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OJ typing things

posted 1 month ago
Welcome to next edition of OJ typing things!

The next edition but unfortunately the last, from an official standpoint anyway. I am stepping into a less formal role here at FrozenSand, still a vital role may now call me OJ the Urban Terror mascot.

Not to be confused with those furry things on the sidelines at football games but something a lot sleeker...sexier. Picture it. Yeah, baby!

In all seriousness tho I can't keep up with what this job demands and give it 100% of what it deserves as well as keep up my increasingly busy personal life.

So I am going to step down and allow them to find someone that can do the job to the fullest. FS is going to need a team of former 'me's, and for those of you reading this think you're up to the task, APPLY.

If you're wondering what precisely I'm talking about, look up the duties of a Public Relations Manager. Then look up setting goals in a professional environment (GOAL -> OBJECTIVES -> STRATEGY -> TACTIC),
then look up the goals of game development companies and slot them into the goal slots. Then understand that there could be maybe 50 primary goals of a company, and under each goal could be 50 objectives, and so on and so forth. Add writing blogs and news posts and monitoring social media...and I'm just getting started.

Is your mind-boggling yet? Mine was back at the looking up duties of a Public Relations Manager.

So anyway I can't do this job justice, and if I tried it'd only end in disaster. After discussing it with the guys today that is one thing we all can definitely agree on (picture me with a little Hitler moustache cracking a whip over FS) just doesn't end well for anyone! :P

This post is just a formality, so you know why you haven't heard from me sitting in my chair for a while. Well, I'll still be here lurking somewhere, but just enjoying my time rather than running around like my face is on fire.

It has been a privilege writing for you guys and being part of this awesome team.

Keep harassing the guys for updates and blogs and pics because they will get focussed in on their work and forget to update us.

Feel free to drop by for a chat anytime on the official Urban Terror Discord!


OJ sitting in a chair - Alpha update 1

posted Saturday, 15 February 2020

Hey everyone!

Welcome to the new edition of 'OJ sitting in a chair'! Apologies once again for the lack of a quality heading but the creative titles department hasn't shown their faces since the last time so I'm really just winging it at this point with the title creation...

Anyway, it's been a minute since I have written a blog, and I know I promised to be more regular with them, but between riding kangaroos whilst smoking cigars and fighting the losing battle of trying to retain my sanity there isn't much time left in the day so do forgive me.

In saying that, I thought it about time I put pen to paper (or in this case fingers to keys) and give you guys a little update on how we're going with the alpha. Everyone has been waiting patiently and not harassing us about release dates and what-not so I figure you've earned it. I apologise in advance though because it's going to get a little bit lengthy...

Let's start with the alpha survey. We had about 470 submissions, to begin with, and have whittled that number down to about 100 potential testers. Over the next few months we'll pick people from this selected group and gradually add them to our team of testers as we need them. Everyone who participated will receive an email telling them if they're on the shortlist or not. Just to be clear, being in this selection doesn't mean you'll get to play the game right now, but there's a good chance we'll eventually invite almost everybody on the list to the private alpha.

I thought it'd be polite for us to contact the people that don't go through to be an alpha tester as well - this way nobody is left wondering. So now I have the important job of emailing this good looking group of (500) people sometime in the very near future.

When you hear from us and have any questions, comments, or to comment on my general good looks, we'd love to hear from you. On the bright side for those that didn't make it through, at least you got a super cool email from your favourite game devs. Because we are...right? Right. ;)

What we were looking for is people with a certain set of PC specs/os's, ideally with QA experience - or are known to be helpful in a testing/QA environment, have the time to spare, and have team compatibility. Now I know all our active players are probably thinking they would be a great tester because they have played the game for so long and know it back to front. I would have agreed with you once upon a time, but not so much now.

After seeing how they test I now realize we don't need the best or most active players to achieve what we need; we need very technical and methodical people with as much experience in QA as possible because it's far from just jumping in for a quick game and noting any bugs you come across.

I know being an alpha tester is a bit special and everyone wants to see the game but I think for most people it'd be quite tedious and not that much fun. So for the majority of you that haven't been chosen - don't sweat it cause you're not missing out on much. When the majority of major bugs have been fixed and the game is running smoothly, THAT'S when you want to get in on the action - like beta testing for instance.

Also just so you know, thanks to everyone's hard work we are now up to our 4th major update since the addition of the alpha testers! Give yourselves a pat on the back guys.

