We’re back online with a new site, environments, splash, menu, login, physically based audio and graphical improvements.
New web site
The original Code Hero site had reliability problems that required rebooting on a daily basis, so we have built a new site based on the reliable WordPress platform to provide a consistent web updates while we overhaul the servers and rebuild the full game-integrated web site.
The overhaul of the Libraraeon based on the new architectural style now has nine windows corresponding to the nine sections inside. The windows will get decorated with their symbols as well next.
New splash, menu & login
The beginning of the game experience has been redesigned to support VR and look much cooler with a new animated load sequence, a curved menu UI and an animated login sequence that takes us through the TLS keyhole handshake itself.
Physically Based Audio
The more realistic the physically-based shaders look, the more audio cues sound amiss if they are not what our ears expect from the visuals we experience.
The first step towards making audio more realistic is to drive audio effects from physics events and to parameterize effects on contiunously filtered sounds so that they reflect the exact motions and collisions which should produce audible differences.
Impact & slide
Objects that collide, roll and slide make realistic contact sounds based on material, velocity and angle of impact.
Cloth that drapes and flaps in the wind and in response to player physics looks great until your brain wonders where the cloth motion sounds are to match. We calculate the motion of the cloth due to physics and filter audio to match it so every flap of cloth you see is accompanied by a proportionate rustle you hear.
Code Hero’s a game where you can bend the laws of physics, and the moment you move very fast or speed up and slow down time, it falls flat without the sound of air resistance rushing past your ears. With air audio simulation, winds make sounds proportionate to the angle your head faces and falling through the air as gravity accelerates you makes a rising whoosh that makes it feel fast.
Doors don’t just snap open and closed in a boolean animation state. They’re hinged and swing open with physics in response to your push, and if their hinges squeak they do so based on their motion rather than a single canned sound effect.
Great sound is all the better when it sounds like it is emitted from distinct positions in the world around us. Simple left-right panning was good enough to make headphones indicate sounds to our left or right, but it doesn’t provide cues for sounds before, behind, above or below us. In real life, the shape of our head interferes with sounds making them sound different from different angles in ways our brain interprets as directional origin.
The current state-of-the-art in spatial audio simulation involves filtering things behind, above and below us with low-pass filters so the brain can distinguish between a whole 360 degree soundstage. You don’t need special 7.1 surround headaphones to experience the difference, as the filtering works on any stereo headphones and to a lesser extent with well positioned stereo speakers.
Unity 5.4 improvements
Unity 5.4 has brought with it a lot of features that benefit Code Hero. The biggest is the new velocity buffers which enable temporal anti-aliasing. The TAA is still experimental but will be included as an option that is default off for those who want to try it till the visual artifacts have been worked out.