Poll

Which version would you like FSU to carry? Please watch the video below before voting.

Current version
Proposed version

Author Topic: Subspace Vortex Poll  (Read 1650 times)

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Offline mjn.mixael

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Subspace Vortex Poll
FSU accepts assets that are upgrades in fidelity over the previous asset automatically. For asset submissions that are of similar fidelity but differ in styles, a poll is warranted. In this case we have a submission for a new subspace vortex.

In this video you will see the same mission run three times in a row. First as retail, second as current FSU, and third with the proposed asset. At the end you'll be able to watch all three versions at the same time.

I have also included APNGs that you can view right here. I still recommend the Youtube video at full resolution. NOTE: These may take several minutes to load.

Retail

FSU Current

Proposed
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Re: Subspace Vortex Poll
I like the new one :yes:. The swirl version is good too, but I like higher-res classic-look version better, at least for stock FS2.

 

Offline The E

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Re: Subspace Vortex Poll
Yeah the new one is very good.
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Re: Subspace Vortex Poll
I like the waves one too. It’s interesting for me how small the retail ones were - I’m not sure how that came about.

 

Offline Mito [PL]

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Re: Subspace Vortex Poll
Agreed on the proposed version. I was worrying if the current effect loses out on bloom but by the looks of it, I shouldn't have worried.
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Offline Colonol Dekker

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Re: Subspace Vortex Poll
I like the current one, but maybe with less twist.

 

Offline Novachen

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Re: Subspace Vortex Poll
Well, i like the current one much more. I mean i played with the current one way longer than i played with retail. But the proposed one look more like retail, which i may still prefer in a HD upgrade.

Why not both?
Shivans as a species that have much better subspace technologies could simple use the current one  :lol:
Or to use it as a distinction of Intra-system to inter-system jumps or something like that. But well, it is only a brainstorm on my part here.

But well, for the sake of a HD upgrade, the proposed one should it be.
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« Last Edit: May 04, 2022, 08:55:27 am by Novachen »
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Offline Marguel

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Re: Subspace Vortex Poll
The proposed one feels more…retail-ish, and althought I’m used to the current one, I feel the proposed one is the one to go with.
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Offline mjn.mixael

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Re: Subspace Vortex Poll
The below is me speaking as Mjn and not as FSU leader: I only get one vote here.

While I absolutely applaud the effort and skill it took to make vortex that looks exactly like retail but higher resolution, I'm not a fan. Gamma39er did incredible work. It's exactly what they set out to create. Having spent much of my time at HLP recreating retail artwork, I'm thoroughly impressed. I know how much work that takes.

IMO, though, the retail-but-higher-res version lacks the immense detail we see in every other asset addition to FSU. New ships, weapons, backgrounds all come stuffed with fine details and a little artistic flair. Weapons with bits of energy and particles. Ships with tiny mesh and texture detail not present in retail at all.

The proposed version has none of that. The subspace "waves" are broad and flat - because that's what they were in retail. There's no tertiary detail to tie the vortex to the rest of the scene. To me it looks out of place. The missing detail makes it look twice as fake when presented next to current FSU ships that are highly detailed and textured to look as real as possible.

For me it's not the retail style that bothers. It's that during the upgrade process there was nothing added that takes advantage of the increased resolution or framerate to sell the effect; to make it more real. In my work as a semi-professional effects artist, the proposed version is step 1 of the process. It's missing steps 2-10.

See below the comparison. Where current has large and small whisps that all move and spin. Proposed has large wavy lines with no tiny detail at all.


tldr; I'm very impressed at what the artist achieved, but I think the proposed version is a step backwards for FSU.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2022, 09:31:49 am by mjn.mixael »
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Offline Nyctaeus

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Re: Subspace Vortex Poll
I love the style of ASW swirl, but Gamma39er's work is excellent quality and very closely follows the vibe of vanilla subspace effect. Gamma39er's work fulfills the exact criteria of the assets we want to be included in MediaVPs, and significantly contributes to the mission of FSU team.

