Johannes Scharl

Software Engineering and Visual Computing

Publications and Talks

Unite 11 - Jagged Alliance Online

At this year's Unity Developer Conference, I had the honor to hold a talk about the development techniques Cliffhanger Productions used to develop Jagged Alliance Online, a large, turn-based, tactical browser game. With the requirement to manage a large codebase, many thousand assets and over a hundred unique missions, we faced enormous technical challenges to create an efficient and stable workflow and deployment process.

The session covered strategies that help to:

  • Organize large amounts of code and content in Unity
  • Ease development using automated processes such as continuous integration together with automated builds and implement them with Unity
  • Optimize graphic performance to create a fantastic-looking browser game that also performs well on low-end hardware

The session slides can be downloaded here.


Master Thesis: Artist-Controlled Modeling of Urban Environments

Creating large-scale virtual environments for interactive applications such as computer games poses a demanding challenge for computer graphics.
Urban environments are usually hand-crafted by artists using commercial 3D modeling software. For today's detail-rich games, this becomes less and less feasible. Procedural modeling techniques strive to help artists to create virtual worlds in less time.

In my thesis, I present a system that helps artists and game designers to plan, layout and model urban environments for games and other media.
Methods are described to create street networks manually and procedurally and to edit them interactively at any time in the development process. A stable street tessellation technique is employed that is able to represent street segments as well as crossings connecting an arbitrary number of streets and that adapts to the underlying terrain.

Poster and Thesis are available for download.

Layouting process of a bay village scene Bay village results


CESCG 2010: A Constraint Based System to Populate Procedurally Modeled Cities with Buildings

As a part of my master thesis, I publised a paper at the Central European Seminar on Computer Graphics in 2010. I presented a system that procedurally creates urban environments including street networks, street geometry and building parcels. My main contribution was a constraint based system that chooses the best fitting building for every parcel from a set of existing buildings. Building properties such as the footprint, area, and faces that should have street access are used to select the most suitable building.

I was awarded with with the Best Presentation and 3rd Best Paper Award.

The Paper and a short Video Showcase are available for download.


Coming up

I am currently working on an article series for the german game development magazine Making Games.
The series will provide in-depth information about the development of Jagged Alliance Online with the Unity game engine.

The first issue will be published in mid-december.