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Blast Radius WIP/discussion thread  "while it's brewing"

User is online   ck3D 

#1

Some of you have been following my silly work on this in the What Are You Working On For Duke? thread for well over a year now (and I'm so grateful for the attention, motivation and emulation), so I'll just preface this thread with a log of all the most notable announcements pertaining to the project and times I've posted screenshots. Updates will be posted in this thread from now on and all discussion goes.

_

2019:

April 15th - original announcement: https://forums.duke4...post__p__319835

Nov 11th - 'map 1' screenshots: https://forums.duke4...post__p__332570

Nov 25th - 'map 1' screenshot: https://forums.duke4...post__p__333101

Dec 6th - 'map 1' screenshots: https://forums.duke4...post__p__333467

Dec 14th - 'map 1' 2D scale comparison screenshot with Poison Heart: https://forums.duke4...post__p__333818

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2020:

March 25th - 'map 2' screenshots: https://forums.duke4...post__p__339896

March 28th - 'map 1' & 'map 2' screenshots: https://forums.duke4...post__p__340016

April 3rd - 'map 2' screenshots: https://forums.duke4...post__p__340411

April 10th - 'map 2' screenshot: https://forums.duke4...post__p__340788

May 11th - 'map 2' screenshot: https://forums.duke4...post__p__342083

May 22nd - 'map 2' 2D screenshot: https://forums.duke4...post__p__342477

June 17th - 'map 3' screenshot: https://forums.duke4...post__p__343871

June 17th - 'map 3' screenshots: https://forums.duke4...post__p__343926

July 6th - 'map 3' screenshots: https://forums.duke4...post__p__344974

August 3rd - 'map 3' screenshots: https://forums.duke4...post__p__346556

August 16th - 'map 3' screenshots: https://forums.duke4...post__p__347069

September 2nd - 'map 3' screenshot: https://forums.duke4...post__p__348319

September 6th - 'map 3' screenshots: https://forums.duke4...post__p__348605

September 19th - 'map 3' screenshots: https://forums.duke4...post__p__349273

October 2nd - 'map 3' screenshots: https://forums.duke4...post__p__349865

October 5th - 'map 3' screenshots: https://forums.duke4...post__p__350041

October 9th - 'map 3' screenshots: https://forums.duke4...post__p__350320

October 12th - 'map 3' screenshots: https://forums.duke4...post__p__350540

October 14th - 'map 3' screenshots: https://forums.duke4...post__p__350698

October 23rd - 'map 3' screenshots: https://forums.duke4...post__p__351325

October 29th - 'map 3' 2D screenshots: https://forums.duke4...post__p__351644

Nov 6th - 'map 4' screenshots: https://forums.duke4...post__p__352067

Nov 11th - 'map 4' screenshots: https://forums.duke4...post__p__352303

Nov 14th - Blast Radius in Upcoming Maps on MSDN + first 'official' screenshot: https://forums.duke4...post__p__352499

_

Map 3 new screenshots (really the 'official' ones I sent to Mikko):

Attached Image: msdn1.png Attached Image: msdn2.png Attached Image: msdn5.png Attached Image: msdn6.png Attached Image: msdn7.png Attached Image: msdn8.png Attached Image: msdn9.png

_

Quick FAQ:

Q: WTF?

A: Mostly maps, most likely with a few anecdotal .con changes for some 'new' variations on the classic enemies (all compatible with the base game is the modus operandi though). Limit-enhancing port such as eDuke32 needed as the maps break the classic sector/wall/sprite limits, but they won't make use of the 'new' map format brought by the latest eDuke builds (the one that allows texture rotation, sloped sprites etc.) which hopefully will ensure optimal compatibility with other limit-enhancing ports. No new art (for now; undecided as one of my ideas might end up needing some). 'New' music (under the form of a curated selection of 'found' MIDI's). Multiplayer also supported (port dependent I guess, but will reflect in the level design).

Q: City-themed ep? How many levels/how much content?

A: I wanted to start with the city maps so so far it's all I've been making but I don't intend the whole episode to be city-themed, I just wanted to get those out of the way first. I want a lot of maps in total (counting a few 'transition' maps), scale of the levels so far varies from average ('map 4') to sprawling ('map 1' & '3' especially), but I want the big ones to be exceptional and serve as turns in the storyline. Current progress is at 3 maps and a half which I'd estimate should translate to around three hours minimum of gameplay (so far).

