Visualization Overview

The Visualization Overview section is now available in my growing tuning series.  I struggled with being somewhere between a catalog of functionality (and going too deep), an API overview (and being too shallow), and a design justification (and getting too long-winded).

Ultimately, the idea of the system overviews is to provide enough information so that the tuning pages I’m going to create have some context on what I’m tuning without me having to do it in-line and detract from the actual tuning content.

Packaging Overview

I just added some background information on the packaging assembly as part of my documentation set for experiences and insights on tuning the Ikosa framework.

First Page

Finally finished off and published the first (non-bloggish) page of a “series” of pages I’ll be adding to (eventually) that I’d collected thoughts on about optimization stuff in the Ikosa Framework.

Ikosa Tuning Introduction

Annual Roundup 1

It’s been just slightly over a year since any substantive post.  Again, as the sole resource on Guildsmanship (Ikosa Framework), I get more from the coding than from promoting to the small set of people who are even slightly aware I have been coding the D20 system (v3.5) for the past decade (or so).


Last January: more furnishing things (mostly model generation)

February: even more furnishing things such as drawers and doors opening, UI workshop, in-game manipulation actions; ended with some drawing optimizations in the workshop and client

March: continuing on optimizations

April: even more optimizations (it’s easy to get addicted to performance numbers!)

May: got back into furnishing movement (push/pull/slide/rotate); also got into climbing, moving on furniture; and UI bound jump-down and hop-up actions

June: (slow month) but I added a new ModelCacheSelector; and here’s a quoted comment from a check-in: “Furnishing default implementations tend towards solid convex cuboids
overrides for hollow/cabinet/surface mainly change covered face exposures” (which I think was a refactoring to a base-class so I didn’t have to copy/implement certain geometry features)

I’ll add some more later today while I’m on a roll.

TFS Changeset Count

Lest I appear idle due to a lack of posts…

2016-01-27 (2)

And a small sample of the check-ins over the past few weeks:

2016-01-27 (3)

Splash of Color

Putting all the fragments together gives the basic shape of a meta-model, but doesn’t explain how to get to this:


The first thing to do is to define the set of brushes that can be used to paint the miniature.  This is done by opening the “brushes” node for the meta-model in the package explorer.


Resulting in the brushes editor:


From within it is possible to add colors, images, gradients and stacks.  Colors are pretty self-explanatory, they are solid colors.  Images are images available to the model either bound directly to the part, or referenced as a resource in the package.  Gradients are linear gradients based on WPF gradient brushes.  Stacks are sets of brushes that are overlain on top of each other (assuming that the upper brushes have some transparency.  Stacks allow multiple directionalities to gradients within a brush.

Next, opening a gradient brush shows the gradient editor:


The directionality of the gradient is selected via the array of buttons with arrows.  The gradient stops are modified in the list box and buttons on the right side.  The slider to the left of the gradient stop list box specifies the gradient stop relative location for the currently selected gradient in the list.  The striping effect of the gradient is controlled by the “spread” combo and the slider next to the combo (which determines how the pattern repeats when it ends and how often the pattern repeats).

Now, to the actual painting back in the meta-model editor.


The “brushes” tab lists all the named areas that can have brush references mapped, and the currently mapped reference.  Right-clicking one and selecting “assign” brings up a visual list of all the brushes that can be applied.5b-assign brush

These references are the “global” (for the meta-model) brush references.  It is possible to apply variations to individual fragment instances; and this applies to brushes as well as “parameters” such as lengths and radii, and to place more than one fragment in a reference connector.

For example, on the left arm, the first “arm.xaml” segment connected to the torso doesn’t have anything mapped for the “arm” brush, but the “arm.xaml” mapped in it’s “connector” has it’s “arm” brush overridden to be sleeve, which is effectively a reverse direction of the “shirt” brush so that the visual jump at the elbow isn’t so jarring.


Also, I mapped another segment “balljoint.xaml” to the left-arm slot on the torso to create the slightly bulging shoulders.