Next up, let's talk Battle of the Artists competition. We have received a bunch of artwork from you guys and we love them all! JohnnyEnglish has been busy placing them all around the maps and they are looking simply fantastic. Please keep them coming! We were going to wait until the game is released and our artists can find out for themselves if and where their artwork is, and we still will, but to give you a little motivation and to show it's happening we recently released a picture of JE doing some interior decorating in a certain map you all know. Look below for those that missed it.

Remember, to submit any artwork you can post it on Facebook (either to the Urban Terror page or your own - but be sure to set it to public), Twitter, our Discord, our forum, or email it to me ( Wherever you post it remember to please use the hashtag #battleoftheurtartists so we can find them.

Last on the list is our donation drive. It's been a few months since we have put the call out so what better time than now for those that can dig deep and help support the project. Every little bit helps and with donations of 20€ or more you get official donor status on our website and discord. To donate click here!

As a little surprise, I have managed to steal some quotes directly from our testers and out of the grasp of the non-disclosure agreement (I'm so fired), so I can bring you the very first impressions of Urban Terror 5.


First impressions of Urban Terror 5

"The first things I noticed are the similarities in movements between 4.x and 5.x. The controls are highly intuitive to the Q3 era."

"As far as the way it feels, it's very similar to my familiar and loved urt. It's close enough that I feel like I can get used to it as a game. I'm a person who does NOT like change, and I think I can deal with it. Very similar."

"I wasn't too put off by the movement going from 4.x to 5.x, it was quick to pick up and at times even had more ease performing some jumps in resurgence than 4. All this despite having 1/4 the framerate I can have in 4.x."

"The first impression is amazing. It just feels like, ye, that's it.. that's UrT 4, but 5."
Regarding movement

"The movement and jumping mechanics seem to be quite the same as in urt4"

"Is pretty smooth, but still feels different. I think this mostly comes down to the performance difference of a flat 126 fps in 4.3 vs whatever tick rate 5 runs at."

"The movements are very similar to version 4.x. My feelings are good in that way."

"The controls are highly intuitive to the Q3 era, but I definitely feel as though there is a lack of stamina or speed, I feel heavier."
Regarding player models and animation

"I think dead bodies reacting to physics (when shooting them, walking into them) isn't needed."

"Overall good job, although I don't think I'm a fair judge given my shit sub-par framerate."

"The animations are fine. I'm aware that they're not finished. So far the only animation I've seen that fails is when the player bounces off a wall and feels like he's doing a forward turn. I've used all 8 models and I like them."
Regarding gameplay and performance

"In 4.x, there is some kind of adjustments being made to compensate for ping.
As the shots are what-you-see is what-you-hit, but with a delay of ping before the damage is scored it has a different feeling."

"It has some noticeable performance issues. Other players models tremble a bit when moving and a 5v5 game is actually laggy, with players teleporting sometimes."

"UrT 4.x runs smoothly for me. UrT 5 when I'm 1v1 or alone it does as well. But combining 3v3 up to 5v5 + my slow IO + server ping / WIP issues ... I lag a lot"
Regarding the maps and appearance

"It's absolutely beautiful. Physically, the textures, the graphics, even with everything turned way down low, it's really lovely to look at."

"Good job at replicating the layout/scale/feel of 4.x maps in the new engine. I feel like the increased fidelity achievable for assets (textures/foliage) makes them compete more with the character models for players' attention. This was less prevalent in popular 4.x maps."

"Still lots of errors in the maps themselves, broken doors, things we should be able to climb that we can't, and things we should not be able to climb that we can. Missing foot sounds...all of that fluff."
comments: Feel free to discuss this on our forums

Private Alpha explained

posted Tuesday, 31 December 2019
Hallo everyone!

I know you haven't heard from me in a little while, and I'm terribly sorry about that, but i've had my hands full supervising these guys recently... making sure everything is done right you know... I turned my back on them for a second the other day and before I knew it they'd turned FrozenSand HQ into an inpenetrable fortress and were hurling water balloons via catapult from the roof at our unsuspecting neighbours...

Undoubtedly there are some of you out there that know bucket loads about developement, and all the power to you, but also some that know very little about development - so I'm going to start from the top and try to cover all the main bits as briefly and simply as I can. There is a link down the bottom that takes you to our forums if you want to chat about anything I have or haven't covered here.

