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Discuss: This Update Has Nothing New

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warcabbit
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Discuss: This Update Has Nothing New

Nope. Nothing new in this at all.

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Which would explain why I

Which would explain why I didn't notice it on the front page. ^_^

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Reaction thread goes before

Reaction thread goes before the update, or I couldn't put it in the update, man.

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I'd rather see an update with

I'd rather see an update with "nothing new" like this versus yet another taxicab confession or other fanfic.

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Your killing me Smalls.

Your killing me Smalls.

All 4 Mutants

Evolution is key. And mutants are key.

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Foradain wrote:
Foradain wrote:

Which would explain why I didn't notice it on the front page. ^_^

I noticed that too, lol. It turns out this update was posted to the home page and on Kickstarter after this thread was created.

In regards to the actual update, even if it's nothing truly "new" as far as what we've been shown, it is a novel showcase of the patterns possible with the costume creator combined with the versatile textures they unveiled a long while ago. It looks like the pieces are falling into place according to plan. A few more updates like this and we'll see a full avatar builder before we know it!

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Very nice looking. You guys

Very nice looking. You guys are doing a great job. :-)

Hip hooters Nee!

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So when do get to help test

So when do get to help test the avatar builder? ;)

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I see glowing things! That

I see glowing things! That more than I knew before!

Stalkers don't die: They simply... Disappear.

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We may have told an untruth.

We may have told an untruth. Look at the faces.

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The blue guy in the first

The blue guy in the first picture looks like he's made out of Jell-O, does that mean that there's going to be an ooze texture? Also you've told another untruth in that we can also see different textures... WC I am disappoint...

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Also we haven't had one of
Foradain
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Hmmm, I see scales, wrinkles.

Hmmm, I see scales, wrinkles...

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OK, for me this IS new.

OK, for me this IS new. Textures are fun...You guys are gonna make me spend all day in creation...and I will love it!

1) bottom picture. The color/texture choice looks like chain mail. Good. I like playing with texture.
2) in the paragraph just above the bottom picture...one of our texture choices is...FUR?
Furry spandex is an option? Now we need jiggle technology. Not just for a slight accent to boobs, but Cousin It needs bouncy hair! We can make the big blue furry guy from Monsters Inc. The possibilities are endless.

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Cyclops wrote:
Cyclops wrote:

OK, for me this IS new. Textures are fun...You guys are gonna make me spend all day in creation...and I will love it!
1) bottom picture. The color/texture choice looks like chain mail. Good. I like playing with texture.
2) in the paragraph just above the bottom picture...one of our texture choices is...FUR?
Furry spandex is an option? Now we need jiggle technology. Not just for a slight accent to boobs, but Cousin It needs bouncy hair! We can make the big blue furry guy from Monsters Inc. The possibilities are endless.

You're getting the idea :D. As far as the fur goes, think of the spandex as simply what defines the affected areas. Put a fur texture on and you've effectively vanished the costume in that area in favor of furry skin. You can do the same with scales and similar whatnot.

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Usual disclaimer: I'm

Usual disclaimer: I'm speaking only as myself, etc, etc. In particular, any "sekrit knowings" I might once have had are out of date at this point, and nothing I say should be taken as reflective of the *actual* current state of, well, anything.

Minor point #1: Remember the VCR maxim -- choice is good, but *too much* choice is bad.

So far as I know, this is the sort of thing that was planned for with an "advanced" mode for costumes, where there would be basic setups that were picked so that they would cover a reasonable variety of desired options and had "an actual artist review" (i.e. someone checked that the leather had the right *sort* of shine to it, skin tones made use of sub-surface scattering if appropriate, and so on) so that folks who just wanted to look cool could buy "off the rack", if you will, while not locking out access for those who really want to figure out how to do, say, proper spangled sequins (hint: it isn't as easy as you think; it isn't even as easy as you think on the third or fourth time thinking about it). So mostly this is just hoping that the statements should still be read as "this will be available" rather than "this is the barrier for entry" -- I do know that that was the original intent, so I'm guessing this is still true?

Minor point 2: While textures are amazing things, there are some things they aren't really able to do properly; really doing proper "fur", especially at the level where it can bounce and shift around, is well beyond just textures and into heavily customized vertex shaders and, in most cases, research that is still fairly cutting-edge even for the graphics card manufacturers. I do know that there are *some* toolkits out, such as HairFX, but the last time I checked (a couple of months ago) they were all still either not available outside the card vendor's in-house customized demo engine *or* they were heavily vendor-specific to get anything like a useful level of performance out of them. So unless MWM has managed to blackmail a (literally) world-class professional into doing something for them, you'll probably hear about it for UE4 in general a bit before they can commit to actually supporting it in any particular time-frame. Although the same goes for any other game company, frankly, though a few of them might be able to afford such a skill level. But you could probably count them on one hand with fingers left over, even if you didn't use your thumb either.

This doesn't, however, mean that there aren't a lot of really creative tricks and illusions that can be brought to bear on the problem. But they all eventually come down to one problem, *somewhere*: because they are mathematical trickery and illusion, they always have some spot or corner case where they break down, because they *had* to simplify something with assumptions in order to be doable with the processing power available. So if you break those assumptions, things stop looking very good. Which means the real *art* of the thing is often in finding ways to ensure that nobody every looks at those corner cases. :)

And presumably once there are solvers for the engine that *do* make it sane to have that sort of effect, they'll get it integrated in due time (probably depending greatly on how much has changed in between their active "basis" version at that point, and where the feature is introduced) and it'll be available. Just keep in mind that they can't give you what doesn't actually exist yet *and* is way beyond their resource level. :)


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Serving face this update?!

Serving face this update?! Nice.

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Note: Get blackmail material

Note: Get blackmail material on Sheep, for future desires for world-class professionals.

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I'm pretty damn happy with

I'm pretty damn happy with this update full of nothing. Keep on doing nothing if this is what comes from it. ;)

Love that last picture with the 'craggly' face.

Reward tactics as well as damage dealing.

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Lovin' the Rabbit and the

Lovin' the Rabbit and the Sheep (you guys should be a fable). Lots of reality checks but the reality still looks really, really nice. Soexcited!

"The illusion which exalts us is dearer to us than ten thousand truths." - Pushkin
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Now that I'm looking at this

Now that I'm looking at this on a screen that will do these pictures justice, I noticed also in the second picture, that either the second figure (in red and green with blue trim) is slightly translucent or the third figure (looks white and gold to me, with a gold aura) has some penetrating radiation going on.... Hey, that's the first guy in the first picture, except that there he doesn't have the outline. A target-identifying option, perhaps?

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Nothing happened today in

Nothing happened today in sector 83 by 9 by 12.
That is all :)

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So happy. It's very nice.

So happy. It's very nice.
Come on, i want to give my money, make a new kickstarter or something equal.
And you are really doing a very great job.

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great update.

great update.
it may be nothing new but it certainly presented in a way that it is still something new in my eyes at least :).
it's very exciting to see things coming together like this.
great work from all of you, keep it up.

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So not only have you not

So not only have you not shown us anything new you've asserted that you don't have to do anything at all.

Ok textures look nice but next time do something new.

__

Don't know what you don't know. Only know what you know.
-The wiseman.

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Yeah! Do something new!

Yeah! Do something new!

In the next update those costumes should sport the MWM logo.

Also, no beards?

I AM DISAPPOINT!

/ So is my caps lock key.

