Author Topic: MediaVPs Tweaks Showcase  (Read 528 times)

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MediaVPs Tweaks Showcase
I've recently been working on a series of new visual effects for certain retail weapons, in hopes of inclusion in the MediaVPs. I got done with all the weapons I intended to improve the other day, so this post will provide some screenshots and videos for the fine people of HLP to evaluate.

The pack is on Knossos as a mod, but unfortunately there seem to be some issues with that, and people haven't been able to get it to work properly. Hopefully that'll be fixed soon. In the meantime, I've uploaded it to Mediafire, so if nothing else you can download the raw files. There'll be a link toward the end of the post.

Now. On to the eyecandy.

Hidden Text: Show

The new Subach effect:









Subachs, plus Mekhus:



Blob turrets, Terran and Vasudan:









Shivan primary lasers:











Shivan turrets. The ones trailing particles are Shivan Turret Lasers, while the more spherical ones are Megafunk turrets.











My version of Shivan flak:












All right. Hopefully that'll be enough screenshots.

Videos:

Here's a small test scenario, showing off the Subach, Shivan primaries, and Terran and Shivan blob turrets.

This one displays my Shivan flak, as well as the Subach.

A larger scenario, showing off all the various weapons in a more elaborate context. You can see the Vasudan blobs and Mekhu here, too.

EDIT: Another version of the first test, showing a new iteration of the Shivan turret laser.

Here's an explanation of the rationale behind the Shivan primaries. I'll likely edit in a more thorough and organized version of this, covering all the weapons, in future.

Hidden Text: Show
First of all, the basis for the look I ended up with is rooted in headcanon, and headcanons will vary, but even if you don't agree with my interpretation of Shivan technology the effects ought to work fine as simply arbitrary pretty effects.

Now, when trying to come up with visuals for Shivan weaponry, I had a few concerns. One is that the Shivans are supposed to be advanced and powerful. So, one approach would be to give them things that look like supertech doom weapons.

But, problem: the fact of the matter is, in terms of gameplay, Shivan weapons (at least the fighter weapons) are very unimpressive. So I could make the effects smaller and less spectacular to reflect that, but that doesn't seem ideal either.

One other thought I had was this, and this applies to many of the other weapons, too: I want to provide space for mods to escalate into. That is, various mods dealing with the Shivans will no doubt give them more impressive weapons. Those weapons ought to have matching visuals, so I want to be careful to make the visuals for these retail weapons somewhat proportional, in a sense -- so that the mods have somewhere to go with their effects.

Now, in my interpretation of the Shivans, the reason so much of their tech is oddly weak is that the ones we encounter in FS1 and 2 are in something of a degraded state. BP provides a similar excuse -- there, the Shivans are deliberately non-optimized, and so they have weird vestigial technology lying around that isn't implemented properly.

So that gave me my motif: the Shivan weapons should look like supertech doom weapons...which aren't working correctly. So: in that early screenshot, the Shivan PoV one -- the main effect there, with the rings and the flash bits, is not the projectile. It's sort of an extended muzzle-flash. The idea is, the weapon is supposed to fire this ball of concentrated hurty-juice, held together by some sort of gravitic containment field.

But the field generators are broken, or not aligned properly, so the projectile shoots out -- and then the containment field shoots out too slowly to catch up, fails, and breaks apart.
The projectile, meanwhile, goes shooting toward the target -- but it's leaking hurty-juice all over the place, so it's trailing this inconstant gaseous effect. Then it hits the target, or dissipates, and blows up in a puff of gas. Still pretty destructive, but not as destructive as it was supposed to be.

I think this provides a nice balance of visuals that look good while not seeming out-of-place for the rather weak weapons that are the Shivan primaries.

A few known concerns that I have:

- Given the teal color I gave its starting phase, the Mekhu comes out looking very Kayser-y. I may end up changing the coloration a bit to remedy that.
- While I stand by the concept I used for the Megafunk turret, the animated bitmap I used on the projectile is a little lackluster. This has to do with the fact that I'm using fairly primitive tools -- creating that animation was pretty time-consuming, and iterating on it would be even more so. I might take another crack at it in the future, though.
- I don't love the way the Shivan Turret Laser ended up. It's okay, but it'd be nice if I could figure out something better. I'm open to ideas, though if possible I'd like it to remain distinctive.

Here's the Mediafire link:

http://www.mediafire.com/folder/xoul6kj93vt79/mvptweaks-1.0.1

Please take a look at the screenshots and videos -- and play the mod, if you can -- and let me know what you think.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2020, 12:17:26 am by Kestrellius »

 

Offline Nyctaeus

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Re: MediaVPs Tweaks Showcase
Your bloom and your fov are crazy :P

This stuff is hot tho. I mentioned on Discord that I dislike shivan flak thing, because circles everywhere. Rest is beautiful. Particle-rich turrets really gives the impression of hot, angry plasma projectiles. 
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Re: MediaVPs Tweaks Showcase
I'll echo what I said on discord. I'm in favor of most of it, the only thing I would change are the shivan primary muzzle flashes to something a little more understated instead of those tubular rings. I would also slightly bring in the particles on the turret lasers, to fly around randomly less and simply come out the back as a trail more, and also have the flak particles die off quicker to stay in a smaller area. But otherwise, I'm totally in favor, especially the more "lasery" unique flak for shivans (new sound effect???).

 

Offline mjn.mixael

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Re: MediaVPs Tweaks Showcase
I agree, I do like these a lot. (Personally I wouldn't change the blobs at all.)

