Thursday, 7 February 2008

About the look and all

theotherhiveking one of jcrpg's oldest donor of models and fan has raised a question about the look of jcrpg. Thinking about it while answering I happened to find it important to clear this thing up in a more highlighted way, in form of a blog post quoting the thing.

theotherhiveking:
"...make the graphics prettier.. actually al those smalls bumps look really bad. I would make them a LOT bigger, not taller.
Also smoothing would help, mountains look like pyramids..."

me
:
"Mountain look might be improved later but the classic cubic tiling used in jcrpg definitely adds a cubish or pyramid like look for many things.

The bumps cannot be really bigger, because tiles that make the soil are again smaller cubes, it cannot be improved programatically, and neither would fit the classic style jcrpg aims at. So it will never look like modern RPGs, because it's not a goal of jcrpg."


So it might turn down some people that jcprg is aiming at a style that is non-realistic or modern enough and in general can be found weird, but all the architecture and programming of the game is so much wrapped around 3d cubic tiling of the classic genre style (Bard's Tale, Wizardry series) that it cannot really deviate into a direction of the modern 3D buildup of games like Oblivion and such. Hope it won't scare away people. Maybe it is something different than the current style and main stream, but I'm really optimistic that this gives a strong character to the game that actually can be loved if you get used to the style.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Actually you can do something. Cube and Sauerbraten have proven that you can make a modern looking engine using nothing but cubes so you don't have to throw out you code.

Paul said...

Can you go into details a bit more? Actually these cubes of jcrpg are strictly fix sized, and "points" of a coordinate system. Static contents are generated to the sides of the cubes (3d sides are rotated to the 6 sides). I don't really know Cube's architecture but I suppose it's not exactly that kind of cubes like in jcprg. I say, yes, there's place for improvement, but somethings intentionally won't be modernized.

Charlie said...

The Sauer notion of cubs is completely different to way cubes are used in jcrpg. In Sauer the cubes are a basic construct. In jcrpg the cubes are the unit by which everything is measured.

In terms of looking less pyramidy, just because you are using strict cube sizes doesn't mean everything has to look blocky or triangular. If you look at 3 points on a graph (representing 3 consecutive corners of cubes on the side of a mountain) the line between these points need not be straight, it can be very jagged, as long as it goes through these points and falls within the bounding cubes.

However these cosmetics are of lesser importance than the game / framework itself. JCRPG already looks *very* good and now we're talking like perfectionists.

theotherhiveking said...

umm you got it wrong, i was talking about using premade models and then mix them with the normal code, just like the trees or cave entrances are.

I will see if i can post some pics later,

now im going to try to finish the damn deer.

Charlie said...

I sorta meant what theotherviking just said :-) using well placed models to make slopes appear less uniform.

Paul said...

Well yes, I was thinking about placing some rocks/stones later for example. This can be done not too hard so I'll add this to TODO list, to not forget about it.

Jake said...

I still think it is possible to make it more realistic. Even though the cube is a unit of measurement you are still able to make angles on hills right?

couldn't you have varying bump-maps of the hilly sides? as well as peaks?

I don't have much experience with jME but I know in other engines there are capabilities of making flat layers into bumpmapped layers thus providing some uniqueness to the surfaces

Anonymous said...

What types of cube deformation dose JCRPG allow? From the pictures of the ground I've only seen flat and pyramid shaped surfaces. JCPRG doesn't have to look perfect, but it would be cool if it had rolling terrain lice Cube or Might and Magic 8.

Paul said...

People, I ask myself, why did I wrote this post? :-D I've tried to explain why I won't add different angles to the game.

But you're forcing it so much, that I'll be thinking about it later, how to add more angles to the slopes. But it's quite crazy an idea taking, something like a very big programming task to force it into the current architecture and it's very very low priority thing. I admit it adds to the gameplay experience, but jcrpg needs so much development in other areas yet.

Paul said...

I've been thinking about this for some time in the morning and decided to not let modern heightmap mountain GFX and such in jcrpg. This project was just not started with this intent. It was about strict cubes, classic style. So I won't leave the track of resemblance to old games like Wizardry 7 or Bard's Tale and such for the modern ones like Morrowind and Oblivion. There can be small improvements done later but I must guard the uniqueness and classicism of the game because that was intended at the first times jcrpg's concept was created.

Maybe some day, in another project. :-) Until please, don't be disappointed, and keep to see the good thing in classic resemblance. :-)

Charlie said...

You can still add in cliffs though. Slopes that are up by more than 1 can just create cliffs.

Paul said...

Yep, that's already in the code. :)

forcage said...

I may be ignorant about the structure but is there a reason why you can not make the vertical units smaller? If the blocks's height is half or a quarter of their width, it is easier to do realistic mapping.

Paul said...

forcage - would sound a good idea if it wouldn't imply the same thing as any other solution. You cannot build a normal steep/hard steep/ light steep of a single angle. If vertical unit is halved very light steeps can be created only unless you create new kind of blocks with different angles. Finally it would be better to use a height map mountain than complicate it over with blocks and angles. Which is again, not a goal of jcrpg. I hope I haven't written down too complicated or illogic what I meant to say... :-)

forcage said...

What you write is understandable and reasonable. I just throw about ideas. Anyway, I like what you are doing!

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