Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Sacrificing the best content in order to keep uniform style

Discussion in 'Codex Workshop' started by Nathaniel3W, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. Nathaniel3W Rockwell Studios Developer

    Nathaniel3W
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    So I'm working on the day/night cycle on the world map in Himeko Sutori.

    [​IMG]

    (Placeholders, WIP, first attempt, etc., etc.)

    The shaders there are all based on this...

    [​IMG]

    ...but with the highlights toned down a bit. I should probably try turning those back up. My world looks a little flat, no pun intended, and maybe brighter highlights would improve it.

    I would love for my game to look like this:

    [​IMG]

    But I realize I'm comparing my solo-developer, near-zero-budget game to a multimillion-dollar project built by a team of over 100. There were reasons why I decided to go with a retro look, cost and feasibility among them.

    I started trying to include more detailed models in my world map, like these mountains, which I think look pretty good.

    [​IMG]

    But that's the problem. They look pretty good, and nothing else does. Also, I had to put decals on them to make them blend into the surrounding terrain. (You can see that I needed to fix the decal sorting there... The hex grid should have gone over the grass blend.) Anyway, I tried putting some cool models in there, but I don't think that's going to work out for me right now. I'm going to just build all of the terrain features with the in-engine landscape tool. And if higher quality terrain models aren't going to be an option I'm going to have to figure out something else to make the world map less boring.

    Maybe I'll start off with some more terrain texture variation? Water features maybe? Any advice?
     
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  2. Nathaniel3W Rockwell Studios Developer

    Nathaniel3W
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    Oops. Meant to put this in the Codex Workshop, not the playground. :retarded:
     
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  3. Lazing Dirk Arcane

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    It looks like you're not quite sure what art style you want to go for. The high saturation colours and black outlines makes it sort of cartoonish or Borderlands-y, but the actual models and terrain look fairly detailed and realistic. I also notice there appear to be no shadows in your screenshots, making things look rather floaty, which probably makes the contrast between the cartoony outlines and realistic details even worse.

    I don't think you should worry too much about blending things together perfectly: in the (Civ?) screenshot you posted, there's fields going up hills and into the sea, and weird angular things going on, but it's all so cohesive and nicely lit that such things are easy to overlook.
     
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  4. Bester Arcane Vatnik

    Bester
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    Use assets from Unity and Unreal marketplace. Even some mobile quality stuff that you can find there, it'll look like Civ5 when zoomed out. I don't see a problem for your game assets-wise. And things like trees, water, terrain in general, you've really got no excuse. Make it look good.
     
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  5. I'm With Her Mustawd for prison Arcane

    Mustawd
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    Agarest: Generations of War, probably fits your style more. Low poly 3D map with JRPG sprite.

    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    It's almost like a zoomed out version of FF7's world map.

    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]





    My point is that you're better off modeling the entire map in 3D first and then dropping hexes on top if that's what you want to do. Trying to do it piecemeal with assets will just make it look inconsistent.

    Maybe look into World Machine? There are a ton of free tutorials for it, and they have a trial version.

    Show Spoiler





    EDIT: The pic of the map you posted was probably made using 3D tiles that were put together. These are not terribly difficult to make and there are many methods to do this, which I recommend you check out on youtube.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpB4BApnKhM&list=PLbghT7MmckI4qGA0Wm_TZS8LVrqS47I9R
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
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  6. I'm With Her Mustawd for prison Arcane

    Mustawd
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  7. I'm With Her Severian Silk for prison Arcane

    Severian Silk
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    I don't think the colors look saturated at all. In fact, they look washed out, and part of the problem is the lack of contrast and lack of shadows.

    Also, good luck with World Machine. Either you render the terrain as sprites and defeat the point of having 3D, or you export huge polygonal models that drop performance to a crawl.

    [edit]

    I don't think World Machine can export meshes optimized for hexagonal maps.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
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  8. I'm With Her Severian Silk for prison Arcane

    Severian Silk
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    That Civ screenshot may be a bit darker, but it's way more saturated than your game. (Except where the "atmosphere" is thick, obviously.)
     
