Sick Kreation’s End Game Engine…

Filed Under (Engine) by Ruben on 08-14-2012

Hello Everyone, my name is Kevin and I am the programmer and founder of Sick Kreations Studios.
I want to take a moment and describe the current state of our game engine for anyone that is interested.
The End Game Engine has evolved a lot since the release of KGB in January of 2010. It is built on XNA and the core of the engine is completely propietary C# code. Here is a quick overview of the engine.

Core
Multi-Threaded, running three threads each on their own core on the Xbox 360, separating the ‘Update’, ‘Physics’ and ‘Draw’ task. This allows the End Game Engine to utilize the full power of the Xbox 360 PowerPC and achieve frame rates of 60 frames a second while rendering geometry consisting of hundreds of thousands of vertices’s and hundreds of textures such as the End Of Days Level.

Rendering
Fully deferred rendering at 1280 x 720 HD resolution
Gamma correction on textures for accurate linear lighting
Deferred lighting supports one directional and hundreds of point lights
Baked lighting exported from authoring tools to get highest quality
Dynamic shadow mapping used for FPS player hands and weapons.
Post processing Bloom, Blur and HDR

Collision
Triangle level collision for ray cast at the highest level of detail of the render-able geometry and low polygon mesh collision for FPS character movement in levels. Triggers for running events and moving FPS character on objects such as ladders

Shader
Every render-able model can have Diffuse, Normal , Specular, Emissivity, Reflection and Alpha Blending maps applied

Audio
All sound is authored in XACT3

Optimization
If you are familiar with XNA and C# then you know that a big caveat with frame rate and smooth performance is the Garbage Collector. While developing KGB:Episode One, I found that I was going to have to abandon elegant program code for a mass of ugly public and static variables to avoid garbage collecting hic-cups. The single biggest fix for this was in the “Skinned Model” sample from the XNA tool set. My animation code is based on that example and moving all the base “classes” to “structures” significantly improved garbage collection performance.
Another performance optimization built into the engine is vertex compression. Nuclear Wasteland 2030 was vertex bound and that is why it was released at 30 frames per second. Although the XBox360 can process hundreds of thousands of vertices blazing fast, I ran into a bottleneck in NW 2030 with grass. So immediately after NW 2030 was released I added the vertex compression and tripled the number of vertices that could be processed thus allowing for many model assets to be added to End Of Days.

Since releasing End Of Days I have spent time on two significantly new features; Navigation Mesh based on Recast/Detour for pathing AI and a .DLL that I wrote to support Modifiers in 3DS Max. The Recast/Detour is nice…I wrote an export routine for the Recast demo to save the navigation mesh data in an XBox360 format for the game engine and ported the “detour” part of the code to C# to run in managed XNA. I have also added deferred lighting shaders that output HDR.
Except for a few thousand other small details that I left out, the End Game Engine is running extremely fast, has a very promising future and is allowing us to quickly develop beautiful looking games that are fun to play. We currently cannot offer to sell or share the engine even though we would love to due to the fact that we do not have time to offer support for it. Hopefully in the future we will be able to share our engine with other developers.
If anyone has any questions or comments regarding the End Game Engine then please do not hesitate to leave a comment and I will answer as soon as I can.
~ Thanks, Kevin ~

New Update…

Filed Under (End of Days) by Ruben on 08-07-2012

Hello Everyone! It has been quite a long time since we last posted any new information or updates. This is for various reasons.
First I want to let everyone know where we stand on fixing the remaining bugs. We spent a whole year writing code for this game wrestling with limitations to just make the End of Days game possible. We then spent an additional 3 months fixing any hidden bugs and releasing new weapons and content. We have now spent a couple extra months trying to fix some of the remaining bugs and we believe that we know how to do that however it means we have to rewrite about 15 months of code without any guarentees that it will work. We are torn between doing a whole rework of the game and giving the majority what they have asked for…SURVIVOR MODE!! There are quite a few things that I am excited about on Survivor mode that I want to share but I have to keep silent on until we are closer to releasing it which I hope will be very soon. We have split our time between End of Days Survivor and trying to fix the remaining bugs along with another new project. This new project includes our previous Art Director Jon Conelea who worked on our most successful game, Nuclear Wasteland 2030!! We are happy to have him back and we will be releasing a teaser within a week about this new project.

