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#1 Serge

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Posted 27 August 2005 - 07:32 AM

Well, I think we should have one.

Currently the following people are working on new graphics for ufo2000: nappes, nachtwolf, Sporb. Surely I forgot some of the others, but that's why this thread was created, we need to know who is working on making new graphics for the game, what should we do next, discuss our plans, etc.

One of the question is about whether we need to make new high resolution graphics for the game. If we need it, what sprites dimensions would be best? Probably they should be twice as large as sprites from x-com (scale2x mode) in order to be able to use new high resolution graphics together with old x-com graphics on the same map?

On the other hand, probably we should not bother about that now and work on finishing 'completely free graphics' milestone using old x-com sprites dimensions.

Also we need to have someone assigned as a chief of this artwork department. We need somebody who can track what's happening in this department, update credits for artwork section in the UFO2000 AUTHORS file, ... and also kick the programmers when they are too lazy adding some of the needed features to the engine and some of the artwork related tasks are stalled because of this :)

Any thoughts?

Edited by Serge, 27 August 2005 - 07:34 AM.

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#2 Sporb

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Posted 27 August 2005 - 06:27 PM

HI-REZ graphics are far easier to create than completely new ones so that can be done at a later date. Serge would it be possible for you to extend the maximum inventory weapon size from 3X2 to 4X2? im not sure if its just me but i am constantly running out of room by 4-5 pixels on most large weapons.

As of this point in time , myself and Abyssion are working on a weapon set which will hopefully become the replacement for the Xcom set avaliable now. Ballancing and tweaking needs to continue and the graphics are still on going

#3 samsam

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Posted 27 August 2005 - 07:08 PM

Agree 200%.
Hopefully i will
finish the site in
a couple of days,
and latter on,
post the artwork
has a gallery.
Meanwhile,
i would appreciate
screenshots of
gameplay, preference
with the higher view
activated.
You can send them
to :

samoes28@hotmail.com

Thanks

SAMSAM

#4 Blehm 98

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Posted 27 August 2005 - 07:13 PM

4x2 is too large for what the soldiers can carry though

the equipment screen would need to be expanded quite a bit to include that, so arms and backpack would both have to be increased in size a third
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#5 Serge

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Posted 28 August 2005 - 12:00 AM

But still the most important is to solve coordination problems:

From my PM discussion with nachtwolf:

I agree, as more people start making new graphics for the game, we are starting to have coordination problems. Unfortunately I will not be able to coordinate artwork development as I don't have much free time and coordinating programming tasks already takes a lot of it. In addition, I don't know anything about making graphics and just can't estimate complexity of some tasks (I understand it is not easy, but how much difficult it is and how much time requires is another question). So we need someone who will take over our 'artwork department' management and coordination

I personally would like to see one of the following three people in this role: nappes, nachtwolf or Sprob. We just need to know what do they think and whether they would agree to take responsibility for doing this sometimes boring management work? :) Also we can have more candidatures, any other proposals?


Now about inventory pictures, we have several options:
* Keep grid size the same but make hand object size 4x2
* Extend the grid size a bit, so that cells are increased probably 10-20% or something like this, X-COM items will be displayed centered (but this increase should not be too large, so that x-com items still look ok in this new grid).
* Extend each grid size twice, draw x-com items scaled by applying scale2x filter

Also we still need to make decision on this matter: http://www.xcomufo.c...?showtopic=8181

Edited by Serge, 28 August 2005 - 12:05 AM.

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#6 Sporb

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Posted 28 August 2005 - 12:06 AM

Ah , expand the squares , i dint think of that , thats the way to go for sure. Might be an idea to make the inventory square sections (each block) square as they currently measure up @ 17X16 pixels.

As for a candidate for graphics department , how about Kratos? he's managed the weapon sets well so far. What do YOU think Kratos?

#7 Violazr

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Posted 28 August 2005 - 02:51 AM

Keep grid size the same but make hand object size 4x2

#

That sounds like the best option to me:
The armoury can take it, hand squares are already big enough, and it's only natural that such a big weapn won't fit into a backpack.
Ideally, firing those one-handed should come with a serious penalty.
The only problem is that the "ground" is only 3 squares high.

#8 nappes

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 04:10 AM

The high resolution issue should be decided as soon as possible, because the longer we wait, the more stuff there is to convert when we finally decide to do it. Currently there is only really one skin, one terrain set and one set of weapons that would need to be scaled. I say we migrate to the "twice as large as X-com" resolution while we still can.

BTW, another thing that needs to be decided is some kind of overall theme for the new graphics. The current efforts don't seem to "fit" very well together, for example, the Galactic weaponset, as well as my still very unfinished "Moonbase" terrainset both seem to suggest a space opera setting of some sort, while the Soldier skin, although somewhat high-tech, seems a bit... earth-bound to be running around in strange alien worlds with poisonous gas and vacuum environments. So I think either someone (that would probably be me?) creates a more sci-fi looking astronaut/space marine skin and we go with the space setting, or more down-to-earth textures for terrain and weapons are made.

When the theme and setting are selected, we might also have someone with some talent in creative writing flesh out the backstory with a short novel or something. It would be good to know what factions are fighting each other and so on. As much as I love X-Com, I would like to see something original instead of the age-old, über-clichéd "Aliens invading Earth" plot. There are plenty of direct remakes of the X-Com idea already, and it's not like that's the only possible backstory for a squad-based tactical game anyway. And, of course, the UFO2000 project using the imported X-Com graphics would always exist besides this new, original game based on the same engine.