Side note: 'map 1', '2', '3' etc. are personal code names that describe nothing but my personal sequencing in the process of making the maps. The designations aren't representative of the final level order in the episode.

_

So yeah, guess I'll live here now.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 17 November 2020 - 05:27 AM

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User is online   ck3D 

#2

Map 4 current status is 880 sectors, 6184 walls and 2364 walls and progress is going steady. I've enclosed half the street area and added the first few cars (I have yet to draw their respective shadows). Texture pick for the back wall on screen 2 is totally inspired by that one beta Hotel Hell screenshot. Screen 3 is taken from an unreachable (?) area, screen 4 is one of my favorite rooms I've built recently although it's just slopes and colored lights. And then some more simple indoor stuff.

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This post has been edited by ck3D: 22 November 2020 - 06:04 PM

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User is offline   slacker1 

#3

Really looking forward to this episode. It looks fantastic so far. I don't know if it's coincidence or a call back but the stairs in screen shot #9 remind me of a nicer version of the stairs in the office building section of LA Rumble. :)
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User is offline   Aleks 

#4

Awesome stuff as always, man! Love the layout of the streets (stuff like that diagonal and "trimmed" pedestrian crossings on screens 5 and 6), it looks very "realistic" in that twisted Duke way. Also remember when you told me about that room from screen 4, connecting that info with the image makes me appreciate it even more. And then there's the building with red marble balkonies and that cool sloped overhang roof (visible in screens 5 and 8) which is my favourite thing from those shots I think, love the way the textures are combined and seamless spritework/sectors/slopes transitions. Also it's a nice touch you use that "pirate ship" sprite for a lot of details there.

BTW, just noticed this - happy birthday, man! You sure did treat us with some neat (eye)candy for this occasion!

This post has been edited by Aleks: 23 November 2020 - 03:05 AM

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User is offline   Merlijn 

#5

Looks fantastic as always, there's something about Duke's red pal that's really appealing to the eye. Keep it up!

Oh and happy birthday! :)
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User is online   ck3D 

#6

View Postslacker1, on 22 November 2020 - 10:28 PM, said:

Really looking forward to this episode. It looks fantastic so far. I don't know if it's coincidence or a call back but the stairs in screen shot #9 remind me of a nicer version of the stairs in the office building section of LA Rumble. :)


Thanks a lot, I hope you will like the final product. I can see the L.A. Rumble tone now that you've called it! I'm taking a lot of design cues from the original levels (without necessarily sticking to the 'traditional' aesthetics), some of them are conscious and direct references (for instance this particular map has a few nods to E1L1), and I guess the rest is just bound to happen. I always liked the spacious look of most hallways with stairs in the original campaigns and old add-ons and user maps in general, that's what I had on my mind here, but of course L.A. Rumble is one of my favorite levels so I'm not surprised the influence can be felt (although here the only technical similarity would be the brown carpet, IIRC).

View PostAleks, on 23 November 2020 - 02:44 AM, said:

Awesome stuff as always, man! Love the layout of the streets (stuff like that diagonal and "trimmed" pedestrian crossings on screens 5 and 6), it looks very "realistic" in that twisted Duke way. Also remember when you told me about that room from screen 4, connecting that info with the image makes me appreciate it even more. And then there's the building with red marble balkonies and that cool sloped overhang roof (visible in screens 5 and 8) which is my favourite thing from those shots I think, love the way the textures are combined and seamless spritework/sectors/slopes transitions. Also it's a nice touch you use that "pirate ship" sprite for a lot of details there.

BTW, just noticed this - happy birthday, man! You sure did treat us with some neat (eye)candy for this occasion!