How to get started in video games…

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Ruben on 04-29-2012

Many of you have sent us emails asking how to get started in making your own video game or joining our team. Although there are many different routes you can take, my personal recommendation would be to download the XNA tools from create.msdn.com and along with that you should purchase XNA 4.0 Game Development by Example: Beginners Guide – Visual Basic Edition. This book will take you step by step in creating simple games while explaining each new step. The book also relates the different parts of programming to easier to understand scenarios. I use this book almost daily as a reference now that I have read it through several times. When I need to explain something to someone I use the book as it explains it a lot better than I ever could. So along with the XNA tools and this book, you will want to also have a lot of patience. Hopefully with the Beginners Guide, within a year some of you will have a game out on the XBox Marketplace. Best of luck!
~ Sick Kreations Team ~

Price Reduction !!!!

Filed Under (End of Days) by Ruben on 04-10-2012

We are happy to announce that after a 90 day price freeze we are now able to take advantage of Microsoft new pricing tier. The game End of Days is now available for 80 Microsoft points!
The games sales were doing exceptionally well but we decided to reduce the price to entice more people so we may build an even larger community to try and fill more lobby rooms. We also want to thank everyone for all the feedback and we ask that you keep it coming. We are currently working on the next update to fix known bugs/glitches and the more things that we are made aware of, the more bugs we will be able to patch with this update.

We are excited about this update!

Filed Under (End of Days) by Ruben on 04-01-2012

The newest update has arrived to the marketplace. This update includes the addition of a throwing knife. This was one of the most popular weapons that people asked for. So now we would love to hear your feedback on the throwing knife and how we can improve on it. Hit us up on twitter, email or just leave a comment but don’t let your ideas and suggestions go unheard.
The update also included a new machine gun. This is my personal favorite so far and so it is my weapon of choice. It is the SUB. If you don’t have enough kills to unlock it yet then you need to get busy. With the addition of the new gun, we also adjusted the gun sounds for each weapon to make them more distinctive.
Now our favorite part of the update; the addition of artwork from fans and also the voice of a big fan of the game as part of kill streaks. We had a contest and asked that our community send us in some artwork and we would get it into the game. We did receive quite a bit of artwork and we added it into the game. There were three pieces of artwork that went into this update and we still have more we can add so if we are given the opportunity then we will add some more. The contest is over but if you feel like you have something that you definitely think should be in the game then send it to us and we will see what we can do.
Killing streaks are in the game! We decided that getting killing streaks recognized was a big thing so we incorporated knifing kill streaks and gun kill streaks into the game. We were able to get a member of the End Of Days community to record his voice for the kill streaks. That member is DJ KEEMSTAR. He did an awesome job and you can hear him whenever you start getting more than two kills in a row up to ten. Or simply drop a grenade on someone and you will get Keemstar yelling KABOOOM!!
The update is available now and we are already hard at work on the next update. Get us your ideas, suggestions, bugs, glitches, needs and wants now so we can work on them.
We appreciate all the youtube videos of the game and please “LIKE” the fanpage of End Of Days!

Have you noticed more people online…?

Filed Under (End of Days) by Ruben on 03-10-2012

After nearly 3 months of being out on the market, End Of Days has not been doing as well as we had hoped. We released the game with high hopes since there were no Indie first person shooters with online multi-player capabilities with the same quality of graphics as End Of Days. But after nearly three months you will still see lobby rooms usually with only a few people online and at other times you can jump into the game and there won’t be anyone online. Some Indie game websites won’t do reviews on the game due to the lack of people online when they try so therefore we don’t get the publicity that we had hoped for.
We had invested about a year of work into the game and although we hadn’t given up entirely, it was hard to justify continuing to invest more time into End Of Days as sales continued to drop further every day. Was it time to move onto the next project after the next update?
Well…a couple days ago we started to get more emails than usual with some game ideas and compliments on the game and we noticed there was also a huge spike in downloads about the same time that we started to get all the emails. There was a reason all this was happening…an End Of Days video had gone viral on Youtube.
The Youtube video was done by ONLYUSEmeBLADE and at this current time it has nearly 1.3 million views!! I truly have no idea who this guy is but according to the video, ONLYUSEmeBLADE is true to his name and only uses the knife in games.
So I would like to personally thank ONLYUSEmeBLADE on behalf of Sick Kreations for showing our game and bringing it back to life again and as a thank you gift, we have improved the knife action on End Of Days by adding blood and sound when you knife someone. Also, you can no longer pass through an enemy so if you bump into someone then the faster knife will win!
In this update you can expect to see the following: New unlockable sub-machine gun, new gun sounds, improved knifing, fixed scope on shotgun bug and hopefully one other suprise for everyone that is inspired by ONLYUSEmeBLADE which I won’t say.
If any of you get a chance at playing in an End Of Days game with ONLYUSEmeBLADE…watch out for his blade!!!