Yes, I agree, someone is needed to co-ordinate the art project. I have reflected on this and I am tentatively offering myself for the position, although if some weird person surfaces who actually wants the thankless management job, I will happily give way, as long as they seem competent enough to do it. :p

#9 Hobbes

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 04:23 AM

When the theme and setting are selected, we might also have someone with some talent in creative writing flesh out the backstory with a short novel or something. It would be good to know what factions are fighting each other and so on. As much as I love X-Com, I would like to see something original instead of the age-old, über-clichéd "Aliens invading Earth" plot. There are plenty of direct remakes of the X-Com idea already, and it's not like that's the only possible backstory for a squad-based tactical game anyway. And, of course, the UFO2000 project using the imported X-Com graphics would always exist besides this new, original game based on the same engine.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I'm already trying to come out with with a basic background and plotline to help units/weapons/terrains developers. The general idea doesn't involve the 'alien invasion' but instead 'first contact'. More on this will follow later when I work it out a little bit more.

#10 Sporb

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 05:39 AM

Nappes , i have some suitably Sci fi looking inventory skins that need sprites drawn , they look extremely sci-fi in fact , like a newage space suit. Perhaps if your willing , you can help me with that so as we can have a single theme , space. (see pic attatched) if we work togeather we can quickly and efficeintly change it to suit and begin to draw it so it fits the theme nicely.

@ hobbes (sorry for the offtopic nature): a story is good but i favour more of a tournament type story IE a squad from each planet is hurled into warp and end up fighting each other in a never ending battle to the death across a wide range of terrains and stuff.This leaves the door open for all kinds of weapons and terrains. like quake3 arena where your men are sent to a far off place to fight and once over , both teams men are revived and sent back to the hub for more. Also explains why your men always come back in each game nicely. The fact that aliens and humans can work togeather seems to destroy the whole "im alien and i hate all humsn" idea. Perhaps a new topic to discuss stories would be a good idea.

Edited by Sporb, 29 August 2005 - 05:49 AM.


#11 charlieg

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 01:25 PM

You want to go for the high resolution graphics. This will not impede the implementation of a free set of graphics for ufo2000 - simply keep with lo-res ones you have done and work on hi-res versions of the stuff still needed, then you can go back and refine the lo-res ones afterwards.

#12 nappes

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 04:44 PM

Sporb, yes, that armour looks something like what I had in mind. I think that picture could look more "3D" though, I think I could draw a better version of it (or a very similar design), while you could start making the map sprites using my Soldier skin as a template. What do you think?

#13 Kratos

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 05:13 PM

As for a candidate for graphics department , how about Kratos? he's managed the weapon sets well so far. What do YOU think Kratos?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Sure :Blush:

BTW, another thing that needs to be decided is some kind of overall theme for the new graphics. The current efforts don't seem to "fit" very well together, for example, the Galactic weaponset, as well as my still very unfinished "Moonbase" terrainset both seem to suggest a space opera setting of some sort, while the Soldier skin, although somewhat high-tech, seems a bit... earth-bound to be running around in strange alien worlds with poisonous gas and vacuum environments. So I think either someone (that would probably be me?) creates a more sci-fi looking astronaut/space marine skin and we go with the space setting, or more down-to-earth textures for terrain and weapons are made.

I am already aware of some lack of graphic themes of galactic weapons. I PMed sporb a list of changes needed some time ago.

Edited by Kratos, 29 August 2005 - 07:31 PM.


#14 Sporb

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 11:03 PM

Yea , about that , i will try get em done soon.

#15 Serge

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Posted 30 August 2005 - 01:53 PM

The high resolution issue should be decided as soon as possible, because the longer we wait, the more stuff there is to convert when we finally decide to do it. Currently there is only really one skin, one terrain set and one set of weapons that would need to be  scaled. I say we migrate to the "twice as large as X-com" resolution while we still can.

I see. Unfortunately the engine needs some work before we can see high resolution sprites in action. And I will be very busy at work for at least 2 weeks. On the other hand, I might get another free week after that and have time to finish ufo2000 modding support :)

The other things to be decided are the exact high resolution sprites dimensions. Twice as large as x-com is fine, but proportions of x-com sprites have one probably not very good treat: where'd the floor go?. That's only a minor issue, but all depends on whether we would like to use the new graphics together with x-com on the same missions or not.

Also that's an old story, but while unsuccessfully trying to find any artists to work of ufo2000 graphics a year or two ago, I found another uncommercial project: Invasion2021 (the link to it is available from the bottom of http://ufo2000.sourceforge.net). It is one more x-com inspired game with 2D graphics (unfortunately closed source). I asked their developers if ufo2000 could use compatible size of sprites in order to be potentially able to use the same sets of graphics in the future. They did not mind :) Now it seems that Invasion2021 has the only developer left and the project is having hard times. Here is their basic map element: http://ufo2000.lxnt....ple_element.bmp. But it is probably not very interesting for us now. I'm a bit suspicious about closed source projects (especially considering our experience with the closed source ufo2000 pager and to some extent with daishiva's map editor) and not sure if their license allowed us to use their sprites anyway.

BTW, another thing that needs to be decided is some kind of overall theme for the new graphics. The current efforts don't seem to "fit" very well together, for example, the Galactic weaponset, as well as my still very unfinished "Moonbase" terrainset both seem  to suggest a space opera setting of some sort, while the Soldier skin, although somewhat high-tech, seems a bit... earth-bound to be  running around in strange alien worlds with poisonous gas and vacuum environments. So I think either someone (that would probably be me?)  creates a more sci-fi looking astronaut/space marine skin and we go with the space setting, or more down-to-earth textures for terrain and weapons are made.

When the theme and setting are selected, we might also have someone with some talent in creative writing flesh out the backstory with a short novel or something. It would be good to know what factions are fighting each other and so on. As much as I love X-Com, I would like to see something original instead of the age-old, über-clichéd "Aliens invading Earth" plot. There are plenty of direct remakes of the X-Com idea already, and it's not like that's the only possible backstory for a squad-based tactical game anyway. And, of course, the UFO2000 project using the imported X-Com graphics would always exist besides this new, original game based on the same engine.