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  9. I'm With Her Mustawd for prison Arcane

    Mustawd
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    ^What do you think "saturated" means? Because it's obvious his game is a lot more saturated than the screenshots he posted.
     
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  10. Nathaniel3W Rockwell Studios Developer

    Nathaniel3W
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    This is saturation, right?
    [​IMG]

    So, saturation is like colorfulness, as in the opposite of black-and-whiteness. To me, the Civ palette looks earthy, whereas mine looks neon. If you just take a look at the greens in the screenshots...

    [​IMG]
    ... I guess they're not that far apart, and maybe I just need to darken and desaturate a little, and maybe add a subtle fog, and I'll be happier with the color.

    That is definitely part of the problem, and I'm working on that. I was using an "unlit" material that kind of lights itself based on time of day, because I don't like Unreal 3's dynamic lighting. I'm trying to change that now, and I have a material that accepts lights, and I'm trying to get shadows to show up on it.

    That does look pretty good. And it looks like the map must be really low-poly. I guess the detail of the map is entirely hand-painted? That style might work for me, but there's still a lot I would need to add to it.

    From one of my recent blog posts...
    I'm going to give World Machine a try. And I'll see about making detailed normal maps for them, then in Blender dropping the polygon count and trimming them to fit onto a tile. I'll see how it goes.

    Thank you so much for taking a look and helping me think through this. It really helps to have a second (or third) person looking at a problem.
     
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  11. I'm With Her Mustawd for prison Arcane

    Mustawd
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    Yah seems textures are hand painted in photoshop first before being wrapped around the models. Conversely, a lot of 3D uses photo textures instead of painted ones. So the photo ones give a more realistic look.


    http://forums.cgsociety.org/archive/index.php?t-45884.html

     
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  12. I'm With Her Mustawd for prison Arcane

    Mustawd
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    The thing with the civ screenshot is that the one hex has a variety of different hues and shades. Yours is a predominant bright green. So what Severian Silk said applies here. Also, although it might "look" close on the scale, the difference is pretty large when it's a predominant saturated color. For example, look at your color pic...look at the next closest color diagonal right...it seems intensely saturated. So you're not too far off from this:

    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]



    Aghh..I'm blind....


    I'd say you can keep the coloring, but just break it up a bit more with light brown/tan patches.


    Did you see post #6 in this thread? I think that's also a cool way to get the effect you're looking for. there are other programs/plugins similar to it floating around.


    :salute:
     
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  13. I'm With Her Mustawd for prison Arcane

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  14. Nathaniel3W Rockwell Studios Developer

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    Wow. All that in a Photoshop plugin? That's pretty amazing. I didn't know things like that existed. Unfortunately I think I'm going to have to have something that's fully 3D, but that's something I'd like to play with maybe on my next project.

    And yeah, I'll try to break up those solid bright colors some more.
     
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  15. I'm With Her Severian Silk for prison Arcane

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    Well, you sampled the Civ screenshot from a distant part of the image, which I already said was grayer and hazier due to the presence of an atmosphere. I think the regions near and below the camera are more colorful.

    And it's not just the ground. The buildings, vegetation and fauna in Civ look more "vibrant" and "rich" than the ones in your game.

    [edit]

    [​IMG]

    Okay maybe not.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
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  16. Lazing Dirk Arcane

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    Farted about for a few minutes with your earlier screenshot to add some shitty shadows and whatever

    [​IMG]

    Could probably get it a bit better, but you get the idea. It was only about -5/-14/-8 for the H/S/L, but it's a big difference.
     
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  17. Make America Great Again zwanzig_zwoelf DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED Developer

    zwanzig_zwoelf
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    I'd recommend toning down the saturation and value, shift the hue a wee bit closer to yellow and see what happens.
    Also break the grass with some earth/stone patches once in a while.
     
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  18. Kalin Arcane

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    [​IMG]

    These graphics > anything else posted in this thread.
     
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  19. Nathaniel3W Rockwell Studios Developer

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    Well, here's my first attempt at in-game post-processing color correction:

    Show Spoiler

    [​IMG]


    I'm pretty sure I did something wrong. I'm going to have to keep working on that.