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DeathSheepFromHell wrote:
DeathSheepFromHell wrote:

it isn't as easy as you think; it isn't even as easy as you think on the third or fourth time thinking about it

I need to rip off that quote in the future. ^_^

DeathSheepFromHell wrote:

really doing proper "fur", especially at the level where it can bounce and shift around, is well beyond just textures and into heavily customized vertex shaders and, in most cases, research that is still fairly cutting-edge even for the graphics card manufacturers.

I'm guessing that the current state of the art will let you do a "fur" that is basically short, stiff bristles. Kind of like that tight-wound, short "carpet" you find in businesses and doormats that doesn't really flex at all.

warcabbit wrote:

Note: Get blackmail material on Sheep, for future desires for world-class professionals.

What, you don't have a bunch already? There's got to be some skeletons mutton in a closet somewhere.

Has anyone seen my mind? It was right here...

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I'm liking the textures shown

I'm liking the textures shown...Keep doing nothing new and we'll all be happy ;-)

~ If your going through hell...Keep going!!! #Winston Churchill

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Me likey shiny.

Me likey shiny.

"THE TITANS ARE COMING! THE TITANS ARE COMING!"

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MUST.....HAVE.....GAME......

MUST.....HAVE.....GAME......

R.S.O. of Phoenix Rising

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Hero_Zero wrote:
Hero_Zero wrote:

"THE TITANS ARE COMING! THE TITANS ARE COMING!"

Quick story: We live near this formerly county-based community college which just recently "updated" itself to become a part of the state college school system. With the update they reworked their name and logos so now they are "The Titans" as far as their athletic programs go. Of course being a MMO nerd the only thing I think of when I see their signs is "City of Titans". I should probably talk the school into letting CoT become their official school computer game or some such lol.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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As far as I can tell, it

As far as I can tell, it appears that you can add a texture to any section of the body.

It appears you can scale the pattern.

It appears that you can use the pattern to make a texture.

I'm basing all of this by looking at the star pattern in the various pictures.

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Neet nothing. Although the

Neet nothing. Although the doods in the last pic do look grumpy.

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Looks awesome, love the shine

Looks awesome, love the shine and textures. I can't wait for costume contests! :D

The light of our Kheldian champions will never be forgotten.

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/e Slow Clap.

/e slowclap

Anyone who really pays attention to this "non-update" will realize that the costume creator will be ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE more addictive than CoH or CO.

THAT is the headline.

FIGHT EVIL! (or go cause trouble so the Heroes have something to do.)

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That looks great! Can't wait

That looks great! Can't wait for the day that I will be paralyzed with choice after logging into the game for the first time!

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Empyrean wrote:
Empyrean wrote:

/e slowclap
Anyone who really pays attention to this "non-update" will realize that the costume creator will be ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE more addictive than CoH or CO.
THAT is the headline.

I see we managed to get that across :D

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One of my thoughts was,

One of my thoughts was, "First game for which there will be tutorials on how to create specific costumes (textures, etc.) in the character creator."

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Play costume tutorial? (Y/N)

Play costume tutorial? (Y/N)
Play powers tutorial? (Y/N)


Verbogeny is one of many pleasurettes afforded a creatific thinkerizer.
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Play Austin Powers tutorial?

Play Austin Powers tutorial? (Y/N)

Otherwise known as (c) All of the above.

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Texture Options

Texture Options
[ X ] Basic
[    ] Advanced
[    ] Expert
[    ] Install Unreal Engine and Maya for yourself

Twitter: @SisterSilicon

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Interdictor wrote:
Darth Fez wrote:

One of my thoughts was, "First game for which there will be tutorials on how to create specific costumes (textures, etc.) in the character creator."

Now it's starting to make sense why they want to release a standalone costume creator well before the game itself. Given what we see here it might take the average player several months to learn how create a complete worakble costume lol.

Interdictor wrote:

That looks great! Can't wait for the day that I will be paralyzed with choice after logging into the game for the first time!

Actually the more ironic "paralyzation of choice" problem I envision for myself is that I'll probably have several dozen costumes created by the time the game goes live and I won't be able to figure out which ones I'll want to wear during the first few minutes/hours of playing. ;)

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Quote:
Quote:

Given what we see here it might take the average player several months to learn how create a complete worakble costume lol.

I think we have very different opinions of what an "average" player will do.

I think they will be more like me when I first joined CoH at Release +1. The first few characters they create will be rather generic in appearances. The "average" player will want to get into the game as soon as possible. As for me, my first two CoH characters were just that. Generic. I don't think I spent more than 20 minutes on either of their costumes (though their origins took hours). It won't be until their third or fourth character (and only if they really like the game) will they delve deeply into the character creator.

Quote:

Actually the more ironic "paralyzation of choice" problem I envision for myself is that I'll probably have several dozen costumes created by the time the game goes live and I won't be able to figure out which ones I'll want to wear during the first few minutes/hours of playing. ;)

For you, me, and probably 99% of the rest of the regulars (aka non-average players) following this game's development, this is probably one of the most true statements. If the character creator comes out months before the actual game (which is expected), I suspect there will be an entire forum section devoted to the dozens (if not hundreds) of costume designs (and their origins) we all come up with and want to share. Picking only so many for actual game play would be a monumental task!

-Wolf sends

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I did not see any super shiny

I did not see any super shiny metallic armor. I hope that texture will be out when the game goes live.
I did see the bits if something that was barely shiny but closer to plasteel.
But I was hoping it would shinier and more reflective.
Awesome job on weaving different textures together.

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Wolf Shadow wrote:
Wolf Shadow wrote:

Quote:
Given what we see here it might take the average player several months to learn how create a complete worakble costume lol.
I think we have very different opinions of what an "average" player will do.
I think they will be more like me when I first joined CoH at Release +1. The first few characters they create will be rather generic in appearances. The "average" player will want to get into the game as soon as possible. As for me, my first two CoH characters were just that. Generic. I don't think I spent more than 20 minutes on either of their costumes (though their origins took hours). It won't be until their third or fourth character (and only if they really like the game) will they delve deeply into the character creator.
Quote:
Actually the more ironic "paralyzation of choice" problem I envision for myself is that I'll probably have several dozen costumes created by the time the game goes live and I won't be able to figure out which ones I'll want to wear during the first few minutes/hours of playing. ;)
For you, me, and probably 99% of the rest of the regulars (aka non-average players) following this game's development, this is probably one of the most true statements. If the character creator comes out months before the actual game (which is expected), I suspect there will be an entire forum section devoted to the dozens (if not hundreds) of costume designs (and their origins) we all come up with and want to share. Picking only so many for actual game play would be a monumental task!
-Wolf sends

And here's hoping that seeing those of us that look awesome floating (sometimes literally!) around will inspire those new people to explore what's going to be an amazing feature for later costumes!

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Comment: That last picture in

Comment: That last picture in the update has me excited about possible tron outfits. ;) And the first and second pic are both wonderful reminders that each part of the pattern can have its own texture.

Questions:
1) Do we have a generic ETA on the character builder? Like "anywhere from 5 to 10 months from now, but no later than 10 months" or some such?
2) Someone made a good point earlier; Will we be able to build translucent / gelatinous characters?
3) I remember it being mentioned there will be male, female, huge male and huge female. Can we see concepts for those? :)

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This game will have the most

This game will have the most dynamic character creation forum in history with how-to guides, massive screen shot forums, and player made tutorials.

Releasing the character creation early will be the best advertisement CoT could possibly do...I am like totally pumped.