I agree. Just directly copying old ideas is not very fun. We need to be more creative and bring something new to this world :) But not too different in order not to turn away old x-com fans ;)

Yes, I agree, someone is needed to co-ordinate the art project. I have reflected on this and I am tentatively offering myself for the position, although if some weird person surfaces who actually wants the thankless management job, I will happily give way, as long as they seem competent enough to do it. :P

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Thanks, I'm glad that you agreed to take this position. If nobody has any objections, that's settled for now. And of course if you ever decide that you don't feel like doing this work anymore, that's not a problem at all. :)
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#16 Serge

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Posted 30 August 2005 - 02:13 PM

As for a candidate for graphics department , how about Kratos? he's managed the weapon sets well so far. What do YOU think Kratos?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Sure :Blush:

Isn't it too much work for you? Weapon sets and their balance still need some attention. In addition, nappes is very skilled at making graphics and sprites, so he can provide help when somebody working on the graphics encounters problems or needs advice. And there is an old rule: if you want something done, be prepared to do it yourself (in the worst case) :)

PS. By the way, default team (squad.default.lua) is currenly armed with 'original x-com weapons', but it is not considered to have the best balance. We need to rearm them with 'modified weapons' for the inclusion in the next beta to fix this issue. Could anybody provide a fixed lua file? Or probably we could even have default squads for any weapon set in the distributive of the game.
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#17 Sporb

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Posted 30 August 2005 - 05:06 PM

Serge , could there possibly a default squad set into each weapon set's folder? weapons sets developers could then outfit a default squad and save the file inside the set. Then there could be a specific button to load such a default set 'Load predefined soldiers for this weapons set'

#18 Kratos

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Posted 30 August 2005 - 06:13 PM

Isn't it too much work for you? Weapon sets and their balance still need some attention. In addition, nappes is very skilled at making graphics and sprites, so he can provide help when somebody working on the graphics encounters problems or needs advice. And there is an old rule: if you want something done, be prepared to do it yourself (in the worst case)  :)

Actually I want to reconsider anyway...I don't have as much free time as I use to anymore. I think we should stick with nappes as the person for the job. :)

PS. By the way, default team (squad.default.lua) is currenly armed with 'original x-com weapons', but it is not considered to have the best balance. We need to rearm them with 'modified weapons' for the inclusion in the next beta to fix this issue. Could anybody provide a fixed lua file? Or probably we could even have default squads for any weapon set in the distributive of the game.

Well here is the "modified set" version. I would like to make a default squad for all those who were involved in the so called "galactic set" if possible :)

Edited by Kratos, 30 August 2005 - 06:15 PM.


#19 Serge

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Posted 30 August 2005 - 09:15 PM

Serge , could there possibly a default squad set into each weapon set's folder? weapons sets developers could then outfit a default squad and save the file inside the set. Then there could be a specific button to load such a default set 'Load predefined soldiers for this weapons set'

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Actually by adding weapon sets support to the game we opened Pandora's box :) Now we have some other problems to resolve (mostly issues related to usability). One of them is the need to be able to outfit the soldiers fast for any weapon sets and switch between different squad settings. One of the solutions can be a definition of default weapos for each weapon set for different specialities like: 'scout', 'sniper', ... (that reminds old unfinished Quick Setup HaJo's idea), so that you can always invoke a listbox, select soldier specialities and he will be armed with the preset weapons. Also when switching weapon sets, the soldiers armed according to some speciality can be automatically rearmed with the weapons for the same speciality but from the other weapon set. Naturally, the player will be able to edit weapons for any speciality and any weapon set as he likes, his personal preferences will have higher priority over default speciality definition in weapon set.

But discussing weapon sets is offtopic here. We might add a feature request to the mantis or create a new thread in the forum.
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#20 nappes

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 12:37 PM

Twice as large as x-com is fine, but proportions of x-com sprites have one probably not very good treat: where'd the floor go?. That's only a minor issue, but all depends on whether we would like to use the new graphics together with x-com on the same missions or not.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


As far as I understand, problems like that would persist no matter what dimensions we use, because they stem from the very nature of isometric graphics. When there is no perspective distortion, and no way to rotate the camera, it can sometimes be difficult to estimate the relative distances of different objects to the camera plane. Usually these things are obvious from the way how maps are constructed, but in some freak situations little glitches like these "invisible holes" cause annoyance. Since a true 3D engine is not going to be implemented in UFO2000 anytime soon, for various reasons, one way to solve the problem would be to shade the different height levels differently depending on which one of them is focused, like Sporb suggested. Or simply just build maps in such a way that there are no identical floors on top of another, which is probably the most feasible solution.

I don't really have a strong opinion on whether the new graphics should be usable alongside with the graphics from X-Com, but I don't see any good reason why we should deviate from the proven and tested X-Com dimensions. Changing the camera angle too much would probably just compromise the readability of the graphics in one way or another. Perhaps halving the tile height, so that one cell is almost cubical, would give more freedom to mappers, on the other hand, one normal soldier standing upright would then take two cells vertically, and there should be an implementation of multi-celled units first before anything like that can be done.

EDIT: Sporb: I made my own version of your blue armour idea. It didn't turn out very similar tho, except for the general colour scheme, but I felt some changes were necessary. Now, do you want to make the map sprites for this unit or not? It could be your first assignment from me. :) But if you are too busy right now, then no prob, I can do it myself.

lunarsuit_inv.png

Edited by nappes, 31 August 2005 - 04:50 PM.


#21 Tursiops

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Posted 03 September 2005 - 09:21 PM

that's why this thread was created, we need to know who is working on making new graphics for the game, what should we do next, discuss our plans, etc.

Also we need to have someone assigned as a chief of this artwork department. We need somebody who can track what's happening in this department, update credits for artwork section in the UFO2000 AUTHORS file, ... and also kick the programmers when they are too lazy adding some of the needed features to the engine and some of the artwork related tasks are stalled because of this :)

Any thoughts?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Not to undermine artwork, but one of my favorite things about the original xcom was the sound effects. They helped create tension and often scared me out of my chair. As far as I can tell, there has been minimal work done creating new sound effects (please correct me if I'm wrong). New original sound effects of course should match the artwork and general theme, so perhaps we should have a sound effect director who works closely with the artwork director. Of course issue 0000293 needs to be fixed first, so perhaps I should have waited till this was resolved before mentioning this.

