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Submitted by Mox, posted on January 10, 2001




Image Description, by Mox



This is a pair of images taken from our latest game demo. You can see the multi-textured landscape, the special effect materials and some particle effects in these screen shots; the demo itself shows off the unit AI and, of course, the physical simulation routines. You can get the demo from our web site, www.mercurial-studios.com

yours,
Mox.


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Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active. It is here for reference purposes. This thread was created on an older version of the flipcode forums, before the site closed in 2005. Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.
 
EGreg

January 10, 2001, 11:12 PM

Hey, MC_BAXTON, why don't you redeem yourself for once and make a list of WHAT YOU LIKE in the IOTD!
It's not hard. If you hate all teh IOTDs, why do you even look art theM? Spare yourself the trouble, and us the time spent reading your biased messages.

BTW, I ilke the fire effect after that bug-machine... how'd ya do it?

-Greg

 
DirtyPunk

January 11, 2001, 01:39 AM

Like this IOTD. It is very polished looking, and shows a definate commitment to a final outcome. For those that didn't know what the line was, I think it was obviously the firing of some kind of weapon :)

One thing I haven't seen often, but would like to see is lighting all the way along the trail of lazer fire etc - Maybe just a strethed out texture.

On another note a strange fact has become known to me. MC BAXTON is actually none other than... *rips of rubber mask* Vanilla Ice! He's trying to make a comeback into the world of bad-boyism in the new age. With Eminem stealling his thunder, he has been forced to do it on forums and notice boards. Yo MC, let that mike cool - its time to hang it up. Or should I say "chill".

 
DooMWiz

January 11, 2001, 01:58 AM

And all these years I thought Vanilla Ice was just a figment of my imagination...oh well.

 
DirtyPunk

January 11, 2001, 02:01 AM

It doesn't make the problem go away doomwiz. Its like homeless people.

 
Primey

January 11, 2001, 02:07 AM

I remember this MC BAXTON character. I was at a party when he did a PHSYCODELIC remix of the chicken dance. Naturally he was rendered unconscious with a set of headphones, his body stripped, placed on a pile of michael jackson cd's and burnt, along with his mixing equipment.

OR MAYBE im mistaken. perhaps this is the former MD BAXTON, the wanna be medical student who was once told "You know, you'd be better as a MUSICAL ASSASSIN N SHIT. due to the huge hassle it would have been to change his name to something else, he settled for MC BAXTON and the rest is history.


 
DirtyPunk

January 11, 2001, 02:14 AM

Well, you tend to do some crazy shit when you are as washed up as the ICE.

 
Kezza

January 11, 2001, 02:36 AM

I am most impressed by that little house. Has anyone seen any game where the houses had sun roofs? I bet that blue guy with the gun is just wishing he could live in that little hut! I definatley would!

This is a great example of a well designed and thought out game. Also with an artist with an appritiation for nice looking buildings!

 
RyseFtk

January 11, 2001, 05:32 AM

The images look nice. I like the glows and especially the radar item. I have to agree to MC BAXTON that there are a few things one could improve on. I did not DL the demo so all I can say is about the shots.

The trees look very billboardy and the shadow below them does not really help to remove that feeling. The hint about using two or maybe three quads for simple billboard trees is quite a good un.

The transitions between different terrain types should be improved on. You might consider using blending or terrain tiles that contain premade blend textures.

There are a few good articles about skyboxes/hemispheres. You can look into the FlipCode or GameDev tutes.

I do not know much about the story/concept of your game but the silver figurine in the mountainside looks kind of out of place to me.

Ok, and now to BAXTON:

I dont like your style man. Negative criticism is ok, imho, and sometimes needed but the way you say it is important. I hope I did a hell lot better than you ;)

And now to the REST:

The more fire you make below the kettle, the more steam you produce. Correct BAXTON on style issues but keep your vests clean. No insults or stuff as you would go down to his level.

 
Mox

January 11, 2001, 05:34 AM

The sky could be improved, that much is certain. The dome is too high, and could use double resolution. Easy enough to fix, but not crucial.

The lens reflections are from a flare which is not wholly on the screen. Some of it is present, or the reflections wouldn't render, but it's too dim to affect the image. This is just a problem with the selected screen shot, not the lens flare code.

In what way do the models "suck" ?

What "straight line" ? Do you perhaps mean the walker's projectile weapon trail? Are you recommending we move to invisible beam effects?

Why are "green(?)" hills odd? The "gray" ground is in fact the surface of a lake. The screen shot does not show the reflection effect very well.

We will be updating the screenshots section of our web site with more images; we had to select two to combine for an Image of the Day to elicit some feedback. The two we selected failed to demonstrate some of the effects we have implemented in their best light, but so far the feedback has been most useful.

 
Mox

January 11, 2001, 05:42 AM

Landscape texture transitions are already blended. Look at the ground under the buildings, or compare the top of the hill with the side of the hill. The harsh edge you can see is a basic waterline; the "gray" area is in fact a water surface. Unfortunately, neither image has captured a very good water reflection, we'll have to update the site with a few good pictures.