The typical software release life cycle consists of several stages that describe the current state of the software at that time. They are pre-alpha, alpha, beta, and release. Variations of this general layout are possible, ie two betas.

The pre-alpha stage is where the core of the game is being developed. This involves lots of planning and design decisions, and the most basic features are added to the game. Testing during this stage is performed by the development team itself and other automated tests. After this is all done we move onto the next phase - the alpha.

During the alpha stage a game might be playable and contain many of the planned features, but there will almost certainly be plenty of incomplete features and bugs - some potentially even game-breaking. This is where a separate team of testers gets included to find problems and bugs as well as provide feedback for the developers. Generally, alpha software is not released to the public and is completed in-house, and would usuallly end with what is called a 'feature freeze'. This means that no more features will be added to the software after that point and is said to be 'feature complete'.

The next phase is the beta and usually begins when the software is feature complete, but might still contain some bugs. This is the point when it's potentially released for the first time and is available outside of the organization that developed it. A big part of this phase is focused on compatibility and performance on different systems, and is where you may see game development companies offering beta invites in some circumstances.

After all these stages are said and done the software can finally be released with (hopefully) no bugs and to the satisfaction of the users. This doesn't mean there won't be any future updates and it's forgotten about though, especially in this day and age and the existance of game platforms like Steam - it just means the software is stable enough to be enjoyed by the general public. Further updates can improve the existing features, add new content or even completely new features. All these updates still get tested by the developers and QA team before going live of course.

Now we know about the stages of developement I guess you could say we are kind of in the middle of the alpha and beta - utilizing some things that would be expected slightly later in development, such as the private alpha test groups - because we just don't have the people or resources to be able to work on development and bug fixing and proper quality assurance at the same time in-house. This is good though, because it will both help to speed things up, and also allows the community to have more input into the development process.

Hopefully this has gotten everyone on the same page and understand a bit more about where we are at.

We have selected our first group of testers to try out the game, and over the next few months we'll be adding more groups incrementally. QA needs to follow a strict procedure and the testers need to know exactly what they are doing - which takes setting up and training. So rather than having a thousand people pour in and just make a huge mess and send poor Slis crazy we'll instead add smaller groups incrementally, making sure they are trained and know what they are doing before moving onto the next group. We'll try to get a healthy number of people with different skill sets, gaming background, hardware setup and URT experience.

It's all very exciting isn't it! What are you waiting for? You can find the survey on the bottom of our news post, or click here.
comments: Feel free to discuss this on our forums

OJ typing things!

posted Friday, 20 September 2019
Welcome to the new edition of 'News with OJ'!

Wait a second...I've just had word...we have a new title!

Welcome to 'OJ typing things!'

Really? That's what we're going with?

Those responsible for sacking those other people have just been sacked.

We will try again next week. Hard to find good help in the 'Creative Titles' department. No wonder they are down there in the basement.

Yes I know I know, I did promise a post a week but there has been some complications... I have just lost both my arms fighting tigers in Bengal and am now writing this from my hospital bed using my toes and a primitive version of Stephen Hawkings voice program. See the dedication I have for Urban Terror. Without a doubt definitely the hardest worker in FS...

Anyway, over the last few weeks lots of work has been done on UrT5 but today I'm going to talk about the design and then implementation process. Because after all that's why you are here, other than to read about my adventures in Bengal, right? RIGHT? Right.

So where was I...ah yes - the design and then the implementation process relating to animation. One of the things we have been talking about is the ledge grabbing and how we could make it better suited to us. Like, sure we know it's as easy as grabbing a ledge and lifting yourself up yeah. But what actually happens? Are we using both hands? Which leg goes up first? Do we have a gun in our hand still? If we put it away at what point do we bring it out again? Can we be firing from the ladder? They go into their technical garble talking about certain things triggering others whilst some sort of other checks are in play... that's when I start drifting off into my own world.

Lots of questions for such a small thing and to be honest I just don't get most of it and I'm not a stupid guy. So I won't go into much detail as I'll probably just make myself look silly.

I don't know if you know who HappyDay is but he is one of our coders and our lead developer. Used to be an artist and level designer but decided to go the coding route... you know, one of those guys that is pretty much great at everything he does. And Walker, well you know him - I've shown you some of his artwork before. An accomplished artist in his own right, go check him out on instagram -

Anyway, I don't even know how it got started but all of a sudden I've seen Walker post this picture (below) of this girl ledge grabbing. And so it began...

