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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsReturn of the Obra Dinn [Releasing Oct 18]
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Author Topic: Return of the Obra Dinn [Releasing Oct 18]  (Read 718773 times)
dukope
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« Reply #100 on: June 05, 2014, 06:19:04 AM »

Thanks for the feedback guys. I guess it is pretty easy to see what's going on in that shot. I think there may be some element of scale affecting things though. Shrunk down like that it's easier to parse the lines than when it's scaled up to fill the monitor. Anyways I won't worry about it unless it's a persistent problem.

I also like that the vertical walls do not have any textural dithering in that shot.  Maybe there is only ever textural details on horizontal surfaces but not vertical ones? Might help differentiate other more cramped spaces and keep the noise low, while still suggestive of surface material.
That's a cool idea. Actually I just haven't gotten to texturing the walls yet. There are some carving details I want to put there so hopefully it doesn't muddy things up too much.

Quote
Are you using "real" measurements off the plans you found?
I'm sorta using real measurements. One thing that surprised me is how small some of these ships actually were. The poshy "cabins" in the aft deck were miniscule. Just a few feet across. And the ceilings on the lower decks went from "crouch-only" to "hitting your head".

I'm making a game though and not an actual ship so I've scaled things up a little bit just for the 1st-person comfort. And also because I want to give the player a proper space to explore.  As I work on 4 decks of stuff though I'm getting the feeling that I've got a lot of space to fill and I may end up scaling things back down again.

Fortuitously, this is all fairly accurate for the time period. Smaller ships were often just scaled down versions of bigger ones. They were pretty fast and loose with their measurements, and often if they had a good set of plans they weren't against fudging things for a particular size/type of ship. That's the one thing that gives me some solace about the accuracy: even at the time, "accuracy" wasn't.

I'm using a fov of 90 (45 is your half-fov or full?), and I've brought the player's collision way in so they can fit in some pretty tight spaces.

Btw, I love the visuals and especially the liveliness of the player hands in Firewatch. I'm planning some use of the hands in Obra Dinn, but not quite to that level of character.

Incidentally, am I the only one who instantly linked it to the old Beatle's song Obla-di Obla-da?

You're definitely not the only one. I've gotten a few tweets about it. I guess "Ob*a Di*" is rare enough that we've got some conflation.
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rpgwhitelock
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« Reply #101 on: June 05, 2014, 06:28:03 AM »

Gettin Busy


With more detailing, the scene is starting to get pretty busy. It's much more readable in motion but I don't want static scenes to be indecipherable.


How about rendering the white lines within the shadowed area with a darker grey tone?  Might help to maintain the low-freq distinction between lit and shadowed areas, whilst also keeping the detail - albeit at a subtler shade.  I'm not sure how the lines in shadow will look when dithered though...
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SafetySnail
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« Reply #102 on: June 05, 2014, 08:31:50 AM »

Gettin Busy


With more detailing, the scene is starting to get pretty busy. It's much more readable in motion but I don't want static scenes to be indecipherable.


How about rendering the white lines within the shadowed area with a darker grey tone?  Might help to maintain the low-freq distinction between lit and shadowed areas, whilst also keeping the detail - albeit at a subtler shade.  I'm not sure how the lines in shadow will look when dithered though...


1bit...
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dukope
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« Reply #103 on: June 05, 2014, 08:36:47 AM »

How about rendering the white lines within the shadowed area with a darker grey tone?  Might help to maintain the low-freq distinction between lit and shadowed areas, whilst also keeping the detail - albeit at a subtler shade.  I'm not sure how the lines in shadow will look when dithered though..

Yeah this is one of the things that almost works but makes me wish I was plotting actual lines instead of detecting edges. With proper lines I could skip pixels to dither along the slope. With edges I can only use the pattern dither. That works great with slopes of 0, 45, or 90 (or close) but leaves gaps with anything far from it.