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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

Play costume tutorial? (Y/N)
Play powers tutorial? (Y/N)

Play tutorial tutorial? (Y/N)

Has anyone seen my mind? It was right here...

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Wolf Shadow wrote:
Wolf Shadow wrote:

Quote:
Given what we see here it might take the average player several months to learn how create a complete worakble costume lol.
I think we have very different opinions of what an "average" player will do.
I think they will be more like me when I first joined CoH at Release +1. The first few characters they create will be rather generic in appearances. The "average" player will want to get into the game as soon as possible. As for me, my first two CoH characters were just that. Generic. I don't think I spent more than 20 minutes on either of their costumes (though their origins took hours). It won't be until their third or fourth character (and only if they really like the game) will they delve deeply into the character creator.

I'm fairly sure we will have folks on every point in the spectrum from "Next, next, next, next" to "wait, there's a *game* too?" -- certainly both CoH and CO seem to have, and I don't see any reason that the same motivations and enjoyments wouldn't apply similarly to CoT. That said, *I* have no idea how the balance of those mixes actually looks, beyond "both of the extreme points really were represented" -- I have it on fairly good authority that a non-trivial number of players (not large, but not "one or two" either) spent more time in the tailor than they did in missions. I don't *think* that counted the AE costume editor, either, just the real tailor, but I could be wrong about that.


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warcabbit wrote:
warcabbit wrote:

Note: Get blackmail material on Sheep, for future desires for world-class professionals.

Good luck with that. :)


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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

Darth Fez wrote:
One of my thoughts was, "First game for which there will be tutorials on how to create specific costumes (textures, etc.) in the character creator."

Now it's starting to make sense why they want to release a standalone costume creator well before the game itself. Given what we see here it might take the average player several months to learn how create a complete worakble costume lol.

Now you're getting it.

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I shall presume that there

I shall presume that there will be many, many wonderful presets.

/ Holy cow, George Gaynes is still alive!

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As long as we have latex look

As long as we have latex look like in CO all is good!

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Question: with the character

Question: with the character creator release months ahead of the game start, can we save our creations and import them to the game when it goes live?

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Cyclops wrote:
Cyclops wrote:

Question: with the character creator release months ahead of the game start, can we save our creations and import them to the game when it goes live?

Yes, although the CC would also store them server-side as well, so you'd not need to import, they'd already be available.

Technical Director

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Klaw10 wrote:
Klaw10 wrote:

So not only have you not shown us anything new you've asserted that you don't have to do anything at all.
Ok textures look nice but next time do something new.

Is this a Poe?

That aside, it was a not quite truthful to say that the update contained nothing new, but i still like what i'm seeing. Keep it up.

In theory there's no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

On the CoH forums at the end i went by the name Schismatrix.

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So, any hints on when, maybe

So, any hints on when, maybe you might possibly release a costume creator? Maybe? Perhaps? Just a ball park?

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Doctor Tyche wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:

Cyclops wrote:
Question: with the character creator release months ahead of the game start, can we save our creations and import them to the game when it goes live?

Yes, although the CC would also store them server-side as well, so you'd not need to import, they'd already be available.

How many Slots?
And will they show as Locked once the Main Game is ready? ;)

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Doctor Tyche wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:

Yes, although the CC would also store them server-side as well, so you'd not need to import, they'd already be available.

Having Client-side storage of costume files makes them easier to share, trade, and compare offline.

Be Well!
Fireheart

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Fireheart wrote:
Fireheart wrote:

Doctor Tyche wrote:
Yes, although the CC would also store them server-side as well, so you'd not need to import, they'd already be available.

Having Client-side storage of costume files makes them easier to share, trade, and compare offline.
Be Well!
Fireheart

I'm wondering if SQLite might be a good fit for that. Old post here.

I know there might be a concern with hacking the DB and changing to costume pieces that are suppose to be PAY.
What if there was a separate CRC that MWM apps create with a secret SEED?

Then even if someone hacks the DB, it wont match the CRC and will fail from further processing. :}

You then have 2 files to distribute. Or just one if you ZIP (wont really shrink it as SQLite does a better job than ZIP, maybe use `No Compression` and just take advantage of the container aspect) everything and change the extension to MyHero001.CTA. :)

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Izzy wrote:
Izzy wrote:

Fireheart wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:
Yes, although the CC would also store them server-side as well, so you'd not need to import, they'd already be available.

Having Client-side storage of costume files makes them easier to share, trade, and compare offline.
Be Well!
Fireheart

I'm wondering if SQLite might be a good fit for that. Old post here.
I know there might be a concern with hacking the DB and changing to costume pieces that are suppose to be PAY.
What if there was a separate CRC that MWM apps create with a secret SEED?
Then even if someone hacks the DB, it wont match the CRC and will fail from further processing. :}
You then have 2 files to distribute. Or just one if you ZIP (wont really shrink it as SQLite does a better job than ZIP, maybe use `No Compression` and just take advantage of the container aspect) everything and change the extension to MyHero001.CTA. :)

I remember when CoH first released its "costume save/load" feature there was a period of like a week or two where it was possible to manually insert color codes into the save files that, once reloaded into the game, let you effectively get colors for costumes that the game's GUI did not allow for. Basically CoH already supported every RGB color you could think of even though the GUI was limited to several dozen hardwired choices. Of course within that week or two they patched up those holes so you could no longer "trick" the game into giving you options the game didn't allow. I'm pretty sure this also included any costume items your characters weren't authorized for either.

I assume if CoT allows for client side costume save files that they will enforce some kind of verification scheme so that any file (either yours or from other players) will get checked as it's reloaded back into the game for any elements that you don't have authorization for. Any files that are saved server-side would likely already be considered "clean and verified".

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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For some costume and

For some costume and animation examples one could take a look at Tekken 7, which uses UE4.

(Incidentally, yeah, jiggle is totally a thing.)

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Darth Fez wrote:
Darth Fez wrote:

For some costume and animation examples one could take a look at Tekken 7, which uses UE4.

(Incidentally, yeah, jiggle is totally a thing.)

I'm impressed. Moving to U4 was a great move.

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I wouldnt be against fire

I wouldnt be against fire wings like this: https://youtu.be/8npRv2nE30g?t=2m57s ;)

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Izzy wrote:
Izzy wrote:

Doctor Tyche wrote:
Cyclops wrote:
Question: with the character creator release months ahead of the game start, can we save our creations and import them to the game when it goes live?

Yes, although the CC would also store them server-side as well, so you'd not need to import, they'd already be available.

How many Slots?
And will they show as Locked once the Main Game is ready? ;)

Costumes are not characters. You'll probably have lots of costume storage. Tens or hundreds easily. (We'll get bored with it too fast if not.) Then when the real game rolls out, you simply load a costume onto whatever character you're creating. Then later, at the tailor or wherever, you could load another one.

Izzy wrote:

Fireheart wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:
Yes, although the CC would also store them server-side as well, so you'd not need to import, they'd already be available.

Having Client-side storage of costume files makes them easier to share, trade, and compare offline.
Be Well!
Fireheart

I'm wondering if SQLite might be a good fit for that. Old post here.
I know there might be a concern with hacking the DB and changing to costume pieces that are suppose to be PAY.

I don't see why the costume editor would try to restrict the paid pieces. After all, try-before-you-buy would help them sell. The restriction would only be when you tried to load that costume onto an actual character in-game.

As for SQLite, it makes sense if you need an actual database. For something like costumes, though, I'd be surprised if they didn't stick with something simpler like XML or JSON or YAML.

