Shadows are a great way to relay information in a 3D rendering. They can help demonstrate distances between two objects such as a bouncing ball and the ground. They also relay further information to the structure of an object as they give a second silhouette from the perspective of the light casting the shadow. In this article, I will demonstrate a very small but important improvement for THREEjs’s shadow rendering, a one line change to the shader code.
Douglas Crockford wrote RFC 4627, describing the specifications for JSON, a “text format for serialization of structured data.” As a language-agnostic, human-readable open format that has native support for encoding/decoding in browsers, JSON has become the de facto standard for data serialization on the web. There are drawbacks to using JSON, which became evident when we started to write a networked game using WebSockets. (Check out our pre-alpha teaser if you didn’t get a chance to see us at PAX!)
TinkerTech Derby can be summed from its two parts, an editor and a game. For a look at the game check out our previous article. Since then, with the last two months we built a working system that shows our main ideas for the editor.
Inspired by the voxel painter example for three.js, you click on parts to attach a new one to it. Since the car always starts out with one part, a Core, this works well. You can add and remove freely except for the Core which instead can be replaced with alternates.
Most cars can be made in a minute or two. Adding specific body and color adds a few more minutes. Every vehicle in the following sped-up video was made in three to five minutes.
There has been some recent news about Google’s new Chromebook, Samsung Series 5 550. Being a game developer with a great interest in browser gaming, I think that the Chromebook is a pretty cool idea. We have been testing our work with the earlier models, the Series 5 500 and the test model, Cr-48, but many people, myself included, have found that the performance of these machines is less than desirable.
Testing our current builds of TinkerTech Derby on a Samsung Series 5 500, we have determined that the game is, in fact, playable. And when I say playable, what I really mean is that it functions, not that you would actually enjoy the experience. We have a lot of work to do before it’s at a point where people can expect to play the game with their friends on these machines.
According to a look at the new device on hexus.net, the 550 model is more than twice as fast as its predecessor in running the V8 benchmark. That is a pretty exciting jump! With a video review from The Verge including a very small snippet showing Bastion being played @3:10, gaming on these devices is starting to look exciting!
We are hard at work testing cloud services to determine how best to get people bashing vehicles together in their browser. For now, TinkerTech is only playable on local networks. So while we optimize our code and nail down our server infrastructure, I wanted to get a video out to those of you who didn’t get to stop by our PAX East booth.
Pardon our mess, as the vast majority of our work is going into the back-end of this game. Expect more from us aesthetically in the future. If you have any suggestions or other thoughts, please post in the comments.
For a longer description of the game, please read our blog post about our visit to PAX East 2012.
I also want to say thank you to Shamus Young for posting about us on his blog. We greatly appreciate the kind words and friendly comments.
Last weekend was PAX East 2012, a consumer gaming show hosted by Penny Arcade. We just returned from hosting a booth where we showed off our latest build of Tinker Tech: Derby. We set up four connected Chrome stations where players used pre-built cars to smash and blast each other into piles of blocks while driving to survive. This was a very early pre-alpha version, so many features have yet to be implemented, and we were wrestling bugs all weekend. We are currently hard at work to refine the game and release a beta by the end of the year.
If you didn’t get to visit our booth and play the game, we have put up a short video of sample gameplay.
TinkerTech will be a game about construction and destruction. Players will be given an initial set of blocks to build vehicles. These vehicles will then be pitted against each other in various events including: demolition derby, racing, and other arena challenges. The blocks of the cars each serve a different function including: weight, armor, weaponry, and others. The real-time physics engine will affect the handling of the vehicles and the tumbling of the blocks as they are knocked off and vehicles reduced to rubble.
We look forward to sharing more information about this game as we continue to work on it. Keep an eye on our blog for updates.
When will it be out?
We are planning for a Beta testing phase by the end of 2012. There is also discussion about early Alpha access.
What platforms will be supported?
Chrome and Firefox are our primary targets. The game is developed using HTML5 (Open Web Technologies), meaning there are no downloads or plugins outside of simply having the latest version of Chrome or Firefox.
Will there be a level editor?
There are plans for a level editor, but there will not be one initially. We are focusing on the vehicle editor and core gameplay before we move on to other features.
In the meantime, go play the game for FREE on Chrome:
If you’re hungering for some information right now, take a look at the existing blog posts on the Bocoup blog.