There Shivan flak is cool but maybe a little too flashy. (Too many circles)

Personally I'd like to see you take this further and do more if the weapons.
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Offline The E

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Re: MediaVPs Tweaks Showcase
These are excellent.
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Re: MediaVPs Tweaks Showcase
Those effects look pretty nice :)

I'm not a real fan of the Shivan flak effects, they look a bit too heavy and the Shivan Megafunk thing looks... unimpressive, kinda static.

 

Offline Iain Baker

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Re: MediaVPs Tweaks Showcase
Nice! I would second the toning down the shivan muzzeflash tube thing.

Re the larger spherical blod turret shot - nice, it makes it distinct from the other blobs. Only thing I would suggest is perhaps replace the hit effects when it hits since it looks the same as the shivan flack burst, and flack bursts.

Going off on a tangent a bit here - but one of my persistent bugbears with FS ever since retail is that it is sometimes difficult to tell explosions apart. for example - the shockwave from a warhead being shot down is the same as when it impacts. Did that last second interception work or did it make contact? If the explosions / shockwaves were visually distinct you could tell.

Similarly vanilla Flack bursts resemble explosions too much - making it difficult to tell if something blowing up or not. When using it against a cap ship it it is sometimes tricky to tell if it has made contact or is bursting just short of the target. In the videos above the flack appears to just dissapear into the demon - I'm assuming it is hitting it but some visual cue - sparks for example - would help, not to mention look cool.

Just my two cents - I am liking what you are doing here :-)
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Re: MediaVPs Tweaks Showcase
Thanks for the kind words, everyone!

So it looks like the consensus is the Shivan flak doesn't work all that well, and we'd be better off using the Inferno version. All right.

Re: Megafunk looking static: can you elaborate? I assume you're talking about the fact that it's radially symmetric rather than being elongated or whatever along the axis of travel. I was sort of going for the "photon torpedo" look, since -- given the Megafunk's absurdly low speed, making it look like it was supposed to be fast and sleek doesn't seem like it would turn out well.

I think I'll keep the Megafunk explosion as is unless there are other objections, since it looks like my flak won't be used.

Re: Shivan muzzle rings. I'm pretty attached to that effect, honestly. It serves to make the Shivan weapons unique and distinctive, and, if you buy the reasoning I posted in the OP, it tells a story. (Not to mention how tricky it was to get it to work properly, but that's the sunk-cost fallacy talking.) Granted, though, it was definitely not designed for player use, which given Trimurti might be Asteroth's objection.

Still...I suppose I can find a way to tone it down. Just make it dimmer, maybe. What's the problematic aspect -- the rings themselves, or the flash at the end? Both?

(One way to do it would just be to reduce the radius of the effect, but I don't want to do that -- the rings are supposed to be encompassing the bolt, so they need to be wider than it.)

 

Offline Iain Baker

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Re: MediaVPs Tweaks Showcase
Having now read through your explanation of the muzzel flash rings it actually makes a lot of sense. Keep 'em :-)

Of course now looking forward to seeing what people do with the idea going forward  ;7
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Offline Iain Baker

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Re: MediaVPs Tweaks Showcase
At the risk of sounding dumb - how do I play the demo? All I see when starting it is the fs2 retail campaign and the usual massive battle single missions?
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Re: MediaVPs Tweaks Showcase
At the risk of sounding dumb - how do I play the demo? All I see when starting it is the fs2 retail campaign and the usual massive battle single missions?

There should be two missions called "Effects Test" in the single missions category. If there aren't, I'm not sure why -- but others weren't having any success installing the mod at all, and I've been seeing some issues reported with other campaigns recently, so it seems there might be something going on with Knossos.

If you don't mind, could you look in the mod's folder and see what's in there? It's possible that the mod package didn't actually download for some reason.

Also, if you play retail missions, do the new effects appear?

 

Offline Iain Baker

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Re: MediaVPs Tweaks Showcase
in the folder there is:

mod.json

user.json



Thats everything - and I don't think the new effects were working.
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Re: MediaVPs Tweaks Showcase
You can drop the file manually into the Knossos/MVP folder too.

 
Re: MediaVPs Tweaks Showcase
Okay. Yeah, that's what happened when I tried to download it on a different PC, too. (Though for me I got an error and the game refused to launch.) I'm thinking that's a Knossos issue.

 
Re: MediaVPs Tweaks Showcase
Mmhh that's probably bad. Anyway, here's the direct link to the Knossos DL, so you don't have to update MF everytime you change something: https://fsnebula.org/mod/mvptweaks

 
Re: MediaVPs Tweaks Showcase
OP has been updated with a new video, showing a modified Shivan turret laser effect.

  

Offline Iain Baker

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Re: MediaVPs Tweaks Showcase
 :yes: :yes: :yes:
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Offline Solatar

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Re: MediaVPs Tweaks Showcase
These are really, really cool. :yes: As much as I liked the old Subach effects, I like these a lot more. The animated bits on the turret projectiles, have, IMHO, the exact effect you were looking for (big, unstable blobs of hot plasma). The Huge and Megafunk turrets now look like they're moving slowly because they're powerful. It took me a bit to get used to the giant muzzeflashes on some of the turrets (regular Vasudan one, I think?), but it's growing on me.

I can't wait to see what you do with some (or all hopefully?) of the other weapons.

 

Online Kiloku

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Re: MediaVPs Tweaks Showcase
Whenever I saw weirdly-angled PNGs as ship projectiles it really took a toll on immersion, these tweaks are great to avoid that!

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: MediaVPs Tweaks Showcase
Random Q without going to the slightest effort to check, sorry: have primaries been given a lifetime and range such that they play their impact animation when dying, rather than just winking out? One of the best aesthetic changes to the game and it only takes some table tweaks.