Finally, to reduce the relative thickness of the forearms, I select the forearm segment, switch to the “doubles” tab, unselect the “yield” checkbox for arm-diameter and freely adjust the diameter.

Since August…

Spell components (component pouch, devotional symbol and verbal).

Map redraw on invisibility state changes.

Creatures: bugbear, hobgoblin, orc, kobold, half-orc, gnoll, ogre, grimlock (light-sensitivity, weapon proficiencies, giant-type)

Classes: barbarian, rogue, ranger

Tacticals and class-features: evasion, improved evasion, rage, trap-sense, sneak-attack, uncanny-dodge, flanking, overrun, legal-position checks

Prerequisites now part of LocalViewer instead of a docked tool window, fixed some minor problems with responsiveness of controls,

Made single option, check and save prerequisites work with button arrays instead of combo-boxes.

Fixed poisonous natural weapon process flow and binding on spider’s bite attack.

I also spent some time working on trying to work out non-tactical settings and regional settings; but nothing that I can add into the core of the experience just yet.

One Shiny Ring to Rule them All

After playing around with tactical movement (which I’ll hopefully be getting back to shortly), I spent a few weeks playing around with magic item creation.  Rather than go through the litany of development, I’ll cut to the finale: the ring of invisibility; a somewhat classic trope of fantasy.

I’ve had basic support for invisibility built-in for quite some time as the creature awareness system needs to be able to determine what can and cannot be seen.  What I hadn’t completed (or worked on) until the past week weeks was the invisibility spell, nor magic items (nor apparently any in-game actions to put on or take off body-slotted items).

So here we are now:


The power to turn invisible comes from a command-word spell activation associated with the ring. Currently, this doesn’t express itself in the context menu of the ring in the equipment panel.

The command-word activation isn’t currently running through an environment interaction, I haven’t completely normalized how the sounds propagation works or which actions require verbalizing (apart from spells with verbal components).  One of the many things on my to-do list.

One of the oddities of the invisibility spell is that it requires a will-save:


Prerequisites to finish actions do not automatically pop-open the client UI at the moment. Also, since I’m testing with the time-tracker instead of the initiative-based turn-tracker; I can still move while this “dialog” is unmodally waiting for me to send the will save.

Well, if I saw myself before, I don’t see myself now…


I have to force a refresh by ending the turn. I’ll need to add a “general” refresh step to the client-server communication stream to signal client refresh for any actor with awareness so far.

Just to get an outside perspective, I’ll switch to another viewer, Spidey the spider…


I’ve had a multi-actor client UI for awhile. Certainly makes it easier to test.

Probably should add some portraits to these guys!

Probably should add some portraits to these guys!

Looking through spidey’s eyes and checking his awarenesses, the Wiz is definitely gone…


The Wiz should be right about in the middle of the display

Removing the ring will deactivate the invisibility effect…


Not exactly explicitly spelled out in the core-rules, but since a 3rd level casting would have a duration of 30 rounds (3 minutes), removing the ring causing deactivation seems a reasonable way to prevent one ring from enabling an entire party of four. Also, this ring only supports the “personal” spell mode, not creature/object touched mode.

I don't have multi-grip holding slots at the moment, in which you can juggle multiple things in one hand.

The ring has to go somewhere, so I add it to a holding slot. If there were no holding slots, it would fall to the ground or into a treasure trove (if there was already treasure in the cubic cell).

Well, I can obviously see myself again, now to check Spidey…

One little problem, magic torch should say torch

I can even select the Wiz in Spidey’s targeting queue.

I have that loosing awareness doesn’t clear the targeting queue in the UI.  That’s a minor problem since on the server you still won’t be able to target directly.  Mostly needs some client UI work since the targeting system is all client-side.

