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Rhuvaen
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Post by Rhuvaen »

I think these are great ideas and effects, but here comes my (hopefully constructive) criticism:

1. the sunken effect looks too flat. I think you need to use a gradient alpha from 50% to complete transparency (or near complete) that's parallel to each of the walls, because the water would obscure the sight more the deeper the walls and towers are submerged. I do get a good impression of what you're trying to do, but if these submerged castles appeared in-game I'd be less sure what its supposed to symbolise.

2. in many ruins, the towers just look dirty (covered by soot). They'd look better if more greens (lichen and mosses) and different shades of grey were applied, and if the structures would be less intact overall. Visually, these ruins are very similar to the existing castles we have. It's not bad or anything, it's just that it doesn't look very "ruined".

I do realise the huge amount of effort going into this, so I'm not expecting any of them to go into this work. I just think it'd really make a difference...

Darth Fool
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Post by Darth Fool »

Ok, here it is. Included are all the aforementioned graphics and two new swamp transitions (fixing the odd hex-side effect in nw and se. There are two unified diffs, one for the data directory and one for the data/terrain-graphics/ directory that were made against the CVS from yesterday morning.

Quensul: I hope you can improve upon the sunken ruins :)

edit: the patch is too big (1.7M gzipped)! it can be found as patch 3753 on savannah.

I have attached instead a few sample sunken-ruin pngs for Quensul.
as an aside, you might try counting pixels from the bottom instead of alpha'd pixels above. This would save you having to filter on the alpha'd pixels when counting and might be applicable to pngs that aren't pre-processed...
Attachments
sunken-ruinkeep3-wall-e.png
sunken-ruinkeep3-wall-e.png (4.92 KiB) Viewed 2470 times
sunken-ruin1-convex-nw.png
sunken-ruin1-convex-nw.png (4.24 KiB) Viewed 2470 times
sunken-ruinkeep2-wall-1-e.png
sunken-ruinkeep2-wall-1-e.png (5.04 KiB) Viewed 2470 times

telex4
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Post by telex4 »

Rhuvaen wrote:2. in many ruins, the towers just look dirty (covered by soot). They'd look better if more greens (lichen and mosses) and different shades of grey were applied, and if the structures would be less intact overall. Visually, these ruins are very similar to the existing castles we have. It's not bad or anything, it's just that it doesn't look very "ruined".
Agreed. It looks to me a little like rendering artifacts having big solid black blotches over the walls :shock: Your ideas for moss and shades of grey to show broken walls, fallen stones and so on are great.

Quensul
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Post by Quensul »

Darth Fool wrote: Quensul: I hope you can improve upon the sunken ruins :)

I have attached instead a few sample sunken-ruin pngs for Quensul.
as an aside, you might try counting pixels from the bottom instead of alpha'd pixels above. This would save you having to filter on the alpha'd pixels when counting and might be applicable to pngs that aren't pre-processed...
Yeah, good idea - I'm going to ignore the existing alpha layer and try to work from scratch. I'll probably get to this sometime this weekend or early next week; I'm trying to get Wercator 0.4 out the door first.
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Darth Fool
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Post by Darth Fool »

telex4 wrote:
Rhuvaen wrote:2. in many ruins, the towers just look dirty (covered by soot). They'd look better if more greens (lichen and mosses) and different shades of grey were applied, and if the structures would be less intact overall. Visually, these ruins are very similar to the existing castles we have. It's not bad or anything, it's just that it doesn't look very "ruined".
Agreed. It looks to me a little like rendering artifacts having big solid black blotches over the walls :shock: Your ideas for moss and shades of grey to show broken walls, fallen stones and so on are great.
Hmm, the black comes from shadows inside caused by holes in the walls. Merely changing the wall colors to be more mossy or have different shades of grey would not show any holes! The intent was not to have a destroyed castle with nothing left except rubble, but rather to have buildings and walls that were still mostly functional, if a little drafty. They also were meant to seemlessly integrate with the existing castle graphics so that you could add one ruined hex to anotherwise normal castle, or vice-versa.

I would be curious to see a sample of your proposed alternative to the ruined graphics. If/when the current ones get added, it would be straight forward to replace the old graphics with any improved graphics you make, or even come up with a new "totally leveled rubble castle" using the current ruin wml as a model.

