Author Topic: New ship maps opinions needed  (Read 5094 times)

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Offline FUBAR-BDHR

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New ship maps opinions needed
Along with the normal maps (most of which are now included in Zathras 2.6) emi_100 also made some replacement maps.  There are a few base map replacements, quite a few shine maps, and a few glow map.  I would like to get opinions on those maps before including them in Zathras.  With that in mind I put together a mod with ships having both the new and old maps so people could compare them and see which they think is better. 

You can download the maptest mod if you want to test.  Just unzip in your TBP folder and it will create a maptest directory.  Set that as the current mod, launch the game,  and run the maptest.fs2 mission from the tech room.  You can either fly around and compare them or switch to external camera, view from target, and cycle through the ships that way. 

When your done post which versions you like overall and any specific likes/dislikes on the new versions.  Also remember to set your mod back to Zathras or whatever campaign you currently had active.  You can remove the mod just by deleting the maptest folder. 
No-one ever listens to Zathras. Quite mad, they say. It is good that Zathras does not mind. He's even grown to like it. Oh yes. -Zathras

 

Offline Vidmaster

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Re: New ship maps opinions needed
For some reason I do not see that mission in the tech room. I use the fs2_open_3_6_16_RC1_SSE build and the recent Zathras, the active mod however has been set to maptest. I fail to see a mission file in that mod, if it is in the .vp than something is wrong.

EDIT: Added a image to the mod.ini to verify that I have loaded the mod. I have.
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Offline FUBAR-BDHR

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Re: New ship maps opinions needed
Looks like the missions directory didn't get included.  I'll get it updated shortly.  If you already have downloaded it you can just grab the mission here.
No-one ever listens to Zathras. Quite mad, they say. It is good that Zathras does not mind. He's even grown to like it. Oh yes. -Zathras

 

Offline wesp5

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Re: New ship maps opinions needed
In my humble opinion most of the newer maps look better! Sometimes it's very obvious, like looking at B5 itself from far away, in other cases the new maps look darker and not as colorful when not in full light, like e.g. the TS capital ship, so for those it's more a matter of taste...

 

Offline Vidmaster

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Re: New ship maps opinions needed
Adds a lot to most ships, I especially like the new First Ones. I do think something is wrong with a few of the models though, e.g. Babylon 5 seems to have normal maps (which look superb) in both the original and new versions. I write more when I have more opinions. In the meantime, discovered a brilliant bug: http://hard-light.net/mantis/view.php?id=939

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Offline FUBAR-BDHR

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Re: New ship maps opinions needed
Well normal maps should be enabled for both versions of all ships that have them as they are part of Zathras now.  It really wouldn't be fair comparing new maps with normals against old maps without them. 
No-one ever listens to Zathras. Quite mad, they say. It is good that Zathras does not mind. He's even grown to like it. Oh yes. -Zathras

 

Offline Slasher

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Re: New ship maps opinions needed
The normal maps look fine but the new shine maps appear a lot more subdued, like they had their saturation levels toned way down.  On mostly gray ships it doesn't really register, but on the Asimov, Earthforce One, G'Quan, or any ship with a lot of obvious red, green, blue, etc. the coloring appears more washed out than before. 

 

Offline Vidmaster

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Re: New ship maps opinions needed
I do actually think we could increase the normal modification for some ships, e.g. anything with a shadow hull.
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Offline FUBAR-BDHR

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Re: New ship maps opinions needed
*Bump*

Really need some more opinions on this.  I want to get the desired changes into the next Zathras.  Comments on specific ships with likes/dislikes on the new map versions would help. 
No-one ever listens to Zathras. Quite mad, they say. It is good that Zathras does not mind. He's even grown to like it. Oh yes. -Zathras

 

Offline Vidmaster

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Re: New ship maps opinions needed
I have one question before I start listing individual ship feedback:
Do we actually have the manpower to modify and/or redo normal maps for ships if necessary? Or are we talking about a "do or do not young padawan" approach?
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Offline FUBAR-BDHR