Nek minnut...HappyDay writes up the first draft of what will be the code for the ledge grabbing. Like so:

1. Falling
2. Catching yourself with one arm
3. Start pulling yourself up; simultaneously bringing the other arm up
4. Getting one toe in the gap
- at this point we could do a check if there is a wall in front
- if there is, the knee rotates outwards
- if not, the knee can stay in a more natural, forward facing direction
5. Pushing yourself up with that leg
6. Standing position, right at the edge

This list is basically asking for 3 different animations. Falling, catching a ledge, and pulling yourself up. As I couldn't word it better I am going to directly quote one of our level designers and all round cool guy - Krasus.

"From this list, the animators then animate the animations for each specific pose. Usually you have a looping animation for situations where the player can stay in that state, like crouching, and then a transition animation for coming out of that state, like standing up. All the animations are done individually, so you have a falling, ledge hanging and pull up animation all by themselves.

Once they are animated, they are taken into the game engine where the individual animations can be blended together based on the coded conditions that trigger them.

To give you an example, when the player falls the falling animation will play, then when the player catches a ledge, the falling animation will blend into a ledge catching animation. If the player stays there, a ledge hanging animation would play. If they climb up, it would blend into a climbing animation, and if they fell down, it would blend into a falling animation."

Thanks K! He knows things that guy.

So this is going to be a two part Episode? Either way, when the animations are done and we have the final product or close to, I will do another post then going into the animation process a bit more and then comparing the design to the implementation in the final product.

If you guys want me to address a certain topic or have any other idea or feedback please email me ( or comment where comments can be found. While you're there join us on the official Discord to keep up on all the latest things.

Have I written enough to test your attention spans? I could continue but I will leave it here. If you keep your eyes peeled you might see some lovely pictures floating around of certain maps and their progress.

Until next time, I bid you adieu.

- OJ
comments: Feel free to discuss this on our forums


posted Wednesday, 14 August 2019
Hallo for another week!

As promised I am coming to you from the FrozenSand studios for another installment of 'News from Ohjay'!

Wait a second... did we really just call it that?

Apologies... the people responsible for coming up with that name have been sacked. We'll try for a new one next week. :S

Did everyone get the news this week? UrT5 private alpha will be out this year! HOLY MOLY. I was playing it the other day and it is coming along nicely. Real nicely.

I am also happy to announce the return of Bar-B-Q. He is back to reprise his role as the male voice of Urban Terror! He is the voice you hear when you call for a medic, flag exits, and lets you know "you're an idiot!".

When you see him let him know how happy you are that he's not as 'DEAD AS FRIED CHICKEN BABY'!

If you don't understand the reference get into the radio calls for a night and have a laugh. We used to have configs that would transform our keyboards into a bunch of shortcuts for radio call frenzies! Get amongst it!

As for game news - we have been fixing a lot of animations this past few weeks. Did you ever think about how the model moves when you input commands? Our Project Coordinator INVIS said it very well when talking about matching the movement of the character to how the animation works, "imagine the player is a capsule, we just move it around as we need to, and try to make the puppet in the capsule match the movement".

There really is so much that goes on behind the scenes that you would never even think about, so I'm going to highlight much of this stuff for no other reason than it's interesting as heck.

Anyway this is just about enough writing again. I am leaving you with an image from one of our resident artists - Walker. This is his impression of what Turnpike could look like. Obviously it's not a copy straight out of the map, but more what the scenery and background could look like. What do you think?

Drop me an email as always, or come have a chat with us on Discord!



posted Saturday, 03 August 2019
Hi guys!

I am writing to you from the FrozenSand studios down under in Australia, as the newest member of the team. Thanks for having me guys!

So while we wait for the guys to finish up the game...wait, I wonder if I'm allowed to say that...

Let's start again...

The team is nearly finished the game so while they do that I will be....Ahem...(nervous cough)

Anyway look, let's not focus on who said what ok...

I'll make you a deal. If you don't tell the big bosses that I let slip they are NEARLY FINISHED the private alpha then I'll start writing regular updates on our website and give you all the goss and nitty-grittys on everything Urban Terror. Once a week to start I think. We'll focus on members of our team and what they are up to, address commonly asked questions from you guys, or maybe just a topic of my choosing - you never know what surprises are just around the corner!

Please don't hesitate to contact me with any comments, questions or...ahem..complaints. I really don't want to hear the complaints but ok sure...let's address them too. I will add my email down the bottom, or feel free to comment where comments can be found.

