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Kicking_Bird

Environment Design

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Okay, so now that everything has simmered down and we all cool this is another design topic I want to cover that compliments my last one about colour theory.

Right now I'm working on a singular large UV sheet for use across all persian buildings - including the persian wonder, if you have to ask what I'm working on.

I put way to much effort into these articles... I could be playing bf4, on netflix or working on personal projects but instead I'm here trying to help you guys :)

Part 1 - Silhouette Designs

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You can click and hold the X button in the browser to pause the gif, drag and let go off the the X to resume it. A lot of the buildings and structures are blocky in game.

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http://www.worldofleveldesign.com/categories/game_environments_design/silhouette-design-game-environments.php

http://www.worldofleveldesign.com/categories/game_environments_design/silhouette-environment-design-basics.php

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This is what makes the game worth playing, RUAH! And all your buildings evolve - that sense of pride and @#$%ing wow.

@ 37minutes 2seconds - your embedding doesn't support time links

Part 2 - Model & Texture Efficiency

RChgNb4.jpg
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(Part) 3 - Revisiting consistency in colour theory

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Edited by Kicking_Bird

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The "useless insets" offer architectural character, whether done with geometry or normal map I don't care, but note that this game is meant to look good on low end comp. One thing to mention, ambient shadowing/occlusion should not be baked into diffuse texture - game has ambient occlusion maps capability.

Also architecturally, just because you can round corners doesn't mean you should. And the current Persian diffuse map is excellent, it is not "dark."

Everything else, yes, silhouettes. However until you no one has complain that they cannot tell storehouse from a civic center easily.

You also get into gameplay discussion in your post, you should probably focus on one topic at time.

Edited by wowgetoffyourcellphone
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Explain, Lion. I don't understand what you're referring to.

Kicking_bird: Enrique revisited the Persian only a few months ago so it might be good to double check with Enrique if you're not doing (accidentally) unwanted stuff. Enrique's work landed in Alpha 18 IIRC (dunno what version you have installed)

Edited by niektb

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Explain, Lion. I don't understand what you're referring to.

Kicking_bird: Enrique revisited the Persian only a few months ago so it might be good to double check with Enrique if you're not doing (accidentally) unwanted stuff. Enrique's work landed in Alpha 18 IIRC (dunno what version you have installed)

Check this

wcDEJnj.jpg

He don't understand the project is obviusly

Edited by Lion.Kanzen
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Explain, Lion. I don't understand what you're referring to.

He's talking about Kicking_Bird's suggestion to make Spartans and Romans use the same buildings. This is non-starter to me and probably to team.

Kicking_bird thinks this game is Age of Empires. I agree that building should progress visual though. Kicking_Bird, there is discussion of making civic centers upgrade appearance when phase up. Team only need some concept art to do it since capability to swap actor is already in engine. Current CC models can be basis for concept and they can be one of the 3 model phases, so now only need 2 more variation.

Edited by wowgetoffyourcellphone
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I utterly disagree with you that 3D stairs are a waste of memory. It's been proven time and time again that 2D stairs using normal maps look terrible.

About the persian set not being instantly recognizable: you're taking huge shortcuts here, particularly as the silhouettes tend to be on desert ground and thus not that noticeable.

The forum is instantly recognizable because of its center alley. The market is because it's got the most tents. The temple is tall and has all the columns. The only ones where there actually are issues are the fortress/special building/that other blocky one which I don't know of. Houses are voluntarily indistinguishable between themselves.

I think your house model looks pretty good but looks too modern. This is not Tangiers. And unless we have some historical proofs for wooden roofs, we won't do it.

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Kicking_bird thinks this game is Age of Empires.

No, I don't but the team is literally afraid of age of empires, you guys named the technology "loom" to "the loom" which tells me you are very hypersensitive. Does this game have time periods? Stone Age 3000BC -> Bronze Age 2000BC -> Iron Age 1000BC -> Conquest Age 100AD?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late_Bronze_Age_collapse http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Age

Also this is pretty laughable but it is like age of empires, this team is just delusional. Archers have unlimited arrows, units have no morale and don't need to eat or camp, swords and arrows can raze city walls, there is no night or day or sleep and combat is based on HP attack/defense and not on skill or tactics. Celtic Kings: Rage of War is more historical and realistic than this game.

qRKTfQi.jpg

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Unlock simulator/clash of clans in real-time: ^

I'm by no means a historian and it looks like 0AD setting and environments take place all around 70-100AD+ which makes the "town phases" inadequate because all your doing is literately gathering resources to unlock new buildings... buildings and units you should already have by then.

Check this

He don't understand the project is obviusly

I think your house model looks pretty good but looks too modern. This is not Tangiers. And unless we have some historical proofs for wooden roofs, we won't do it.

