Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Custom Engine...

I've recently been asked which 3D or game engine CAP2 uses so thought I'd post on that topic.

CAP2 uses a custom engine incorporating features such as:

  • 80km draw distance (a prerequisite for a flight simulator)
  • large scale tileable terrain system
  • water rendering system with variable sea states
  • accurate lighting based on world position, date and time
  • accurate star display
  • 3D audio sytem with doppler effect
  • aircraft & watercraft physics systems
  • flexible hierarchical object system

The hierarchical object system allows me to simply add functional components to objects & vehicles so for instance you'll see a wind vane just ahead of the Harrier cockpit showing relative wind motion. This helps during landing, especially with any degree of turbulence.

The physics system allows aircraft to react to a pitching deck through their gear suspension rather than being 'glued' to the deck and ships to have compartments flooded then showing a list or being bow or stern down in the water.

The rendering engine currently uses DX9 though I have an upgrade to DX11 due in the coming months. I'll be adding SSAO (a lighting effect simulating ambient light occlusion) and depth of field effects. SSAO will make the game look a tad prettier while DOF will be used very subtly so that you might not actually be sure it's being used :)

These are all individually simple things which I think add up to a more immersive experience. I do hope you'll agree. Or else!

BTW I read a comment somewhere that stated if a flight sim looked good it must be an arcade sim with 100 missiles per plane, the GPU would be maxed out so the simulation would be rubbish (how?) etc, etc. Well, that's complete bollocks. Pretty much any developer will use or develop an engine where rendering, AI, physics, particles etc exist in separate threads. Rendering should have zero impact on AI depth. Looking good and incorporating a 'non arcade' level sim are not mutually exclusive.
For people wanting a more arcade level experience I've previously posted regarding variable difficulty flight models where landing the Harrier ranges from 'pretty easy' to 'requires attention' to 'a total bitch' :)