And Redlynne just mentioned to me that you'd still want a system for representing costumes (like character builds) as hash strings that could be posted to forums. So it would be nice not to need something too complex.

Izzy wrote:

What if there was a separate CRC that MWM apps create with a secret SEED?
Then even if someone hacks the DB, it wont match the CRC and will fail from further processing. :}

Cracked inside of two weeks. As would be any similar system. But again, such measures are not needed since actual enforcement would be server-side.

Has anyone seen my mind? It was right here...

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Izzy wrote:
Izzy wrote:

Fireheart wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:
Yes, although the CC would also store them server-side as well, so you'd not need to import, they'd already be available.

Having Client-side storage of costume files makes them easier to share, trade, and compare offline.
Be Well!
Fireheart

I'm wondering if SQLite might be a good fit for that. Old post here.
I know there might be a concern with hacking the DB and changing to costume pieces that are suppose to be PAY.
What if there was a separate CRC that MWM apps create with a secret SEED?
Then even if someone hacks the DB, it wont match the CRC and will fail from further processing. :}
You then have 2 files to distribute. Or just one if you ZIP (wont really shrink it as SQLite does a better job than ZIP, maybe use `No Compression` and just take advantage of the container aspect) everything and change the extension to MyHero001.CTA. :)

I'd be perfectly happy with the costume file being in Text format.

As has been said, the protection of limited costume pieces comes at the application of the costume to the character. If the Character doesn't have the piece available, then that bit comes in as 'generic' or blank and the player will have to choose new pieces, before the costume will read as 'complete'.

Be Well!
Fireheart

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Lin Chiao Feng wrote:
Lin Chiao Feng wrote:

I don't see why the costume editor would try to restrict the paid pieces. After all, try-before-you-buy would help them sell. The restriction would only be when you tried to load that costume onto an actual character in-game.

Hehe.. Its like giving a Kid a Cookie to Hold, but as soon as they try to take a bite, you take the Cookie away.
I like it. ;D

Lin Chiao Feng wrote:

Izzy wrote:
What if there was a separate CRC that MWM apps create with a secret SEED?
Then even if someone hacks the DB, it wont match the CRC and will fail from further processing. :}

Cracked inside of two weeks. As would be any similar system. But again, such measures are not needed since actual enforcement would be server-side.

Ok. Do a check against each of the costume pieces server-side to see if they have it unlocked already. :)

Quote:

And Redlynne just mentioned to me that you'd still want a system for representing costumes (like character builds) as hash strings that could be posted to forums. So it would be nice not to need something too complex.

Are other games doing this now?

hmm, not sure this will work for Exporting Base Builder type of files. :{

I'm not sold on trying to fit everything in the length of a GET request. :P
And i Do Very Much Dislike Walls of Text. :{
I guess thats where http://pastebin.com/ might come in.

I'd rather have a CoT based Torrent, as a last resort TBH. :/
And i hate having to run a Torrent client, but who's gonna pay for a Server.. Space, Bandwidth, etc..? :(

My hope is that someday the open source or other community will build a very reliable solution for interconnected user PC's over the internet as a Free Wide Server solution. :D
Databases sections are mirrored to select user PC's, server processing and free memory to other user PC's, etc...
I just get giddy wanting/waiting for that to come into being. ;)

So, even if the MWM Servers prove to be lacking in supporting 3 million players at the same time down the road, we can use the CoT Free Wide Server option. ;D

Just me daydreaming. ;)

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As always, disclaimer: this

As always, disclaimer: this does not necessarily reflect what they are actually building in any way, and is purely my personal opinion. As a reasonably senior professional software developer, but still just personal opinion.

Regarding costume saves, et al:

Rule #0: Never, ever, EVER trust anything the client says -- except as a statement of intent.
Rule #1: Beware little old men in pajamas. Especially janitors.
Rule #2: If you're selling a visual, people won't buy unless they can see it.
Rule #3: The only universal format is plain text.
Rule #4: The great thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from.
Rule #5: Make sure a human can read it; that way when (not if) things go wrong, there is at least some slim hope that someone, somewhere, can figure out what you screwed up.
Rule #6: Play nice with others.
Rule #7: Whenever possible, A) do not permit your storage formats to express nonsense, and B) support everything that your format *can* express.

I can say that it is very likely that the *internal* format of a costume will probably be some form of well-compressed binary, simply because the natural way to store it would be as UE4 objects, and it takes care of doing that for you as long as you play by the API rules. So it would require some significant effort to *not* have it be that way. As for the external format, there have been several discussions over what would make the most sense, but all of them presumed that at least one of the external forms needed to be directly readable and editable by humans, as well as *also* being supported by the UE4 import and export logic -- JSON, XML, or something else in a similar vein would generally make the most sense, but I have no idea if it has been nailed down yet.

And honestly, until fairly shortly before the costume creator goes "live", it isn't even all that critical, since the various input / output mechanisms in UE4 all share a fairly standardized interface -- which means that you can write "against that interface" for the most part, then make a selection of format and tweak anything that depends on that decision, when probably 80% of the rest is done already. One of the principles of agile development is "put off decisions that lock you out of options until the last (responsible) moment." This, like any rule, can be misunderstood and/or abused, but what it basically says is that unless you have a specific need to *not* do so, you should be writing things as APIs build around generalized concepts rather than anything specific to a particular implementation. When you *do* have a specific need, you've (probably) found "the last moment" -- certainly it is a point at which that question should be asked.

Also, for the record, most "hash string" implementations are just a 16, 32, or 64 bit based text encoding (hex, uuencode, etc.) of a raw bitstream. Which means the value expressed is usually just a compressed form of whatever format is otherwise stored. And have nothing to do with actual hashes except (A) they tend to look like long sequences of 'gibberish', and (B) they might contain a hash-based integrity check -- although a checksum-based one is much more common.

Rule #7 is an interesting one; because it is possible to define the format, and because it is (generally) easy to build a parser that can verify the *syntax* of something in that format (as opposed to the *semantics* of such a thing), what can be *expressed* should be as close as possible to what can be *accomplished*. This is where the CoH color hack happened (well, this plus violating rule 0): you could express more than they considered to be valid.

Finally: rule #0 is a fundamental thing, because once something goes to the client, you must assume that *anything* in it has come under the complete control of whomever is on that end of things -- no matter how well you try to protect it, at the very *least* you have to expose it into memory in order to use it, and that means it can be captured. So there is absolutely nothing you can do client-side that will not eventually be "broken". As a bonus, if you are verifying everything that comes in *anyway*, you can safely expose a great deal more information for use by third parties without fear that someone will accidentally hand out "critical secret" information that enables bypassing your security. This is also one reason to *not* export (or import) UE4 objects directly: it would be difficult to validate them without attempting to construct them, and doing that opens up a possible attack vector. So you leave those to UE4 itself for internal use.

One basic approach that does all of that?
1) The server defines the authoritative costume at all times.
2) The server is set up to automatically propagate changes in a costume to all clients that know about that costume (something it already has to keep track of anyway).
3) The client can request any costume update that it likes at any time.
4) The client can request a "costume swap" (switching to a costume in a slot" at any time.
5) The client can request that the current costume definition be saved to a slot.
6) The server understands what context any request is occurring within (e.g. "tailor" vs. "in-world"), and can permit or restrict any given update based on that information (or, in fact, anything else it knows).
7) The client understands how to import and export costume definitions; upon importing one, it can either send a multiple-part update request or "replay" the necessary requests to get the server-side costume "in sync" with the imported one.