My vote is for Gamma39er's submission not only because of the excellence of his work, but also due to his devotion and skills.
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Offline mjn.mixael

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Re: Subspace Vortex Poll
A point of clarification. FSU's mission is not to recreate retail at higher fidelity. It's to make retail look better. Increased resolution is only part of the puzzle. That increased resolution and framerate should be utilized for additional style and detail where retail could not.

If higher fidelity retail is our mission then most effects, models, and textures we've accepted would go against that because they all take bold artistic liberties. See: Hades Ursa as a prime example.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2022, 09:32:32 am by mjn.mixael »
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Re: Subspace Vortex Poll
Yeah I have to say I prefer the current MVPs version. I don't really like how regular and parallel the ripples are in the new one; even retail managed to be more jumbled, chaotic and natural-looking.
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Offline Oddgrim

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Re: Subspace Vortex Poll
Im kinda torn about both, on one way Gamma39s submission recreated retail very well and upscaled the effect excellently with all the plusses and minuses it has. The current subspace animation has been ingame for a long time, while it greatly differs from the retail one it is more dynamic and has more _impact_ in a way the retail blobbing and subdued swirls. Current subspace really forces you to notice and tells you pay attention when a large capital ship jumps in a way retail subspace effect does not. 

So, even though Gamma39s submission is like super impressive technically done in replicating retail effect its like still the retail effect...
In the end when it comes down to it I like the current effect better visually.
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Re: Subspace Vortex Poll
Thanks for the critique guys. I honestly appreciate honest constructive critique. However, while I do agree on some points, I disagree on others. I'm not trying to sway the vote, but I do have strong opinions on this effect and design methodology in general, and I'd like to engage in this interesting debate.

First, Phantom Hoover's critique. I do agree that my effect looks slightly more regular than the original effect, but I would only relent that it only looks slightly more regular. Getting rid of the regularity was a huge part of the design process. When I was designing this, I iterated so many times that the return for my effort was getting less and less. I made 13 different warpmap folders, each with about 20-40 blend files ( I increment and save like crazy. Old habit). The earlier versions looked ok in still frames, but once they animated, the regularity was unbearable. Once I got to where the effect currently is, for me, it became close enough that it was worth putting the iterative process on hold and submitting this effect. Getting 5% more quality was starting to take exponentially more time. I intend to let my subconscious work on the problem, and one day, I might revisit it.

Additionally, the 3D warpmap tends to compress the effect on the outer edges, adding to the regularity. I don't know if it's the shape of the model itself, or the uv map.

Now for mjn.mixael's post:

I agree that there are plenty of opportunities to add artistic flair in other assets. I really like Nyctaeus' Hecate. It took what I thought was something of a muddy implementation of the design, and fleshed it out, and it even looks a bit more consistent with the Orion now, and consistency in design aesthetic for a particular race is really important in my opinion.

As for my subspace effect, I think there could be some room to add a little bit more detail in the "ripples", but I believe the broad, definable, larger shapes are absolutely essential to achieve the charm and mystique of the original effect. Adding tertiary detail would need to be a very careful process, because trying to improve on what I already believed to be an incredible design concept and implementation for the warp out effect (referrring to retail version) could ruin the effect entirely. Too much detail, instead of looking realistic, could look fake as well, too muddy, poorly defined, etc. The watery nature of the original effect is an important feature to retain, and tertiary detail, if done wrong, could make it look cloudy. So I'd say trying to slightly improve an already great effect (again, not bragging. Talking about retail) is the last, non-essential step.

Not saying I won't revisit adding tertiary detail in the future. I may try to improve on the effect by messing with the original concept in the future. In short, I think the larger shapes of the original are the most important feature to retain, otherwise, it's a completely different effect with a different impact. I always loved the original quality of the retail effect.

Admittedly though, you guys got me thinking about it, but I got other responsibilities right now so, maybe later. :P

 

Offline Nyctaeus

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Re: Subspace Vortex Poll
I think we have excellent team onboard. Majority of us are professional artists or at least very veteran ones. It's obvious for me that each one of FSU team members knows what he's doing, and how to keep things balanced. When there is a room for stretch, we can precisely find it.

