SP Native [WB] Blood and Steel 2.0

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Basically?  Everything.  I'd like ocean travel between some locations, so that it feels more like a world, for starters.

Technically?  I want a strategic map that doesn't look like an ancient engine running in 32-bits for no particular reason, lol.  I think I found a solution, too.
Yup, that's the plan.

First stage of the map redesign is Done.  Here is the rough-sketch version of the map:


I've figured out the techniques I'll have to use to make a good map for the engine, using some new techniques I've developed that should allow me to develop a new map very quickly and efficiently.  Now it's largely down to doing a bunch of detail work on the map and working on the transition between sea travel and land travel. 

What I think I'm going to do is that I'm going to get rid of the Desert terrain type and use that for some shader magic, so that it looks like an ocean, so that travel into / out of the sea is relatively intuitive and works nicely for the engine's pathfinder.  I took a look at the workarounds people have used to preserve the Mount and Blade "oceans" and I just feel like they're just not quite cutting it, to be honest; if there was more direct control over how terrain worked and how many types of terrain there could be, that would be nice (looking at you, Bannerlord).

Then I need to do some fairly serious work on the land shaders, so that they utilize the big texture map in a seamless way and have detail normals and look really nice.  I've always found the Desert terrain pretty boring visually and I feel like it can be sacrificed, but we can keep it around for battle-scapes through some code-fu.

Oh, and quick note:  the basic Plan is that the big land-mass in the "south" is where the Four Kingdoms will be (essentially, Swadia, Rhodokia, Sarrania, Khanate).  It's a big continent; I think there's room for four mini-empires there, with a mountain range or two to restrict movement through them.

The big land-mass in the northwest is Nordska, home of the Nords.

The big land-mass in the northeast is Vaegia, home of the Vaegirs.

The islands will have some castles and villages; they're essentially no-mans-land, far from the Empires; a good place for a player to start a kingdom, perhaps.

As for the Death Knights... that's to be determined.  Basically, I want them to have a structural story behind them that's coherent; they weren't all that interesting last time and were pretty darn buggy, to boot.  Same with the Army of Light; I think I may kill the Crusader-like Christian imagery and go for a different feeling; the backstory for this mod's universe has always been in my head (essentially, it's a far-future Earth where civilization pretty much obliterated itself after Magic was developed scientifically and the player's starting in the ruins, long after everybody's forgotten what really happened) but developing it into something coherent in the code is another thing entirely, especially as my main focus is and will always be on the core gameplay.
I don't know sir, I really like your ideas and you really should implement it, for a fresh new mod experience in warband.
Really no offense but, the map looks, weird? :oops:
Hey, thanks for all of the support!

I'm working on something pretty big at the moment.  I've gotten SSAO largely working correctly on the Mount and Blade engine.  Still working on a few details.  Map is basically done, other than doing the overall painting process.  Steadily getting nearer to a first, very-Alpha release.


edit: Count me in for testing, I'm a tweak-guy from 'that' place and I'd love to get into the guts of this mod.
Comrade Temuzu said:
There's only one worthy tweak-guy that I know of from "there", you're not the guy who made the enhanced Gekokujo mod are you?

He is a being far more ancient and vastly more powerful than neokujo man
aekilju said:
Comrade Temuzu said:
There's only one worthy tweak-guy that I know of from "there", you're not the guy who made the enhanced Gekokujo mod are you?

He is a being far more ancient and vastly more powerful than neokujo man

ancient yes, powerful no- he's way more proficient & efficient than I am. I literally have no idea what I'm doing 80% of the time!
Well, I've been a bit busy, but I've gotten this part done.

What you're seeing here is:

SSAO (it's a subtle effect, but it adds depth and shadows; it's really apparent when you're in / around buildings).  It's not 100% perfect; due to a half-resolution depth-buffer and Taleworlds not supporting a writeable texture other than the glow-map, I can't use really elegant SSAO concepts, because I can't write normals to the screen, etc., so there are some artifacts.  Honestly, I don't think most people will notice them unless they're looking for them though.

Explicit glow support that is non-scary to implement on models.
Improved color-handling in the final rendering pass... and other stuff.

There are a huge bunch of optimizations, too.  I pretty much gutted the TW post-fx system and started over this time.  Pretty convinced I should do the same with the main shaders as well; huge amounts of stuff I can pretty much kill off now.


Glow support, subtle SSAO on the character's face, etc., etc.
Yes, the hair still sucks; thinking about dealing with that, too.  But it's kind of low-priority.


The darkness in the corners, below the tables, etc., is SSAO.  Makes castle exteriors look cool, too.

This is all running roughly 150% faster than the old Blood and Steel shaders, which ran somewhat faster than Native.  So long as your GPU is capable of running Pixel Shader 3.0 (i.e., any GPU from the last 7-8 years), you'll have good performance; I'm working hard to make sure the game's always CPU-bound, period.

Oh, and btw, if you're wondering why this took so long... honestly, most of it was RL.  But a big chunk of time was spent working around a major bug in the engine; TW can send me a PM if they wanna talk about it.  Basically, there are multiple context switches where the depth-buffer isn't getting reset properly and I had to develop some workarounds.  I suspect they're too busy with Bannerlord to fix this, though; unfortunately, this is non-trivial.
Well, about hair, there are OSP packs around and some hair mods from Oblivion or Skyrim, which the modders are cool guys and give permission, so there's that. New shaders and greater engine capabilities sound awesome, not to mention ground-breaking for a game like Warband.
I'll look into that.  Hair isn't exactly one of my favorite things to model, but I'm pretty sick of the bad female hair styles in particular.
Took a look at this issue.  Truth be told, very few hairs have been made that use the M&B system, and they're all hugely out-of-bounds, in terms of polycount.  They're typically 5000+ triangles apiece; typical Warband hairs are < 550 triangles. 

So I'm looking at an alternative method now, that might let me get hairs developed that don't use so many resources.
Well, well... it turns out, there's a way to get hairs into the game that doesn't tie me into the tyranny of hair_blonde...


This first attempt at hair isn't all that great, but it was really fast and it proved the concept.  I'm pretty sure I can model low-poly hair styles that look good at a reasonable pace if I don't have to worry about the lengthy nonsense involved with the Warband hair system.

And no, that's not a "hat".  It's 100% compliant with the rules for hair, etc., etc.
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