Sisko´s Saint Albans I extended for the tests inside the engine.
CryEngine® 2 & 3 modification „Drake´s Legacy“
After a few in-engine-tests for possible custom modification for „Crysis©“, on 8. March 2012, I decided to start a mod in the German community Crytek HQ “. When I decided to start the modification (actually a few days sooner) I had a story but no name. Based on „Crysis©“ beautiful island, a pirate’s story fits best for my favourite theme in the great age of sail. But we all know, that from Hollywood´s movies to games, most of the names are still in use or are copyrighted. The internet didn’t help me in this case but I remembered a few sea faring stories in one of my books and decided to read through the pages again for an idea. I finally got it when I read „Sir Francis Drake´s“-story. The person „Drake“ is described very interestingly and his history gives many options for a story. He had many facets and lived about 150 years before my modification was to be placed (enough time to hide a secret). After a short poll with my other modification members I decided to name it „Drake´s Legacy“. „Drake“ gives me pleasant leeway for a story and another positive side effect: The first impression would not reveal in one word what his „legacy“ is. The German patent office considered my request for the name and confirmed it as available in my working direction one week later. Based on this check I requested a new check in 2016 and the name was still unused as mark and so I founded my own business as mark „Drake´s Legacy, 3D-Visualization“. But back in time to the year 2012, my main idea was a hidden Spanish treasure, based on „Drake´s“ real history event about the plundering of a capsized treasure galleon at San Juan in 1595. Later down the road, I wanted to build up this story on a „classical“ survived old treasure map. The goal: An old South American temple on a small Caribbean island, deep in a jungle. Why have I written „classical“? Well, a „treasure map“ is every little boys’ (and some girls’) dream and till today one of the most used „highlights“ on a birthday-party. The main idea behind those stories and events is based on the legendary tale „Treasure Island©“, published in split parts in a magazine in the years 1881 to 1882, and was written by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson. When you consider the commercial success until today and all the real recovered treasures from the ocean’s bottom, you have much potential for a new and custom story, without the feeling of an endless repetition. Additionally, the curiosity, interest in research and the thirst for adventure are a natural part of the human. So I want to combine all these elements into a great game experience. In the year 2012 when I started the modification, the situation looked good to realize this. The community had many working members and the usable environment-content of the „CryEngine©“ contains many assets I needed. Plus most PCs were able to handle it (framecount). This means, most hardware in this time (2012) was strong enough to handle it (in contrary to Crysis© release date in the year 2007). Based on many other failed modifications for „Crysis©“ in this time, I decided to rise the project slowly. My emergency plan was to switch the modification into a techmap. On the other hand, time was needed because the theme needed much knowledge of old South American nations, creation of sailing vessels, colony-islands, navigation routes, gun construction (here I hit the construction-„secret“ of Albert Borgard), true buildings and much more… During the time of our work on this project in the „Crytek HQ“ community, I have met many great and friendly users and still hold contact to a lot of them until today. Two of them, „Oliver Demuth“ and „Sisko“, later switched to the „Pirates Ahoy!“- community (short „PA!“) as well and left their heart to the great age of sail. The work on my modification started and along with that I wrote many tutorials for asset-setups, as support for every helping hand. To shorten the time necessary to research engine features, the user „Sisko“ contributed his finished sailing vessel hull of the 4th rank ship „Saint Albans“, which he had already created for the game „Pirates Of The Burning Sea©“. I expanded the „Saint Albans“ with accessible interior, fold sails, some small parts, made a few re-UV´s, created the physical proxy meshes and finally split the whole ship into separate material-related submodels, for a usable engine setup. After just 4 months, the first techmap was nearly finished. So far the positive news. The negative ascertainment was, that we hit many engine-related limits inside Crysis© too. My main problem was, that Crytek© supported only 3D-Studio-Max© with an official exporter but we used the student version of Maya©. With this circumstance we were forced to work without a *.CGA export. This meant only static models and no animated ones. The user „SeithCG“ , who wrote the great unofficial exporter for