Pre-Update And State of the Game - September 19th 2013 - Discussion

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Doctor Tyche
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Pre-Update And State of the Game - September 19th 2013 - Discussion

The last bits for the re-submission to Kickstarter are coming together. When we began the video re-edit, it became clear that the footage could have been a bit more solid, so we have reshot a few of the video clips for it. Now it is in the hands of our editor (no pressure).

During this time, we looked over some of the questions which were asked of the KS, and one which stood out was asking why the amount of money we were asking for. As the lions share of that is for the artists tools, we thought to release what was planned to be an update early, one which explained why we were asking for the money for higher end tools instead of sticking to free/open source tools. Not because of capability, tools such as Blender are solid, but time, they take more effort to achieve the same results as the commercial tools.

And without any further ado, the pre-update, put together by VDG, Robin, Petalstorm and DeathSheepFromBelow:

http://tppdevblog.blogspot.com/2013/09/pre-update-under-hood-blog-entry.html

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My first reaction upon

My first reaction upon getting to the article you pointed us to was, "How the hell am I supposed to read this?" Grey lettering on a black background? And the links are a really dark red? You could have made it more difficult for people, but you would have had to work for it. I understand wanting to have a distinctive style for different aspects of the project and work you are doing. But make it easy for people to read.

I put up with the fact that everybody seems to think that there are no more 1024x768 monitors on the web anymore. It's old, but it still works and spending money to replace it would be stupid. And I can always use Stylish to create a stylesheet for a site that I can actually read. Although that can take 30 minutes or so that I hate to waste, so I usually only do it for important sites. And most people have no clue how to do anything with stylesheets, let alone using something like Stylish. So I never understand, why people put up information on pages that are hard to read.

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Interesting can hardly wait

Interesting can hardly wait to see what is in store for the KS.

My villain, my hero you mean. I always think of my murderers as my heroes.

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Justice Blues wrote:
Justice Blues wrote:

My first reaction upon getting to the article you pointed us to was, "How the hell am I supposed to read this?" Grey lettering on a black background? And the links are a really dark red? You could have made it more difficult for people, but you would have had to work for it. I understand wanting to have a distinctive style for different aspects of the project and work you are doing. But make it easy for people to read.

Here is how it looks like over here:
Easily readable and also the links are clearly visible:

Justice Blues wrote:

I put up with the fact that everybody seems to think that there are no more 1024x768 monitors on the web anymore. It's old, but it still works and spending money to replace it would be stupid. And I can always use Stylish to create a stylesheet for a site that I can actually read. Although that can take 30 minutes or so that I hate to waste, so I usually only do it for important sites. And most people have no clue how to do anything with stylesheets, let alone using something like Stylish. So I never understand, why people put up information on pages that are hard to read.

What browser are you using? On most of them you can zoom in and out using CTRL + Mousewheel.
It's a function I use myself due my 1440x900 resolution.

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Justice Blues wrote:
Justice Blues wrote:

My first reaction upon getting to the article you pointed us to was, "How the hell am I supposed to read this?" Grey lettering on a black background? And the links are a really dark red? You could have made it more difficult for people, but you would have had to work for it.

Interesting. For me it renders as light (slightly dimmer than pure white) text on a medium-dark gray background, and orange links, which gives it a fairly reasonable level of contrast.

Edit: reasonably close to what Ceremonius´ screen shot looks like.



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Doctor Tyche
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Justice Blues wrote:
Justice Blues wrote:

My first reaction upon getting to the article you pointed us to was, "How the hell am I supposed to read this?" Grey lettering on a black background? And the links are a really dark red? You could have made it more difficult for people, but you would have had to work for it. I understand wanting to have a distinctive style for different aspects of the project and work you are doing. But make it easy for people to read.
I put up with the fact that everybody seems to think that there are no more 1024x768 monitors on the web anymore. It's old, but it still works and spending money to replace it would be stupid. And I can always use Stylish to create a stylesheet for a site that I can actually read. Although that can take 30 minutes or so that I hate to waste, so I usually only do it for important sites. And most people have no clue how to do anything with stylesheets, let alone using something like Stylish. So I never understand, why people put up information on pages that are hard to read.

Actually, it is one of the easiest formats to read in most studies. A good page explaining page viewability contrast can be found here:

http://www.writer2001.com/colwebcontrast.htm

As for size, we are limited to what Blogspot offers us.

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Mine looks like Ceremonius',

Mine looks like Ceremonius', I'm running Chrome at 1680x1050

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Am I the only one who gets a

Am I the only one who gets a thrill looking at the final model pix, imagining taking my first lvl 1 inside to get my very first mission? :-)

Spurn all ye kindle.

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Cinnder wrote:
Cinnder wrote:

Am I the only one who gets a thrill looking at the final model pix, imagining taking my first lvl 1 inside to get my very first mission? :-)

I agree I can hardly wait to blow the place up. :)

My villain, my hero you mean. I always think of my murderers as my heroes.

