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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

GAME ON: RIFT

(Another featured game for SL-E3-- background here.)

Developer Crystalshard Foo on her team's game:

Rift is a puzzle/adventure game, with an immersive cooporative gameplay. The players will have to work as a team to solve the challenge each level puts before them, and discover the ultimate secret of the game.

Crystalshard Foo on Rift's key features:

The game's most important parts are the randomly generated levels and puzzles. The game is designed in such a way that each time you play it, it will appear to be different. To achieve this ability without going overly insane and dragging the sim down on its knees, we devised a system that uses blocks of 3D prim "tiles" similiar to the 2D texture tiles used by old console games. The entire level is constructed using these tiles, allowing the engine to achieve a high level of detail with minimal effort. An off-world server manages the randomized level generation, and an in-world dedicated LSL-based server will take care of placing these objects.

The game props will also be placed using this system. However, since these objects are going to be active, we had to come up with a way to let the off-world rendering engine assign script functions to in-world objects. For that end, we have developed a simple scripting language that runs on top of Linden Script Language, that can define an object's functionality and actions while keeping a rather small memory footprint.

Crystalshard Foo on the biggest challenges in creating Rift:

Lag and current LSL errors, such as certain commands not working as expected. But most certainly lag. I am trying to cope with this issue by making the level design mostly static without requiring too much action or object updates, except for short bursts of high activity during level change, etc. I am also trying to limit special effects to client-side rendering that will not require too much network traffic. However, considering that the game next to us involves a boat race that will heavily depend on physics, I am definitely getting pretty worried about the server-side frames-per-second that we'll be able to pull.

Pictured: conceptual sketches for Rift level creation

Posted at 12:04 AM | Permalink

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