Maya©, had unfortunately left the CryEngine© a few months earlier to Unity© and wouldn’t add any features to his old exporter (which I fully understand). The end of my „Drake´s Legacy“-modification / techmap for Crysis© followed slowly. A few demotivated members left the project and the rest fought hard for any possible bypass option in the new upcoming CryEngine© 3 Free SDK. But there… more demotivating ascertainments awaiting us. The CryEngine© 3 was programmed to work with consoles too. As a result, the calculation accuracy was lowered from „Floating Point Precision 32-bit“ to just 16-bit, which reduced the memory requirement by half. But for PC-gaming it was a step backwards. „Half-Float“ not only reduced the memory requirement, it significantly reduced the game-unit accuracy of vertex-placement in the 3D-world. In the meantime I started the reading, evaluation and first tests for possible 3D-workarounds for sailing vessels because my intention was to start my own vessel. Provided that we found out the most important solutions for the engine. My biggest hope was that Crytek© would switch the CryEngine© back to FP32 in the near future. But unfortunately it did not happen. At least 4 people worked hard, to get any noticeable progress but we reached so many blockers in the engine, that any more work didn't make any sense. We realized that our team was too small and the chances little. But we worked hard and tried all possible ways to move it forward! None of us can reproach and I thank all people involved for the very hard work and the strong will!!! In one of the previous months, the user „Stephan Fleischer“ had tried to turn my point of view, into the direction of „PA!“. He said that they wanted to create their own game. Additionally, they were modding the „Akella´s“-pirates games with much success to that day, he said. After my brother left my project, I got a big hole in the 3D- development chain and decided to read all the details about the upcoming development on „PA!“. I wouldn’t give up my dream of a mod or game like this! Last but not least, I imagined myself there and we started a cooperation. My first sense was to give and to get help because my primary goal was still a really good looking game. Because of my experience I was able to convince the staff of the CryEngine© Free SDK, although they had started their own research into the Unity© game engine before. Maybe now you are wondering why I suggested the CryEngine©, after my experience with its blockers. Well, the „Pirates Ahoy!“- community have members who can code and the CryEngine© Free SDK featured a small part of code access in its latest releases. So I had the hope that the blockers could be solved this way and explained the circumstances to the team. After the voting, we chose to try it because of all my experience in the CryEngine© and most of my models were ready for use. For the game „Hearts Of Oak“ this attempt was an attractive shortening of the actual progress, too and my biggest hope was to solve the requirements in the engine. The main work load now laid at the programmers’ side and so I used the time, not to create new models, but rather to write the documentation about its setup (see my download area). In another poll I suggested the creation of a parts database for the other modellers at „PA!´s“ FTP-server. The reason behind was the wish to get a uniform level of quality and faster progress. The team split up users, moderators and administrators for all upcoming working chains and the development became very professional. In short words I can say: From there on started the development of the new game „Hearts Of Oak“, by the „Pirates Ahoy!“- community, with the most working- and knowledge power in this area and I decided to officially close my work on my own CryEnginge© project „Drake´s Legacy“. You can read more about „Hearts Of Oak“ in my next period of work. For myself, a custom techmap in the CryEngine® always remains. The development of it is going forward and new possibilities come along. But besides all of my wishes and goals, the time is the most important part. Last but not least, you will find a few impressions of my work for my modification „Drake´s Legacy“. By the way: In 2012 I created my own youtube channel. As advertising and state of my work on the „Drake´s Legacy“ modification, I published the first video there. My brother published a few simple Maya tutorials for helping interested supporters too. You can watch it till today. As you can see in the video above, there was already much of content in the game and usable. Besides the rest of my book-tips you find a gallery below. It contains an overview over many of my models. All of these I have created in the active phase of „Drake´s Legacy“ modification, excluding user „Sisko´s“ overhauled and extended vessel „Saint Albans“. On the first picture please note the copyright of the used „East India Company“-logo by Disney©. I used it only privately for testing purposes for decals and signs.