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DeathSheepFromHell wrote:
DeathSheepFromHell wrote:

...

With apologies to Izzy. :)


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DeathSheepFromHell wrote:
DeathSheepFromHell wrote:

DeathSheepFromHell wrote:
...
With apologies to Izzy. :)

I'm for whats best... even if i prefer something else more.
And anyways, these pajamas dont make me look short. :<

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Izzy wrote:
Izzy wrote:

Quote:
And Redlynne just mentioned to me that you'd still want a system for representing costumes (like character builds) as hash strings that could be posted to forums. So it would be nice not to need something too complex.

Are other games doing this now?

Mid's Hero Planner did it, and I think some of the STO build planners do it as well. Like DSFH hinted, it's usually just a Base64 encoding of binary data, and if the data is large enough it's usually compressed (zlib at least) to keep the size down. The uncompressed form may have absolutely nothing to do with a proper text-based format. But that's okay since the blob isn't meant to be the only copy (or primary format) of the information.

Izzy wrote:

hmm, not sure this will work for Exporting Base Builder type of files. :{

Why not? Size depends on how much you export, and it really depends on how detailed they're going to make the base builder. If it's a CoX-style builder, the data describing a base could well be smaller than the data for a character. (Seriously, with all the flexibility they're planning for character design, it could generate large files because there are just so many sliders.) Unless they're planning lots of slider-adjustable things and textures/patterns/symbols/etc. in base design, there's less data to store.

Izzy wrote:

I'm not sold on trying to fit everything in the length of a GET request. :P

DO NOT USE A GET REQUEST TO CHANGE THINGS. USE PUT OR POST.

The only time I've ever seen making GET requests change things is in small HTTP servers in embedded systems that were so simplified they only handled GET requests, and even then I consider that a bug in the server that is being worked around. I've had to use one of those (in eCos a decade ago) and the resulting 2000-character URLs were all kinds of bad. And you couldn't upload files like you can with POST.

Izzy wrote:

And i Do Very Much Dislike Walls of Text. :{

Typically, the mass of text is hidden inside spoiler tags so it's no big deal.

Izzy wrote:

I'd rather have a CoT based Torrent, as a last resort TBH. :/

Geez, Izzy, it's not going to be nearly big enough to justify a torrent. Should be just a few kbytes. For example, you don't exporting the full texture data; you export an index into a texture table that ships with the game.

Izzy wrote:

My hope is that someday the open source or other community will build a very reliable solution for interconnected user PC's over the internet as a Free Wide Server solution. :D
Databases sections are mirrored to select user PC's, server processing and free memory to other user PC's, etc...
I just get giddy wanting/waiting for that to come into being. ;)

So, basically, What The Cloud Should Have Been Instead Of Another Name For Big Remote Server Farms.

DeathSheepFromHell wrote:

Rule #0: Never, ever, EVER trust anything the client says -- except as a statement of intent.
Rule #1: Beware little old men in pajamas. Especially janitors.
Rule #2: If you're selling a visual, people won't buy unless they can see it.
Rule #3: The only universal format is plain text.
Rule #4: The great thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from.
Rule #5: Make sure a human can read it; that way when (not if) things go wrong, there is at least some slim hope that someone, somewhere, can figure out what you screwed up.
Rule #6: Play nice with others.
Rule #7: Whenever possible, A) do not permit your storage formats to express nonsense, and B) support everything that your format *can* express.

This. A thousand times this. Someone pushes code to me and claims "but I already validated in the JavaScript" gets a LART in the skull.

DeathSheepFromHell wrote:

And have nothing to do with actual hashes except (A) they tend to look like long sequences of 'gibberish', and (B) they might contain a hash-based integrity check -- although a checksum-based one is much more common.

Yes, I'm aware the vernacular is wrong and wish people should probably be calling the things "blobs" instead. Hell, I'll start.

DeathSheepFromHell wrote:

Rule #7 is an interesting one; because it is possible to define the format, and because it is (generally) easy to build a parser that can verify the *syntax* of something in that format (as opposed to the *semantics* of such a thing), what can be *expressed* should be as close as possible to what can be *accomplished*. This is where the CoH color hack happened (well, this plus violating rule 0): you could express more than they considered to be valid.

Another nice thing about #7B is that the more you can accept, the fewer types of erroneous input you have to explicitly check for.

DeathSheepFromHell wrote:

As a bonus, if you are verifying everything that comes in *anyway*, you can safely expose a great deal more information for use by third parties without fear that someone will accidentally hand out "critical secret" information that enables bypassing your security.

And you've got a verifiable record of what information you exported. Just in case someone is worried about secret stuff accidentally leaking out.

Izzy wrote:

And anyways, these pajamas dont make me look short. :<

Were they supposed to?

Has anyone seen my mind? It was right here...

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Lin Chiao Feng wrote:
Lin Chiao Feng wrote:

Izzy wrote:
And i Do Very Much Dislike Walls of Text. :{
Typically, the mass of text is hidden inside spoiler tags so it's no big deal.

*This*, by the way, is what my apologies to Izzy were for. My posts can dwarf any little binary blob any day of the week that ends in 'y'. :)

Lin Chiao Feng wrote:

Izzy wrote:

I'd rather have a CoT based Torrent, as a last resort TBH. :/
Geez, Izzy, it's not going to be nearly big enough to justify a torrent. Should be just a few kbytes. For example, you don't exporting the full texture data; you export an index into a texture table that ships with the game.

Actually, unless folks opt to do something *incredibly*... ahem. Let's just say that UE4 already handles UUIDs/GUIDs as a native "thing". Indexing is something you do for speed at runtime; for exposed archival data, you give it a permanent and enduring identifier that will never change once assigned.

If you're wise, you then *also* give it a 'reference name' which has some sort of meaning to humans, and a version number, so that you can do transparent upgrades of outdated costume pieces in-place, without having to lose the original definition. Because while the primary game might not ship with it, a 'viewer' or other applications where completeness is more important than size might well ship every version of every costume piece, just to be *sure* that it can display anything.

... yes, I *did* have the lava rock costume pieces on a toon in CoH, why do you ask?

[ For those who don't get the reference: CoH did pull out costume pieces periodically, but as long as you didn't update your character's costume, it would still look the same, because they kept shipping the pieces and textures so that they didn't get the alternative situation of an invisible / unrendered costume piece. The lava rock pieces were somewhat infamous for this in some circles because if there *was* a matching replacement for them post-yank, a lot of folks never found it; I don't recall if one even existed, but I want to say there was a replacement which just didn't look nearly as nice. ]

Lin Chiao Feng wrote:

DeathSheepFromHell wrote:
And have nothing to do with actual hashes except (A) they tend to look like long sequences of 'gibberish', and (B) they might contain a hash-based integrity check -- although a checksum-based one is much more common.
Yes, I'm aware the vernacular is wrong and wish people should probably be calling the things "blobs" instead. Hell, I'll start.

Really less "a complaint" and more "taking an opportunity to educate anyone in the audience who wasn't aware". :)

Lin Chiao Feng wrote:

DeathSheepFromHell wrote:
Rule #7 is an interesting one; because it is possible to define the format, and because it is (generally) easy to build a parser that can verify the *syntax* of something in that format (as opposed to the *semantics* of such a thing), what can be *expressed* should be as close as possible to what can be *accomplished*. This is where the CoH color hack happened (well, this plus violating rule 0): you could express more than they considered to be valid.

Another nice thing about #7B is that the more you can accept, the fewer types of erroneous input you have to explicitly check for.

