Specular lighting and Sounds!
Today I had plans to continue my run from the
Forest to the Lumber Mill with my load of felled
pine trees. Last night before leaving the office
I saved my game, then came back this morning and
loaded it, but had to save it again when the Auran
crew tasked me with other duties! Lucky I have
more than one save slot now! They finally listened!
In fact I'm not sure if there is even a limit
now? Must check that out.
Something new in TRS is steam; we all know that.
What I didn't know was the complexity of getting
steam physics, graphic animation and steam sounds
all working together! Auran have built a state-of-the-art
sound studio here in Brisbane that I was lucky
enough to see and I had a chance to speak to the
sound engineer who is charged with getting those
steam sounds happening. The steam sounds for TRS
are real-life recordings that have been specially
designed to match the animation on the locomotives.
For example, the pistons moving in and out of
the cylinders need to be accurately tied to the
graphics animation of the loco - no point hauling
that huge load out of the port, watching the pistons
and connecting rods moving, only to find that
the sound of steam being compressed then expanding
is not in time with the animation! I can tell
you that the steam loco sounds I have heard are
Time was also spent today with the programming
team requesting changes and tweaks whenever I
encountered an issue. Running some of our UTC
scenarios through TRS was also being done today.
In a brief lull during the day I was able to spend
time with WindWalker to discuss the "under-the-hood"
logic of the new Driver system: WOW! I know we
have been told about the concept of "Drivers"
but I hope to post on Monday a bit of detail about
how it works after having had a chance to play,
oops, test it today.
I also had a chance to chat with some of the
graphic artists and modellers here to find out
what they are up to (hey, I'm nosey!) and as I
don't understand graphics much, one of them had
to explain in detail what things like "specular"
lighting and bump mapping are... woohoo - now
I understand why TRS looks so much better! If
you look closely at the DD40 screenshot you will
see a shiny bit on the nose and the top of the
cabin - that's specular highlighting. The bump
mapping is where the panels appear to have ridges
and dents even though the surface is actually
flat! Another thing - my Trainz world looks a
lot brighter too. Wondering why, I checked with
one of the programmers who explained that the
lighting range has been increased to allow brighter
scenes. There is even a new in game gamma slider
to play with.
It's been a busy week here at Auran and I have
learnt so much! Before I finish for the night,
just a little teaser ... I walked past one of
the 3d modellers and saw this *famous* steam loco
and I started drooling immediately! Wow!! Haven't
been given that one to take out for a spin yet
but I can't wait.