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

User is offline   pavigna 

#121

looks amazing! I was wondering, how is performance doing here? i'm seeing the open area that consists only of red walls and i'm a little worried that it might impact the framerate a bit. Other than that, it looks amazing, some screenshots look better than the others but it's all great. I'd suggest changing the underwater metro's ceiling texture though. Keep up this amazing work
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User is online   ck3D 

#122

Thank you - frame rate is smooth, that's a part of my focus actually (since I'm aiming for good gameplay and smooth frame rate is part of that), in general I'd rather cut back on scale/detailing than end up with a massive curiosity that's unplayable. My Duke PC is some 2009 machine that's not optimized for gaming at all, too, which helps keep things in check anyway. This map so far only starts lagging a significant bit when going way out of bounds and then turning to face the whole level, otherwise there is close to zero drops. Distribution is key to large maps, the more you make them the more you realize it's OK to use a lot of resources as long as they can't all be displayed at the same time; white walls are one way of controlling that but if you want open sights, you can just play with placement and angles and general articulations of the layout itself, in that sense it's kind of like SOS. Oftentimes that results in 'clutters' of more detailed areas sprinkled here and there (think different individual plazas for instance), which is cool because you (or at least I here) actually want recognizable landmarks and sub-sections in the levels for the player to navigate through instinctively. Textures on that one screen are staying, whole area in-game plays with the combination of blue and yellow lights to result in greens but I get you on what looks off in that image right now, whole area is still a bare, empty hallway so far with nothing but the train so it's easy for what's there to look odd; also there are some forgotten leftover palettes here and there (some of which I just noticed, e.g.. top of those walls in the foreground isn't meant to be green) and I caught the screen mid Cycler cycle, too; cleaned up with a bit more detail and complex looks, eventually it should be fine I reckon.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 03 February 2021 - 01:10 AM

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User is offline   Aleks 

#123

That's some completely sick scale, man! It's crazy that even looking at the 2D screen, it doesn't look that big, but then the scope seen in other shots is wicked immersive (like the piers look like some small corridors in 2D shot, but the first shot shows how huge they are). Looks like there's a lot of destruction all around, which is great, also I'm always a fan of some bare construction like these reinforcements sticking from the demolished building in 7th shot or the steel core of a building being visible in the 8th one. The creative use of textures is remarkable as always, some combinations I can see already from here make me want to just study the shit out of this map and guess/dig as to which tiles you're using where.

If I were to nitpick on something, then maybe some of the terrain geometries are drawn too sharp, but that's understandable due to limited walls - one thing I'd do here probably is reduce the "sharpness" of the pointy parts, like that grass part near the pier in 1st shot - nature generally prefers forms with less "peaks".

Great work, good luck with the final touches on this one!
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User is offline   Merlijn 

#124

Looks fantastic and the scale is very impressive! I love the red sidewalks combined with that sky texture. Really strong theme.

Quote

Jokes aside, I'm curious if can anyone figure out what I did there, as that structure on the left should ring a bell to those of you who are familiar with my past user maps.


Just putting this in spoiler tags in case other people want to guess as well.

Spoiler

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User is online   ck3D 

#125

@Aleks dzięki - hmm, you're right about a few cuts that should probably look a bit less sharp, at least this one in particular could use a few more walls. I'm going for a destroyed terrain vs. natural design look here, but even explosions shouldn't look like they happen in octahedrons. That whole area is the main one that still requires some work, to be fair; I want more similar ways for the player to be able to get back up on land from the piers and not just that one chunk of grass. So far I've made sure to provide at least one that corresponds to every subsection of the map, since the ocean covers everything and is so big, but like you guessed I'm quite mindful about wall use and so that takes us back to working in layers and priorities. Now that all the rooms are built and the map's most basic functions implemented, though, I'll definitely focus on that aspect before I add slightly less useful detail like cars, which really come last here as I feel like the map needs them a bit less than the others as the streets in this one naturally offer more options for cover to the player. Ideally I would like more 'islands' and constructions protruding out of the water, too but I'll probably end up with only so few resources left for those. I'm kind of finding myself having to work in successive stacks of tasks here to make sure the map eventually features at least a tiny bit of everything I'm envisioning for it. Side note but re:terrain design, when it comes to sector angles and whatnot, in general I'm mostly trying to cram as many nooks and crannies in there, to make for semi-hidden item caches, surprise enemy encounters, or useful cover and in situations like this I'll prioritize that practical function over the realism of looks, but that's not to say I shouldn't watch that altogether. Only bringing that up because I feel like that's one aspect that should pretty much dictate the layout of even the most average room; every corner you draw should serve a purpose.

And yeah automap doesn't do the scale 'justice', probably because of Duke's sprite being so big in that shot too (I was probably using the jetpack or standing on something), but it's OK, I meant to convey a general idea and am counting on how players will only get the full experience once they're actually in anyway. But if you're trying to get an estimate, a good reference is looking at the size of the few buses and cars that already are in there I guess; especially the cars almost look like little dots. Editor 2D screenshot should be more interesting for this one, if only to show how I built the ocean in big blocks on a grid - which I recently realized is the optimal way to approach this type of design for encircling the map if you don't want to struggle with big, potentially buggy sectors and later additions to those areas. Makes it super easy to touch up the ocean area too as you can then easily expand it by adding more blocks or moving them around.