#22 nachtwolf

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Posted 04 September 2005 - 01:22 AM

Isn't it too much work for you? Weapon sets and their balance still need some attention. In addition, nappes is very skilled at making graphics and sprites, so he can provide help when somebody working on the graphics encounters problems or needs advice. And there is an old rule: if you want something done, be prepared to do it yourself (in the worst case)  :)

Actually I want to reconsider anyway...I don't have as much free time as I use to anymore. I think we should stick with nappes as the person for the job. :)

PS. By the way, default team (squad.default.lua) is currenly armed with 'original x-com weapons', but it is not considered to have the best balance. We need to rearm them with 'modified weapons' for the inclusion in the next beta to fix this issue. Could anybody provide a fixed lua file? Or probably we could even have default squads for any weapon set in the distributive of the game.

Well here is the "modified set" version. I would like to make a default squad for all those who were involved in the so called "galactic set" if possible :)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I went though the same thinking as Kratos did, it's pretty flattering to be a candidate for the job :Blush: and I felt like applying but I don't have enough spare/free time to fill in this position unfortunately. If nappes needs some advices I can help. Anyway this artwork team will be pretty fluid to work with from what I saw. Everyone is competent and works well. One of the few things it needed was organisation.

Edited by nachtwolf, 04 September 2005 - 01:26 AM.

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#23 Serge

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Posted 04 September 2005 - 01:46 PM

As far as I understand, problems like that would persist no matter what dimensions we use, because they stem from the very nature of isometric graphics.

But the dimensions in x-com are selected so that a floor tile which is 2 levels up exactly overlaps some underlying tile. So using x-com dimensions, so the problem with the difference between destroyed and normal floor is especially noticeable. Most likely this was done for implementing some performance optimization tricks. If you have some floor grid on some higher level, it exactly overlaps some tile below and we don't have to spend some precious CPU cycles drawing it (original x-com had to run on i386 cpu).

When there is no perspective distortion, and no way to rotate the camera, it can sometimes be difficult to estimate the relative distances of different objects to the camera plane. Usually these things are obvious from the way how maps are constructed, but in some freak situations little glitches like these "invisible holes" cause annoyance. Since a true 3D engine is not going to be implemented in UFO2000 anytime soon, for various reasons, one way to solve the problem would be to shade the different height levels differently depending on which one of them is focused, like Sporb suggested. Or simply just build maps in such a way that there are no identical floors on top of another, which is probably the most feasible solution.

Well, I feel that this could add some extra confusion, but actually implementing full 3D rendering of the battlescape is technically not very difficult. The code for drawing the map is a bit scattered all over the code, but is not that large and can be isolated. And we may add some kind of 3D frontend in the future if we decide it is worth it. For anyone who would like to try making 3D frontend for ufo2000, it can be started from making the game run with F_FASTSTART=1 flag in ufo2000.ini set. So the battle will start immediately after running ufo2000 executable with the setting of the previous battle and we don't have to implement all the gui and mission preparation code at first. And an interesting demo would be to just display loft data on the map using OpenGL (probably start from using allegrogl, but making an ogre based frontend should be also possible). This 3D frontend task is not that difficult as it may seem at first :)

Actually when I came to this forum, the idea was to work with Xenocide people on the same game. We make the battlescape, they make the geoscape. And we could merge the codebase at some point in the future. I still keep an eye on Xenocide waiting when they finally have a playable geoscape in order to estimate if it is difficult to merge it with ufo2000 engine. That's probably why the forums of our projects are both hosted at xcomufo.com

Here are some dusty old threads which have all the information about these cooperation ideas from the very beginning of the Xenocide project (they are quite long, either read them all or just search for my posts):
http://www.xcomufo.c...hp?showtopic=97
http://www.xcomufo.c...p?showtopic=293

Do you feel completely confused now? ;) OK, I'm not going to implement any 3D graphics right now. We just don't have enough resources for that and I myself do not consider 3D graphics to be better than 2D. Quite the opposite, 3D graphics adds lots of compatibility problems while 2D should work just anywhere. Also we might even port the game to mobile devices, so it is good that we still use 2D graphics: http://www.xcomufo.c...?showtopic=8451

But I would not mind if someone started making 3D frontend if he is interested, even more I will provide any help or explanations regarding current ufo2000 codebase that he might need.

I don't really have a strong opinion on whether the new graphics should be usable alongside with the graphics from X-Com, but I don't see any good reason why we should deviate from the proven and tested X-Com dimensions. Changing the camera angle too much would probably just compromise the readability of the graphics in one way or another. Perhaps halving the tile height, so that one cell is almost cubical, would give more freedom to mappers, on the other hand, one normal soldier standing upright would then take two cells vertically, and there should be an implementation of multi-celled units first before anything like that can be done.

Well, looks like we are short on man power in the programming department currently. So we should probably finish a set of free graphics using x-com dimentions, make the game use it and run without any data files from x-com and release the new stable version as soon as possible. After that we will continue the development in the next beta versions and can add support for high resolution graphics. What do you think?

Edited by Serge, 04 September 2005 - 01:54 PM.

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#24 Serge

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Posted 04 September 2005 - 02:57 PM

Not to undermine artwork, but one of my favorite things about the original xcom was the sound effects. They helped create tension and often scared me out of my chair. As far as I can tell, there has been minimal work done creating new sound effects (please correct me if I'm wrong).  New original sound effects of course should match the artwork and general theme, so perhaps we should have a sound effect director who works closely with the artwork director. Of course issue 0000293 needs to be fixed first, so perhaps I should have waited till this was resolved before mentioning this.

You are right, sound effects are important. Though the game can run without sounds/music, but can't without graphics sprites. So the priority of making new graphics for the game is a bit higher.