Precisely. If you can get the two to match up exactly, you end up not needing to do semantic checks at all, *and* if you've built the language properly, it is "relatively self-evident" both "what any given bit is expressing" *and* "how to express concept " (so long as is a meaningful concept that *can* be expressed in the language).


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Sooo, in the event MWM stops

Sooo, in the event MWM stops work on CoT, who. what. where. when. how, will the costumes be verified? :)
A fallback method? :P

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Izzy wrote:
Izzy wrote:

Sooo, in the event MWM stops work on CoT, who. what. where. when. how, will the costumes be verified? :)
A fallback method? :P

Do you mean if we get to a situation where the game's been live for a while (like a traditional MMO) but then MWM suddenly collapses and we're left with people having local/private servers? I would imagine whatever system for costume verification is used will be incorporated into the general player accounts maintained on any machine that's designated as a server. In relation to this there will likely be a method to export a player's account info downward from one server to another.

I use the word "downward" because as long as the official MWM servers are live there will likely be no way for such private account info to be "uploaded" to the official servers. This means as long as the official MWM servers are still alive their version of any accounts will be considered the validated "trusted" version - any copy you download to private/local servers would merely be considered backup and/or local copies for your own private use.

This would all change if the MWM servers are ever shutdown. If that happens then the only "trusted" copies of any player account will be whatever the remaining players consider to be official on their own private servers. The restriction I mentioned of not being able to "upload" a player account from a private server to the MWM servers would no longer apply because there would no longer be any trusted MWM servers to worry about. It might be possible to set a private server into "download only" mode as well, and if this is the case then that would be the path forward in a MWM-less world to reestablish a system of new trusted servers among the remaining playerbase.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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DeathSheepFromHell wrote:
DeathSheepFromHell wrote:

Lin Chiao Feng wrote:
Izzy wrote:
And i Do Very Much Dislike Walls of Text. :{

Typically, the mass of text is hidden inside spoiler tags so it's no big deal.

*This*, by the way, is what my apologies to Izzy were for. My posts can dwarf any little binary blob any day of the week that ends in 'y'. :)

D'oh! I thought Izzy was talking about the resultant wall of text that would be the encoded blob.

DeathSheepFromHell wrote:

Actually, unless folks opt to do something *incredibly*... ahem. Let's just say that UE4 already handles UUIDs/GUIDs as a native "thing".

s/index/GUID/g. I wasn't referring to database indexes. Imprecise terminology strikes again.

DeathSheepFromHell wrote:

[ For those who don't get the reference: CoH did pull out costume pieces periodically, but as long as you didn't update your character's costume, it would still look the same, because they kept shipping the pieces and textures so that they didn't get the alternative situation of an invisible / unrendered costume piece. The lava rock pieces were somewhat infamous for this in some circles because if there *was* a matching replacement for them post-yank, a lot of folks never found it; I don't recall if one even existed, but I want to say there was a replacement which just didn't look nearly as nice. ]

I got bit by this a lot. I'd go into the editor to fix some minor thing and half of my detailed costume parts would be replaced with the default tights or something!

Now we just have to make sure those part names are spelled consistently... >_<

Has anyone seen my mind? It was right here...

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Ahhhh Yes.. you just made me

Ahhhh Yes.. you just made me remember that some apps allow you to click a URL link and it Launches the Appropriate App.

URL Schemes, i believe.
ex: {a href="tel:1-408-555-5555"}1-408-555-5555{/a} (on the iPhone when clicked it pops up the Telephone app, and dials the number?)

So, even if you click the browser link that looks like:
{a href="https://cityoftitans.com/cot_ab%3A%20ABABABBABABBADADADADADACACACACCAAFAFAFAFFAFAFFFAA..."}See my Awesome Costume now{/a}

It will launch the CoT Avatar Builder and pass in the data on the commandline, i think. :P

Ohh, but different OS'es have Max string lengths that can be passed to the command-line. Rats! :P

Next! ;)

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I had several of my most

I had several of my most brilliant costumes ruined, because the Devs decided (after release) that certain parts could not go together.
This glorious confection was disabled (they Said) because of 'clipping', so I was never able to update it again. The real reason was probably because Dual Cape Systems was too (Cool!) 'resource intensive'. All I can say to both of those arguments is, "You only have to look at it occasionally, but I get to look at it All the Time! If I can stand it, why can't you?"

Another example was the Malaise pattern, which I used to get some nice silk-like iridescent effects. For some reason, it got removed from circulation and I was never able to edit that particular costume again, without losing it.

So, I encourage the Devs to be very careful about the costume resources they create. Name them, index them, and categorize them carefully. Try to avoid losing them, or stealing them back, if there's a problem. People get attached to these things.

Be Well!
Fireheart

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Izzy wrote:
Izzy wrote:

So, even if you click the browser link that looks like:
{a href="https://cityoftitans.com/cot_ab%3A%20ABABABBABABBADADADADADACACACACCAAFAFAFAFFAFAFFFAA..."}See my Awesome Costume now{/a}
It will launch the CoT Avatar Builder and pass in the data on the commandline, i think. :P

If the avatar builder is registered, of course. I'd hope they named the scheme `cot-avatar` to be clearer.

Izzy wrote:

Ohh, but different OS'es have Max string lengths that can be passed to the command-line. Rats! :P

That's not just the command line; usually there's some cap on URL length. And it's usually there to prevent buffer overflow attacks and similar nastiness.

Izzy wrote:

Next! ;)

Slightly less flexible: Since the Avatar Builder is storing these things on CoT servers somewhere, all you need in the URI is the GUID of the costume: <a href="cot-avatar:0c2100ac-b263-4081-871a-eeb8f284bb1d">See my Awesome Costume now</a>

The Avatar Builder then fetches the data from the CoT server. Of course, you'll want to (at least) let users mark their costumes as "public" or "private" because not everything should be shared...

The only thing this doesn't do is let you load the avatar if the servers are down.

Has anyone seen my mind? It was right here...

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Make it... See my Awesome

Make it... <a href="cot-avatar://cityoftitans.com/AvatarServlet.php?guid=0c2100ac-b263-4081-871a-eeb8f284bb1d">See my Awesome Costume now</a> ...and you've sold me. ;)

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Fireheart wrote:
Fireheart wrote:

I had several of my most brilliant costumes ruined, because the Devs decided (after release) that certain parts could not go together. This glorious confection was disabled (they Said) because of 'clipping', so I was never able to update it again. The real reason was probably because Dual Cape Systems was too (Cool!) 'resource intensive'. All I can say to both of those arguments is, "You only have to look at it occasionally, but I get to look at it All the Time! If I can stand it, why can't you?"
Another example was the Malaise pattern, which I used to get some nice silk-like iridescent effects. For some reason, it got removed from circulation and I was never able to edit that particular costume again, without losing it.
So, I encourage the Devs to be very careful about the costume resources they create. Name them, index them, and categorize them carefully. Try to avoid losing them, or stealing them back, if there's a problem. People get attached to these things.
Be Well!
Fireheart

The CoH Devs were in a weird "rock and a hard place" position when it came to costume item "clipping".

On one hand they had to deal with people who didn't mind various clipping situations because they came up with various clever combinations that either used the clips for constructive purposes or at the very least managed to minimize the appearance of a clip to their best advantage. On the other hand they likely got a whole bunch of angry feedback about "dumb ugly" clips that people hated and the Devs had to appease them the easiest way they could which usually meant simply removing the offending items.