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Re: New ship maps opinions needed
Almost all if not all the normal maps were made by emi_100.  He would be the one to ask about those.  This test really wasn't about the normal maps.  It's for the other maps he made/modified along with the normal maps.  Need to decide which ones should go in Zathras.   Being that I have no real artistic talent (I just make things work other people make things pretty) I figured it would be better to leave deciding that up to the community. 
No-one ever listens to Zathras. Quite mad, they say. It is good that Zathras does not mind. He's even grown to like it. Oh yes. -Zathras

 

Offline emi_100

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Re: New ship maps opinions needed
Quote
Almost all if not all the normal maps were made by emi_100.  He would be the one to ask about those.
Yes Vidmaster, I made the normals maps. I'm open to any suggestions.
DEDICATED TO ALL THE
PEOPLE WHO PREDICTED
THAT THE BABYLON
PROJEECT WOULD FAIL IN
ITS MISSION.

-------FAITH MANAGES------
  • Normal Maps for -The Babylon Project-
  • "Battle at ..." (Campaign) You can't choose when, but you will choose where... and you will fight! GO NOW!
  • "One Mistake" (Third Space Campaign)
  • "Each Night I Dream of Home" (Crusade Single Mision)

 

Offline Vidmaster

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Re: New ship maps opinions needed
For many ships, we definitly have a problem when environment maps are on. Due to their low poly nature and material properties, many look like floating mirrors which breaks the B5 look and looks weird. I play TBP without that feature by the way, because of the aforementioned problems. Well, onto the normals maps then. In general, emi's maps improve on what we have which sometimes does look very good.

EA Nova:  Normal map improves on the original model quite a lot. Only the ugly engines remain but without a complete retexture (and some more polygons) this cannot be altered.
Asimov: Playing with environment maps, I think this thing looks like a christmas tree ball. Like a polished mirroring ball, not a spaceship hull. Without them, it just looks bumpy. I think less is more here and more rectangular patterns would be in order.
EA Skylark: I like what is here but I would recommend a stronger normal map on the main hull (the one with the engines attached).
Triumviron: Massive improvement over the old version, one of emi's best. Could even be a bit stronger in my opinion.
Darkknive: The model in itself is a mess. Neither the original nor emi's normal map is particularly noticeable. Is it actually applied somewhere but the yellow bumpy parts? Broken vessel. I will pretend that it does not exists :lol:
Centauri Mine: Looks good, a lot better than the original mine under sunlight. Still to christmas tree bubbley when playing with environment maps.
Brezebel: One of those ships that benefits a lot from normal maps. Emi's version looks just a little bit better to me.
Ritan: Another ship that gains a lot. Again, Emi's version looks somehow "cleaner".
CR Rutarian: Again cleaner but I actually dislike both versions. The Centauri ships should have a more elegant hull as the Brezebel and Ritan possess, not the plate structure of other ships. I think the normal map on the cockpit and that box like things on the side of it look good as well as the highlight of the purple part on the wings. To me, that is the way to go for the centauri fighters, emphazining their elegeant nature. I say more and stronger normal mapping on the wings seperating the materials and less star trek hull pattern  :)

More in the next post.
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Offline Vidmaster

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Re: New ship maps opinions needed
Maintenance Bot: Again, one of these vessels with the Star Trek hull pattern. On how many ships is this? I hope his was actually made by somebody from the original TBP team and is not stolen from some Bridge Commander Mod, right from the Enterprise-D's saucer section. Aaannnyway I do not think it fits here. I always imagined the upper blue section of the bot to be just some inexpensive shell and not a real armored hull one. A clean surface with strong distinction between the different materials, making the yellow parts look like they were put ontop of the original blue thing would be more fitting. Oh and a stronger normal map on the stuff on the arms.
Earthforce One: Never noticed how low poly the main part of the ship is. Anyway, nice map but it subdues the color from eye-cancer producing to something a little bit too blushed ((show).
Babylon 4: That texture on the docking bay is really low resolution, no normal map could ever hope to add detail there. Emi's map is a bit improvement like in the blue solar collectors or whatever they are. Really good job.
Babylon 5: Another good one, for now the only thing I would like to see is a normal modification for that dark blue stripe on the blueish solar panels.
TS Capital: Emi's one is a totally different beast. I like it but is suffers from some of the model's really ugly texture coordinate problem. I know most of TBP's assets are ugly, using ugly textures that are mapped in a ugly fashion on an ugly mesh but some are more ugly then others. Word repetition? Not from Vidmaster! (see ugly attachment)  :banghead:
TS Fighter: A ship where enviro mapping actually looks awesome, the shiny bubble of the original's version gives this thing a creepy look. Emi's version is better but this little detail, I like the shiny bubble. The bones could have a stronger normal map as well, emi did already make it stronger compared to the original but I think some more value difference would be in order, going all the way to the edge of the bone (with decreasing strength of course).