I'm currently working on game modding documentation and also will add support for custom map tilesets so that a new moonbase tileset will be used by the game.

Probably Twilight Owl can do all the needed fixes in the code to support replacing cursors, icons, impact animation and other pictures (if he has some free time for that)

And you can try to improve sound effects support if you want :)
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#25 Sporb

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Posted 04 September 2005 - 08:59 PM

EDIT: Sporb: I made my own version of your blue armour idea. It didn't turn out very similar tho, except for the general colour scheme, but I felt some changes were necessary. Now, do you want to make the map sprites for this unit or not? It could be your first assignment from me. :) But if you are too busy right now, then no prob, I can do it myself.

lunarsuit_inv.png

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Will do cheif, but it might not be as swift as expected. I have plenty to do.

#26 Serge

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 10:50 PM

Maybe some of you have read about the recent Xenocide license change:
http://www.xcomufo.c...?showtopic=8609

It concerns us somewhat as we also use GPL license. Red Knight explained that 'the license was preventing contributions from some professional people'. I still have impression that it was a big misunderstanding (both by that professional contributors and Red Knight).

I want to point out that GPL is probably the most widely used license at least for open source software and a lot of people have already analyzed it and found it quite usable. Let's not (mis)interpret the license ourselves and try to find some information about the matter.

One of the most successful projects using GPL license for game development is http://www.wesnoth.org/. It is interesting as it is developed very actively and has a lot of graphics contributors. Some forum posts contain information about contributions, license and copyright:
http://www.wesnoth.o...opic.php?t=2014
http://www.wesnoth.o...opic.php?t=7507
http://www.wesnoth.o...opic.php?t=7475

And here is some general discussion about the license choice for artwork:
http://happypenguin....opic.php?t=1547

Appears that GPL is not that bad for it and actually 'source' for the artwork is not something that makes no sense. One of the recent examples is a current ufo2000 menu background picture, it is low quality JPG and. Source for it would be probably a high quality picture using several image layers (background, soldier, logo), it would be much better for making some changes or improvements to it.

Anyway, we are not going to take any rights from ufo2000 contributors and everyone gets credited as far as I know (if we forgot anyone, you can remind me, that will be fixed).
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#27 Llyr

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 03:29 AM

One of the question is about whether we need to make new high resolution graphics for the game. If we need it, what sprites dimensions would be best? Probably they should be twice as large as sprites from x-com (scale2x mode) in order to be able to use new high resolution graphics together with old x-com graphics on the same map?

On the other hand, probably we should not bother about that now and work on finishing 'completely free graphics' milestone using old x-com sprites dimensions.


i think those two points don't exclude each other... you can make a decision about the final size of tiles (and their color depth, file format and so on...) and still create tiles for the milestone using old dimensions.

to decide on a resolution that should be used finally, whould ease changes to the game (in order to make it support the new dimension) and it would allow people to create tiles with final dimension if they want to.
as long as the game game doesn't officially switch to using the new dimensions, it should be absolutely no problem to downscale the new tiles (and they don't need to be two times the size of the original x-com tiles) in order to be able to use them together with original tiles and/or "placeholders" (by which i mean tiles created at old dimensions for temporar use, just to be able to release a milestone independent of original files). these placeholders won't need extraordinary quality then, since i don't see much sense in investing lots of time in creating nice looking tiles with the old dimension, if it is for sure already, that they will be replaced again, later on.
makes more sense to me, than creating a complete set of placeholders and directing all the efforts of the graphicians to temporar graphics, just to have them start from scratch again, after the final dimension decision is made...

just my two cents...

just an additional thought on alpha transparency (not sure now if it was this thread i read about it... so sorry maybe for going offtopic):
somebody was talking about full alpha transparency somewhere... i don't know how expensive that would be, in terms of calculation time needed, but i don't think that you will necessarily need 256 grades of transparency. 5 to 10 different levels of transparency should be fully sufficient to create some very nice looking effects.
5 levels for example would be: 100% opaque, 75%, 50%, 25% and 0%
if this still is to expensive, maybe just three levels? 100%, 50% and 0%?

but as far as you have at least the smallest bit of hardware accelleration even full transparancy should not be any problem i guess...



excuse me for any portions of bad english you might encounter in this post :P

Edited by Llyr, 02 November 2005 - 03:30 AM.


#28 Llyr

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 04:15 AM

EDIT: Sporb: I made my own version of your blue armour idea. It didn't turn out very similar tho, except for the general colour scheme, but I felt some changes were necessary. Now, do you want to make the map sprites for this unit or not? It could be your first assignment from me. :) But if you are too busy right now, then no prob, I can do it myself.

lunarsuit_inv.png


looks really cool, but there's one thing i'd like to complain about...

"pixel stairs" (thats how i call it...). since ufo2000 supports a high color depth and theres no need to restrict oneself to a limited color palette... why do so?

just as a proof of concept i dared to rape your pic by using a blur tool on it... just to smooth out some of these "pixel stairs". i didn't be very carefull, so the work may look rather crude, but its not meant to be a graphic actually used, than rather a proof of concept to show you what i'm talking about...

just compare...

lunarsuit_invbig.png

edit:
just installed beta, and it seems like dimensions are up already... all the tiles look scaled up to some bigger size using sai oder something alike...
are there new dimensions already?
on lxnt i saw some templatefile, but that was for old dimension still, wasnt it? does there a template for new dimensions exist? and where do i get it?

Edited by Llyr, 02 November 2005 - 05:41 AM.


#29 Serge

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 07:30 AM

just an additional thought on alpha transparency (not sure now if it was this thread i read about it... so sorry maybe for going offtopic):
somebody was talking about full alpha transparency somewhere... i don't know how expensive that would be, in terms of calculation time needed, but i don't think that you will necessarily need 256 grades of transparency. 5 to 10 different levels of transparency should be fully sufficient to create some very nice looking effects.
5 levels for example would be: 100% opaque, 75%, 50%, 25% and 0%
if this still is to expensive, maybe just three levels? 100%, 50% and 0%?

