Desert Cave Tileset

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Desert Cave Tileset

Postby Roots » Wed Mar 14, 2007 11:53 pm

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We need to touch-up this tileset so that it looks nice(r) for the next demo. This tileset will eventually be incorporated into the game (as the first map seen), thus its important that we put a lot of effort into this set since it is part of the player's first impression. Here's a verbal description of what this environment is supposed to depict (as explained in the prologue)

This tileset is for a large cave that has an entrance far into the desert sands. The cave connects to a large underground river system, which is the primary source of water for much of the kingdom of Harrvah. The first part of the cave is dry and sandy, but becomes darker, deeper, and damper as one approaches the bottom, where there is a waterbed area where the underground river runs through. The river is usually fairly strong, but it is initially blocked by a large boulder, and only a trickling stream winds its way through the waterbed.



Here's a list of things that I can think of that need to be done with this set for now (for the demo):

    1. We need more variation in cave floors and tiles.

    2. The "darker dirt" tiles in the upper left of the current image need to be made seamless (they don't connect well right now, take a close look at the side tiles). Or perhaps even better, we can just make some semi-transparent "shades" that can be applied to the standard dirt tiles? :huh:

    3. The new sand tiles that I just added in could use a real artist to make them not suck. :heh:

    4. Cave walls and staligmites could use further variation

    5. More passageways and similar cave features

    6. The torch animation on the wall needs to be stronger I feel. Its a pretty darn week flame :ohnoes:

    7. It would be nice if the walls could scale to more than 2 tiles in height. That way, we can have the deeper areas of the cave have "higher" walls by using more tiles

    8. Need the waterbed area and a trickling stream through it (not necessary for the demo version of this tileset)

    9. Something doesn't sit right with me about the texture of the water. :| Maybe its just me though :shrug:


These are just my personal suggestions and by no means a "to-do" list. It would be nice if people could contribute what they can to making this a better tileset visually and aesthetically. I've arranged the tiles so that the top 6 rows are the "ground" tiles, the next 6 rows are the "wall" tiles, and the final 4 rows are animated tiles. Lets try to keep within the bounds of this scheme for now.

Note that if we run out of tile space in the tileset, we can always create an additional tileset. For now though, lets attempt to focus on using the area within this single tileset as best as we can (there are a maximum of 256 tiles total here, so I think that should be enough). I'll help out where I can as well, even though I'm not really an artist :uhoh:
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Re: Desert Cave Tileset

Postby Jetryl » Mon Mar 19, 2007 12:26 pm

    1. yep

    2. yep

    3. transitions, mostly

    4. yep

    5. yep

    6. the core is fine, what makes it "weak" is that it casts no light.

    7. yes, it should really do this.

    8. n/a

    9. I agree the banks of the waterway are a bit sketchy; the water surface itself is fine, though, IMHO.



I'll help out where I can as well, even though I'm not really an artist :uhoh:


Cool.
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Postby Rain » Mon Mar 19, 2007 8:20 pm

This may be a ridiculous request, but we can do something about the water to give it a sense of movement? Like subtle rippling or something?
Is that even possible? As a game player, I get annoyed when water looks stagnant. :p

Perhaps this is just me.
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Postby eleazar » Mon Mar 19, 2007 8:25 pm

I realize the walls and floor need to be distinguishable, but shiny blue-grey vs chocolate brown is too extreme.
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Postby Roots » Mon Mar 19, 2007 8:32 pm

Rain wrote:This may be a ridiculous request, but we can do something about the water to give it a sense of movement? Like subtle rippling or something?
Is that even possible? As a game player, I get annoyed when water looks stagnant. :p

Perhaps this is just me.


Well inside a cave, you'd usually expect any pools of water to be mostly stagnant. We do have an animated stream trickling from the wall though.
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Postby Jetryl » Mon Mar 19, 2007 11:07 pm

Rain wrote:This may be a ridiculous request, but we can do something about the water to give it a sense of movement? Like subtle rippling or something?
Is that even possible? As a game player, I get annoyed when water looks stagnant. :p

Perhaps this is just me.



You use a mac, so I can demonstrate this rather directly.

Download and install this screensaver:
http://wakaba.c3.cx/s/lotsablankers/lotsawater.html
That screensaver takes a still image, and magically makes it ripple like water with zero effort on the part of an artist. It's 100% pure code.