My overhauled version of the Saint Albans in CryEngine(c) 3 Free SDK
Well, Books. I can´t repeat myself often enough. Books are my primary source of information. Below is the first book I used, when I started the research in the seafaring theme. It contains first time the whole history in seafaring. More than 270 partially historical illustrations and excellent researched articles about 5000 years of expedition, trading and navigation make this book a must have too. Hardcover: 374 pages Publisher: NG Buchverlag GmbH (different editions exist) Language: German! Buy this book at (Germany) Buy this book at (UK) Buy this book at (USA)
My next (very lucky) purchase is the very helpful elaboration about Port Royal (Jamaica) through the ages, by Cox Oliver. It contains many drawings of the islands pre- and after- earthquake coast shapes, buildings and more. Papperback: 79 pages Publisher: Self by Author (Cox Oliver, 1984) Language: English
Another very helpful source of information are paintings. The next book contains a huge collection of them, concerning the range from the Seven Years' War to the American Civil War and all involved major Atlantic sea powers of the time, including Britain, America, Holland, France, Sweden and Russia. Hardcover: 224 pages Publisher: Quercus Publishing (25. Oct. 2007) Language: English Buy this book at (Germany) Buy this book at (UK) Buy this book at (USA)
The first Crysis (R) techmap
„FP16“ = Half-Float (Floating Point Precision 16-bit), uses: 1 sign-bit, 5 exponent bits and 11 mantissa bits (10 stored). Out of the half precision (mantissa) bits, the engine was able to use log 10 = 2 11 digits, which means 3,311 decimal points for precision. Now, when you take the size of a typical sailing vessel and place it into the FP16-engine, you end up with a precision of (for example) 33,11 meters or 331,1 meters. You can clearly see that 1cm is your border when you are inside the decimal 10 to 99 meter range. The result is that small parts on a vessel (like the steering wheel or dead eyes etc.) become distorted. They are too small to fit into a 1cm precision. Please note, that the center (pivot) of the vessel is the point where the precision bits start. So when your vessel is (for example) 60 meters and you have a transom gallery with small wooden pillars, it means that after 30m, the engine determines the precision of 30,00 meters for the pillars. Those pillars mostly have a diameter of just 5 cm and 16 vertices in a horizontal edge loop (diameter). The FP16 will now place each of the 16 vertices to the next point of precision. The result is a horrible looking pillar. „FP32“ = Single-Float (Floating Point Precision 32-bit), uses: 1 sign-bit, 8 exponent bits and 24 mantissa bits (23 stored) Out of the full 24 mantissa (precision) bits, the engine can use log 10 = 2 24 digits, what means 7,225 decimal digits for precision. Example: 1,000001 game units or meters (1 game unit is usually 1 meter in game engines). This means: Assets vertices can be drawn by the engine with ~7 digits of precision, off from its pivots center. To get noticable distortions in the model, the size must reach: 10000,10 meters (~10 kilometers). For a single model this circumstance is not important, but for terrain it is. On huge maps (=terrain-mesh, which also have a pivot in its center) FP32 becomes interesting, when you have the requirement of a precision of 1 cm - after 10 kilometers. OR: 10 cm after 100 kilometers. The importance of precision like this we reached with the game „Star Citizen©“ and very huge Space Maps (in 2016). For this game, the former used CryEngine© was changed by Roberts Space Industries© to use FP64-bit precision (34,016 decimal digits are possible).
for a better understanding
For a much better understanding of contemporary sailing vessel construction my first start was the book below. It contains a huge collection of plans and applies as source number one for every model builder, naval historian, and maritime enthusiast. First published in 1768, the book had several reprints (some in different languages (see below)), one in 1901, 1967, 1971, 1997 and one in 2006. The actual reprint of 2006 (English): Paperback: 160 pages Publisher: Dover Publications Inc. (Reprint of November 2006) Language: English Buy this book at (Germany) Buy this book at (UK) Buy this book at (USA) Reprint of 1901 (English) : Hardcover: 152 pages Publisher: Sheridan House Inc Language: English Buy this book at (USA) Reprint of 1971 (English): Hardcover: 152 pages Publisher: Adlard Coles Fourth Impression edition (1971) Language: English Buy this book at (UK) Reprint of 1984 (German): Hardcover: 152 pages Publisher: Rostock, Hinstorff Verlag Language: German! Buy this book at (Germany) Reprint of 1967 and 1997 (French): Hardcover: 152 pages Publisher: Robert Loef (1967) Publisher: Chasse-Marée (1997) Language: French! Buy this book at (Germany) Buy this book at (UK) Buy this book at (USA)