Well, the number of transparency levels does not matter at all. It is either supported for any particular sprite and introduces some performance slowdown or is not supported (every pixel in the sprite is either completely transparent or completely opaque). Sprites with alpha transparency take about 2-3 times more time to draw them than ordinary sprites. For example in my tests 800x600 fullscreen mode provides about 90 FPS on my computer (Athlon XP 2.0GHz) when only ordinary sprites are used. The same map and screen settings provides 35 FPS when alpha transparency is enforced for all sprites. The numbers on different hardware may vary. When alpha transparency is used for only some sprites, we should expect FPS numbers between that 35 and 90 depending on the number of transparent sprites used.

Considering that the game does not use framerate higher than 30 by default, even heavy use of alpha transparency should not cause any problems on modern computers. But as we may have more complicated maps with more objects and many levels shown, it is better not to overuse alpha transparency.

but as far as you have at least the smallest bit of hardware accelleration even full transparancy should not be any problem i guess...

UFO2000 does not use any hardware acceleration currently. It has an advantage of working on almost any system even with antique video cards (don't laugh, but I only recently upgraded a PCI videocard which only had 4MB of videoram). Just check some Xenocide topics with people reporting compatibility problems. And modern computers manage to provide a decent framerate anyway even without using hardware acceleration :)

Adding support for hardware acceleration is possible, but it requires some work (and all the sprites that need to use hardware acceleration should fit video memory which complicates game logic somewhat). I think that it is not worth to even bother about hardware acceleration for 2D frontend currenly. Once we start making a 3D frontend, it will use hardware acceleration via OpenGL.
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#30 Blood Angel

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 08:20 AM

looks really cool, but there's one thing i'd like to complain about...

"pixel stairs" (thats how i call it...).  since ufo2000 supports a high color depth and theres no need to restrict oneself to a limited color palette... why do so?

just as a proof of concept i dared to rape your pic by using a blur tool on it... just to smooth out some of these "pixel stairs". i didn't be very carefull, so the work may look rather crude, but its not meant to be a graphic actually used, than rather a proof of concept to show you what i'm talking about...

just compare...

lunarsuit_invbig.png

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


The point of this is, it's looking retro. We love pixel stairs. They make us feel warm inside.

Edited by Blood Angel, 02 November 2005 - 08:20 AM.


#31 nappes

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 12:40 PM

Yeah... Warm...

Actually, the real reason why the jaggies are there is that I was just too lazy to smooth them out. :p I may consider fixing it for the next version now that somebody took notice.

#32 Serge

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 02:02 PM

While the bugtracker is still not accessible, reminding that we still need some smoke frames for the ufo2000 set of graphics :) And some buttons (left/right arrows for the inventory screen), and proper inventory picture for soldier corpse (the one included in the game is a stub made by me using GIMP by resizing/flipping/copying the last frame of soldier death animation), and hand-images for soldier corpse, and ... let's stop here for now :)
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#33 Blood Angel

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 03:06 PM

I could see the corpse conversation spiralling downwards into an activity frowned upon in most places and illegal in others, in particular California.

#34 Llyr

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 03:36 PM

looks really cool, but there's one thing i'd like to complain about...

"pixel stairs" (thats how i call it...).  since ufo2000 supports a high color depth and theres no need to restrict oneself to a limited color palette... why do so?

just as a proof of concept i dared to rape your pic by using a blur tool on it... just to smooth out some of these "pixel stairs". i didn't be very carefull, so the work may look rather crude, but its not meant to be a graphic actually used, than rather a proof of concept to show you what i'm talking about...

just compare...

lunarsuit_invbig.png

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


The point of this is, it's looking retro. We love pixel stairs. They make us feel warm inside.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



i really was shure i'd get some sort of "this has religious reasons"-answer... i should have bet some money... :P

#35 nappes

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 03:56 PM

While the bugtracker is still not accessible, reminding that we still need some smoke frames for the ufo2000 set of graphics :) And some buttons (left/right arrows for the inventory screen), and proper inventory picture for soldier corpse (the one included in the game is a stub made by me using GIMP by resizing/flipping/copying the last frame of soldier death animation), and hand-images for soldier corpse, and ... let's stop here for now :)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Here are the button sprites, I put them together from components borrowed from Nachtwolf's panel.

left_button_normal.png left_button_over.png right_button_normal.png right_button_over.png

I'll have a look at the smoke animation after I've finished the blue armoured Lunar Suit skin. I don't know if you saw the the thread on the bug tracker before it went down, but the Lunar Suit is now in a playable state, it has all the sprites the Soldier currently has. It also lacks the corpse, but that's what I'm going to make next. The new skin is supposed to be a replacement for the Soldier skin, which I was never completely satisfied with. I may continue my work on the Soldier, but I don't think it's currently a high priority to have multiple different skins, so I'll concentrate on more important tasks for the time being.

#36 Llyr

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 03:14 AM

er...

and what about tile dimensions?

#37 nappes

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 05:35 AM

One of the question is about whether we need to make new high resolution graphics for the game. If we need it, what sprites dimensions would be best? Probably they should be twice as large as sprites from x-com (scale2x mode) in order to be able to use new high resolution graphics together with old x-com graphics on the same map?