The worst thing I think the CoH Devs did (and I sincerely hope the CoT Devs learned a lesson from this) was that they occasionally "updated" an existing item without allowing people to hang on to the original version if desired. One of the most notable examples of this was the female thigh-hi boot. The original version of this boot had been in the game for 3 or 4 years when at some point they decided it had some clipping problems with some skirts. Technically that was true; there were a couple of skirts it had problems with. So they completely reshaped/retextured the boot top-to-bottom in order to minimize those specific clips. The problem was the new boot was noticeably worse/uglier overall than the original. In order to "fix" a relatively rare skirt combo problem they essentially ruined the entire boot for all the other uses you could use it for without a skirt.

What made it especially bad was that the visual design change for that boot was forced on us regardless. There was no way to keep the old version by never editing the costume again - the boot changed for everyone after the patch no matter what. Many of us used that boot for many costumes and being aware that it had a problem with certain skirts most people simply avoided using the boot and skirts together. There was arguably no serious problem to "fix" and their attempt to meddle with it arguably made things worse.

I understand the Devs were probably thinking they were replacing a "broken" part with an "unbroken" part so they likely saw no reason to let us keep the old part. But even if they sincerely thought the new boot was better there should have been no real logistical problem with them ADDING the new boot to the game instead of REPLACING the old boot. With two boots in the game we would have had a CHOICE about which one to use instead of being forced to use one or the other. The original boot had been in the game happily for years - was it really "broken" enough to dump completely?

The mantra here should be this: Always ADD costume options to the game - never REPLACE options unless absolutely necessary. Let the players figure these things out for themselves.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

I understand the Devs were probably thinking they were replacing a "broken" part with an "unbroken" part so they likely saw no reason to let us keep the old part. But even if they sincerely thought the new boot was better there should have been no real logistical problem with them ADDING the new boot to the game instead of REPLACING the old boot.

As a matter of fact, I can tell you exactly why they would replace costume pieces instead of adding the new version. I know about it because Nate explained it to me during a discussion about why OUR costume creator works the way it does, which also covered how other games - such as our own predecessor - handled the same problems.

It comes down to the intense resources that simply adding so many costume options creates in a vacuum. Each piece, being unique, requires a separate draw command, and everything cascades out of control very quickly. Solutions revolve around ways to create a single draw command.

The solution of City of Heroes was that every character was actually already composed of EVERY SINGLE COSTUME PIECE. Then they were tagged visible or invisible based on your choices in the character creator. So you had one draw command and only saw the parts you wanted to see.

The drawback was that every character loaded with all the data of every single costume piece on the client side. It was a solution that depended on the lower graphics of the time - they didn't add up the way they would today. But they still dramatically changed the amount of RAM required to run the game over the course of its lifetime, as graphics were updated and pieces added. CoH doubtless could not have updated their graphics any farther without breaking the game due to this - increasing the resolution of costume pieces would have a monumental effect.

So you see, for CoH, replacing old costume pieces really was best practice. They needed to minimize the accumulation of data on the character model whenever practical, and what more practical situation could there be for it, then when you were updating an old piece?

CoH's solution depended, like I said, on the graphics of the time. Wouldn't work today anyway, which is why we developed Cassandra, which takes a very different approach. And of course with today's cloth physics engines and stuff, clipping is either a much less common issue or a non-issue, I'm not tech so I'm not sure which. Either way, between those two factors, times when we need to pull/remove a costume piece altogether should be pretty rare.

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Shadow Elusive wrote:
Shadow Elusive wrote:

Lothic wrote:
I understand the Devs were probably thinking they were replacing a "broken" part with an "unbroken" part so they likely saw no reason to let us keep the old part. But even if they sincerely thought the new boot was better there should have been no real logistical problem with them ADDING the new boot to the game instead of REPLACING the old boot.

As a matter of fact, I can tell you exactly why they would replace costume pieces instead of adding the new version. I know about it because Nate explained it to me during a discussion about why OUR costume creator works the way it does, which also covered how other games - such as our own predecessor - handled the same problems.
It comes down to the intense resources that simply adding so many costume options creates in a vacuum. Each piece, being unique, requires a separate draw command, and everything cascades out of control very quickly. Solutions revolve around ways to create a single draw command.
The solution of City of Heroes was that every character was actually already composed of EVERY SINGLE COSTUME PIECE. Then they were tagged visible or invisible based on your choices in the character creator. So you had one draw command and only saw the parts you wanted to see.
The drawback was that every character loaded with all the data of every single costume piece on the client side. It was a solution that depended on the lower graphics of the time - they didn't add up the way they would today. But they still dramatically changed the amount of RAM required to run the game over the course of its lifetime, as graphics were updated and pieces added. CoH doubtless could not have updated their graphics any farther without breaking the game due to this - increasing the resolution of costume pieces would have a monumental effect.

Your post in general does not really explain all the costume items that were actually ADDED to CoH over the years. If it was possible to add literally hundreds of items to the game over 8.5 years why could they have not added one more new pair of boots in the situation I highlighted?

I understand the relative system limitations the CoH Devs had to deal with. I realize that when it came to things like this particular thigh-hi boot issue the CoH Devs were faced with several optional "solutions" and the easiest one (from their point of view) was simply to swap out one version of the boot for another. I get that from an engineering expediency point of view.

I'm simply stating that (much like the point Fireheart brought up) people get attached to various costume items even if supposedly better versions of those items come along. Clearly the Devs' only priority in this situation was to correct the clipping issues and for them that was more important than preserving the original version even though it had otherwise been in the game for years. They made the mistake of favoring a minor clip fix over pissing off the majority who were using the boot in ways that did not suffer from that clip in the first place. Obviously it would have been "more work" for them to have ADDED a new version of the boot instead of just REPLACING it. But one could easily argue that the clipping issue they were addressing itself was so relatively trivial that if they were going to waste ANY time to come up with a new boot that they could have gone ahead and taken the extra step to have made it a NEW option instead of the ONLY option. Their compromise solution was not only far from ideal in this case it arguably made the situation they were trying to fix even worse - we ended up with a crummier redesign of a boot that had worked well enough 99% of the time for years.

Shadow Elusive wrote:

So you see, for CoH, replacing old costume pieces really was best practice. They needed to minimize the accumulation of data on the character model whenever practical, and what more practical situation could there be for it, then when you were updating an old piece?
CoH's solution depended, like I said, on the graphics of the time. Wouldn't work today anyway, which is why we developed Cassandra, which takes a very different approach. And of course with today's cloth physics engines and stuff, clipping is either a much less common issue or a non-issue, I'm not tech so I'm not sure which. Either way, between those two factors, times when we need to pull/remove a costume piece altogether should be pretty rare.

I would quibble with the use of the phrase "best practice" here. At best it was an economical workaround, but it was hardly the "optimal" solution. They did things like this because they were forced to live within the bounds of the system limitations they were stuck with. All things being equal the "best practice" would be to NEVER remove/replace items that have an established history within the game. The boots in this case only clipped with a couple of other specific items - it literally had no trouble with the rest of the millions of other combinations that were possible. Hopefully as you say the need to remove/replace items like this in CoT will be much reduced or eliminated completely.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Well of course they added

Well of course they added stuff, but working with such a system, it would be the most basic kind of common sense not to leave in anything that seemed unnecessary. The old version of an updated costume piece would seem like an obvious candidate. Your example is one pair of boots, yes. But the total list of items that fall into the category you're griping about is a lot longer. In their place I'd make the same decision regardless of griping for those reasons. But happily CoT won't need to make those kind of calls.