I think what can be preserved from vanilla, should be preserved. Sometimes preserved in more improved form is also the key. Everything is improvement, but some of them are improvements that follows the original vibe closely, others alter it to mix old and new, and the third kind radically changes the theme... Usually for coherent reason.

When something is beyond redemption like Hecate or Aeolus, then we go the third way, and apply radical changes, but this approach we should apply carefully and situationally.

Warpmap is not beyond redemption. Gamma39er's work is definitely first one, and the kind of upgrade I think we should favour. FS is composed of pletora of small, key visuals. This is opportunity to restore and preserve vital element of FS art style.

I'm not looking for "why not". I'm looking for "why yes". We can take ASW swirl because it's cool and pretty, or we can take new proposal because it's cool, pretty and consistent with source.

Also if Gamma39er wishes to continue working on it to add more "randomness" to his work and convert it to "mix old and new" approach, I feel open to see this endeavour to continue. 
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Offline Strygon

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Re: Subspace Vortex Poll
Strong preference for Gamma's version. Sure the swirl is nice and all but I never quite understood why it was changed to a rotational swirl when previously the effect itself can already indicate if something is jumping in or out depending on if the ripples expand in- or outwards, which I feel is a pretty important detail that's lost in the current version.
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Offline DefCynodont119

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Re: Subspace Vortex Poll
As much as I appreciate Gamma's work, I firmly believe the current vortex one is both: more detailed, and more interesting to look at.

EDIT: I also want to point out that aesthetically the current swirly one matches the effect assets we have, it's fresh, fancy, and newer looking then the proposed new one.

If we didn't have the updated weapon effects or shiny ships, then the other vortex would fit here fine, but it really looks like something older then what we have already.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2022, 02:57:31 pm by DefCynodont119 »
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Re: Subspace Vortex Poll
My vote is for the current one. There is a bit too much rotation yes, but overall it's a much clearer upgrade than the new proposal.

 
Re: Subspace Vortex Poll
I can definitely see the artistic methods to both apertures, and I definitely agree with Mjn that the proposal is well-done and impressive. I do feel that a ship arriving or departing should be dramatic, and the current FSU aperture, with its big, bright central core, feels more dramatic to me. The proposed aperture also looks "less 3D" to me, somehow, and I feel that that would be even more pronounced for an in-mission jump involving the player's ship.

 

Offline mjn.mixael

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Re: Subspace Vortex Poll
I think we have excellent team onboard. Majority of us are professional artists or at least very veteran ones. It's obvious for me that each one of FSU team members knows what he's doing, and how to keep things balanced. When there is a room for stretch, we can precisely find it.

I think what can be preserved from vanilla, should be preserved. Sometimes preserved in more improved form is also the key. Everything is improvement, but some of them are improvements that follows the original vibe closely, others alter it to mix old and new, and the third kind radically changes the theme... Usually for coherent reason.

When something is beyond redemption like Hecate or Aeolus, then we go the third way, and apply radical changes, but this approach we should apply carefully and situationally.

Warpmap is not beyond redemption. Gamma39er's work is definitely first one, and the kind of upgrade I think we should favour. FS is composed of pletora of small, key visuals. This is opportunity to restore and preserve vital element of FS art style.

I'm not looking for "why not". I'm looking for "why yes". We can take ASW swirl because it's cool and pretty, or we can take new proposal because it's cool, pretty and consistent with source.

Also if Gamma39er wishes to continue working on it to add more "randomness" to his work and convert it to "mix old and new" approach, I feel open to see this endeavour to continue.

Nyc, whether something is artistically redeemable or not has never been the standard for artistic license of FSU upgrades and that's not a line I'm willing to draw now. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding you, but it seems like you're trying to find some way to suggest that FSU is required to choose one portal over the other in this specific case where those reasons don't apply to other assets based on our own perceptions as artists. That does not sit comfortably with me. Regardless of which effect gets into MediaVPs 4.6.x, I insist we remain consistent. That is, artistic license is not a qualifier. The only qualifiers FSU is interested in is Gameplay balance remaining the same and Community preferences. The warp vortex style has no effect on gameplay so it's entirely down to community preference.
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