I have read up on sky boxes, but we lack the tools to accurately produce the four/five/six (depending on which bits you want to set up) surfaces, so I wrap a horizon texture around the inside of a dome.

As for the "silver figurine," you will have to wait for the release of the game (or sit through the massive download) to find out more.

yours,
Mox.

 
Mox

January 11, 2001, 05:52 AM

There are two fire effects, both used here slightly out of place.

The one on the right of the image is from our Combustion effect, and consists of a cloud of particles. Some of them are short-lived flame effects, the rest are longer-living smoky smudges. The blending curve on the fire is a linear fall-off, but the smoke starts transparent, becomes opaque, then slowly fades away.

The one the "bug-machine" is sitting on is in fact the flare around a piece of red "heavy plasma" glowing energy projectile type stuff. Behind the camera is a unit you can't see in the demo shooting red stuff at the unit in the picture.

When I did the plasma weapon effects, I made a model of a box with intersecting faces, and textured it with a white blob that falls off past the intersections. Hard to describe, but the idea is that when drawn in "colour add" mode it should look like a glowing blob. Unfortunately, it didn't glow enough, so I also draw a lens flare over the top of it. That produces enough haze to make it effective.

Now I wish we'd put some plasma somewhere in the demo. It does look good.

yours,
Mox.

 
Alexander Blach

January 11, 2001, 07:35 AM

I know what you mean, OGAPO.

I usually don't write things like that. But MCBAXTON is getting on my nerves. His "criticism" is more out of place than my statement, I think. The author did great work - and what did mc say? "conclusion: it slightly sux". Well, that's stupid in my opinion...

 
James Matthews

January 11, 2001, 07:57 AM

I got a couple of server errors, and a couple of 404's for some reason. It is probably my connection, if Flipcode was ok at the time. I have a somewhat "volatile" connection :)

 
Alex J. Champandard

January 11, 2001, 08:02 AM


> that it wasn't a valid solution for huge numbers of trees

True, but you can reduce the number of slices in the distance to 2, and dump the high poly trunc.


> The results in his demo app are not very convincing
> since the slices are very noticable

I have to disagree... looking at the screenshots, you can't distinguish the slices, and i'd even say it looks better than the static geometry. When animated, the cross blending can be a bit confusing but the slices are never visible. On the bonus side, you get antialiasing for your leaves, and no popping.


> and don't look any good from above and below.

He says in his paper, you could introduce slices along the Y axis if you needed top down view of the trees.


> it's quite possible to get a convincing looking tree
> with 50-100 polys

Most definitely... Early shots of Black & White show they use low poly trees quite successfully, looks quite toony but cool. The advantage here is you don't need per tree computation (appart from rotation/translation/scaling), whereas with the slicing method you have to determine which slice to use and compute the blending. I think this should be possible with vertex shaders, which would drastically reduce the overhead, and make it worth while...

And i'm not sure if 50-100 polies per tree is a viable solution for huge forests either.



> Geomorphing between the billboard LOD and the poly
> model like Motocross Madness is an good way of
> reducing popping

You mean cross blending? I doubt morphing the 4 vertices of the billboard into the low poly tree would look convincing ;) Although damn cool.

Anyway, I need to look into this more.

Alex

 
Alex J. Champandard

January 11, 2001, 08:03 AM


> I saw an article about this somewhere, dunno where and I don't
> remember exactly how it worked.


hehe, damn! I'll have to think of something myself then :)



 
James Matthews

January 11, 2001, 08:04 AM

What "straight line" ? Do you perhaps mean the walker's projectile weapon trail? Are you recommending we move to invisible beam effects?

Ah, "projectile weapon"...would it be possible to do something like that QII railgun effect? The thing that confused me is the line went through the house. I saw the "lines" in other screenshots on your house, and it looked fine - I just got confused...:)

James.

 
Alex J. Champandard

January 11, 2001, 08:44 AM


> but we lack the tools to accurately produce the
> four/five/six surfaces

Try Terragen, it's free and everyone uses it. Most the good looking static skies in previous IOTDs were done with that. All you need is to write a small script that renders the sides of the sky box you need.

The Planetside server seems a bit moody atm, so try the german site.

Alex

 
Mox

January 11, 2001, 09:51 AM

I take it you would not be surprised to learn that if I recompile one of the special effects files with RAIL_WITH_SPIRAL defined, you get a spiral cloud of blue particles around the beam?

I removed the effect because of the sheer number of particles it added to the scene.

yours,
Mox.

 
Nick

January 11, 2001, 10:27 AM

If you want to give negative criticism on an arrogant way like this, please also say something costructive. Saying the sky is not realistic doesn't help anybody, saying how it can be improved does.

As an analogy, you don't have to be an artist to tell your opinion about art, but everybody should be able to not only say what he thinks is bad but also why he thinks it's bad. If you don't know why it's bad, than please keep it for yourself.

You're mostly talking as if you can do better than all of us together. If you think this is true than prove it by telling which techniques the author of the IOTD can use to improve his work. Or, you could also convince us by showing some of your work, if you dare...

Cincerely yours,

Nick

 
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