Taking the Plunge

One of the other things I’d been working on was swimming (haven’t really tested it yet), and in the course of working on it I revisited falling, which I had worked on years ago when coding flight movement.  In the Ikosa framework, falling is a type of movement, albeit a (largely) uncontrolled one.  What I was trying to bridge recently was the transition between falling and falling into water (and falling through water), and ultimately sinking (that is, if you aren’t swimming, but are in water).

So, here’s the narrative:

1) i had to alter my playground setting to add water and a big diving board platform; and move my test creatures (wizard, spider and animated object) up to it.  The following picture is from the POV of the “wizard” (using a largely unpainted greatsword wielder figure) standing at the edge, waiting to step off the platform

Deepest water I've made yet.  I had to make it in two layers to get different light levels.  Logically the water, walls and ground extend outward "forever", only my viewport is clipped

quite a drop, at least the water’s fairly deep

2) the character takes a step off the edge (into a region unsupported by gravity), and immediately gets to roll a reflex save to avoid falling.  If she succeeds, she gets to void the movement.

I could hit the roll button, but then i'm not guaranteed a fail

she’s going to fail anyway, i wanted to test falling

3) Like climbing, the falling is sent as status back the the user controlling the character.

They are actually queued per user and shipped once the processing engine goes idle, like when it has additional prerequisites for step to continue

Since there’s nothing stopping the sequence of steps, these seem to appear all at once (more or less)

4) There’s actually a couple of falling steps and pathways depending on whether the liquid falling continues past a single 5 foot cube, but in this case the water is deep enough that damage is requested and (potentially) applied on the entry into the second 5 foot cube.  At this point the system uses the fall distance accumulated from the original falling movement to determine how much damage to give.

The platform is 40 feet high

In this case: 2d3 non-lethal. Falling into at least 10 feet of water reduces fall distance by 20 feet, and converts the next 20 into non-lethal with reduced dice size.

5) This UI shows (but doesn’t pop) on the host UI at the moment.  I haven’t worked client-server mechanics for a game-master specific UI notification as of yet.  The GM needs to click “Edit” (very old UI I haven’t played with in years) to get an editor dialog as shown next.

I already took a big step toward a GM client in making a client that could handle multiple characters

a bit bare bones, but presumably the GM has been following the action so far and know why he’s clicking the button

6) After clicking OK, the damage prerequisite is met, the damage application step is processed and the client is notified, with the result’s showing on the log and the character sheet.

There's probably a post I could write about conditions and health points...

Just a (damp and brusing) flesh wound

7) Finally a visual from the character after plunging and sinking.  This image exposes a small deficiency in the visualization system…namely that under water screen masks (should be a bluish hue) are only applied directly against a surface boundary at the moment, and the character is actually only adjacent to a surface edge (the edge of the platform)

My previous underwater tests were based on very narrow and shallow water in which every cell was next to a boundary surface

those shadings on the side of the wall are light levels diminishing with depth

Climbing Mount Probable

So, I did manage to get climbing basically working a little while back.  Here’s a quick run-down:

1) walk the spider to a wall


Spidey rocks. He fills the same role in testing climbing that my pet gargoyle fills in flying.

2) switch from Overland to Climb then begin a movement straight up (Shift+S)

3) Immediately make a climb check


This pops on the client of the user controlling the creature.

4) even though I’ll only have to make that at least once every move action (or if the difficulty changes past my previous check’s value) I’ll get bored quickly rolling that quickly, so I change the Climb skill to a take 10 for 10 rounds


Turning on take 10 sort of throws off the UI at the moment.

I also switch accelerated movement on, with a climb of 11 and a difficulty of 15 for the surface I can afford it

Also, check out the information passed back to the client in the log on the change of status.


Finally when I get high enough I look down on the “wizard” and animated crate below.


The walls and floor extend outward to int32.maxValue units (only my viewport is clipped). The humanoid figure down there is fairly close to 0,0,0.

Pretty good, but I don’t have bonuses for being wedged in a corner or with opposing surface yet.  Not sure there’s going to be much call for climbing in the “Alpha Quest” maps, but there should be a spider or two.