    Edit: I think everything else besides color correction is moving along. I still need to fire up World Machine to replace those mountains though.

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. cucrophi Unwanted Queued Shitposter

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    Double lines on hexes are the worst. Also dont make them the most contrasting visual feature, be it flat black or almost white...
     
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  21. I'm With Her Severian Silk for prison Arcane

    Severian Silk
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    The double lines look fine.
     
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  22. I ASK INANE QUESTIONS Savant

    I ASK INANE QUESTIONS
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    Take a good, long look at a the texture itself. There's far more variation in colour in Civ, and the textures are far better detailed. In general terrain in Civ 5 is a top-noch work precisely because of how much effort went intol getting it look acceptable. You really need much, much more colour variation. Also note that it's not all uniform green hues as well.

    Here's a shitty overpaint that took my friend 10 minutes - you can see how a little color variation and blending can go a long way. http://i.imgur.com/szAVNLE.jpg

    Forests - the big deal with your forests is that they're too big and the density is too low. Take a look at Civ - forests are all very dense in that screenshot except the hex borders. Also, you need to do something with the cell shading on those trees. Try turning it off. You can make the trees contrast the terrain by simply toning down the brightness a bit.

    In general, you really need to up your texture game, my man. I guess you could try cooking your baseline texture with a World Machine, importing the terrain from a height map, then overlaying the actual hex grid on top of that - dunno if that's feasible in your case, though. I can give you an advice or two regarding this - drop me a PM if interested.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2017
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  23. I ASK INANE QUESTIONS Savant

    I ASK INANE QUESTIONS
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    Well, thanks for necro, you cunt.:rpgcodex:
     
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  24. I'm With Her Mustawd for prison Arcane

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    ?
     
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  25. Nathaniel3W Rockwell Studios Developer

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    Well, so long as the thread has been necro'ed I guess I may as well post an update. Sorry if this is cross-posted. I think I may have already put this up elsewhere.

    I've tried getting rid of the double hexes. The hexes might still be too bright. I can try making them more subtle. I also made the water translucent. That mostly works OK, but the hex boundaries draw on both the water and the riverbed. The "selection" hex doesn't quite fill up the whole hex.

    [​IMG]

    Also, in the above screenshot you can see cel shading plus a Sobel edge detection filter. Those are two different things. Cel shading removes the range of light-to-shadow and replaces it with distinct light-or-shadow to give more of a cartoony look. The edge detection filter I use here draws "toon lines" which also adds to the cartoony look. Cel shading and toon lines are often used together, so they're often conflated. I've gone back and forth on the toon lines with various people telling me strongly that it sucks or that it's awesome. I've finally tuned the lines so that they're a bit thinner and not pure black. Hopefully that makes them look better. Also, I put an option in the menu to turn the toon lines on and off. So if you don't like them, you don't have to look at them. I figured I should put them in to try to tie the look together with some kind of uniting visual feature to get the cartoony 2D sprites to match the more detailed 3D environment. As you can see in the sun indicator there, the game time is about 7:00 AM. The light gets brighter and more overhead as the time approaches noon. I took this screenshot to get a better look at the cel shading.

    [​IMG]

    At about 11:00 AM the light is a bit brighter. The grass is not very varied, and it repeats over itself at different scales in order to break up any tiling that one might notice. I ASK INANE QUESTIONS the wildflowers in your edit above look pretty good. I think I might have to try adding some more colors (like wildflowers) to break up the monotony. Also in the above screenshot, you can see I've brought the characters' saturation down a bit. I could pretty easily bring it down some more. I'll keep playing around with it.

    [​IMG]

    Here is the world zoomed out. I think the height variation and erosion channels made by WorldMachine do a lot to make the world more interesting. I could also mix in some trees that have fall colors. I can't pack the forest hexes entirely the way Civilization did because my characters are shorter than the trees and you wouldn't be able to see them.

    And here it is in action:



    I think it's improving, but there's still plenty of room for improvement.
     
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