On the other hand, probably we should not bother about that now and work on finishing 'completely free graphics' milestone using old x-com sprites dimensions.


i think those two points don't exclude each other... you can make a decision about the final size of tiles (and their color depth, file format and so on...) and still create tiles for the milestone using old dimensions.

to decide on a resolution that should be used finally, whould ease changes to the game (in order to make it support the new dimension) and it would allow people to create tiles with final dimension if they want to.
as long as the game game doesn't officially switch to using the new dimensions, it should be absolutely no problem to downscale the new tiles (and they don't need to be two times the size of the original x-com tiles) in order to be able to use them together with original tiles and/or "placeholders" (by which i mean tiles created at old dimensions for temporar use, just to be able to release a milestone independent of original files). these placeholders won't need extraordinary quality then, since i don't see much sense in investing lots of time in creating nice looking tiles with the old dimension, if it is for sure already, that they will be replaced again, later on.
makes more sense to me, than creating a complete set of placeholders and directing all the efforts of the graphicians to temporar graphics, just to have them start from scratch again, after the final dimension decision is made...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Your logic pretty much holds up otherwise, but I don't think we would be starting from scratch. Actually it's quite easy to just scale up old sprites and touch them up to look all super nice and detailed. Besides, we're almost done with achieving the milestone anyway, in fact, the game is already pretty much playable without having to rely on data from the X-Com games. So it's a bit late to complain about our decision anymore. :)

But yes, I'm still of the opinion that we should migrate to 2x resolution, that is, increasing both the width and height for all the old graphics (except maybe panel/gui) to exactly twice of their original size. The scale2x algorithm currently used gives a good taste of what it would look like, only with scaling done manually it would result in much crisper detail instead of the currently prevalent fuzziness.

#38 Llyr

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 06:10 PM

i didn't mean to complain...

i just felt curious. i maybe would do some tiles (or at least try to), but its hard without knowing what dimension they should be. thats why i asked if there was a template file with large dimensions.

Actually it's quite easy to just scale up old sprites and touch them up to look all super nice and detailed.

not sure about that. i still think scaling down is much easier... but of course everyone should work the way he does best. i do best working oversized and scaling down then (which would be completely the other way round...)

so...
i just want to know if there is a decision about final tile size, and i want to state, that i think it would be good to make that decision soon, if not done already. i won't complain about whatever decision is made... i'd just like to know.
i'd like to play around a bit with an editor and create some tiles (without making any commitment). if this results in anything good, you'll get it. if not... never mind.

if you just tell me it's X * Y pixels and thats how its gonna be, then im fully satisfied.

#39 Serge

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 02:42 PM

2Llyr: Current sprites dimentions (just the same as in x-com) are 32x40, some more details are here: http://lxnt.info:888...nk/techinfo.txt
A template for map tiles made for this dimention created by nappes can be found here: http://ufo2k.lxnt.in...view.php?id=182

If we are going to use twice that size in the future, sprites dimentions will be 64x80, tile templates still need to be done. But we also need to modify the game engine somewhat and add a setting to use these new map tile dimentions, otherwise testing of the new tiles will be impossible.

2nappes: Thanks for these new sprites. I have been a bit lazy for the last few days and got out of the flow somewhat (partially influenced by the temporarily inaccessibility of the bugtracker, sources repository, etc.). I will try make a new beta release using the new sprites on the next weekend (maybe even sooner, but no promises ;)).
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#40 Llyr

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 07:33 PM

If we are going to use twice that size in the future, sprites dimentions will be 64x80, tile templates still need to be done.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


here you go... ^^

template2.png

edit: somehow missed three tiles... fixed that now

Edited by Llyr, 10 November 2005 - 04:43 AM.


#41 nachtwolf

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 11:47 PM

If we are going to use twice that size in the future, sprites dimentions will be 64x80, tile templates still need to be done.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


here you go... ^^

template2.png

edit: somehow missed three tiles... fixed that now

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Im a bit concerned about the resolution we will be able to play at. We are going to be VERY zommed on that map with 64-80 tiles...
I personnaly think we should go for something intermediate like 48x60 but then the problem would be zooming 1.5 times the already existing tiles...
What about those who got 800x600 (even 1024x768), I'm running 1280x960 and I still find that pretty big.
I guess we got to either deal with the too-close-for-comfort view or weird tile scaling.

Edited by nachtwolf, 10 November 2005 - 11:48 PM.

Posted Image

#42 Sporb

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 02:00 AM

instead of amping the size , why not add support for larger tiles? like a 4X4 tile floor and so on. the problem with such small tiles is that to get them to tile convincingly pixels have to be placed just right. with larger tiles more variation in tileset can be made. explosion holes can then be added as transparent patchs placed ontop of the existing tile to make it seem like there are 4X tiles instead of 1

EDIT: @ nachtwolf: there are additons that can shrink high quality textures so they fit into smaller spaces without the need for texture editing

Edited by Sporb, 11 November 2005 - 02:03 AM.


#43 nappes

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 07:29 AM

Im a bit concerned about the resolution we will be able to play at. We are going to be VERY zommed on that map with 64-80 tiles...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

In 640x480 resolution, which is the minimum supported by UFO2000, and with the tile size of 64x80, it would be the same as playing the original X-Com in 320x200 (or like playing the u2k beta with the 2x scaling algorithm turned on). Yes, you would see less of the battlefield at once than now, but that never was a problem in X-Com. I think the closer view actually makes the game feel more atmospheric and intimate.

instead of amping the size , why not add support for larger tiles? like a 4X4 tile floor and so on. the problem with such small tiles is that to get them to tile convincingly pixels have to be placed just right. with larger tiles more variation in tileset can be made. explosion holes can then be added as transparent patchs placed ontop of the existing tile to make it seem like there are 4X tiles instead of 1

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Seems a lot trouble coding-wise for something that only makes life a little easier for artists. You could only really apply this to floor tiles in the very bottom of the map anyway, since floors above ground level as well as walls and other big things need the ability to be broken into several pieces (when players shoot holes through them), and the easiest, most straightforward way to achieve this is just to construct them from smaller tiles.

@ Llyr: Nice job. You saved me the trouble of having to scale the template, and I can appreciate that. Thanks.

Edited by nappes, 11 November 2005 - 08:03 AM.