Staying 100% historically accurate is boring and what you are saying is contradicting, Roman soldiers can be foragers, farmers and lumberjacks but you can't have any wooden roofs? Archers have unlimited arrows? Swords can raze buildings?

Can someone explain this project to me? Is it actually supposed to stuck in 100AD with no expansion, I don't care about mods I care about improving the vanilla version. And if you are attempting to be historical accurate, I to re-evaluate what I'm doing here.

Edited by Kicking_Bird

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Bronze age mod http://wildfiregames.com/forum/index.php?showforum=420

On an art point of view, it's really hard to modelize every single weapon used on a 3000 years timelapse, with different architecture, and influences. Remember the main point of this game is being historically accurate.

Part one of the game is -500 0

Part two (not started yet is 0 - 500

Rise of the east mod is -200 +200

Bronze age (Aristeia) is -5000 -3000 or something

Millenium ad is 500 -1000

Edited by stanislas69

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Having the town phases means that you start a small village that develops till a major metropolis. (if you play the game right)

Logically in the first phase the villagers are relatively poor and that could be easily represented by having 'humble' buildings (that consist of hay, wood whatever). Requirement however for implementing such buildings is an accurate source of how those wooden buildings would look like. As the village develops (with research the Town Phase and City Phase techs) those buildings could be replaced by 'richer' versions with more ornaments/other materials (along with unlocking new buildings)

Why it hasn't been done till date? Probably because of the amount of artwork that would be needed to reach this?

Edited by niektb

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Kicking_Bird :

Again, your post is very insightful, and thank you for it, but please don't call the designers lazy : they don't have a lot of resources and do the best they can.

For the "regional sets", factions of the same civs already share some building models (see the three greek factions and the two celt ones).

As for your persian house, like wraitii, I find it a bit too modern, and the round parts around the roof look like inflatable tubes. But if you can make some more historically accurate buildings with the same visibility characteristics, I'll totally go for it :)

Finally, I would like to add that I share Kicking_Bird impressions on the atmosphere : the game feels dark to me.

It's hard to explain, that's why I didn't tell it earlier : it doesn't *look* dark, it *feels* dark. In other words, it's a bit depressing, despite the lightning and the graphical quality. The reason is hard to identify, at first I thought it was because the fog of war was too dark, or that the lines of sight were too small, but as Kicking_Bird says, the lack of variations in the colors and shapes might be the reason (or one of the reasons) for the dull atmosphere. And I totally support the model variations depending on phase, even though I fear we don't have the manpower for it. :(

Edited by serveurix
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So you try to defend your historical inaccuracy art, mixing with gameplay, that is a big fallacy, you are saying because the units don't eat or sleep the game is not realistic, guy this game is not a simulator, is a RTS based in building of empires, but don't pretend use that to excuse to defend your poor historical concept, whst is next... Adding Minotaur or 300 style combat because the history is too "boring"?

You have good art arguments about some technical, but you are mixing your good points with childish speaking, so if the game don't like you, don't play it , or maybe make your own mod Age of Empires online concepts + GTA V or whatever. But you need understand game concept first, read the trac, try to be less childish with some comments and mostly important make things. If you don't show us your work applied to 0 A.D many of us can take you as a internet troll. Sorry but is the true.mnobody knows you.

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Staying 100% historically accurate is boring and what you are saying is contradicting, Roman soldiers can be foragers, farmers and lumberjacks but you can't have any wooden roofs? Archers have unlimited arrows? Swords can raze buildings?

I don't agree, it's not about being boring. But that's a good point, here you're talking about realism, obviously a game can't be 100% real, because guess what...It's a game, a simulation. We need to define a domain, decide what variables can interfere with the game and others that can be neglected.

To simulate a war there are a lot of things that must be neglected and the number of the arrows, or the sword destroying buildings are not the greatest.

The realism of the simulation must deal with the codification of the game and with the habits of the players, depending on how war has been represented in the past RTS. For example a chess player do not complains about the fact that horses does not walk like L in real life.

I found the same fact in map designing: in this game the most of the maps start with two mines of stone and metal on the side of the CC, that's not realistic, it would be better if the resources were spread randomly, but the players don't like that, the most of players tend to rehost when the maps don't have enough resources.

There are some things that remains symbolic and can't become 100% realistic without screwing up all the balance of the game. Infinite Arrows and swords that can destroy buildings are just two of them, just like the horses in chess.

Edited by WhiteLion
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Kicking Bird, for someone who claims to have known the game for awhile, you seem awfully misinformed.

0 A.D. simulates the time period circa 1 A.D. to 500 A.D.

The concept of "phases" simulates the increasing resources a booming city will have. This is, to take a completely unrelated example, similar to how Cities: Skyline handles cities: you start with limited stuff and a small map and as you grow you have more "resources" (in a very general sense) and you have access to more features and a bigger map.