Thanks Aleks! Quite a lot of the structure of the map is on a diagonal axis, yes. My original intention with this map was to have it feel like some kind of spiritual successor to E1L1 (since it's supposed to be the opening map in BR), at first I didn't think I would succeed but honestly going through what I've built so far I'm actually really satisfied with the vibe it gives off. Room from screen 4 is new, if you're talking about that one time I mentioned pillars casting shadows to you as well as my little 'trick' to add depth to the effect then that's another different part of the level. In comparison this scene is technically a lot more basic and mostly relies on some simple but bold visual choices, but I'm happy with it and it should play well (hopefully). Building with the red balkonies (balconies from the Balkans?) was one of the first bits I built for this level alongside the carwash, the overhang structure was a (humble) bitch to get just right and looking at the screenshots again I'm tempted to keep tweaking it a bit now. And yeah about the pirate ship texture, I think it might work all the better that 80% of the rest of the level uses non-Atomic textures, so when an Atomic texture is used extensively in one segment then said segment seems to tend to stand out in terms of character a lot more.

View PostMerlijn, on 23 November 2020 - 09:19 AM, said:

Looks fantastic as always, there's something about Duke's red pal that's really appealing to the eye. Keep it up!

Oh and happy birthday! :)


Thank you!

And thank you for the birthday wishes. I turned 33 yesterday and considered posting 33 screenshots for the occasion... For half a second before I changed my mind, ha.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 24 November 2020 - 09:04 AM

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User is online   ck3D 

#7

Today, on Spot The Gratuitous Tribute:

Attached Image: tribute.png

Map is still groeing and in the 1100 sectors or so right now (just bypassed the OG limits), wrapping it up should be pretty quick, I'd say the design is done at 75, 80%.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 25 November 2020 - 08:45 AM

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User is online   Ninety-Six 

#8

I admit this one eludes me, but it does remind me of what I've seen from Ion Fury.
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User is online   ck3D 

#9

View PostNinety-Six, on 25 November 2020 - 09:00 AM, said:

I admit this one eludes me, but it does remind me of what I've seen from Ion Fury.


It's nothing crazy, but
Spoiler


This post has been edited by ck3D: 25 November 2020 - 10:58 AM

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User is online   Ninety-Six 

#10

Ah. I haven't looked at LD in a good few years now. I mostly remember just the salmon coloring at this point.


I can kinda see it now, though, having seen the screenshots again. Though it's definitely a lot more colorful.
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User is online   ck3D 

#11

(Somehow) map 4 is now in the 1300 sectors and 9000 walls. With the exception of one little back alley and plaza I want to add, and some detail left e.g.. drawing the shadows for the cars (which will be more tedious and resource-hungry than it might sound) and some sprite work here and there, street level and really the basic design altogether are pretty much done. If I have enough matter left after that one last section, I have a few potential bonus areas in mind to spice up the layout with even more connections from place to place, otherwise I'll be satisfied either way. Funnily enough if I can wrap it up within the next couple of sessions, then this map would have ended up taking me less than one month, which honestly feels really refreshing after the pain of being stuck on map 3 from June to October.

Probably some of the last shots of this one I'm showing as it's all starting to become representative of the final thing now. Spoiling some stuff I made today, far left side (and back) of screen 1 is unreachable and so is the POV on screen 3 (up to the fence; playable area is on the other side), space is still exploitable via security cameras though, which I'm using that way quite a lot. Handful of things in screen 3 I'm aware are still a bit off (floor textures around the pillars, brightness of the red car, ceiling texture over the red car, etc.).

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This post has been edited by ck3D: 25 November 2020 - 09:22 PM

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User is online   pavigna 

#12

View Postck3D, on 25 November 2020 - 08:14 PM, said:

(Somehow) map 4 is now in the 1300 sectors and 9000 walls. With the exception of one little back alley and plaza I want to add, and some detail left e.g.. drawing the shadows for the cars (which will be more tedious and resource-hungry than it might sound) and some sprite work here and there, street level and really the basic design altogether are pretty much done. If I have enough matter left after that one last section, I have a few potential bonus areas in mind to spice up the layout with even more connections from place to place, otherwise I'll be satisfied either way. Funnily enough if I can wrap it up within the next couple of sessions, then this map would have ended up taking me less than one month, which honestly feels really refreshing after the pain of being stuck on map 3 from June to October.

Probably some of the last shots of this one I'm showing as it's all starting to become representative of the final thing now. Spoiling some stuff I made today, far left side (and back) of screen 1 is unreachable and so is the POV on screen 3 (up to the fence; playable area is on the other side), space is still exploitable via security cameras though, which I'm using that way quite a lot. Handful of things in screen 3 I'm aware are still a bit off (floor textures around the pillars, brightness of the red car, ceiling texture over the red car, etc.).



