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STOP befor you make thos tiles!
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callmeminyme



Joined: 16 Oct 2003
Posts: 150
Location: Kamloops



PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 4:40 am    Post subject: STOP befor you make thos tiles! Reply with quote

if I may offer a suggestion moonpod team...

there is a game called argentum.... a strategy game for the pocket pc
now this game would have to keep its file sizes to a minimum and it kept it under 5 megs and actually had a full strategy game with 21 missions.

there mission editor was probably the coolest thing about argentum, as the land was not made with tiles!... it was made out of 3 images

the first image (quoting the help file on how to make this images)

this was the main display for the scenario... basically you created your terrains texture on this big bitmap file... there's not a single sign of repeated tiles because there ARE NO repeated tiles, maturely if you planed on using this system the size of this BMP would have to be sufficiently larger

Remember to spend the most time on this one because this is mainly what the player sees
Size: 512x512 pixels
Format: 24-bit BMP

the next image was a hightmap... it declared how the terrain was going to appear, using this system you can may canyons, paths, cliffs, gentle hills to sandy dunes and it would automatically add shadows

White is high, black is low
Size: 256x256 pixels
Format: 24-bit BMP (Although it is saved as 24-bit bmp, be sure to turn all colors to grayscale before saving the image.)

finally it would use one more image... this image declared if ground units could go there... so if you have a big wall naturally you don't want the units climbing it because it just looks bad and unrealistic, this is a simple image consisting of black and white

White means ground units can walk there, black means they can't
Size: 64x64 pixels
Format: 24-bit BMP (Although it is saved as 24-bit bmp, be sure there are only two colors used: black and white)

using this system argentum created some of the BEST maps ive seen EVER for a pocket PC, literally using this system you can create any map you can possibly think of... except for multiple layers of course but maybe with a little extra code and more then one terrain map, height map, and occupancy map... who knows ^.^

anyway i digress, perhaps you could give your game a little metaphorical baking powder for the reviews by producing some of the best looking maps out in the market for low file cost

although the problem with this system is usability of course.. the bitmap files must be made to exact specifications any slipups (like living a gray pixel in the occupancy map) will result in it not compiling... however its a small price to pay for the quality you get out of it, but its not that hard to use. i made a fairly decent map on argentum with Photoshop, but paint shop pro works great to... even paint... you could even go on the web and download some files like pictures of them moon or something! just to pass that step and get into the hightmap!


but maybe the design has already been made and it is to late to suggest this, if so im sorry Confused

still with an artist as talented as fost you could make some phenomenal maps

oh P.S.
to show you the results of this system take a look at the screenshots in game of argentum... remember this is a 5 meg game with real 3d terrain and no tiles!
Click over knaw to see what im takling bout

those streams are added via a bitmap... those lakes of lava are just part of the bitmap


... impressive isn't it Smile

Edit:
one other thing... if you want to see this editor you can download it and take a look. you dont need the game!, it wil ltake you through everything that ive talked about here and even give you an example map using a downloaded picture of moon craters
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Fost
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 12:32 pm    Post subject: Re: STOP befor you make thos tiles! Reply with quote

We have seen Argentum, it's actually very similar to the way TA worked, and it is a nice method. We are also trying out some ideas to use tiles in a way no one else has done before by utilising some graphics hardware features.

callmeminyme wrote:
best looking maps out in the market for low file cost


The problem is, with the size and quantities of maps we are looking at, doing this would mean the game would be coming on a couple of CDs! Remember, pocket PC res is very low with a limited colour pallette, we'll be running at least 800X600 true colour. So whilst I agree you are only limited by your artistic talent with this method, file size would be a pretty serious issue.
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Goober
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Joined: 11 Oct 2002
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to agree, Argentum does look pretty nice. Smile

There are some technical issues for why we're going with a tile-based system:

Firstly, the amount of data we'd have to ship if we had unique maps. Our native resolution is probably going to be 800x600, and each map is going to be bigger than a single screen (I forget what size maps Poo Bear has been playing around with), so that's a pretty huge amount of data (remember, our primary distribution method is still going to be via download).

Another consideration is that we wanted a system that (by and large) worked with the existing sprite rendering code. A tile system works with this.

Also, the existing rendering system uses the 3d card. Ultimately everything has to be chopped up to be uploaded to textures. On older cards there is less memory, and the bus to the card is slower, which means uploading large data sets (or subsets of large data sets) is going to be painfully slow (in computer terms). We might be able to get away with it by running at a lower frame rate (we're not making Quake/Unreal after all), but it's largely an unknown for us until we have code and data to test it. Our time is better spent going down a path that we know will work reasonably well on old hardware from the start.

Oh yeah, and the biggest non-technical decision: Fost doesn't have time to make unique maps! AFAIK, Fost will be making tiles and Poo Bear will be building the maps from the tiles (mostly).

I will be sipping Pina Coladas while relaxing at the beach.
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callmeminyme



Joined: 16 Oct 2003
Posts: 150
Location: Kamloops



PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

your right i did have a bit of missunderstandings with the size you planed on using, however there are ways around this

for example insted of having the levels shiped with the cd players could download them as they progress... of course that means that you better have a nice internet ^.^ so i guess that wont work Laughing

however why would you have to do it in BMP anyway? i have a big big picture of our soler system whith about 1 million stars ploted on it, it takes up about 2.3 megs, now the file was aboust 2480*4860 .... now i imagin the size of your maps are gonna be something around (just estimations, this is if you want them big) 5000*5000, but in jepg format thats about 4-6 megs. now once you include hightmap and the occupency thats about 8 megs, 8 megs a map... and then of course theres all the triggers and unit placments but there basicly negligable and this is all estamits anyway, so if you had a 30 scenario game your using 240 megs of disk for it

just breaking it down..l. course there may be a really impportant reason why we cant use jepgs and if so then you may be shiping your missions on a difrent disk! so i dunno

but btw this game is full 3d.. yes?