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Shadow Elusive wrote:
Shadow Elusive wrote:

Well of course they added stuff, but working with such a system, it would be the most basic kind of common sense not to leave in anything that seemed unnecessary. The old version of an updated costume piece would seem like an obvious candidate. Your example is one pair of boots, yes. But the total list of items that fall into the category you're griping about is a lot longer. In their place I'd make the same decision regardless of griping for those reasons. But happily CoT won't need to make those kind of calls.

Perhaps this is more a philosophical issue than a purely engineering one: Who gets to decide if a costume item that's been in a game for years is suddenly "unnecessary"? Who gets to decide that an "updated" costume item is so perfectly and completely superior to an older version that you can do a one-for-one replacement without any repercussions? Obviously a game's Devs will be the final decision makers, but I would simply caution that their rationales are not always going to be perfectly in line with what the players want.

Again all things being equal the mantra should always be ADD not REPLACE. System limitations might interfere with that, but limitations like that should not be an excuse to favor arbitrary replacement where it otherwise makes no productive sense.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Also, trying to define 'best

Also, trying to define 'best practice' in absence of the environment is pretty ridiculous if you ask me. So yes, I would say CoH was following best practice. It was best practice for their environment, for the rules they operated under. How else could you define it? I'd call what you're calling best practice the ideal scenario. Ideally, you would not need to remove any costume pieces, yes. Reality dictated otherwise in this case. I wouldn't be surprised if hundreds of pieces were not removed for one reason or another over the course of the game's lifetime. The Devs might well have seen this as hundreds of unique items they were able to add in without changing the limit. Many players were on older machines, machines that may not have had more than 2 gigs of RAM. And City of Heroes had already hit the point of requiring that much when it passed away.

Of course, starting several years later, successor projects can depend on at least 4 gigs. We won't need to, but another project might. CoH's system is much, MUCH easier to apply. Ours took a looong time and experienced multiple setbacks. Much progress was stalled around our efforts to realize Cassandra. None of the other solutions out there are easy.

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Shadow Elusive wrote:
Shadow Elusive wrote:

Reality dictated otherwise in this case.

Actually reality did NOT dictate it in this case.

This was a case of a costume item that had been in the game for YEARS - the justification for it needing a change in the first place was almost nonexistent. Then all of a sudden (likely based on an absentminded suggestion about it) the Devs determined that it clipped with literally just a couple of random skirts. It wasn't a game breaking bug; it certainly wasn't something that had to be desperately changed instantaneously with a hotfix because otherwise the game was going to explode if nothing was done. At the very worse it was an extremely minor case of cosmetic costume clipping that probably went unnoticed by 99.99% of the playerbase.

So based on the facts that the Devs had on their hands an INCREDIBLY TRIVIAL clipping issue that they literally had all the time in the world to deal with (or even completely ignore) not only did they chose to waste time recreating a new less-detailed version of the boots but they decided (in a very underhandedly sneaky way) to slip the new boots in as a REPLACEMENT instead of an ADDITION without even a legitimate patch note. They seriously hoped they could have gotten away with it without anyone noticing. They didn't.

Once again I understand that CoH had various limits and restrictions with memory and so forth. But if that was truly the case then why waste precious resources on changing something that had otherwise existed unchanged for years? If it was seriously that hard to add one silly new pair of boots (the arguably most proper solution) then why worry about whether or not the original boots clipped with skirts at all?

Basically what I'm saying is that Dev priorities can't be allowed to be set stupidly, especially if you're dealing with these supposed system limitations. The net effect of their meddling in this boot case was a worse looking costume item that only corrected one possible situation in a million. And as far a defining "best practices" goes the most logical solution in this case would have been to have left the original boots alone in the first place. Instead the CoH Devs actually WASTED effort making things WORSE.

P.S. And for what it's worth I seriously hope a game created in the 2015-16 timeframe will not be flailing around needing to optimize for every last byte of RAM the same way a game written in 2002-2004 might have done. In this day and age that would be simply ridiculous.

Shadow Elusive wrote:

I wouldn't be surprised if hundreds of pieces were not removed for one reason or another over the course of the game's lifetime.

Actually to their credit the CoH Devs only pulled this "replacement switcheroo" trick a handful of times over the course of 8.5 years. This is why this thigh-hi boot case was such a notable example of that. Because it was such a stand-out case of what the CoH Devs should NOT have done it has become the "teachable moment" I'm hoping the CoT Devs will learn from.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Fireheart wrote:
Fireheart wrote:

Another example was the Malaise pattern, which I used to get some nice silk-like iridescent effects. For some reason, it got removed from circulation and I was never able to edit that particular costume again, without losing it.

I used the Malaise pattern to make tie dye for my Defender, New Age Healer. I never changed his costume, but when I added a new one, I just kept the pattern and changed the colors. He had tons of tie dye shirts.

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I finally realized why the

I finally realized why the models and clothing look so plastic. White highlights. Try to keep from over saturating the pixels. The color range for each pixel should be min(R,G,B)+1 to 255-max(R,G,B).

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AvelWorldCreator wrote:
AvelWorldCreator wrote:

I finally realized why the models and clothing look so plastic. White highlights. Try to keep from over saturating the pixels. The color range for each pixel should be min(R,G,B)+1 to 255-max(R,G,B).

And dont forget to Clamp 0-1 after an Add, Sub, Mult, Div. to see if its causing a problem. ;)

* feels a MWM Dev reach out and WHAP me over the head. * "Shaders 101!" * and MWM Dev goes back to work. *

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As for the overly bright

As for the overly bright highlights, I would lay odds that the sample is being snapped from a default lighting setup (+/- 0 'levels' of adjustment) -- which I, and so far as I can tell many others, find to be blindingly bright. It *is* good as a compromise between all games, but mostly in the sense that "it sucks equally for all of them." Anything with a 'realistic' style generally does have far less *contrast* than is usually perceived in a "well light" game, because there is a great deal more like coming into the eye and causing it to adjust accordingly when you''re getting that from *everything* rather than just the monitor in front of you.

Have to wonder how that might change when VR stuff becomes more plausible for the general audience, but until then I really would recommend toning the sample down to something more in keeping with the supposed visual style of the game. And for the record, unless they have drastically changed something, the masking approach probably isn't even attempting to handle a "fade" in most spots, and if it were it would be a simple single-color alpha multiplier. While the engine supports HDR and will cheerfully go to 11 (or even just 1.1), you have to do at least a little deliberate work to drive that unless you're using either a procedural texture or a very sizable HDR-capable texture format, which I somewhat doubt they've switched to. Possible, but it seems unlikely.

Honestly, my guess would go with "it is the default shader with a base color texture and some minimal / basic normal mapping, but not yet using the roughness or metallic inputs to the PBR node." The mid-range values those default to have a strong tendency to look fairly "plastic" under almost *any* lighting... mostly because plastic happens to have physical values that are relatively close to the middle of the functional ranges they're using.

So probably Shaders 201, since PBR hasn't really gotten widespread enough to be a 110 course yet, much less a 101. :P


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Izzy wrote:
Izzy wrote:

Make it... <a href="cot-avatar://cityoftitans.com/AvatarServlet.php?guid=0c2100ac-b263-4081-871a-eeb8f284bb1d">See my Awesome Costume now</a> ...and you've sold me. ;)

*hiss* Keep your PHP evil away from my servlets, damn you!

... okay, better now.


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