The horns sound, the ravens gather. An empire is torn by civil war. Beyond its borders, new kingdoms rise. Gird on your sword, don your armour, summon your followers and ride forth to win glory on the battlefields of Calradia. Establish your hegemony and create a new world out of the ashes of the old.
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21. syyskuu

Dev Blog 21/09/17



Greetings warriors of Calradia!

Mods have always been a huge part of the Mount & Blade experience. Over the years, our talented and dedicated modding community has created some amazing mods which have expanded on concepts and features in our game, such as Diplomacy and Pre-Battle Orders and Deployment, or completely overhauled the game to create unique and engaging gaming experiences, such as Brytenwalda and Prophecy of Pendor. Some of them have brought RPG elements and character progression into a multiplayer setting, (Persistent World, cRPG) while others are just plain silly and fun, (Gangs of Glasgow).

In this week’s blog we would like to reach out to our modding community by answering a selection of questions from our official forums which were compiled by a key member of our community, our modding moderator “Duh”.


1. What language will be used for modding?
We are using C# as the scripting language. Data files are generally formatted in XML.

2. Which IDE will have support (like Visual Studio Express) from TW?
You can use any version of Visual Studio 2015 (e.g. Community edition)

3. Can you provide us with screenshots and/or a list and description of the various tools that you use and that may be made available to modders?
Scene editor
Mesh editor
Material editor
Model/Animation viewer
Skeleton editor
Replay editor
Particle editor
Atmosphere Editor
Cloth editor
Path editor
Resource Browser

Also, the runtime performance profile tools that we use will be available for modders. They will be able to check the performance impact of their changes.


Cloth Editor

4. Will modding tools be made available prior to release and/or as part of an early access?
Not decided.

5. Will we have a TW developer working with the community to support modding (learning, tools, tutorials, feedback, etc.)?
We will share a documentation site and we are planning to make some tutorial videos. Also, we will be taking feedback and engaging with users on our forums.

6. With Warband the list of hardcoded features lessened as time progressed. Will this be the same for Bannerlord as you decide over time what should and shouldn't be hardcoded?
Most probably.

7. Will there be an in-game/engine tool/camera to create FMV sequences?
We will provide a replay editor.

8. Will we be able to launch/select several mods (like elder scroll games) or it will be one module at a time (like Warband)?
The game will support multiple mods at the same time.

9. How will (texture) folder structure be handled? Is it still a single folder like in Warband with all textures placed together or will it have subfolders for things like ground textures, armours and such? And if so will the subfolders name and structures be moddable?
You can use any number of folders for resources but it is a flat system, so we don’t support subfolders within folders.

10. How is the code split between hard-coded (engine) and modsys (open to the modding community)? What level of access do we have to the game UI code, AI, etc.? Could you provide us with an example of what will likely remain hard-coded?
Unlike Warband, the vanilla game scripts will not be directly modifiable by modders. However, it will be possible for modders to add new scripts as plugins and also have modifications for XML data files. In Warband, we had the problem that, whenever we released a new version or patch, almost all existing mods would immediately become incompatible with the new version and modders had to go through the lengthy process of reapplying their changes on the new version’s scripts. Moreover, it was impossible for players to run multiple mods in conjunction. The new system will make modders’ lives much easier and also support multiple mods.

By changing XML files, it will be possible to modify or add/delete most types of game objects such as items, characters, factions etc. Of course it will also be possible to add new assets such as meshes or textures.

Modders will be able to add new campaign behaviours, mission behaviours and quests. Campaign behaviours are executed while the player is spending time on the campaign map, whereas mission behaviours are executed when the player is in a scene. For example, if you want to create some extra bandit parties every few days, you can do that with a campaign behaviour.

Modders will also be able to change most of the formulas used in the game. For example, if you want to add a special item that makes you move faster on map, you will add the item through an xml file, and also modify the formula for campaign map speed so that it returns a higher number if a party is in possession of the said item.

Modders who want to change an existing behavior (like party members deserting when morale is low) will have two options: Either they will modify the default formula, or if that’s not adequate for some reason, they will be able to disable the default behavior entirely and add a new one from scratch.

11. Will we be able to seed a randomized number? This is highly important in order to seed a randomized process and utilize pseudo-data. Is it possible to procedurally generate the terrain/towns/castles/villages/NPCs?
You can use random seeds and any kind of random number generator.

12. How has the Dialogue system been improved? Is the Dialogue system dynamic?
There is a very powerful string processing system, (you can pretty much embed programs into the string itself.) Dialogs, game menus, and everything text related can make use of that.

13. How many factions can this system support? Are there easy mechanisms to create/modify factions?
You can add as many factions as you like. Technically, creating factions is just a method call, but of course making them interesting would be the harder part!