EDIT:
making that map dident really take a long time... it took me 2 or 3 tries to get used to the way everyhitng stuck together, but 3 hightmaps later i had it

all in all one mission took me about 1 day, working diligently of course (woo hoo i made it to level 7 on argentum... take that you fricken rebles Cool )
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Lothar
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Joined: 21 Dec 2003
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 10:10 pm    Post subject: tiles? Reply with quote

jpeg format isn't appropriate for some of the masks -- by its very nature, it blends edges (it's an artifact of the singular value decomposition jpeg uses). BMP's would be necessary for any of the masks, though some could be 2-bit. The level graphic could be done as a jpg, though -- but I think the concern with having to upload the whole thing to the graphics card is still a legitimate concern.

Tiles look good as long as there are enough of them, and some clever blending.
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Goober
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Joined: 11 Oct 2002
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 10:27 pm    Post subject: Re: tiles? Reply with quote

callmeminyme wrote:
but btw this game is full 3d.. yes?


Do you mean Battlescape? If so, no, it's still sprite based. We do use the 3d hardware to render the sprites though. (just to confuse matters Smile)

Lothar wrote:
Tiles look good as long as there are enough of them, and some clever blending.


That's what we're thinking. Besides, Fost is some kind of tile ninja, he knows what he's doing Smile
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callmeminyme



Joined: 16 Oct 2003
Posts: 150
Location: Kamloops



PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OH battlescape is still 2d then?

ok then this was dumn sujestion ^.^

tiles are the way to go =P
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Fost
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It being 2D doesn't actually cause problems with this method, so it's not such a mad idea. The fact they have used a heightmap doesn't mean a game is 3D - they can just be using it for line of sight calculations.

Although, if we were using a full 3d engine, we get into the same kind of thing: when we worked on the xbox game Gunmetal - it used a 2048X2048 pre rendered colour and shadow map mixed in with 512X512 detail maps and another map to control the blending.

Jpegs could be an option for this to decrease download sizes, but they still have to be loaded onto the card at full size uncompressed, so we would absolutely hammer old cards! You can use DX texture compression methods, but again these don't work on old cards. Anything pre GeForce1 I'd guess would have a hard time if it worked at all.

To be honest, I'd love to use another method, because tiles are the most painstakingly awful thing to work on as a texture artist (have a go at making a tiling animated water texture that blends in eight directions if you don't believe me Crying or Very sad ), but this looks like it is going to give us versatility in map design and editing. Poo Bear can make edits himself if he thinks something will improve gameplay without having to get me to re-render the whole map. We always put that goal first: I'd rather have something look worse and play better than the other way round. Luckily, we've still got a few tricks up our sleeves to use tiles in an interesting way Wink
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Weeble
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Joined: 25 Apr 2003
Posts: 1143
Location: Glasgow, Scotland



PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

callmeminyme wrote:
i have a big big picture of our soler system whith about 1 million stars ploted on it

One million stars in the solar system? Why didn't somebody tell me? I thought there was only one. Can anybody ship me some factor 7.8x10^39 sun-block before I need to go outside?
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callmeminyme



Joined: 16 Oct 2003
Posts: 150
Location: Kamloops



PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Embarassed

i meant galixy... sowwy... hey wait a minut... you knew that right?

why would you want to make fun of me?
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HunterXI



Joined: 26 Dec 2003
Posts: 476
Location: Playing like there is no tomorrow.



PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2004 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

callmeminyme wrote:
Embarassed

i meant galixy... sowwy... hey wait a minut... you knew that right?

why would you want to make fun of me?


maybe cuz you could use a spelling checker?
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callmeminyme



Joined: 16 Oct 2003
Posts: 150
Location: Kamloops



PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2004 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

gee thanks frost (fost... whatever idun care) now i gota repeat myself Confused

now lets see how that went, oh ya....

when i was young i was riped away from my spelling program, i belive at 4th grade, that was the year we learned adjectives, nouns, the important gramatical stuff (o fancy word), i spent 4 years of unsucseful effort trying to get back on the same level as all the reguler students, its been my lifes bane

now im curious... when did i make fun of one of your traits, the word never comes to mind
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Weeble
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Joined: 25 Apr 2003
Posts: 1143
Location: Glasgow, Scotland



PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2004 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HunterXI wrote:
maybe cuz you could use a spelling checker?

I love Internetland. I'm sure I've posted something along these lines before, but it's generally a really good idea to set one's own house in order before dispensing advice on interior design.

As for callmeminime, I'm sorry if I've been a bit harsh myself. Your sentence construction didn't strike me as similar to any of the dyslexics I know, and you appear to be a native speaker. Hence I initially assumed that you were simply being lazy or obnoxious. (I don't any more. Well, no more than I am myself.) Still, it's worth bearing in mind that people will treat you less seriously when you write like you do, even when they don't mean to. The sun block crack was not malicious, don't worry about it.

Regards,

Weeble.
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callmeminyme



Joined: 16 Oct 2003
Posts: 150
Location: Kamloops



PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2004 6:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bah, canadians like to FAF (forgive and forget)

i use the ... cause i do trail off, its actuly how i speak!
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Toren Kanesun



Joined: 06 Mar 2004
Posts: 52



PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2004 10:31 am    Post subject: PNG Files Reply with quote

For tiles, you should consider PNG files. They're 24 bit lossless that support alpha channel transparency. Though not recommended for large files, since the lossless nature limits the compression, vs a JPG that can be compressed into a pretty bad looking image. Smile
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