#44 Llyr

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 05:35 PM

@ Llyr: Nice job. You saved me the trouble of having to scale the template, and I can appreciate that. Thanks.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


no problem, but i think i will have to do some additional changes to the template.

i did some tests by manually fitting tiles together, and hat to find out, that walls wont fit seamlessly. their front face does fit perfectly, but the sides don't. you can see one single row (4 pixels) which are brown, not red. i can fix that, but then, on the topside of the wall, there are two brown pixels missing if two walls are put next to each other. but this almost isnt noticeable.

another problem are the stairs, and they can't be fixed that easily...
since the walls have a width of some pixels, and the stairs fully fill the space (the pseudo-3d cube) they are in, there is some overlapping. this isnt noticeable with the small tiles, but you can see it with the bigger resolution.

i could fix this, by reducing the with of the stairs by exactly that amount which is the width of the wall...
stairs and walls would fit together perfectly than, BUT if you place two stairs next to each other, there would be a gap then.

the only way to fix that problem too, is to make an additional tyle type. either we need two different types of stairs with different widths: one for stand-alone use, and one for use next to walls... or we have a stair-shaped piece of wall to fill the gap in the midst of two stairs...

problem.png

#45 Llyr

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 05:45 PM

instead of amping the size , why not add support for larger tiles? like a 4X4 tile floor and so on. the problem with such small tiles is that to get them to tile convincingly pixels have to be placed just right. with larger tiles more variation in tileset can be made. explosion holes can then be added as transparent patchs placed ontop of the existing tile to make it seem like there are 4X tiles instead of 1

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Seems a lot trouble coding-wise for something that only makes life a little easier for artists. You could only really apply this to floor tiles in the very bottom of the map anyway, since floors above ground level as well as walls and other big things need the ability to be broken into several pieces (when players shoot holes through them), and the easiest, most straightforward way to achieve this is just to construct them from smaller tiles.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


hey guys...
artist CAN do 4x4 tiles... just create them, paint them, whatever...
and then, when tiles are done... break them into pieces afterwards.

no coding at all.

#46 nappes

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 08:08 AM

i could fix this, by reducing the with of the stairs by exactly that amount which is the width of the wall...
stairs and walls would fit together perfectly than, BUT if you place two stairs next to each other, there would be a gap then.

the only way to fix that problem too, is to make an additional tyle type. either we need two different types of stairs with different widths: one for stand-alone use, and one for use next to walls... or we have a stair-shaped piece of wall to fill the gap in the midst of two stairs...
problem.png

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The better solution of the two you mention is the first one. That is, make another version of the staircase with a few pixels chopped off from the other side to accommodate for the wall. With the "stair-shaped wall" solution, wide staircases could look weird when partially destroyed.

Edited by nappes, 12 November 2005 - 08:09 AM.


#47 Llyr

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 05:28 AM

a new version with fixed walls (absolutely seamless fit guaranteed ^^),
with the smaller stairs and also with stairs looking the other two directions. (not sure about them... you want to use 'em?)

template2.png

after doing the work i suddenly hat an idea, which could be another solution to the stair problem:

doing the walls on the opposed sides of the cube, namely always in front (and therefore drawing them last for this cube... )

this way they would always overlap stairs and so one single width version of stairs would be sufficient.

but this would need some changes in the code (other drawing order of tiles...) and i don't know if the little advantage (of having 4 tiles less) is worth the work, and i also don't know if there wouldn't arise some other troubles, if the drawing order was changed...
it was just a spontaneous idea ^^

EDIT: @ nachtwolf: there are additons that can shrink high quality textures so they fit into smaller spaces without the need for texture editing

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


hm.... makes me dream of zooming in an out with the mousewheel Posted Image

Edited by Llyr, 15 November 2005 - 05:41 AM.


#48 Serge

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 05:46 PM

Thanks for a high resolution map tiles template. I have registered an issue in the bugtracker for this task: http://ufo2k.lxnt.in...view.php?id=431

So your part of work is now done. It is up to the programmers to add support for high resolution tiles. I seem to be the only more or less active programmer working on the project right now, so don't know about posible timeframe. I'm focusing on bugfixing mainly at this moment. As soon as stability of the game improves, I'll switch to some other task (support for custom sound effects, make some kind of map editor in order to to finish moonbase tileset at last, make true support for custom units skins, make proper modding documantation at last, change the way the game detects original x-com data files - move this code from the installer to the game itself, ...). High resolution tiles are also in the list of things to do.

In the mean time, everyone welcome here: http://www.xcomufo.c...?showtopic=6769 :) Let's improve visual look of the game to make it more attractive and playable.
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#49 Blood Angel

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 05:54 PM

Thanks for a high resolution map tiles template. I have registered an issue in the bugtracker for this task: http://ufo2k.lxnt.in...view.php?id=431

So your part of work is now done. It is up to the programmers to add support for high resolution tiles. I seem to be the only more or less active programmer working on the project right now, so don't know about posible timeframe. I'm focusing on bugfixing mainly at this moment. As soon as stability of the game improves, I'll switch to some other task (support for custom sound effects, make some kind of map editor in order to to finish moonbase tileset at last, make true support for custom units skins, make proper modding documantation at last, change the way the game detects original x-com data files - move this code from the installer to the game itself, ...). High resolution tiles are also in the list of things to do.

In the mean time, everyone welcome here: http://www.xcomufo.c...?showtopic=6769 :) Let's improve visual look of the game to make it more attractive and playable.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Re: Map Editor

Perhaps we could enlist the help of the GORGEOUS Diashiva for this task. Mapview is a KICKIN-RAD program and, with a few tweaks, it could be the perfect UFO2K map editor.

Another thing we shall have to dabble in is support for 8 level maps. Oh, the possibilities! *drools*

#50 Jezulkim

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Posted 23 November 2005 - 08:59 AM

I have made some moon pictures, maybe they can be used as backgrounds? or maybe not... I also included the base image so you can edit it. Sorry about the large size, the images didn't look very good when compressed.

Dowload: www.freewebs.com/ttdjezulkim/moonpics.rar


EDIT:I couldn't upload it here and my website host wont allow me to upload anything for a while (15-30 minutes)

EDIT: uploaded.

Edited by Jezulkim, 23 November 2005 - 09:12 AM.

That's my team in my avatar!