Love that last screenshot CK, really can't wait for the final version of your maps!
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User is online   ck3D 

#13

View Postpavigna, on 26 November 2020 - 12:18 AM, said:

Love that last screenshot CK, really can't wait for the final version of your maps!


Thank you, honestly can't wait to have them out too but it's a long road ahead. I hope you'll be around for the release and get to enjoy it. I'm still in this for at least a year, being very optimistic, although making map 4 in just one month gives me hope.

Side note for those who care but the aforementioned map 4 is almost done (it's in the 1500 sectors/13000 walls range), the 'final little area' I wanted to add somehow turned three times the size I had envisioned it which at first I thought wasn't looking good to end a level on but then I managed to tweak the space to connect it to different places in cool ways and also include a certain number of secret areas for the player to optionally gear up for the next map last minute at, and now I think it works really well. Also built some more L.A. landmarks and random cute little detail that I won't spoil but I think look cool and add so much depth. I think one more mapping session should suffice to close this one, all I need to throw in is some minor detail here and there and also the shadows for all the fucking cars (there must be like 50 of them, wall count is going to eat shit).

This post has been edited by ck3D: 28 November 2020 - 06:17 AM

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User is online   pavigna 

#14

View Postck3D, on 28 November 2020 - 06:13 AM, said:

Thank you, honestly can't wait to have them out too but it's a long road ahead. I hope you'll be around for the release and get to enjoy it. I'm still in this for at least a year, being very optimistic, although making map 4 in just one month gives me hope.

Side note for those who care but the aforementioned map 4 is almost done (it's in the 1500 sectors/13000 walls range), the 'final little area' I wanted to add somehow turned three times the size I had envisioned it which at first I thought wasn't looking good to end a level on but then I managed to tweak the space to connect it to different places in cool ways and also include a certain number of secret areas for the player to optionally gear up for the next map last minute at, and now I think it works really well. Also built some more L.A. landmarks and random cute little detail that I won't spoil but I think look cool and add so much depth. I think one more mapping session should suffice to close this one, all I need to throw in is some minor detail here and there and also the shadows for all the fucking cars (there must be like 50 of them, wall count is going to eat shit).


I find it really interesting that you add cars to your dukemaps. In the original game the streets were absolutely completely empty, with little to no detail, then there was the birth, with like a car, a bus, and a van. Still, i'll probably be around when they release, cause it's gonna take me a long time too to get my tC to a finished state.
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User is online   ck3D 

#15

I was just saying it in another thread but I think vehicles in Duke maps are important (and underrated), at least in big city levels with a lot of open space, they will help you structure the look of the areas with variations on the horizontal axis, guide the player's sight (especially if you color code them), provide them with cover during fights, etc. You can also have them serve a purpose, for instance buses can perform as high platforms or pick-up trucks can hold items. But you have to pick and place them wisely or else it's easy to hinder the space as opposed to enhancing it. Recently I also developed a different approach to making cars that doesn't rely on child sectors (for windows, etc.) like I used to do, and makes them a lot less resource-expensive. Really I just build a few different ones contained in squares when the basic layout of the streets is done and then I copy-paste those squares whenever needed, then I join the square sectors with the outer ones again to get the resources back and finish by altering each copy so that they all look different (but using color codes and patterns depending on their surroundings, which I think actually works really well). And yup, good luck with your project, good things take time, there's never a need to rush things.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 28 November 2020 - 07:10 AM

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User is online   ck3D 

#16

Map 4 is done. Well I have yet to draw all those shadows the cars will cast eventually but that's a chore I'll add to the list of annoying things to fix while implementing the gameplay later, alongside last minute detail. At least here and unlike in map 3 so far, all the effects are implemented, even the Nukebutton is in there somewhere (I don't think I've even placed it in the other maps yet as I'm still elaborating the transitions from each map to the next).

'Final' full visibility shots to kiss this one goodbye for now (area in screens 3 and 4 is new and of course hiding the detail I think is cool):

Attached Image: 1.png Attached Image: 2.png
Attached Image: 3.png Attached Image: 4.png Attached Image: 0.png

Celebratory 2D screenshot, if Wet Dry World in Mario 64 functioned like a brain (or so they say), this one kind of looks like a heart:

Attached Image: 6.png

Honestly I'm happy I got this one done so quick and I think I succeeded at my goal which was to make a spiritual successor to Hollywood Holocaust in terms of feel without being a copy of Hollywood Holocaust, in fact it might be my favorite map in the pack so far despite being the smallest one by far.