We want our art to be as close to history as possible, not the gameplay itself, or we'd have to start coding in some latrines.

I think re-evaluating what you are doing here would indeed be a good idea.

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You know what I discovered, Kicking_Bird? you're looking at the old version of the Persian buildings.

This is what they're supposed to look like in Alpha 18:

r7X1lR8.png

The old Persian buildings didn't even have normal maps or something...

Edited by niektb

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- archers have unlimited arrows
- archers can shoot arrows through walls, cliffs and hills
- spearmen can raze city walls to the ground
- soldiers are farmers
- elephants don't have trample damage or fling people out of the way charging into battle
- military strength is determined by HP, attack, range, defence and damage multipliers instead of skill and chance and unity type - like in RTW. Historically one arrow is enough to take down and unarmed solider/villager, not 4

We want our art to be as close to history as possible, not the gameplay itself, or we'd have to start coding in some latrines.
I think re-evaluating what you are doing here would indeed be a good idea.


Art is supposed to complement gameplay, and how you want the player to feel. Gameplay is the foundation for any game, and art helps emphasize the gameplay. People could enjoy the battles of Rome: Total War and Attila: Total War which are both more accurate and epic than 0ad could possibly be.
It's either you make a fun game with reasonable goals inspired and based of history or toil about adding features to make things more "historical". 90% of people don't care about the native name of a gallic granary or a roman spearmen.

Imagine history channel doing what your game is doing.

Historian ~ The baguada of the tribes were feirce warriors who hunted and foraged for their village while the bodu cooked and made sure they were fed. Gaeroa used long spears in huge formations to fight against eques romanus, in the heat of battle. Gallic annedds were built of straw, stone hay and mud.

Historians have a hard time translating it into English and you are just reversing the process. If people wanted to learn ancient gallic they would google it.
I had the hardest time finding the egyptian race beacuse the team geniusly renamed it to the "Ptolemaic Egyptians"

Yes, I do seem very misinformed and I'm sure many other players will be too if you don't create a proper foreword for this game and what it's about. Sorry if I've bothered anyone here. I shared my knowledge with your team, which I hope was constructive enough to make changes for the better in the project, but if this is the course of the games nature then unfortunately I'd rather work on my own things. I'm done trying to negotiate creative licences on an open source project with this team.

I attached the tileable plaster texture I created for the house and UV sheet I began making, using deviantart's texture resources, I wish this team the best and hope to see the game makes it onto steam one day.

post-19826-0-08861400-1426341623_thumb.j

Edited by Kicking_Bird

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- archers have unlimited arrows

- archers can shoot arrows through walls, cliffs and hills

- spearmen can raze city walls to the ground

Coding issues linked to the fact team is made volunteers.

I attached the tileable plaster texture I created for the house and UV sheet I began making, using deviantart's texture resources.

Thanks, for your work.

Yes, I do seem very misinformed and I'm sorry if I've bothered anyone here. I shared my knowledge with your team, which I hope was constructive enough to make changes for the better in the project, but if this is the course of the games nature then unfortunately I'd rather work on my own things. I'm done trying to negotiate creative licences on an open source project with this team.

It's not that, it's just you can't just come and reverse the base of the game...

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Well, if you really can't communicate better than you have done so far you are probably better off on your own rather than working in a team, at least an existing team. You might have skills and knowledge for all we know, but it would be a lot easier to take you seriously if you wouldn't use swear words, insult people without knowing why things are the way they are, assuming things without finding out whether there is any basis for your assumptions, etc.

Also, our goal is not necessarily to reach the same demographic as the History channel. Or perhaps rather, to make a game that can be interesting to both people with a genuine interest in history and to those who just want to play an (mostly old-school) RTS, hopefully encouraging the latter to become more of the former. And to be honest I don't really see why you make such a fuss about the custom names, everywhere they are used the English name is also written right next to it.

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You still miss the keyword: 'Open source'.

For the first things you stated in the post and you delete it, make a mod for that, even for the unlimited arrows. That's the beauty of open source.

If you think seeing the same buildings the whole gameplay it's boring, then create a ticket and you do all the buildings for every phase for every civilization (It would be could to see that), but not seeing all the civilizations with the same buildings, that's really boring, the only thing that will differentiate a civilization with another civilization, it will be the name. There will be no UNIQUENESS with what you propose.

Edited by Skhorn

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Hello Kicking_Bird,

It's great all this theory of design, we'll put it in good use.

However, the part that you seem to be missing it's the global picture, I'll explain:

This project started among people who loved history. And one of its big focus was unsurprisingly, historical accuracy. While not focusing on selling a game to the masses, they designed the game that they wanted to play based on their design points (which were more than historical accuracy ofc) the fact that it is liked by many and have several fans is a plus and consecuence that they had a nice idea. Some will like it for their historical accuracy, some for the gameplay, etc.