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Interesting look at that side

Interesting look at that side of the project. Not used sketchup, but I'd recommend checking out Wings3D, an open source 3d graphics tool which has some great features. I've used it for quite a while now. It's pretty good for creating UV maps too, which may help on texturing down the line.

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Looks fine for me too. I'm

Looks fine for me too. I'm glad that this sort of update is happening now - although I'm more interested in the lore side of things (hint hint for the next blog) this was pretty interesting. I'm not at all versed in anything that happens as far as 3d modeling goes, but I did note something that seemed odd to me:

Quote:

Why go through the effort of making a mock-up of a concept and then importing it into the engine? Many reasons - one of the most important ones is to give an idea of scale and how it might look inside the engine from the perspective of the player. It can also influence some necessary changes that wouldn’t be apparent on just pen and paper or in a 3D modelling application.

I assume doing mockups in the Unreal engine or Blender is much harder than Sketchup? Because it just seems like a huge efficiency waster to go from Sketchup to Blender to Unreal - why not start in Blender or even Unreal in the first place? The reasons given above sound like they could use Unreal just as well, if the purpose is only to give a sense of scale or figure out 3d vs. 2d issues.

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I read the Blog Post using

I read the Blog Post using Chrome (Version 29.0.1547.66 m) and it looked fine to me.
Orange Hyperlinks.
Deep Grey background.
Slightly off-white text.
It looked good (but then I like deep grey tones :)).

At least it wasnt pure black bg with pure white text - that is a nightmare to read and after 2 paragraphs I tend to have "burn in" on my retina's.

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Felderburg wrote:
Felderburg wrote:

Looks fine for me too. I'm glad that this sort of update is happening now - although I'm more interested in the lore side of things (hint hint for the next blog) this was pretty interesting. I'm not at all versed in anything that happens as far as 3d modeling goes, but I did note something that seemed odd to me:
Quote:
Why go through the effort of making a mock-up of a concept and then importing it into the engine? Many reasons - one of the most important ones is to give an idea of scale and how it might look inside the engine from the perspective of the player. It can also influence some necessary changes that wouldn’t be apparent on just pen and paper or in a 3D modelling application.
I assume doing mockups in the Unreal engine or Blender is much harder than Sketchup? Because it just seems like a huge efficiency waster to go from Sketchup to Blender to Unreal - why not start in Blender or even Unreal in the first place? The reasons given above sound like they could use Unreal just as well, if the purpose is only to give a sense of scale or figure out 3d vs. 2d issues.

Unreal is only a game engine and level builder; the editor is focused almost exclusively on placing meshes, and does not let you define anything but the simplest geometric shapes, and even those aren't used for meshes, only "blocking out" areas that should be outside the level or otherwise unavailable, as a rule. In fact, in most games, they're only used on the very roughest pass, and are steadily replaced by actual meshes or other more refined things as the level gets built out.

They basically expect you to do the definitions for pretty much anything with a physical presence in the world (whether mobile or not) in a modeling program. Which makes sense, really, given that most 3D artists already *know* one or more of them, and they are tools that can easily take years to build right. Epic focused on the business they're in (building games) rather than one that they're not (building assets, which are used in a lot more than just games).



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Mini-Nukette wrote:
Mini-Nukette wrote:

Interesting look at that side of the project. Not used sketchup, but I'd recommend checking out Wings3D, an open source 3d graphics tool which has some great features. I've used it for quite a while now. It's pretty good for creating UV maps too, which may help on texturing down the line.

"There is no support in Wings for animation." (from the Wings3D homepage)

Unfortunately, this pretty much knocks it out of the running, because a significant percentage of the expected work has to at least be *tested* with animations, to check for issues like clipping or distortion. Pretty much anything that would go on, be held by, or would interact with what Unreal dubs a "skeletal mesh" (think: "character", but also *nearly* anything with moving parts, definitely anything with parts that do more than simply rotate in place).

It might or might not suffice for static meshes (basically everything else with a "body" in the game), but since it can't do that it would end up just being extra work to train folks in, because they'd still have to be using other tools for the rest.

This isn't a bash on Wings3D, it looks like it probably does a fairly good job of being what it intends to be — but what it intends to be doesn't actually match up well with the needs imposed by the work we have to do.



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Cinnder wrote:
Cinnder wrote:

Am I the only one who gets a thrill looking at the final model pix, imagining taking my first lvl 1 inside to get my very first mission? :-)

As long as by "final" you mean "the last pictures posted in the blog".

:)



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You should save the original

You should save the original import. That way when my villain destroys it, you'll have a ready made model. :)

Great looking concept, BTW. Even if you don't use it as the final model for the city hall it could be used as some else, court house, library, corporate HQ, etc.

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Tarakas wrote:
Tarakas wrote:

You should save the original import. That way when my villain destroys it, you'll have a ready made model. :)

That is not a bad idea....

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Ceremonius wrote:
Ceremonius wrote:

Justice Blues wrote:
My first reaction upon getting to the article you pointed us to was, "How the hell am I supposed to read this?" Grey lettering on a black background? And the links are a really dark red? You could have made it more difficult for people, but you would have had to work for it. I understand wanting to have a distinctive style for different aspects of the project and work you are doing. But make it easy for people to read.

