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BugSmashers: Episode 19 Written Wednesday 10th of February 2016 at 03:39pm by CanadianSyrup

Greetings Citizens! Mark Abent is back to squash some more bugs!  Transcript by CanadianSyrup TLDR(Too Long, Didn’t Read) The Bug: Projectiles being fired from a ship became out of sync from the muzzle when the...

Greetings Citizens!

Mark Abent is back to squash some more bugs! 

Transcript by CanadianSyrup

TLDR(Too Long, Didn’t Read)

  • The Bug: Projectiles being fired from a ship became out of sync from the muzzle when the ship strafed.
  • This bug has been around since Arena Commander first came out and band aids had been used up until this point.
  • Several UK designers: Steven North, Humphreys, and Chris Bolte designed a system called the Load Manager.
  • What this does is allows the programmers to do is pre load on demand and spawn an entity correctly with applicable resources and allow things to be properly synchronized in the queue for various mechanisms.
  • Mark also added a piece of code that takes acceleration into account as well.
  • With new tech coming online that’s been in development for awhile, they’re now able to resolve long standing issues such as this one which has been around for a long time.

Full Transcript

Mark Abent: Hey everyone, welcome back to Bug Smashers. As you can see, it didn’t get cancelled yet. I was just taking a little rest, some PTO, some vacation, you know, good on the beach. Welcome back, so let’s get started, fix some bugs and makes some bugs our bitch.

Okay, hey everyone we’re here in good old dying star and we have a little fun bug with the projectiles where if I strafe a bit you’ll notice they’re not correctly in sync with this ship. They kind of delay a little bit which seems right, but it’s actually wrong because … yes when you drift, you think the projectiles are lagging because the ship moves, but the projectiles are actually getting the velocity of the ship so if I have a constant velocity they should move together.

What’s actually happening is, in our game level update where right here in the middle, so the top of the frame is here, middle of the frames here, below the frame. This is where we would do our updates for the entities and we’re actually creating our projectile right here. So in the update we create our projectile, cool, it’s gets the position and all that stuff from our weapon and it appears right in front of our gun, then the frame continues and now we’re at the very end where all of our animations update so if our gun or turret moved it was now over here and it’s over here. So if we shot a projectile this way, I’m just going use this little pen. So if I shot a projectile this way and at creation time it’s like this, but now we get our animation update, turrets here, Uh oh, or what happens if I have a wing that’s way like this, I shoot, but now the wings over here and they’re not in sync.

Then it gets worse, the frame ends, next frame happens and our entity system updates and it moves our ship from like here to here for flying. So our projectile that’s here and that creation spawn, now is over here, but our projectiles over here. So then the frame happens all over again and what you basically see is in the first frame it’s kind of off center, the next frame it’s really off center and it just gets worse because we’re a frame behind. This was a problem that we’ve had since the stop and we’ve kind of had hacks and fixes that we threw in there to kind of line it up, but it never worked right. An example of this is in the previous patch we had the Freelancer with it’s two guns in the middle and if you strafed left or right, because of the frame syncing issue, the projectile could actually end up inside of the entity grid of the ship and then the ship moves again and then the projectile just flies off. So my ships facing this way, it should shoot forward, but instead the projectile now shoots like this because … it just gets all messed up.

So what we have to fix this is a couple of things. We have this new underlying system that the good old folks in the UK. I think it was Steven North and Humphreys, might have been Chris bolte, anyways there’s some good guys in the two other studios that worked on this they called the “Load Manager”. What it is like alright I want to spawn this entity, but we’re going to wait until all the resources are ready so we no longer stall and we don’t have to preload things all in the very beginning of the game, we can preload on demand and once everything has been preloaded, we can then spawn the entity more higher up in the frame when physics and the entity are in sync. So we’re no longer creating the entity down here, we’re creating it on top. Now it can happen a frame or two later, that’s fine because we had to preload, but we’re at the top of the creation where everything is good.

Unfortunately while we have synced up physics and the entity, here’s our ship and if it was here and now it’s here that’s cool, however our guns are still over here because the animation update is at the end and the animation actually moves all the attachments so that moves our gun. So while we are spawning in the correct location we do need this extra bit of code here and the fire mode, that goes alright our entity position is right, but our guns are wrong, but we know where they’re going to be built because we have item ports which define how the ship gets made and what gets connected to what. So we can theoretically just build all the transforms, so if I’m on my weapon and I know the local transform or how I’m related to the turret, I know that little bit I can keep doing that up until I get up to the top crew and then take that transformation and apply it to where the ship really is. So if we do that bad boy which I just uncommented that disabled, I’m re enabling it. This guy what this guy basically does as it says is I go through each of the ports, I build up the local transform and then I finally apply it to the entity of world space, I inject it into the physics code because we’re now in sync and let’s see what that gives us.

There we go, alright recode is finish so let’s move to the left and as you can see, the projectiles are moving with the ship. There actually was another bit of code I added which also takes into account the acceleration of the ship on the current time. So as our ships moves with the acceleration we now correctly predict and it lines up better, but overall you see the projectiles moving with the ship because of that lovely correct spawn position and then rebuilding all the information and the bonus of this is if I have a Freelancer, my big guns will now shoot off to the correct location even if I’m twirling and moving and all that fun stuff. The added bonus is we can now enable the ability for the ship to hit itself. Before because the projectile could spawn anywhere, it could hit anything, now that we’re fixing all this stuff up, we could enable ships to hit itself which will add to some fun, fun times.

Well I hope you guys enjoyed this bug, it was a pretty exciting one. Especially since we’re getting all this technology that we’ve been building through the years finally all coming together and we’re starting to use it now to solve old problems like this projectile bug. We’re going to keep doing that as we get newer technology and updating our newer systems so hopefully I’ll have more stuff to show you guys, hope you guys enjoyed, see you next time.


Director of Transcripts

A polite Canadian who takes pride in making other peoples day brighter. He enjoys waffles with Maplesyrup, making delicious puns and striving for perfection in screaming at the T.V. during hockey games.