I could rant however I know these are the days of short lunch breaks and limited attention spans so I'll keep it quick. You'll be hearing from me more often as we progress into the latter part of the year and head towards some exciting things.

Check out the pic below. Can you guess the map? Guess correctly and I might show you the new version if you're lucky!

Watch this space!

- Ohjay


The Resurgence of Turnpike

posted Saturday, 06 July 2019
I joined Frozen Sand quite recently, and I have been dedicating a lot of time to level design. Working with the other team members has been great and making progress on our levels has been really rewarding. I have been involved in working on several maps so far, the most recent of which is Turnpike. The whole process of porting a map involves working from a base export of the original map, and then methodically taking that apart, and making each asset piece by piece until we have enough to move each model into UE4. The original process I worked on with JohnnyEnglish started with porting Tohunga, and since then we have iterated and improved on our process.

Turnpike is one of the most played maps in Urban Terror, and as such, recreating and revamping the map for Resurgence is an important task. The team has been hard at work with Turnpike as we don’t just want a straight port from 4.x. We want to improve upon the map and increase the level of detail to meet modern standards. With the increased capabilities at hand using UE4 over the idTech3 engine, we can really go all in and add as much detail as needed. While JohnnyEnglish has taken to work on the Red Spawn area, I have spent my time working on the Blue Spawn area of Turnpike.

This is quite a large task as it not only involves the playable area, but also the non-playable areas. Some of the assets I have been working on include inner city houses and various buildings, trains, billboards and other assets needed to bring Turnpike into the modern era.

In my view, part of improving each map is giving them a unique character and making them feel individual. By spending time modelling individual and unique buildings for use only in Turnpike, this gives the map a special feeling. This also ensures that maps don’t look like they have been using the same prefab buildings over and over. Being able to keep the original feeling of the map while improving upon already existing parts, and adding new parts, is something that I believe to be important. Giving maps unique characteristics and areas gives players landmarks and easily identifiable parts of the map to help them navigate and make the maps stand out.

My process of making these buildings has been improving, however the general core principles are rooted in referencing both the original map and referencing real life buildings with similar attributes and inspiration to the original. This may not mean remaking every single building exactly as they were in the original map. Some buildings may instead be improved and made with real life inspiration. The main idea is to keep the character of Turnpike, maintain its originality and improve upon the design where needed.

I plan to keep working on improvements for my work on Turnpike and getting it closer to completion. Everything so far is a work in progress, so some parts may change, but maintaining a high level of detail will always be a priority. The first pass on making Turnpike's Blue Spawn was to replace the original exported mesh with new models. Now that strong progress has been made, the next stage for these models is to unwrap, texture and make some materials to really bring them to life.


Supporting the team where needed

posted Saturday, 04 May 2019
Since coming back onto the team in December of last year I have been doing my best to help the team and the project get to completion in any way I can. Along with project coordination, I have been creating content for team members. Mostly just random props here and there. This keeps me fairly busy, but if I do find spare time I work on rebuilding ut_crenshaw.

I hear a lot from community members idling in the official Discord that we don't post enough updates and content. This isn't because we are not doing much that can be shared, quite the opposite in fact. We have added a great deal of new team members as of late whom are working on things that we have not shared for a multitude of reasons. One is that code doesn't make for sexy screenshots, but rest assured that programmers are working hard getting core features working at a very fair clip. The private alpha we have eluded to is in sight, however we can't share details on that just yet. But, there is a great deal of content and information that we can, and should share. Things we know are core to the game and won't be letting the "cat out the bag" so to speak.

I can share that we have decided on converting some core maps from previous beta's, and that they will be available for alpha testing. We have shared shots of a few of them, most recently Algiers, Mykonos, and Tohunga. Currently we have just a handful of maps converted since we are basically building these maps from scratch, utilizing only the raw collision data from previous iterations so that the core "feel" of the level's gameplay won't change. For the level designers out there, what this means is that we are not recycling any assets from previous versions. Everything has to be rebuilt from scratch with greater detail. Let me share some examples with you.

Currently JohnnyEnglish, V3nd3tta, Krasus, and a few others are working on Turnpike. If you have played Turnpike enough, you recognize this van.

This van was originally modeled in 2002 by a 3D artist named beardmonkey, and I converted it for use in Turnpike for WU. This asset is 17 years old, and way overdue for an Unreal 4 facelift. Like all assets for the new Turnpike, it had to be remade from scratch with a greater level of detail.