Well, the plans from the book above are only the half truth. The plans asked many new questions for all the small details of the construction, like "how thick is this timber" or "how exactly do the knees look” and detailed plans etc.. Short: An overview over the whole construction of English sailing vessels was need. I found the answers in the next book, which based on Dr. Longridge‘s work of 1955. Same important as many other of my mentioned books, it was reprinted several times and is highly recommend for every model builder, naval historian, and maritime enthusiast. The book contains many detailed plans. Hardcover: 327 pages Publisher: Special Interest Model Books; New Ed. (3. Jan 1998) Language: English Buy this book at (Germany) Buy this book at (UK) US-Edition - 1980 Hardcover: 283 pages Publisher: Naval Institute Press Buy this book at (USA)
After studying & understanding the construction of English sailing vessels, my focus turned to the rigging of a ship. The book above contains a rigging plan but it doesn´t give an answer as to where every rope goes and what it does. "Rigging" is its own and separate theme and the best answers I found in the book below. Edition of 2000: Hardcover: 118 pages Publisher: Ingram International Inc Language: English Buy this book at (Germany) Buy this book at (UK) Buy this book at (USA) Editon of 2011: Hardcover: 120 pages Publisher: Pen&Sword Books Ltd (30. March 2011) Language: English Buy this book at (Germany) Buy this book at (UK) Buy this book at (USA)
During my search for books I found another very good one. It contains many detailed descriptions and drawings and is a very helpful addition to the other construction books (it contains an overview over the different nations too). If your native language is not German, Nevertheless the book is maybe a look worth, in reason of its more than 3300 drawings. Hardcover: 384 pages Publisher: Bassermann Edition 3 (1. Aug 2008) Language: German! Buy this book at (Germany) Buy this book at (UK) Buy this book at (USA)
The next recommended book contains a lot of information about the largest and most powerful warships (the 1st-rate vessels) through the ages. It helped me a lot to understand the evolution of these ships. Hardcover: 160 pages Publisher: Pen&Sword Books Ltd (30. Jul 2010) Language: Englisch Buy this book at (Germany) Buy this book at (UK) Buy this book at (USA)
To round up my personal collection of books about English sailing vessels, I bought a few additional ones. These are ship-related ones and contain detailed information about each described vessel in detail. Everything I had read in the other books as "common" theme (mostly about English sailing vessels), the ship-related books combined it with an "original" example. The first one I have chosen because of the really great movie "Master & Commander©" by Twentieth Century Fox© and the wonderful seafaring tales by Patrick O'Brian. A speciality of the real HMS Surprise is, that it was a French prize, converted for English standards and service in the Royal Navy. So the vessel was not just a fictional one. Her true historical career ended in 1802, after a long period of service in both, the French and Royal Navy. The book contains a very useful plan for model builders. Hardcover: 144 pages Publisher: Conway (22. Sept 2008) Language: Englisch Buy this book at (Germany) Buy this book at (UK) Buy this book at (USA)
The next recommended books are part of the "Anatomy Of The Ship©" series, which aim to provide the finest documentation of individual ships. Short: These are very helpful too and worth to buy. I have bought two of them (till today) because of the important details of two different ranks (rates). The first one is about the 3rd rate 74- gun ship "Bellona". The „74-gun ships“ were the classic „Ship-Of-The-Line“ in the 18th century and built in large numbers. Hardcover: 120 pages Publisher: Conway Maritime Press Revised edition (24. Apr 2003) Language: English Buy this book at (Germany) Buy this book at (UK) Buy this book at (USA)
The second book is about the 6th rate 24-gun frigate "Pandora". Hardcover: 128 pages Publisher: Conway Maritime Press; Revised edition (24. Apr 2003) Language: English Buy this book at (Germany) Buy this book at (UK) Buy this book at (USA)
Another CryEngine(c) Free SDK techmap. The barrels "East India Company"-logo is by Disney(c) Parallax Occlusion Mapping test on beach sand Parallax Occlusion Mapping test on ocean underwater sand Church Counting House / Kontor / Storage (inner view) Spanish Silver Coins "Reales", different values, original diameter and thickness Spanish Gold Coins "Escudos", different values, original diameter and thickness Testsetup in CryEngine(c) Free SDK Another testmap CryEngine(c) Free SDK Another testmap CryEngine(c) Free SDK The Crysis(c) techmap The Crysis(c) techmap The Crysis(c) techmap The Crysis(c) techmap The Crysis(c) techmap, inside blacksmith house Counting House / Kontor / Storage (view from outside) Church Church Counting House / Kontor / Storage (other perspective from outside) A chopping block, axe and different wooden pieces A bucket on harbors surface An barrow on harbors surface Maya view, setup of a rock CryEngine(c) Free SDK, tower CryEngine(c) Free SDK, tower CryEngine(c) Free SDK, tower CryEngine(c) Free SDK, a new underwater reef test A started part of an fortification
The next book I bought from interest. It presents every ship in which Nelson served. So the book describes around 34 years of vessels, with its armament and service alongside its cost and modifications. Hardcover: 192 pages Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (31. Aug 2002) Language: English Buy this book at (Germany) Buy this book at (UK) Buy this book at (USA)