(This looks really bad in motion)

At any rate I'm leaning towards reducing dither so I'll stick with the bright white lines. One good thing about this whole rendering setup is that I have fine control over where lines are drawn. So I can reduce the clutter with careful planning.



1bit...

I was about to say that too, but he's talking about the pre-dither calculations when things are still in greyscale.
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santarcade
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« Reply #104 on: June 12, 2014, 06:02:49 AM »

Hi dukope,
the setting sounds intriguing and the current look of the shader provides a feeling that I find consistent with a mystery/suspence plot.

Will it have keyboard/mouse FPS style controls?
Did you already plan which platforms you will target?

Keep up the great work!
« Last Edit: June 12, 2014, 10:53:02 AM by joez » Logged
kumacmon
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« Reply #105 on: June 12, 2014, 12:34:54 PM »

The game looks great so far! Thanks a bunch for the writeup on how the rendering is done, it's always great to see other peoples process.
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dukope
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« Reply #106 on: June 12, 2014, 10:33:39 PM »

Thanks!

Will it have keyboard/mouse FPS style controls?
Did you already plan which platforms you will target?

Yeah definitely. Standard FPS controls. I'm not sure about the platforms yet. At least desktop: Windows, Mac, & Linux. It's Unity so I don't expect too much trouble with adding platforms.

Still working on modeling the ship. I'll try to post some Maya in-progress  pics soon.
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bombjack
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« Reply #107 on: June 12, 2014, 11:44:50 PM »

This shader remind me so much old games I played at the DOS-era
It make me nostalgic. I expect see this working. Old-style dithering with current FPS power... wow!
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louisdeb
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« Reply #108 on: June 13, 2014, 12:46:51 AM »

I've always loved the sailor art asthetic... but seeing it in pixel form..  Kiss
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Eigen
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« Reply #109 on: June 13, 2014, 01:31:10 AM »

Have you decided on audio & music? I don't see very realistic sound effects and music working in this. I'm not sure what the sound capabilities of these early Macs were, not too great I guess. Were MODs supported or just MIDI?
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dukope
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« Reply #110 on: June 13, 2014, 04:14:05 AM »

Have you decided on audio & music? I don't see very realistic sound effects and music working in this. I'm not sure what the sound capabilities of these early Macs were, not too great I guess. Were MODs supported or just MIDI?

I haven't started on any audio or music, but I'm almost positive it'll be realistic and not chippy/beepy. The old Macs had "full" sampling playback: 8-bit mono 22kHz. There was no native instrument support at all.

I'm not trying to reproduce a classic audio feature set though so a higher fidelity will work ok conceptually. I'd really like to have the creaks and bending wood sounds that you'd hear on a ship like this; along with the wind, waves, flapping sails, stretching ropes, etc.
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tuglaw
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« Reply #111 on: June 13, 2014, 04:20:44 AM »

I haven't started on any audio or music, but I'm almost positive it'll be realistic and not chippy/beepy. The old Macs had "full" sampling playback: 8-bit mono 22kHz. There was no native instrument support at all.

I'm not trying to reproduce a classic audio feature set though so a higher fidelity will work ok conceptually. I'd really like to have the creaks and bending wood sounds that you'd hear on a ship like this; along with the wind, waves, flapping sails, stretching ropes, etc.

That's great! That way you can fill in a lot of world detail with sounds and avoid cluttering the screen or fighting against the 1bit style renderer.
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coah
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« Reply #112 on: June 13, 2014, 06:18:34 AM »

Real sounds would be a great idea. I think it will help the mind accept the world as something more real than the graphics alone convey. It should make for an interesting aesthetic as well.
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TunaUppercut
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« Reply #113 on: June 13, 2014, 08:16:40 AM »

Interesting art style. I want to see how this project works in motion. I'll be paying attention to this devlog.
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Greipur
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« Reply #114 on: June 14, 2014, 07:27:56 AM »

I think the decision to keep the audio more realistic and with a higher fidelity is a good one. You can say two things with your audiovisual style rather than one.
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Scott
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« Reply #115 on: June 14, 2014, 07:41:14 AM »

I haven't started on any audio or music, but I'm almost positive it'll be realistic and not chippy/beepy. The old Macs had "full" sampling playback: 8-bit mono 22kHz. There was no native instrument support at all.