14. Will battlefield AI (Both the troop AI and the strategic AI) be accessible or hardcoded?
Lowest-level troop AI is hard-coded, but you can customize it somewhat by changing aggressiveness, maximum speed etc. You can also give AI target movement points.

Formation AI and overall battle AI is extendable and modders can add new tactics and AI behaviours.

15. Will troop and party pathfinding AI be accessible or hardcoded?
Pathfinding will be hardcoded. You can turn faces on/off in a navigation mesh though, so there are ways to control path-finding behaviour.


Scene Editor

16. Assuming that the AI takes into account terrain - will we be able to translate this understanding of the battle scene into a graphical representation? In other words, while you decided against a minimap in the main game, do you intend to provide us with a framework and/or operations that will enable us to generate a simplified visual representation of unit locations, terrain details and possibly even AI strategy?
It will be possible to draw graphical primitives on screen. Also, one can render multiple scenes on the screen for other uses. (As long as they are lightweight, they won’t affect the overall performance that much).

17. Will there be greater control over the core variables and Booleans of the core combat mechanic? For example, will we be able to directly edit the code used for horse charge damage, hit detection, AI movement and so on?
It will be possible to change certain variables, but a lot of constants may remain hard-coded.

18. Will it be possible to alter where the AI aims with ranged weapons?
You can give them an entity to target.

19. Is it possible to combine designed elements with procedurally generated elements into the same scene?
Of course. Script components can be used to add, alter or remove stuff from the scene. Materials, other scripts, physics and polygon attributes can be changed at run time.

20. How does the AI pathfinding work? Will sceners have to create AI meshes for their scenes?
Yes, scene makers will need to create navigation meshes. The scene editor has a tool to create the nav-mesh automatically but results vary and we generally prefer to create them manually.

21. Is there an inbuilt method to voxelize the scene in order to use cheap ray-tracing for global illumination?
No.

22. Are seasonal effects generated or will they have to be manually added? Will it be possible to preview them in the editor?
You can definitely preview what the scene will look like in different seasons and different atmosphere settings in the editor. You can set alternative terrain materials and alternative foliage for different seasons. It’s all very customizable.

23. Will it be possible to make caves/ tunnels in the map/scene editor? Will it be possible to alter terrain during play and/or will modders have the tools to enable/alter such a functionality?
For tunnels and caves you need meshes, the terrain system does not support them. We do not currently support dynamic changes to terrain height-maps during the game.

24. What is the biggest scene the editor can handle?
Depends on the power of the computer and available RAM. Our typical scenes are not too large because we want scenes to load quickly and not take an excessive amount of hard disk space. We experimented with larger scenes on a few occasions but this is not something that’s a priority.

25. Do you think the level editor will support multi-user working? I.e. Cooperative scening over a server.
No. The editor does not support that.

26. How will movable scene props/objects be handled? Will they meet the same limitations as they currently have in Warband (e.g. polycount, collision detection, etc.)?
The physics objects for dynamic rigid bodies will have some polygon count restrictions.

27. Will we be able to simulate the flow of time in a scene without forcing a re-entry? (Morning-Noon-Evening-Night)
The atmosphere system is not designed to update in real-time, so you cannot simulate that without stutters. Maybe you can darken the screen, change the atmosphere and then do a fade in.

28. How will scene files be organized and managed in Bannerlord? Will terrain codes and scene prop files remain separated?
We divide scene files into two groups. One is the editable data for the scene editor (some binary, some text) and the other one is loading time optimised binary files.

29. Is Armour created the same way as you have shown the weapons to be created?
The crafting system only works for melee weapons. Armour, shields, bows and crossbows cannot be crafted.

30. Does this mean that creation of arms and armour now are internal to the game superstructure and if so, does this support independent artists from adding their own weapons and armour to the game?
Crafted and non-crafted items are added in different ways, but modders can add both. For crafting, modders can easily add new crafting parts. They can also add new weapons by editing an xml file only, specifying which parts the new item is made of.

31. Will we be able to add custom skeletons and new bones? If yes, would it be able to support static object bones for real time animations (e.g. destruction effects)?
Yes, you can add custom skeletons to meshes.

32. Any information on model dimensions etc.? Poly count?
Poly count is very varied but we use LOD meshes heavily.

33. Any information on average texture sizes? Will 4k be supported?
Average texture size is 2k. You can add 4K textures to the game.


Model and Animation Viewer

34. Will every piece of equipment have physics options (tassels, cloth, etc.), including weapons?
Not every piece probably, but modders can add it to all types of equipment. Weapons can have them as cosmetic only, so no flails with cloth system.