A long time ago, I bought a couple of books from "Readers Digest©". Their books are mostly well written, good to read and contain many illustrations. In the theme of ancient cultures, they published a book about the Maya. I’ve had it for a very long time and used it for my island-theme again. Hardcover: 192 pages Publisher: Readers Digest (2003) Language: German! Buy this book at (Germany)
For my castle- and fortification-ideas I do not only own a huge collection of my own photographs. Sure, I live in Germanys’ state "Saxony", the state of the castles and fortifications but independently to these "real life options" of research, a bundled home-knowledge provides a collection of the most important historical facts. If you now ask why I am interested in castles and fortifications in the age of sail on an Caribbean island, here is my answer: I have many ideas how the player would find a secret old treasure map and how the island should look. My idea is to create a European looking old harbor on it and maybe the rest of an old (16th century) Spanish ruin, from the time of the "Conquest of the New World". When the Europeans reached America, their architecture influences the new buildings and I will use this circumstance. Besides to this circumstance I have visited many old islands. European ones too. My photographs and the books are my base for a serious looking environment, transferred to a Caribbean island. My first medieval book is called „Dark Medieval“ and is as same great written and illustrated as the other books from „Readers Digest©“. Hardcover: 192 pages Publisher: Readers Digest (2003) Language: German! Buy this book at (Germany)
To round up my knowledge in medieval Europe (it is very interesting) I bought a few other books too. The first one contains all themes from "Rome´s Heritage" to the movement of nations, conflicts and the end of the knights. This huge collection is very helpful and well written. Hardcover: 400 pages Publisher: Tosa (1. Oct 2008) Language: German! Buy this book at (Germany) Buy this book at (UK) Buy this book at (USA)
The next book I bought because of its title "America before Columbus". It doesn´t contain only the Maya, it contains all American Cultures. It is very useful for my project, to understand their evolution and their rise and fall. In here I found many ideas for temples, artifacts and treasure contents, too. Hardcover: 240 pages Verlag: Bechtermünz (1998) Language: German! Buy this book at (Germany) Buy this book at (UK)
In the same bookstore I found the next book. It is a very good addition to the books above. Its theme is not only the "Cultures" of America, it contains mainly its "Mythology". Hardcover: 240 pages Publisher: Edition XXL (Jul 2002) Language: German! Buy this book at (Germany) Buy this book at (UK) Buy this book at (USA)
The next book I bought because of the understanding of Heraldry. It is important to know much more as floral elements when you work on crests. Hardcover: Publisher: Orbis (2002) Language: German Buy this book at (Germany) Buy this book at (UK) Buy this book at (USA)
Last but not least I bought an book of the old "Shipshape-Series", about the 50-gun ship "Leopard". My personal opinion is that this is one of the best “anatomy"-books altough it is no part of the "Anatomy Of The Ship©" series. It contains not just information about the „Leopard“ but also about the crucial role of the 50-gun ships from 1650 to 1816. A hint for the frieds of the wonderful seafaring tales by Patrick O'Brian: He described in one of his fictions the „horrible old Leopard“, so please whatch out! The book contains very detailed drawings and plans. Hardcover: 128 pages Publisher: Chatham Publishing, Caxton Editions (March 1998 & Jan 2004) Language: English Buy this book at (Germany) Buy this book at (UK) Buy this book at (USA)
Andy Peters, the author of the book below, is a professional woodcarver. The writing of this book has taken some twelve years. It covers a big range of themes, like restoring original artifacts and carving replicas. The author began the work on this book when he was commissioned in the year 2000 to carry out research for a full-size replica of a Swedish East Indiaman. This research resulted in importance knowledge about the story of baroque style and its dissemination from French and its transformation into the other Navies, like the Netherlands, England and Denmark. Hardcover: 240 pages Publisher: Pen & Sword Books Ltd, Seaforth Publishing (USA) (15. Aug 2013) Language: English Buy this book at (Germany) Buy this book at (UK) Buy this book at (USA)
The next book is a very informing and most interesting Royal Navy lexicon. Written by one of England´s leading authorities, J. D. Davies presents in this book all aspects of the English Navy, mainly from 1649 to 1689. You will find huge information about everything that concerns the british Navy in the 2nd half of the 17th century and sometimes even concerning the later centuries. I highly recommend this book. Hardcover: 320 pages Publisher: Pen & Sword Books Ltd (20. Nov 2008) Language: English Buy this book at (Germany) Buy this book at (UK) Buy this book at (USA)
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