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README.md

Background

This sample's primary intent is to provide a number of WebGL concepts working in one place. This is not intended to be a market-ready application for end consumers. While it can be fun to run around the countryside, this is primarily a WebGL learning resource.

If you have any feedback or find any issues, please feel free to report them in the Issues section, or contact me directly via Twitter: @WaterlooErik

Key Features

Image As A Heightmap

Previously, PeaksAndValleys generated a static 150x150 vertex landscape with randomized heights. The result was a random map on each run, but in a fixed region.

The most current version processes an image to obtain height data, and corresponding normal and texture data. To minimize on-device processing requirements during startup, the preprocessor tool was created to convert a supplied image to the required data as a JSON string.

For more information on leveraging this tool, please refer to README.md in the tools/preprocessor folder.

Endless Terrain via Web Workers

This release of PeaksAndValleys continuosly renders an area of 60 vertices in all directions around the camera's current position. The end result does produce terrain 'popping' into view; something that will be addressed down the road.

To achieve this, Web Workers were used to process the existing data and create new vertex and normal arrays on the fly. Once ready, these arrays are passed back to the primary application thread and the corresponding buffers are updated with the new data.

When near the borders of the terrain / image, the Web Worker wraps around to retrieve information from the opposite end of the data to ensure the user can technically keep walking forever.

Future versions will focus around only loading those vertices that are within our field of view, allowing for more data to be processed in shorter amounts of time.

Colour Shaders

The default fragment shader for the terrain will use the height of each vertex being rendered and colour it accordingly with sand, grass, rock, and snow (lowest to highest.)

Ambient And Directional Lighting

Currently, there is a static sun in the sky producing light in the direction (0, -1, 1). The normal of each vertex is then used in conjunction with this lighting direction to generate shadows across the landscape.

Texture Shaders / Seamless Skybox

The skybox is simply a 2x2x2 box that continually moves with the camera. By rendering the skybox first with gl.disable(gl.DEPTH_TEST) then turning depth-testing back on with gl.enable(gl.DEPTH_TEST) and rendering the terrain, even though the skybox is directly infront of the camera, everything else still gets rendered "on top" of the skybox. The end result is that regardless of how far away the terrain is, the skybox is always rendered behind it.

The texture for the skybox was created using Terragen, and is a basic, seamless texture designed to look appropriate when textured onto a cube.

Multitouch Controls

In the initial version of PeaksAndValleys, Jerome Etienne's virtualjoystick.js was used as a basis for camera movement and rotation. Since then, I had created a ControlsOverlay.js for use with a Cocos2d-HTML5 sample and have adapted that into Freewill.js for this release of PeaksAndValleys. A sample implementation can be found here: https://github.com/oros/Freewill.js

These new controls allow for multiple Joysticks and Buttons to be placed onscreen with the goal of simplicity and are not specific to WebGL applications.

HTML5 Audio (TODO)

Once license appropriate samples are produced, this sample will be augmented to include background music and sound effects. Currently this must be done with HTML5 audio, however once Web Audio API is supported, it will be implemented in favour of elements.

Social Integration (TODO)

Currently, there is very minimal integration with BlackBerry Messenger in that the application will register with BBM when the action is chosen from the dropdown menu.

Future plans include: take a screenshot and set as BBM profile picture, chat integration, and invite to download.

In addition to BlackBerry Messenger, if the Scoreloop SDK becomes available for BlackBerry 10 WebWorks applications, that will also be looked at for integration into this sample.

Monetization (TODO)

The BlackBerry platform has a number of payment services to help developers monetize their application, however as of November 2nd, support has not yet been added for these to WebWorks for BlackBerry 10.

Multiplayer (TODO)

This is not currently implemented, but integration of Socket.io and a backend Node.js server are definitely on my mind.

Cut Scenes (TODO)

They are a very common component in many games and a sample implementation will be included in the future.

Tested With

  • BlackBerry 10 WebWorks SDK 1.0.2.9
  • BlackBerry Dev Alpha B, 10.0.9.388

Known Issues

  • Noticing pretty heavy performance issues when I include the following in styles.css for canvas.joystick and canvas.button.

      -webkit-transition: opacity 200ms cubic-bezier(0.075, 0.820, 0.165, 1.000);
    

    Continuing to investigate, but if anyone has thoughts, I'm happy to hear them. Still experiencing a slight stutter every few moments (memory release?)

  • After selection from the swipedown menu, you must use the right-most red button to re-invoke the swipedown menu.
  • BlackBerry Messenger registers, but no additional functionality is implemented yet.
  • Audio was taken out for licensing reasons, looking to have some problem-free tracks soon.

Thank You!

Immense thanks to the following people. They might not know how much they helped me, but I appreciate it none the less.

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