Here is how it looks like over here:
Easily readable and also the links are clearly visible:
Justice Blues wrote:
I put up with the fact that everybody seems to think that there are no more 1024x768 monitors on the web anymore. It's old, but it still works and spending money to replace it would be stupid. And I can always use Stylish to create a stylesheet for a site that I can actually read. Although that can take 30 minutes or so that I hate to waste, so I usually only do it for important sites. And most people have no clue how to do anything with stylesheets, let alone using something like Stylish. So I never understand, why people put up information on pages that are hard to read.

What browser are you using? On most of them you can zoom in and out using CTRL + Mousewheel.
It's a function I use myself due my 1440x900 resolution.

Yes, I can get Firefox to look just like that by zooming out. Then the letters are so small I have a hard time reading them and have to change the font size, then when I go to a site that takes into account lower resolutions like 1024x786 and the letters are huge and I have to change the font size again. And while the links are visible, I don't find them to be particularly legible, even at a larger size they are more difficult to read.

If I was trying to read it on my laptop with an LCD screen, it might all be perfectly legible. But I'm reading on a CRT with an old video card that can't handle large resolutions well anymore. I don't expect you to change it, but every once in a while I like to remind people that there are still people out here without the newest stuff, and what looks good for you can look like crap for us.

Now get off my lawn!

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DeathSheepFromHell wrote:
DeathSheepFromHell wrote:

As long as by "final" you mean "the last pictures posted in the blog".
:)

Ha ha -- yes, I meant the last pix. The thrill came from imagining what it will look like in its truly final state in the game. :-)

Spurn all ye kindle.

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Felderburg wrote:
Felderburg wrote:

Looks fine for me too. I'm glad that this sort of update is happening now - although I'm more interested in the lore side of things (hint hint for the next blog) this was pretty interesting. I'm not at all versed in anything that happens as far as 3d modeling goes, but I did note something that seemed odd to me:
Quote:
Why go through the effort of making a mock-up of a concept and then importing it into the engine? Many reasons - one of the most important ones is to give an idea of scale and how it might look inside the engine from the perspective of the player. It can also influence some necessary changes that wouldn’t be apparent on just pen and paper or in a 3D modelling application.
I assume doing mockups in the Unreal engine or Blender is much harder than Sketchup? Because it just seems like a huge efficiency waster to go from Sketchup to Blender to Unreal - why not start in Blender or even Unreal in the first place? The reasons given above sound like they could use Unreal just as well, if the purpose is only to give a sense of scale or figure out 3d vs. 2d issues.

Sketchup is a simple application. It is good for quick 3D renders, to give you an idea for scale, angles, etc.

Blender is a much more complex beast and requires a lot more up front knowledge to produce results. Blender can produce excellent results equal to any high-end commercial app, but you need to do more work to get there. And more work means longer to get the job done.

For mockups, Sketchup does its job well. For final models, you want a much more robust application. Blender takes more work to do the job than more mainstream applications mainly because it lacks the plug-in support, the middleware and libraries one can find with 3DS Max, Lightwave 3D and Maya. And those add-ins really do speed up the development pipeline, often times in a dramatic fashion.

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I can speak from experience -

I can speak from experience - it took me less than 2 hours to get comfortable with Maya and begin modeling my first "complex" shapes, whereas Blender that took over a week to get used to the tools just to begin doing complex shapes and many more months of learning "tricks" to feel confident with the application.

I do adore Blender's Cycles renderer though.

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Would a model in Sketchup be

Would a model in Sketchup be useful to you if submitted by an outside source? Or would cleaning it up be more work than it's worth?
I'm talking knick-knacks here, no animation.

I mentioned relics in another thread and if we want them, we could supply them!

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Justice Blues wrote:
Justice Blues wrote:

If I was trying to read it on my laptop with an LCD screen, it might all be perfectly legible. But I'm reading on a CRT with an old video card that can't handle large resolutions well anymore. I don't expect you to change it, but every once in a while I like to remind people that there are still people out here without the newest stuff, and what looks good for you can look like crap for us.

With my CRT I find that in Firefox View --> Page Style --> No Style fixes most problems I have with illegible text on sites. As an added bonus, it only applies to the current tab.

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snate56 wrote:
snate56 wrote:

Would a model in Sketchup be useful to you if submitted by an outside source? Or would cleaning it up be more work than it's worth?
I'm talking knick-knacks here, no animation.
I mentioned relics in another thread and if we want them, we could supply them!
Steve

At the very least there are several legal concerns about using things like this that would need to be nailed down. Which is not to say they could not be — certainly various companies allow submissions — but it is a profoundly different thing from, for example, having someone work with a project artist to design a personalized logo.

Right now is probably much too early for this particular question, due to planning constraints, but the general question of user submissions might be fodder for a separate thread.



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Thanks for the explanations!

Thanks for the explanations! That clears up my inquiries.

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