@Merlijn thanks! And yeah, you guessed just right. Episode isn't directly related to that one map thematically, but this train is a big nod and I guess literally underground reference to it, I'm basically remaking that part most people seemed to like at the time but with a twist. I shamelessly copied the train here because it's still more or less exactly how I would have rebuilt it; I want a few more alterations though, like I was saying earlier this room is bound to change quite a bit in the end. I'm glad you're into the color theme and what's funny is I realize in retrospect that those big scale urban demolition scenes resemble SG quite a bit (although here you're cleaning up the aftermath vs. in the middle of the main destruction as it happens, which is less ambitious and maybe more arcade-ish vs. scripted). I really want to make something different that's not a city next - six solid urban maps in the set should be more than enough, and although so far that's all I've got, my true vision for the final product bears a bit more variety than that.

Also one last thing I don't think I ever mentioned, but I also want to optimize the whole episode for potential speedrunning in addition to the original layer of gameplay.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 03 February 2021 - 12:25 PM

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User is online   ck3D 

#126

My Internet has been down for a few days so I'm using some public wifi from my phone and can't post screen shots, but map 6 is done with around 2300 sectors and all 16384 walls used (which just about sufficed; I actually had to scavenge through a few old sections last minute to get some back). Some areas still need some minor cosmetic touches that I guess will have to be sprite-based, but otherwise it's all in there and it's quite satisfying that the level has most of what I originally had in mind for it in the end, feeling like I did manage to plan then build everything in the right order which really had to be key here. More soon - and now I gotta finish a map I started for AWOL.

PS. also encountered a funny glitch (remember I'm using an old build) where a sprite I had never inserted in the map suddenly appeared in between saves and would act as a vertical masked wall forming a tower of seemingly infinite iterations of itself and only ever visible from some very rare angles. Checking out its properties, it turned out to have crazy extreme coordinates, in the 5 million range. I deleted it in 3D mode which took away the entire tower at once and never encountered something similar again after that.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 07 February 2021 - 06:40 PM

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User is offline   Maarten 

#127

Wow - seems some of your most active/productive mapping days are right here! Quite impressive to say the least.
Lovely shots - the episode will have enough variation as well. Maybe it's already been said, but this stays "vanilla Duke"?

I do agree about visibility thing & night sky, but I'm sure this will be okay WID.
The red sky looks refreshing.
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User is online   ck3D 

#128

Thanks Maarten! I would actually like more variation eventually, so far the maps all look somewhat unique in comparison to one another but they're still grounded in the city style. I think this one I just finished will be the last one to really be city-themed though (unless some of the next maps choose to disregard my intent and turn into city maps by themselves anyway, which has happened with 'map 5').

And yes this stays vanilla Duke and is primarily developed with classic everything in mind. I would like some specific new monsters, too, but for those I'll need to learn how to mess around with new art and get better at coding - which shouldn't be an issue, I just need to do it. That department is just not the main focus right now (it's slowly becoming a bigger one though, now that a lot of the architecture is in place it's tempting to see how the full picture would work out). I'm trying to stay rather authentic to the base game's strengths anyway, including interesting layouts for Dukematch.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 13 February 2021 - 03:11 AM

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User is online   ck3D 

#129

Map 6 final screenshots with full 240 vis. Two or three small rooms (not shown) still need some basic spritework I'm too lazy for right now but besides that and the monsters/items, everything is functional. Some areas might be redundant with what I've posted before but I had to fine-tune more little things than expected last minute throughout the whole map (including remaking a whole area that had gotten corrupted and some sprites that would delete themselves or lose their tags in between saves) so maybe some detail here and there has changed - anyway this should be representative of the final look and feel. Including an in-editor 2D screenshot to show the grid forming the surrounding ocean that I was mentioning earlier, as it may be a good approach to making large areas with no glitches or even just start a map altogether if you know you want a layout that's insular (although here I didn't build it first thing, I reckon doing so should work really well). Originally mine had a lot more regular splits as a lot of the blocks were copy-pasted but then I ended up having to join a lot of sectors to gain walls back, so it doesn't look as structured.

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This post has been edited by ck3D: 13 February 2021 - 09:16 PM

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User is online   ck3D 

#130

After a month I feel like I owe the people following my progress on this an update, work has caught up and gotten the rest of me for a few weeks now which has been keeping me away from the Duke PC altogether, and given the uncertainty of the current times I honestly have zero idea when my schedule is getting any clearer. Hopefully soon, either way this work is a longtime process and has been accepted and presented as such from the start, so the maturation time is to be expected and I would like to appreciate the players' patience. Also please rest assured that I am unquestionably bringing this project to completion eventually, in fact I'm only increasingly excited about it despite not actively mapping and won't sacrifice my vision one bit. Thank you for waiting.
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User is offline   Dynamo128 

#131

Thanks for the update! Looking forward to when work on this resumes, and best of luck :)
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