While it is very easy to find things to improve upon a specific model look, it is harder to find a solution which encompass the historical point of design in it.

Let's take as example as you did the persian civilization. Have you researched how the buildings looked? have you tried to absorb which were their main characteristics to make an accurate model?

Guess what, they were quite blocky:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b5/Persepolis_vue_d'oiseau_Chipiez.jpg (copy and paste on the browser or it doesn't show in chrome)

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8c/2009-11-24_Persepolis_02.jpg

http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Images2/Achaemenid/Persepolis/PersepolisWallCollapsing4.JPG

http://www.tourismplaceinfo.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Persepolis-Iran-Attraction.jpg

What you see on the current structure designs is based on the artists efforts to make a close representation of how the civilization would look.

Sure it is easy to say, hey look! forgetting about history you can make the game follow better the principles of design!.

While maintaining the game's design points and improve its visual read is a much harder task.

Also, based on the game's design is the task of making each civilization to show traits of uniqueness between its set of structures, reflecting that they're part of a culture, which is unique to the rest of them in the game. Persians have blocky buildings, romans have a more delicate architectural feeling, mauryans had they curved roofing, etc.

While we're looking for a different feeling for each civilization that reflect it's culture, we want to have similar layouts for the different type of buildings in the game. So the players know the function of the structure regardless of the civ they're playing. This improves readability a lot, and helps the artist to balance this with silhouette's readability. (And if I may add, your house design silhouette does not improve the problem you were pointing about current silhouettes, but I know it's a wip I'll wait until final)

So yeah, we're not scrapping one of the design pillars of 0AD just because one (or 100 tbh) person think it's boring and we'll welcome anyone who wants to improve the game following its theme.

TL;DR:

Easy to make cooler models that the ones in the game if you scrap several game's design choices,

Harder to make them following the game's design.

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The current game covers 500 BC to AD 1, so we really don't cover "ages" like in Age of Empires. The unique buildings are a major feature of 0 A.D. AoE3 (2005) did reuse building sets for the main game (Europe), but the six civs added in the expansions all had unique building sets.

I personally would swap the locations of the generic and specific names myself, but I doubt anyone would be all that confused either way.

I would agree that 0AD is darker compared to AoE2 or 3, but it is somewhat similar to BFME2. It's mostly personal preference and I like aspects of both art styles. I do sometimes confuse the mill and the farmhouse on some civs, but that's something that can be fixed fairly easily I think. I wouldn't have an issue with 2D stairs for a low end setting or LoD, but otherwise I feel we should stick with 3D stairs (BFME1 had 2D stairs in 2004; BFME2 had 3D stairs in 2006).

Would really like to see buildings get upgraded per phase. That would make upgrading more fun and help with gameplay. For example, the only way I can quickly tell if an opponent has reached city phase is when there is a fortress. (AoK used to give notifications also.)

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No game will please everybody. We all have different opinions about how it should look and play. Taking this into account you can't make game that everybody will like, what you can do is recognise your target market and alter the project to fit them. Kicking_bird I don't think you have understood that this project has a target market, or the general direction that the project is changing to fit that. The target market for this game is not the hardcore aoe players. If it was, sure alter the game to fit that, but it isn't. The fact is the people who are on these formus are the target market, and they all disagree with the major changes you want to make. Its not because the team is a conservative unchanging bunch of people, its because they are making the game THEY like and one that the community will like.

I don't disagree about the art aspects, the game could use improvements in that respect, some textures are old, look strange now. Thanks for your contributions but you haven't tried to improve the the game which has been brought before you, you have tried to alter it to some alter aoe game.

To the game developers: it is important to listen to what the community says, and consider putting their suggestions in the game, but it is also important to stay true to what you originally wanted to make and what you continue to what to make. Allow small alterations but be careful of massive changes like what kicking_bird suggests.

I'm pretty sure you know what your doing though :)

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I put way to much effort into these articles... I could be playing bf4, on netflix or working on personal projects but instead I'm here trying to help you guys :)

Now, the short comments like this seem bizarre to me. Surely you must realize you are in no different position than anyone else here who contributes to the project... when they could be playing bf4... or watch netflix.

The wording in several of your comments makes it sound like the rest of us were getting payed.

I'm not saying you are not contributing anything of value, or that it seems like your posts take little effort (I'm sure they are not, though, many of the imgur images are just dead links, so it's hard to tell), I'm just saying.. we have all spent our spare time on this project.

Now, about the thread; Most of us artists know how to make normal maps. It just takes more time to do so. I don't think that increasing the work load for the artists will be beneficial to the project. That's just me though (and sure, if there is some part that is super critical putting in extra work on that makes sense).

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