35. Will we have access to shader source files?
Not decided.

36. What level of moddability can we expect for the new PBR engine? PBR relies less on the shaders and textures themselves and more on skymaps, screenspace posteffects, and the location and detail of lights. Can we expect to be able to implement dynamic GI, for example? Can we expect GI and SSR at all?
We have good variety of post effects, and you can probably add new post effects. We have SSR. It should be possible to add dynamic GI in theory but in practice it can be very hard or even impossible.

37. Can we force certain body parts/bones to play specific animations and apply ragdoll physics on them? (Useful to simulate various injuries on different body parts)
Sorry, the game engine does not support that.

38. What modelling/viewing program(s) will or should be used for Bannerlord?
For basic polygonal modelling, our artists use mainly Max, Maya and Blender and we will document work flows for these. We also use a ton of other tools for sculpting, painting textures, viewing etc.

39. What tools support animating campaign map icons?
We have some script components, which can add simple looping animations to entities in any scene. It is not as complicated as the animation system of characters in battles.


In next week’s blog we will be talking to Meriç Neşeli, QA Lead and Game Designer. If you have a question you would like to ask then please leave a reply in the comment section and we will pick one out for him to answer.

Discuss this blog post HERE


Mount & Blade

TaleWorlds Entertainment
144 kommenttia Lue lisää

14. syyskuu

Dev Blog 14/09/17



Greetings warriors of Calradia!

A game engine is one of the core components of a computer game. Licensed game engines tend to offer a flexible approach to game development by providing a variety of options and features for a wide range of genres. However, developing your own game engine allows you to create exactly what you need for the task at hand. Granted, it is a monumental task to undertake, but we feel that the benefits far outweigh the time, energy and financial investments required to produce something which will allow us to achieve our goals and ultimately improve the quality of the final product. Our engine, which was built entirely in-house, focuses on the crucial needs of Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord. It is tailored to helping the game reach its full potential, which is something that would be hard to accomplish with another engine. This is what our engine team tries to achieve. Smooth gameplay, big battles and great visuals are their primary ambition. Murat Türe, Lead Programmer of the engine team, works on making Bannerlord optimised, moddable and huge, while retaining all of the key features which made our previous games so successful.


NAME
Murat Türe

FROM
Ankara, Turkey

JOINED TALEWORLDS
2013

EDUCATION
Computer Engineer

OFFICIAL JOB DESCRIPTION
Lead Programmer (Game Engine Team)

WHAT DO YOU NORMALLY DO DURING YOUR DAY?
When I arrive at the office, the first thing I do is check my mail. I am in constant communication with each department of the development team to ensure that any issues relating to my work are highlighted. Then I proceed to check any newly opened reports from the QA team, who work tirelessly to find any problems with the game and the engine. Following that I check the previous night's automated performance test reports, which we use to gather data over a period of time to help us monitor game stability and to check the impact on performance that any recent changes have had. After gathering all of this information I relay it within my team so that we can resolve any problems and make improvements to the engine.

Throughout the day, I attend code design meetings, work on code reviews and write additional code in my spare time. I also create my own performance profiles for the game using various configurations. For example, I will test huge infantry sieges to record the performance of a very specific situation. I will then repeat the tests using cavalry or ranged units to track any changes.


WHAT DO YOU LIKE THE MOST ABOUT BANNERLORD?
My happiest moments while developing the game are when a new optimisation is working and I see the FPS counter rise. We are striving to make the game run as smoothly as possible on a wide range of systems and it gives me great satisfaction and pride in my team to see how the game is constantly improving.

Visually I really enjoy our new cloth simulation system, but I must admit that the particle effects in big battles are my favourite.


WHAT'S THE MOST DIFFICULT THING THAT YOU SOLVED SO FAR, DURING THE PRODUCTION OF BANNERLORD?
Improving stability, performance and visual quality at the same time, without sacrificing any of them. We devised a way to handle this using a detailed integration system, lots of automation, and with our hard working QA team!



WHAT DO YOU CURRENTLY WORK ON?
Currently, I am checking and improving the performance of medium to very low hardware configurations. It is important to us that players get to experience a smooth and enjoyable gameplay experience. We are constantly trying to refine the engine to ensure that this is the case.

WHAT FACTION DO YOU LIKE THE MOST IN BANNERLORD?
My favourite faction in the game would have to be Khuzait, for cultural reasons.

HOW WOULD YOU COMPARE THE ENGINE FOR BANNERLORD TO THE ORIGINAL ONE?
I will try to explain the major improvements with respect to the old engine.