What does this have to do with allacrost? Well, the water as it is is decent; it looks as good as water has in many console RPGs, and gets the message across just fine, even if it isn't exactly stunning to look at. But what's interesting is that our water could transition perfectly into having the above system layered on top of it - nothing in the existing tiles would need to be changed or get thrown away. And the above system will look better than practically any hand-drawn solution ever would, and scales better (to any situation where it would be used), and takes only the initial effort of coding the thing.

So the tentative plan is:
• Make still, boring water for several tilesheets - don't waste time animating them.
• Code this water-ripple thing.
• Suddenly have water that looks better than any tile-based RPG ever had.
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Postby Jetryl » Mon Mar 19, 2007 11:15 pm

eleazar wrote:I realize the walls and floor need to be distinguishable, but shiny blue-grey vs chocolate brown is too extreme.


Yeah... I was initially opposed to changing this, but I'm really leaning in your direction on this. Something needs to give.


I think that in short, the #1 issue with this tileset is that the open floor is boring (lack of variants, and of scenery to put in it), and has a rather ... sudden and jarring interface with the walls.
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Postby Jetryl » Sat Mar 24, 2007 1:27 am

Rain wrote:This may be a ridiculous request, but we can do something about the water to give it a sense of movement?


What I said above still stands, but the following edge effect - something that might be very difficult to code into an openGL effect (I really don't know), may be complimentary to the opengl business. And if nothing else, it would look really good for the time being:

[img:32:32]http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/jetryl/Map-Tiles/Cave/N-water-edge-demo.gif[/img]

This one tile is all I have done so far; there was a lot of time bled to experimentation on this, since I've really *never* done anything like this before.
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Postby Drakkoon » Sat Mar 24, 2007 3:55 am

This water looks really fine to me.

But about the opengl ripple thingy, I don't think it would look that good on small water like that. And might take too much time to implement for what it's worth... don't know, seems overkill to me at least.
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Postby Jetryl » Sat Mar 24, 2007 4:56 am

:devil: This should hold us for now:

[img:96:96]http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/jetryl/Map-Tiles/Cave/water-edge.gif[/img]


Took me a long time to do that, but I feel pleased with the results.
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Postby gorzuate » Sat Mar 24, 2007 6:00 am

Wow that's wicked :cool:
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Postby Rain » Sat Mar 24, 2007 8:07 pm

Jetryl wrote::devil: This should hold us for now:

[img:96:96]http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/jetryl/Map-Tiles/Cave/water-edge.gif[/img]


Took me a long time to do that, but I feel pleased with the results.
NICE!!!

Wow. :bow:
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Postby Jetryl » Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:03 am

I've finished up syncing the rest of the water tiles to this motion.

[img:32:64]http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/jetryl/Map-Tiles/Cave/wall-waterfall.gif[/img] [img:96:96]http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/jetryl/Map-Tiles/Cave/water-corner.gif[/img]
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Postby Jetryl » Sun Mar 25, 2007 4:42 am

Also, I've packed all of these into a tilesheet image. Yes, this means I'm ripping them out of the main tilesheet image, but this whole tileset is being overhauled right now, so that image would have massive changes anyways. All of the frames are in order like english lettering - left-to-right, line by line.

Water-Edge frame order and timing (frame number, seconds of screentime) :
1 .15
2 .15
3 .15
4 .1
5 .15
6 .15
7 .1
8 .1
4 .1
3 .15

Note that that was for the water edges ONLY. The waterfall goes:
1 .15
2 .15
3 .15
4 .1
5 .15
6 .15
7 .1
8 .1
9 .1
10 .15

• Also note that, for now, the core center water tile gets duplicated for each of the eight frames. For now, we could just treat that as a non-animated tile, and ignore the other 7.

• I may be adding some other stuff to this tileset (bridges, etc).

[img:512:512]http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/jetryl/Map-Tiles/Cave/desert-cave-water.png[/img]
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Postby Rain » Sun Mar 25, 2007 7:38 am

Jetryl, you are awesome. :bow: :bow: :bow: Little things like this will make all the difference in the world. Now I am wondering if perhaps the sound of the water should compliment this fine visual. I am thinking that perhaps we can have small water fx (running water) when one gets close to a water source, but fades as they get farther away from it. Hmmm, this isn't really my department but it might be a nice effect.
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Postby Jetryl » Sun Mar 25, 2007 2:00 pm

Rain wrote:Jetryl, you are awesome. :bow: :bow: :bow: Little things like this will make all the difference in the world. Now I am wondering if perhaps the sound of the water should compliment this fine visual. I am thinking that perhaps we can have small water fx (running water) when one gets close to a water source, but fades as they get farther away from it. Hmmm, this isn't really my department but it might be a nice effect.