I'm not trying to reproduce a classic audio feature set though so a higher fidelity will work ok conceptually. I'd really like to have the creaks and bending wood sounds that you'd hear on a ship like this; along with the wind, waves, flapping sails, stretching ropes, etc.

That's great! That way you can fill in a lot of world detail with sounds and avoid cluttering the screen or fighting against the 1bit style renderer.

(Emphasis mine) Yeah. Cool stuff.
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dukope
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« Reply #116 on: June 16, 2014, 09:48:05 PM »

I made a big post here, but it was the last one on this page. Bumped to the next page...
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dukope
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« Reply #117 on: June 16, 2014, 09:49:40 PM »

Maya

I've been slowly improving my proficiency with Maya. There are so many different ways to get around the UI (shelf, hotkeys, top menus, marking menus, etc); it can take awhile to try them all and figure out what works best.

Maya's ok I guess. The modeling tools are decent, if a little modal. My biggest problem so far is that it feels like an old app. The UI takes time to learn. It crashes often. Get used to saving before any major changes, adjusting the autosave to every 5 mins or so, and to using the "Increment & Save" feature to litter your drive with "safety" versions. I lost some major work before going into the settings to set up the autosave. Undo/redo are fairly unreliable. It's often that undoing will skip the most recent change, or won't restore things correctly. At that point you're screwed since you have no idea about the state of your scene. Best to reload the latest save. All that stuff adds up to feel like I'm dealing with problems that I shouldn't be.

I'm also still a little sore about missing a useful modifier stack. If you're not familiar with 3dsmax, it has a really nice system called "modifier stacks". It's basically just a stack of edits that you've made to an object. You can go back to any previous edit and continue to tweak its parameters and the object reapplies all following edits and updates immediately. Maya has a really poor facsimile of this in its construction history. Unfortunately, the construction history is a complete mess of cluttered nodes and connections. There's so much complication behind the scenes in Maya that you very frequently have to collapse the construction history to keep things manageable.

The one (big) saving grace for Maya is their scripting system, mel. Everything in Maya is scriptable and the script editor is front and center. The API is mature and pretty easy to use once you figure out mel's quirks. With a little effort, I've been able to get more comfortable setting up custom lossless edits to get me some ways back to 3dsmax's modifier stack.



Aft Balcony & Windows

One of the more complicated structures on the ship is the set of aft windows & balcony. This is the section at the back with the nicer cabins and officer eating area. It's basically a big thing stuck on the hull; full of skewed windows, curves, and other fancy carpentry. This was apparently the part of the ship that showed off how badass/rich you were. They must've put their best team on constructing it because it was usually extremely intricate.


I knew this would be a pain to model and it took me a while to figure out how to even approach it. The method I used was to model it square, then apply a lattice deformer to get it into the right curved, skewed shape. It felt a little weird skewing windows but if you look at examples on real ships, they all had this wacky skewing going on. I can't imagine trying to construct this stuff in real life.


The last image there shows the manual sectioning. This is necessary because all the curved surfaces make it unsuitable to use normals for edge detection. So instead I need to manually color each separate section where I want edges to appear. Luckily, it's a quick and easy process and it gives me complete control over the edges.

Scripting came to the rescue with the deform step. It's not easy in Maya to quickly enable/disable a deformer without risking corruption. I definitely don't want to manually re-build the deformer each time I tweak the square model. And if you use any instances (like all the windows and bannisters here), forget about trying to do a large deform like this. Only the source object will be deformed in-place; all instances will inherit that deformation and not apply the appropriate one for their position. So I wrote a script that takes my square version, duplicates it, makes all the instances unique, applies the deformer, and collapses the result to create one single mesh that the game can process easily.

