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Hogs of War Lardcore: Dev Q&A!

Updated: Jul 8

Keep ya heads down chaps and carry on! That's been our team's philosophy for the last few months while everyone has been hard at work on bringing Lardcore up to scratch! But now its time for some of our leading hogs to come above ground, out from the safety of the nearby shelter, to answer some of high commands burning questions!

Now, the last thing we want is for the identity of our top hogs to fall into enemy hands, so for the sake of secrecy we'll be using code-names! The following answers have been provided by Captain Cody of the Programming Division, and Corporal Drew of the Art Division!

[Latest Lardcore Devlog Video, Episode 2, check it out!]

Correspondence from Captain Cody:

What has been the biggest programming challenge for you so far within Lardcore?

The landscape rendering. The original game renders a single mesh with a texture mapped onto it. The original port code used Splat Maps to generate the terrain detail and a lot of work had gone into the system; it created great terrain pixels but led to huge shaders when we switched to forward+ rendering.

I have lost track of how long I've spent on this problem! I've tried splitting the mesh into water / terrain and various ways of delineating the water / land boundary in the fragment shaders. Eventually I hit on rendering the terrain textures on level boot and animating the water into that texture set per frame, which can then be lit using the general purpose dielectric shaders.

What programming language is being used within Lardcore and how easy/difficult has it been to integrate it alongside the original game’s codebase?

C++ 20 for the engine / support code and PSSL for the shaders; most of the system interfaces are implemented using C style functions to cleanly decouple the various modules and also keep the hardware interfaces clean. The new code base / engine is kept as separate as possible, we leave the original code to do its thing and then grab the information we need from it.

What sort of new content can players expect when looking at Lardcore’s game engine?

The original game code has only been touched when we have been forced to for some reason, so the game will respond as an experienced player would expect. We've added the new rendering and sound engines, global illumination, screen space reflections, new particle engine, dynamic fog, dynamic clouds, sky and star system, dynamic water, procedural grass, decal system...

How do you approach optimising game performance within Lardcore?

The original game doesn't need any optimising, it was designed for a 25 year old+ processor (PS1) so it runs like lightning on modern hardware. We have made various fixed point operations use floating point or vector operations for integration or stability purposes but it wasn't needed for speed. Lardcore's bottleneck is the GPU, mainly because we're calculating the global illumination cascades every frame rather than spreading it out.

In one word, how would you summarise working with the original hogs codebase so far?


What’s a feature, mechanic or bug fix in game you’ve worked on that you are particularly proud of?

Figuring out how to animate the water when there was no water mesh to add animating UVs to was "fun". After a lot of experimentation I hit on using an incompressible water model using compute shaders to do the maths, we use the output of the system to generate a per-pixel UV animation. It can do a lot more than we're currently using it for, for instance we could dynamically have flows going around objects in the water.

What has surprised you most when working on Lardcore?

How much game code the original game had.

As the project moves forward – what are you most excited about/looking forward to?

Getting it into the hands of the fans. Shipping a product is always great but thanks to Covid and other issues this project has been a long time in the making, it's going to be great to see people playing it again!

Correspondence from Corporal Drew:

What has been the biggest artistic challenge for you so far within Lardcore?

Lardcore has been a chance to explore and think about a lot of things at once. One of the great things about it is the challenge of being visually consistent - making everything look as though it belongs together, but in a balanced and interesting way.

Can you explain a bit about your creative approach to the kind of art style we have seen so far in Lardcore?

There’s so much inspiration available that collecting and organising it all is a key part of the process, as well as looking at existing media and weighing up what works well or what could work better for the project.

It’s important to really consider the ideas you want to convey – in an ideal world, every asset would be uniquely tailor made and non interchangeable with any other project. Lastly, iterations – prototypes and remakes – of assets is absolutely vital in bringing us one step closer to the ideal as issues and processes get ironed out.

What would you say are your main influences for world building within Lardcore?

Lardcore has been influenced by a lot of media - there are so many incredible things out there that need exploring and pork-ifying! Influences have shifted as development progresses, but incorporating so many really helps expand the world of Saustralasia.

Artistically, do you feel a remaster should look to capture its original style, expand on its own uniqueness or maintain a balance of both?

Both absolutely, there are so many key iconic elements that need to be retained as well as scope for expansion and world building. Solid game mechanics are fundamental to any game, but it's the world and narrative that cements the experience together. The visuals are key in selling these worlds to us, and making us believe.

How do you ensure your artwork and 3D modelling is optimised for performance without compromising on quality?

This will always be a challenge but working in very high resolutions means that we can have the best quality on any platform hogs might expand to. Optimising by downscaling will always be better than trying to upscale things that are too small.

What has surprised you the most when working on Lardcore?

The sheer diversity of things we get to work on day to day, and all the fascinating research we get to do to make it happen, each day brings us new challenges.

If you could add one new object/asset into the game, what would it be and why?

A lot of easter eggs and fun things could be added, but specifically a hug action would be hilarious, especially in multiplayer. To have the ability to walk up to any hog in the field – friend or foe – hug them, and have both pigs gain a tiny amount of HP from it, without using up a turn.

With the rise of AI art, could this speed up game development?

Despite the rise of AI, AI imagery will never be used in the making of Hogs, which will be 100% organic and ham-made!

As the project moves forward – what are you most excited about/looking forward to?

Seeing everything coming together is always very exciting - as well as hearing from the kind community who haven’t given up on us yet, as we try our best to get the hogs onto the battlefield!

So there you have it, first hand accounts from our very own troops in the trenches! Going forward to intend to bring you further blog interviews with other members of the team, but as you can expect everyone is rather busy preparing for the big push!

The upkeep of blog posts have been few and far between over the last few months, so you can also expect more regular updates in future, both relating to Lardcore and on-going community events. Cheerio for now!

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1 Comment

Daniel Williams
Daniel Williams
Jul 05

Will there be any side games in the new game. I think it might be quite funny to see pigs playing football, ten pin bowling or maybe crazy golf

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