Yeah, that would actually be really, really cool. Sound is an extremely powerful tool-for-immersion in videogames that tends to get underused. I remember when I first played Marathon 2, the sound just blew me away. It was unquestionably the deciding factor - it allowed my imagination to "buy" the fantasy of 'actually being there'; which of course is what a majority of videogames are about - transporting the player into this virtual world. Marathon 2 had a wealth of sounds; cues for each of the alien enemies, and any meaningful in-game event, and especially an enormous set of ambient, environmental sounds. It also had stereo panning and distance-fading.

Even now, the most that tends to get done is mere playback of select, digitized recordings - possibly stereo panned, possibly distance faded. But it's really rare that there would be, say, echo-effects, or built-in reverb-according-to-environment in a game. Speech recognition, and speech synthesis would also be amazing to have - we could converse with in-game characters by actually, physically speaking to them (of course, then we'd have to stop wearing headphones, or it'd sound damn weird to the rest of the world :heh: ).


:huh: Anyways... as for the here and now, I've made a new floor type for the caves. It's a rocky surface like what the walls are made of. Because it tiles with the dirt, it also tiles immediately with the water tiles with no additional effort.

:devil: also, unlike the dirt, there are a LOT of variations of the base tile - a full dozen of them. This doesn't mean we should use this exclusively over wide areas, but it does give us a lot more to work with, and this tile will probably be our primary floor tile for the cave (which is a good thing, because real caves tend to have stone floors made of the exact same material as the walls).

[img:128:128]http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/jetryl/Map-Tiles/Cave/stone-dirt-water-Demo.png[/img]
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Postby Roots » Sun Mar 25, 2007 7:41 pm

Looking good. :approve: I think that we should make the cave walls have some more depth to them. Right now they are perfectly straight, which doesn't seem very realistic. Look at this tileset's cave walls (they are in the bottom middle of the image). It would be sweet if we had something like that. :angel:

http://www.rrrevolution.com/e107_plugin ... =18&pos=15

Rain wrote:Now I am wondering if perhaps the sound of the water should compliment this fine visual. I am thinking that perhaps we can have small water fx (running water) when one gets close to a water source, but fades as they get farther away from it. Hmmm, this isn't really my department but it might be a nice effect.


That's indeed possible, and effects like that are one of the major reasons why we're eventually going to switch back to OpenAL for the audio engine (it supports distance attenuation, among many other effects).
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Postby Sylon » Mon Mar 26, 2007 12:45 pm

Ha, yeah that rippling water is really well done.
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Postby Rain » Mon Mar 26, 2007 10:53 pm

Roots wrote:That's indeed possible, and effects like that are one of the major reasons why we're eventually going to switch back to OpenAL for the audio engine (it supports distance attenuation, among many other effects).
Okay. Well then, lets do it. :) I am sure one of our sfx artists would be thrilled to have the honors.
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Postby Jetryl » Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:27 am

So, yeah. Unbeknownst to a number of you (e.g, those not on Allacrost IRC), I've been working my butt off on a major revision of this cave tileset. I'll be the first to say that in retrospect, the "closed/hidden" development I did on this was a rather stupid act on my part - I was a bit embarrassed at how awful the floor tiles were at first, and was really unsure about how well the entire jaunt would pan out. Everything's panning out now, but in the future, I'll make a point of keeping reasonably open about these things so that others (like eleazar) can pitch in. They well may be able to solve things that I'd end up figuring out the hard way.


The new "general features" of this tileset are:
• A stone floor, which has full borders to tile with the dirt.
• Chasm/bottomless pit graphics - these only tile with the stone floor.
• Terrace/Cliff graphics - basically a (color-shifted) lift of the old wall graphics, except now vertically extensible.
• Huge cave wall images (and I do have convex corners done). These will be vertically extensible, but those images are only partly finished.

• The cave wall does tile well with the dirt, and thus the water can be flush with it (making a modified version of the waterfall work).
• The bug-animation has been retrofitted to function on the new cave walls.

Here's a demo image, I'll have the actual tilesets (there are some four of them or so) up tomorrow:
[img:512:448]http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/jetryl/Map-Tiles/Cave/cave-demo.png[/img]

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