Here is the current version of the van that I am modeling for the team of level designers reworking Turnpike.
I am close to 95% done with the exterior, and I am working on the interior, engine compartment, and undercarriage.

The old van had one 512x512 px texture, which was pretty standard for a model when this map was originally made. When Turnpike was released originally there were only a handful of level designers that knew how to work in a 3D editing package. Also, there were very few professional quality free 3D modeling tools out there to create and export these types of models. Things have changed a lot since then. Now we have free, professional quality 3D tools like Blender that give us the freedom to create professional looking content.

The new van will have a multitude of PBR materials made from a great many assets including standard diffuse, normal, spec, ambient occlusion and heightmaps. I think the Urban Terror level design community that has not yet made the switch to Unreal from Radiant will be a tad overwhelmed at first, but once comfortable, they will be impressed.

This asset for Turnpike isn't the only thing I would like to share. Yes, I will be remodeling Crenshaw for all you fans of the hood. I started out taking one random object from Crenshaw, and basically taking it all the way through the asset creation process for me to get back in the swing of creating 3D assets again since I have been working in 2D for the last year or so with both personal apps and professional ones.

The asset I chose was one I really wasn't happy with back in 2003 when I released the Crenshaw. In fact, it wasn't even a model, it was made from patches in the editor. And that asset was the Telephone poles.

As you can see, its pretty ugly. Not uncommon though back in those days as almost all mappers made everything they needed custom in the editor with brushes or makeshift patches. It wasn't pretty, even for back then.

I did a lot of research on telephone poles before i started, and I learned a lot. One is they prefer to call them utility poles, and the other is the amount of information online on how to make these poles and what goes on them is staggering. So I had a lot of reference images and blueprints on how to make one of these things correctly.

Here are a few wips (works in progress) from the process of creating this test asset.

As you can see I did a lot of detail work to make this asset as close to what a utility pole in Crenshaw would look like in the early to mid 1990s. And here is what I came up with.

Suffice to say, I have been a little busy. And this may seem like overkill for a utility pole, but this is the level of quality and detail I want to put into the entire level. When you step back in Crenshaw, I want you to feel like you're back in the hood.

Well that's pretty much all I have for now. Since we have yet to fill the Public Relations roll on our team, I have decided to start doing a monthly post here on the developers blog, and I will start encouraging other team members to do the same with relevant and interesting updates on their progress. This way you will get more of a steady stream of information and content. We will also be posting more content to our social media portals since we know a lot of you guys don't check the homepage, or idle in Discord.


I'm Looking at You - Crosshairs and Weapon Spread

posted Wednesday, 27 June 2018
There are plenty of features I'm working on for the new Urban Terror, but not many are that interesting or visual. That, combined with the fact that writing blog posts takes quite a bit of time, is the reason why you see me so rarely post updates of the progress I'm doing on the game. Recently, I've implemented the crosshairs for Resurgence and that is something worth writing about.

So, let's consider the situation in the game when shooting a bullet. The player has a marker in the middle of the screen - the crosshair, which he/she can point in any direction to help direct the bullets from the gun into the target (preferably the enemy's head). Since we want the game to require a bit more skill than to simply click when your crosshair is on a target, there is a feature called spread.

The faster you move and the more shots you fire in quick succession, the larger the spread value. Instead of drawing a line from the player to where the center of the screen is, we calculate a cone and pick a random line inside that cone as the bullet's trajectory. The spread value is used as the angle of the cone. This is what a cone with 20° angle looks like.

The idea is to control your movement and shooting patterns to control the randomness of your shots. Simply holding down your mouse button to fire as quickly as possible (called spray and praying) will increase the spread and the bullets will likely miss when the target is far away. Instead, you want to fire 2-3 bullets and wait a short time for the spread to decrease again before firing another couple of bullets. Crouching will decrease the spread making your shots more accurate, but at the same time making you a more or less stationary target.

Interestingly enough, a cone from the player's view will end up being a circle with constant radius on the screen, no matter how long the cone is. That is because the view of the player is a frustum (a chopped off pyramid), starting at the same point. The radius of the circle on the screen is determined by the angle of the cone, the screen resolution and the field of view. With a bit of trigonometry involved to calculate the size of the crosshair on the screen, it is possible to have the crosshair exactly match the circle described by the spread cone. That means the crosshair can accurately show the player exactly in which area the shots are going to hit. This also ensures you can reliably compare the spread of the weapons by observing the crosshair.