More later, this hand writing needs to be decyphered you know  :lol: ?

[attachment deleted by a basterd]
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Offline Vidmaster

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Re: New ship maps opinions needed
Vorlon Dreadnought: Nice one  :)
Vorlon Cruiser and the rest of the vorlon vessels: You really nailed the vorlon vessels. I do not know exactly WHAT it is but emi's new versions just have that little something extra.
BI Halik: One word: Perfect.
BI Falkosi: Already very beautiful but I think the red stripes on the engine part and the "neck towards the cockpit" could get the name treatment as the markings on the wings.
BI Tashkat: Some windows seem a bit normal mapped, others are not. Could they all get some normal mapping so that they look a bit "deeper" inside the ship?
NR G'Quan: Gains a lot from the map. I think it might be worth a try to add a normal modification to the windows as well but only if it is doable and does not look crap, the texture for the central windows (more or less where the Nav is) looks a bit lower res that the one on the sides.
NR Th'Nor: Superb, just the hangar interior could use a bit of normal mapping as well.
NR Frazi: Never noticed before how ugly the texture was. Emi's normal mapping cannot save much but it looks good nonetheless.
Battlewagon: Another case of really low texture here but emi's map is a vast improvement especially on those hull plates.  :yes:
Moonrock: Still do not know where that model came from. Is this just an asteroid with the moon texture? Texture as a few bad transitions. Anyway, brilliant normal mapping by emi here.
CR Primus: Looks good and congrats on the drastic color change, I like it a lot better now and YES it is more canon. Raises the question however, how the Secundus should be handled (I like some color distinction but the purple is hideously strong) and if we should add the Centauri Liner (unarmed version, again different color).
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Offline FUBAR-BDHR

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Re: New ship maps opinions needed
Yes the moonrock is just a asteroid with the updated moon landscape texture.  I really didn't want to add 2 moon landscape models to the mission so I cheated. 
No-one ever listens to Zathras. Quite mad, they say. It is good that Zathras does not mind. He's even grown to like it. Oh yes. -Zathras

 

Offline Vidmaster

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Re: New ship maps opinions needed
League Base: The relatively strong normal modification on the rotating part is a contrast to the flat red parts on the top. It it also does not compare well to the other darker spots on the hull. I think for this vessel a flat surface should be in order, letting the red (and darker spots) be just paint, the current status is too inconsistent. The normal mapping on the arms is superb however.
CR Vorchan: I think those yellow-black squares (which should probably symbolize some sort of exhaust port or even missile racks) should get some normal map treatment as well, same for the yellow stripes on the side wings. I do think the original one looks a bit better in this regard.
EA Explorer: Texture is just grey aka extremely boring in some places, for example the engine block. The normal map adds bumps to these sections which seem terribly out of place. Without a proper texture giving some context, this looks silly. Sections like the central spine or the engine checkerboard look brilliant though. A ship full of contrasts.
DH Cruiser: Looks good but I think a stronger contrast would make it look even more "wasp" like and therefore better.
Excalibur: Talked about that stupid ship before, never liked it but that is independent from normal mapping, which is well realized. Just add some normal mapping to the hangar bay doors.
DH Mothership: Looks okay, with my environment mapping settings a lot too shiny but that's true of most bigger vessels. Damned Christmas tree effect...
NR Ja'Dul: Looks pretty good but there are some obvious parts without mapping. See attached image.
all asteroids:  :yes: gain a lot through emi's new maps
Bluestar: Texture a bit blurry in some parts but the normal map does its best to make this ship more beautiful. Good work.
Whitestar: This one is interesting. It looks weird. Of all the vessels with normal maps, this is the only one we see really really close in the show. And the show does not use normal maps like this, it looks wrong. Too bumpy. The effect should be more subtle, at the moment it looks like the ship has "hull cancer".