Here's how it looks in the game with some temp lighting:


Inside lower deck (dark)


Inside upper deck


Outside on upper balcony

I'm experimenting with a little more dithering range on the lighting. Instead of a hard cut between 0%, 50%, and 100% lit, I use a smoothstep to map 45%->55% to 0%->100%. Looks ok and makes light placement a little more forgiving.

I still need to tweak some things here and there for this aft section; especially where it joins the hull. Once that's done I'll work on the decks some more to get the ship in a "factory finished" state - all major construction done but empty decks and no rigging. From there it'll be ready to add all the machinery, guns, cabins, partitions, and cargo.


Concessions

As I work on this ship model, one of my goals is to create an accurate representation of a late 18th century ship. Games that have these kinds of ships usually attempt a very basic representation; the construction, decks and layouts are often completely detached from what a real ship would have. Thief 4 is particularly bad about that. Dark Messiah also has a ship with a surprisingly fps-level-like interior.

I'm trying my best to make the Obra Dinn relatively accurate but also semi-comfortable to navigate in first person. So far things are going well but I've had to make a few concessions. I mentioned the need to play with scale a little bit already. Another issue is with the arced floors.


Most ships had arced floors along the length of the ship to help with strength. The aft balcony was also curved up to match the floors. You might notice in the construction pics above that I don't arc the lower deck floors like this. From a production standpoint this curve makes everything harder. You can't just place an object at a certain Y and expect it to be on the floor. And everything you model has to be manually curved or passed through a deformer. Working with deformers is hard enough in Maya so that's not something I'm crazy about.

I've arced the very top aft deck but probably won't keep it up for the main or lower decks. For the aft windows, I've applied a horizontal outwards curve instead, which is not that typical on real ships. For my case though, it keeps the floor level but also allows me to include curved elements which were very common on these ships.
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gausswerks
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« Reply #118 on: June 16, 2014, 10:46:48 PM »

Great update. As a 3ds Max stalwart I am impressed with your willingness to go beyond comfort;  I never have had to.  I think the concessions are reasonable, especially for anyone who has worked on a first person game. As I have told people, working on a level for an fps is the business of not reminding a refrigerator box that's exactly what it is. You know on the HL games they had to caulk (as in place triangular wedges) the hell out of right angled spaces so the player wouldn't regularly get themselves stuck in corners of elevators? So yes, I think eliding the arced floors is a necessary simplification. One that down the line as you detail the ship, you will thank yourself for. Game development is certainly about picking battles, right?

Anyway the shader looks shippable (no pun intended) as is, though it will be interesting to see just how much detail you're planning on throwing at it for the most complex scenes, in the rigging and so forth. With edge detection plus resolution constraints I imagine you will find fairly definite limits for readable detail, but that too will likely be a blessing. Yours is a better ship than mine, Obra Dinn.
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santarcade
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« Reply #119 on: June 17, 2014, 12:00:41 AM »

I'm also still a little sore about missing a useful modifier stack.

I cannot agree more, I used 3dsmax at work about 10 years ago back at the discreet/autodesk transitioning and the modifier stack was a day-to-day feature I was using.
Then I switched to Mac, tested a few Maya trials to do some hobby modeling and missed the feature a LOT.

Besides, MEL scripting for the lattice modifier to emulate the modifier stack was a brilliant workaround.

I really enjoy the result in the screenshot "Outside on upper balcony", the feeling I have looking at it is that the balcony is irregularly curved as I would expect to see on a 18th century ship: I see no elements that provide the subtle feeling of "it is too regular/simmetric -> fake".
Probably it's thanks to the nice combination of model and shader.

About the arched floors, I totally agree with gausswerks.
Keep up the impressive work!
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