Many games use a single image file as crosshair, which gets scaled up or down. The problem with that approach is that the resolution of the texture determines how big you can scale it before it starts to look pixelated. Also, features like the width of a circle get wider with scale. More advanced crosshairs could use 5 images, one for the center and 4 for the sides, which get moved away from the center as the spread increases. That lessens the problems a bit, but you're limited in the shapes you can use. We chose a different approach. All our crosshairs are 100% procedurally generated, without any image files.

I'll explain a bit how that works in Unreal Engine 4. The basic idea is to do math on the UV coordinates of the material to create geometric shapes. The U coordinates are a simple linear gradient from 0 to 1 in horizontal direction. The same is true for the V coordinates in vertical direction.

Multiplying will scale the gradient, adding and subtracting will move the gradient. With other functions like clamping or taking the absolute, you can easily create a simple line.

With more advanced math like using polar coordinates, it's possible to create all kinds of circular shapes. Combining a bunch of shapes can result in really interesting crosshairs. I've made extensive use of a library of complex functions I created about a year ago, which I'm also selling on the UE4 marketplace (shameless self-promotion detected). Check it out if you're interested in this sort of thing. The most awesome thing about this math-based approach is that all the values for scale, width, radius, length, color, opacity, number of lines, etc. can be adjusted in real time.

Here's a preview of the 20 crosshairs I've created so far and how they scale with the spread value between 0 and 1.

And here's a quick preview in-game.

We haven't built a menu yet to select a crosshair or to adjust all the values. That's something I will do at some later point in time. Also note, there's a second feature called recoil, which moves your view a bit upwards when shooting, which I haven't mentioned here because it's unrelated to the crosshairs.

Each weapon has 4 values related to spread, which we can adjust. The formula used to calculate the spread is different from Urban Terror 4, so we can't (and don't really want to) copy the values from the old game. We are going to change these parameters a lot during development, especially once we enter more extensive private and public testing.

That's it. I hope you enjoyed reading this and maybe learned a thing or two in the process. I enjoyed working on this feature a lot and I'm really excited to have this in the game.

And as always,
Have a happy day! :)
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Zbrush and Beyond!

posted Thursday, 19 April 2018

Starting Over

Anyone following FrankieV's videos will have noticed quite a change in the player model Sarah since my last blog. We had to start over with a new base rig so it has been quite a while since I blogged about my progress. I have eight player model outfits completed and am now working on the human morphs and their materials. I bought Zbrush in 2015 to create the meshes and materials for the clothing and gear. I also use Zbrush to do the morphs of the human model, which is a licensed Daz3d base model, and to paint their materials.

Zbrush is amazing and awesome, and I'm so glad I had an excuse to buy it to use for UrT Resurgence. I could rant for a while here but I'll get to a preview of the new player models instead.

The hair and human models are place holders in the following images unless otherwise stated. This is a reference scene that FrankieV and I use to visualize our work.

This is 3 of the 4 members of UTRT with my Anastazie head WIP on Amanda's clothing and gear on the left. Fred and Anastazie are in the center and right respectively. Anastazie's boots are by FrankieV.

Here is Tom showing off his sweater.

Here you can see from left to right Red Dragons' Pierre with and without his kevlar vest, Sarah and Charles.

This is Yasmine with my head WIP. I was testing her face material's roughness.

Zippers are fun to make in Zbrush.

Even the medkit has them.

A little of the back detail on the Kevlar vest for Red Dragon males.

This kind of detail is sculpted into the high resolution mesh in Zbrush which is then baked into the normal map. It's just the push of a button in Zbrush because the low res mesh is in the same tool as the high res mesh so no exporting high and low res meshes nor fiddling with a cage in another program.

I'm currently working on the materials in Zbrush for Yasmine. I've done her head morph and now I am adding skin details like pores and wrinkles that will be baked into her normal map. I will paint her diffuse texture when this detail is finished.

I've finished Anastazie but her finished head isn't in the scene. RabidCow is working on Tom and will be doing Sarah and Pierre. Then we just have Amanda, Charles and Fred's bodies to do before we can move onto the clothes and humans for Jade (from Beijing) , Takeshi (from Tokyo), Soo Min (from Seoul) and the, as of yet, unnamed skate boarder (from London).
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