So, there you have it emi. My personal feedback and suggestions. There are only a few that I really really dislike, the whitestar in the lead. Most are really good. Hope I have not forgotten any ship or object.
Please tell me your opinion about my criticism and if and how you are prepared to help out further.

Bottom line: Most maps add a lot to the game.

[attachment deleted by a basterd]
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Offline FUBAR-BDHR

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Re: New ship maps opinions needed
Vorlon Dreadnought: Nice one  :)
Vorlon Cruiser and the rest of the vorlon vessels: You really nailed the vorlon vessels. I do not know exactly WHAT it is but emi's new versions just have that little something extra.
BI Halik: One word: Perfect.
BI Falkosi: Already very beautiful but I think the red stripes on the engine part and the "neck towards the cockpit" could get the name treatment as the markings on the wings.
BI Tashkat: Some windows seem a bit normal mapped, others are not. Could they all get some normal mapping so that they look a bit "deeper" inside the ship?
NR G'Quan: Gains a lot from the map. I think it might be worth a try to add a normal modification to the windows as well but only if it is doable and does not look crap, the texture for the central windows (more or less where the Nav is) looks a bit lower res that the one on the sides.
NR Th'Nor: Superb, just the hangar interior could use a bit of normal mapping as well.
NR Frazi: Never noticed before how ugly the texture was. Emi's normal mapping cannot save much but it looks good nonetheless.
Battlewagon: Another case of really low texture here but emi's map is a vast improvement especially on those hull plates.  :yes:
Moonrock: Still do not know where that model came from. Is this just an asteroid with the moon texture? Texture as a few bad transitions. Anyway, brilliant normal mapping by emi here.
CR Primus: Looks good and congrats on the drastic color change, I like it a lot better now and YES it is more canon. Raises the question however, how the Secundus should be handled (I like some color distinction but the purple is hideously strong) and if we should add the Centauri Liner (unarmed version, again different color).

I have these changes tentatively set to go in.  If there are no objections I will add them to the next testing release.

As for the Secondus it uses the same maps as the Primus.   The options there are change both ships to the new versions or copy the old versions of the Primus*.dds maps to Secondus*.dds and edit the pof to use those.  There is also the option of using the new ones and saving a copy of the old ones for texture replacement.   Note texture replacement versions  can be done for any ship where both versions are liked. 
No-one ever listens to Zathras. Quite mad, they say. It is good that Zathras does not mind. He's even grown to like it. Oh yes. -Zathras

 

Offline FUBAR-BDHR

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Re: New ship maps opinions needed
EA Nova:  Normal map improves on the original model quite a lot. Only the ugly engines remain but without a complete retexture (and some more polygons) this cannot be altered.
Triumviron: Massive improvement over the old version, one of emi's best. Could even be a bit stronger in my opinion.
Centauri Mine: Looks good, a lot better than the original mine under sunlight. Still to christmas tree bubbley when playing with environment maps.
Brezebel: One of those ships that benefits a lot from normal maps. Emi's version looks just a little bit better to me.
Ritan: Another ship that gains a lot. Again, Emi's version looks somehow "cleaner".

all asteroids:  :yes: gain a lot through emi's new maps
Bluestar: Texture a bit blurry in some parts but the normal map does its best to make this ship more beautiful. Good work.


Also have these ready to go in.  As for the rest can you give me a simple in/out list.  Remember if it's better it can go in even if it needs improvement as it can be updated later. 

BTW has anyone tried blowing up the ships and comparing checking which debris textures look better? 
No-one ever listens to Zathras. Quite mad, they say. It is good that Zathras does not mind. He's even grown to like it. Oh yes. -Zathras

 

Offline Vidmaster

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Re: New ship maps opinions needed
Nah, did not try to blow up ships so far. Will do tomorrow hopefully.
Regarding additions: I say add all the normal maps for now. They all added something to the game although I would like to see some changes for some, the only thing that is really really off is the Whitestar's new look which can probably be fixed by altering the strengh of the normal modification. Tweaking the maps is, as you say, easier if they are actually there :-)
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Does crazy Software Engineering for a living, until he finally musters the courage to start building games for real. Might never happen.