Now I can't wait to start map 5 which will most likely be another city map (I think the last one on my list though), however that'll have to wait a few weeks (for real this time) as I have some side projects to focus on right now. I'm not even going to start it just yet, or else I'll again get sucked into the vortex to an arguably unreasonable degree barely a dozen of sectors in.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 28 November 2020 - 08:11 PM

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User is offline   Merlijn 

#17

Great to hear that progress is going so smoothly!

Just wondering, are the full visibility shots just to show us the architecture or is it going to look like this in the final game?
I personally think it looks a bit too bright, especially in contrast with the skybox. Full visibilty makes sense if it's in the middle of the day but these maps are taking place in night time.
Perhaps you could play around with visibility settings to see which one works best.

If it was only for screenshot purposes, you can ignore everything I just said. :)

EDIT: the 2d map is shaped like a heart, that's really cool!

This post has been edited by Merlijn: 28 November 2020 - 11:42 PM

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User is online   ck3D 

#18

Thanks for the input Merlijn! I appreciate you raising that concern as I've been thinking about it too, since I dropped the full visibility screens of map 3.

All the maps actually still have the default (lack of) visibility for now, but I do bump it up for the 'final' screenshots I'm showing because I intend to have it mostly all the way up in the final thing(s) indeed. Probably not to the extreme though, the nuances will vary from map to map, when for the screenshots I've just been using the max value with no real subtlety. General thinking is those levels use a lot of space, so the player needs to see that available space, otherwise there's a fundamental, practical contradiction.

The downside I've observed when experimenting with pushing visibility to the max is the map looks amazing then yeah but it does flatten out a lot of the shading; walls that actually have different shade values start looking like they have the exact same brightness from up close (big personal pet peeve), and stuff kind of starts blending in together. It all looks different from map to map depending on which tones they use, too; for instance I kind of like map 4 like this because of all the red tones popping out, on the other hand map 3 looks a lot uglier with the blue and the general saturation brings the mood down quite a lot, and I don't want to sacrifice it completely like that.

So for now, all the maps are still in their 'original' form and their visibility will be altered with more individual care when the time comes to put everything together. I'll try to find the happiest medium possible respectively.

In general, large scale maps with the default visibility look painful to navigate when Duke can only see ten meters ahead and occasionally gets hit by enemies he can't see, which is something that's actually hindered a lot of my releases in the past, back when I didn't know you could alter that setting, AC2, AC3, Siebenpolis all look ten times better and are a lot more practical to play when modified to be given full vis, versus how they are in their released state. Thinking about it, the default visibility fog is really that harsh because it was meant to boost the performance on 486's and Pentiums, so I'm thinking it's partly outdated to keep in general. It's gotta be raised, but authors also need to be wise with it.

The subject is one particularly decisive aspect I'm totally open to more input on, by the way. In general I want to hear the concerns.

This post has been edited by ck3D: Yesterday, 07:10 AM

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User is offline   Merlijn 

#19

I fully understand the dilemma. There's a couple of visibilty settings that keep the fog effect but less extreme (but I'm sure you already know that).
I've used settings like 241 and 242 in Shaky Grounds, but mostly for the background scenery (gameplay area is full 240 vis).
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User is online   ck3D 

#20

Yeah, that's what I mean by saying I'll adjust everything with more nuance when the time comes, I'll actually try and study which visibility values exactly look best in each separate map. Cool to hear you used such a gradient 'trick' for SG, though, it's pretty smart when you think about it; probably wouldn't work as well here though as all my little 'beta Stadium-styled towers' in the background sceneries here and there have their walls set to full bright anyway (for some reason, when you use those tiles as wall textures, they start looking all messed up from distance unless you make them so, which is I guess an issue with clipping distance exactly). Anyway, for now, the maps do have their default visibility intact and I did bump it all the way up just for the screenshots, in the end it's still a better representation of what the final thing will be than any screenshot with the default depth of field, before I get to the point of actually focusing on that aspect.

This post has been edited by ck3D: Yesterday, 01:21 PM

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