
4XXMb of RAM
80 GB HD Space
Windows XP
Nvidia Geforce 2 MX


New computer:

AMD Anthlon 3000+ Processor Clocked at 1.8 Ghz (May Change)
895 MB Ram
80 GB HD Space
Windows Vista Ultimate
Nvidia Geforce 6100


Only thing that is the same is the HD and Floppy Disk. No kidding. I got a new zip drive, CD-RW, Dvd ROM, Case, Processor, Video Card, RAM, and OS. I can run Aero without a hitch! I LOVE THIS COMPUTER!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Janitor's Closet




I was bored so I decided to attempt to make a 3d model of a janitor's closet. For now it just consists of a sink and a broken mirror. I like the mirror, though. It was fun to make and it actually looks better than I thought it would at first. I don't think anyone would notice, but sometimes the cracks don't go all the way through and it seems like it broke unrealistically. It took about an hour to make this scene but it was worth it. It's looking really cool when you look down the drain. I've made a few renders and some video clips just to give you an idea of what it looks like. Above you can see what the sink looks like in wireframe from afar. It's unnecessary to have it in wireframe, but it looks cool.




Here is a closeup of the broken mirror yet again in wireframe. The mirror wasn't hard to make; it was just tedious. I do enjoy the result though as I think the way it is broken is somewhat believable. I originally wanted the mirror to appear to be hit on the middle left as evident by the direction of the spaces in the bottom left, but I don't like doing all those small pieces of shattered glass. This brings up some questions though as to what may have caused the mirror to break. It seems the mirror was hit by something that was somewhere between the size of a marble and an apple.



This is a solid shot of the sink and the broken mirror. You can see that I colored the sink brown but that's because I had to to get the effect I wanted. I wanted a layer of filthy muck lower down on the sink but I couldn't have a gradient texture that could allow me to put brown on the bottom. So, I decided to make the sink brown and use a white texture. It turned out adequately however you cannot see the texture from here nor can you see the normal map I applied.






Here is a view into the sink. I actually used a picture of a sink in Alcatraz as a reference. Same kinda sink they use in a janitor's closet anyways. This turned out better than I would have thought. It's hard to get things exactly how you want using subsurf (a tool that increases the number of polygons to add detail and smooth things out). There is actually a little hole under the drain where the water is supposed to go. The drain was added because I felt that it would be easy to tell if there is a hole or not.


Here is a render of the sink. It's really dark for some reason. You can actually make out the reflection of whats in the room (namely, sink) if you look at the right angle. It's kinda cool how all the shard of glass if at the right angle can have bits and pieces of the same picture just with gaps between them. I seldom use ambient occlusion or caustics in my renders as my computer is a Pentium 3, but I make sure I use at least 4x anti aliasing.



This is a different angle. I really need to add more light! You still can't see anything out of the mirror but this is still a good shot anyways. At first, I was experimenting with the depth of field effect to get the mirror slightly blurred, but it caused artifacts in the rendering so I decided it wasn't worth it. Anyways, it's video time!


video

This video was rendered a bit before I finished so the sink looks drastically different, but you can still get the gist of what it's like. As you can see, the room (assuming 2 walls and a floor constitutes a room) looks better in 3d.

video

The sink is finished and the room is brighter in this animation. I like it better because you can see into the sink sorta. Not much showing off of the reflections, but I just intended to do a 6 second fly around. So, anyways, I am planning on continuing the project until I get a nicely cluttered janitor's closet.