The rendering and postFX system has been revamped. We have a Physically Based Rendering engine which ensures that the materials in the game are visually appealing and consistent. Better Depth of Field, High Dynamic Range imaging, Screen Space Reflection and Ambient Occlusion techniques have been added and optimized. A GPU simulated cloth system has been introduced, (which has a general material system that supports different kinds of meshes,) enhancing the animations and visuals of the game.

Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord relies even more on CPU usage than Warband. Hundreds of characters, more advanced animations, an Inverse Kinematics system, individual AI, formation AI, combat calculations, (which do not change in respect to distance or visibility,) and many other requirements really increase the burden on the CPU. In order to accommodate this, our optimisation efforts are more heavily focused on the CPU. We generally try to use Data Oriented Design, which enables us to achieve high amounts of parallelism and core usage. Currently, 60-70% of the frame is fully parallel, which means it can, and will, use all of the cores of current and next gen CPUs for the foreseeable future, (the old engine generally used to use 1, or at most 2 cores.) This means that as new, higher core count CPUs begin to emerge, Bannerlord will scale well with the new hardware and players will be able to test bigger and denser battles. Currently our aim for battle sizes on current generation high end gaming CPUs is at 800 characters, at 60FPS.

The size of scenes is generally around 4 km square, which is much larger than in Warband, and scene creation is much faster. We developed lots of new editing tools for objects, terrain and flora for the scene designers to use. We have an advanced terrain system which can support up to 16 layers per scene, with no restriction on layers used per node. Also, the designers now have access to a scene upgrade level system, (a scene masking system which is used in siege scenes to allow level 1-3 castles to be placed in one scene,) and a new weather system, (which is used for creating different weather versions of the scene.) With all of the CPU and hard drive optimisations we try to achieve <1 second loading times on these bigger scenes.


Discuss this blog post HERE


Mount & Blade

TaleWorlds Entertainment
372 kommenttia Lue lisää

Tietoja pelistä

The horns sound, the ravens gather. An empire is torn by civil war. Beyond its borders, new kingdoms rise. Gird on your sword, don your armour, summon your followers and ride forth to win glory on the battlefields of Calradia. Establish your hegemony and create a new world out of the ashes of the old.

Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord is the eagerly awaited sequel to the acclaimed medieval combat simulator and role-playing game Mount & Blade: Warband. Set 200 years before, it expands both the detailed fighting system and the world of Calradia. Bombard mountain fastnesses with siege engines, establish secret criminal empires in the back alleys of cities, or charge into the thick of chaotic battles in your quest for power.

SIEGE GAMEPLAY
Construct, position and fire a range of heavy machinery in sieges that will test your wits and skill like never before. Experience epic, sprawling combat across ramparts and rubble as you desperately hold on to your castle or seek to seize one from the enemy.

Historically authentic defensive structures offer the ultimate medieval warfare experience, as you batter a rival's gate with your ram or burn his siege tower to ashes. Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord lets you live every moment of a chaotic battle through the eyes of a single soldier.

DIPLOMACY
Engage in diplomacy, with meaningful consequences that impact the world. Strike historic peace deals that win land for your kingdom or free you to take on a new foe. An all-new barter system gives players flexibility in cementing deals, from marriage offers to treason pacts, offering all the options available to NPCs. Use a new influence system to direct your faction's energies or strangle the aspirations of a rival.

SANDBOX ECONOMY
See the availability of goods ebb and flow in a simulated feudal economy, where the price of everything from incense to warhorses fluctuates with supply and demand. Invest in farms and workshops, or turn anarchy to your advantage by being the first to bring grain to a starving town after a siege or reopening a bandit-plagued caravan route.

CRAFTING
Craft your own weapon, name it and carry it with you to the field of battle! A deep, physics-based system gives each weapon you create a unique set of attributes, strengths and weaknesses. Forge a finely-tuned killing machine to match your own prowess and complement your play-style, or take the sword of your enemy and brandish it as a trophy of war.

MODDING
The engine and tools used to develop Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord are being made available to the community, so that modders can re-interpret Calradia or create their own worlds! Players can now combine different mods, making it easier than ever to play the game of your dreams.

ENGINE
An all-new tailor-made game engine, developed in-house to fulfill the unique needs of the series, offers the perfect balance of performance and graphical fidelity, scalable with the power of your hardware.

Experience Mount & Blade with richer, more beautiful graphics than ever, immersing you in the world of Calradia, rendering the game's magnificent battles with equally spectacular detail.

Järjestelmävaatimukset

    Vähintään:
    • Prosessori: Intel i3-2100 / AMD FX-6300
    • Muisti: 4 GB RAM
    • Grafiikka: Intel HD 4600 / Nvidia GT730 / AMD R7 240
    • Tallennus: 40 GB vapaata muistia
    • Lisätietoja: These estimates may change during final release
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