The nice thing about this is that, in my opinion, it creates an example of how to create castles that are not all cookie cutter towers, but have different possible towers at each corner in a probabilistic way. So, for example, the long commented out orcish castle, could be some random collection of mishapen towers and walls.

Darth Fool
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Post by Darth Fool »

Quensul wrote:
Darth Fool wrote: Quensul: I hope you can improve upon the sunken ruins :)

I have attached instead a few sample sunken-ruin pngs for Quensul.
as an aside, you might try counting pixels from the bottom instead of alpha'd pixels above. This would save you having to filter on the alpha'd pixels when counting and might be applicable to pngs that aren't pre-processed...
Yeah, good idea - I'm going to ignore the existing alpha layer and try to work from scratch. I'll probably get to this sometime this weekend or early next week; I'm trying to get Wercator 0.4 out the door first.
Well, I'm not convinced that it is a great idea. For example, I think it would have problems with the following sunken ruin:
Attachments
sunken-ruin3-convex-nw.png
sunken-ruin3-convex-nw.png (4.11 KiB) Viewed 2435 times

Quensul
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Post by Quensul »

Darth Fool wrote: Well, I'm not convinced that it is a great idea. For example, I think it would have problems with the following sunken ruin:
Hmm. I see your point - counting from the bottom works fine as long as the water doesn't reach up under any overhangs (i.e. your first and third samples), but fails in the presence of overhangs. I don't suppose your originals just happen to be layered, with the turret a separate layer, huh? :-)

I have a couple of ideas; I'll have to play with it at home to see what I can do.

BTW, in sunken-ruin3-convex-nw, does the clear spot in the center of the turret represent seeing through the top of the broken turret and through another hole in the side of the tower wall? Doesn't really matter, just wanted to make sure I was interpreting correctly. :-)
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telex4
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Post by telex4 »

Darth Fool wrote:Hmm, the black comes from shadows inside caused by holes in the walls. Merely changing the wall colors to be more mossy or have different shades of grey would not show any holes! The intent was not to have a destroyed castle with nothing left except rubble, but rather to have buildings and walls that were still mostly functional, if a little drafty. They also were meant to seemlessly integrate with the existing castle graphics so that you could add one ruined hex to anotherwise normal castle, or vice-versa.

I would be curious to see a sample of your proposed alternative to the ruined graphics. If/when the current ones get added, it would be straight forward to replace the old graphics with any improved graphics you make, or even come up with a new "totally leveled rubble castle" using the current ruin wml as a model.
The problem is not with your idea per se, just that I think you overuse it with blobs of pure black everywhere. This photo of Criccieth Castle, for example, has a big black shadow caused by the ruined wall that is very pronounced due to the camera settings:

Image

In this photo of Aberystwyth Castle, however, the presence of grass and mishapen walls is enough:

Image

And in this photo, the effect is extremely pronounced, showing that the ruin has been there untouched for a long time:

Image

Now I'm not going to do any mockups or try to make any finished graphics because I'm hopeless at it. If you prefer to stick to only using black blobs, that's your choice. I just thought I'd chip in with some ideas based on what ruined castles look like, and my concerns with the overabundance of stark black blobs.

Darth Fool
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Post by Darth Fool »

Quensul wrote:
Darth Fool wrote: Well, I'm not convinced that it is a great idea. For example, I think it would have problems with the following sunken ruin:
Hmm. I see your point - counting from the bottom works fine as long as the water doesn't reach up under any overhangs (i.e. your first and third samples), but fails in the presence of overhangs. I don't suppose your originals just happen to be layered, with the turret a separate layer, huh? :-)
no such luck, but all the faded areas should have alpha<50%

I think it is worse then just the overhang problem, though. For example, the wall at an angle has a different height because part of it is the result of horizontal elements. These might not end up too bad looking with some small areas rising above the waves, but they might One would have to see.
I have a couple of ideas; I'll have to play with it at home to see what I can do.

BTW, in sunken-ruin3-convex-nw, does the clear spot in the center of the turret represent seeing through the top of the broken turret and through another hole in the side of the tower wall? Doesn't really matter, just wanted to make sure I was interpreting correctly. :-)
Yes, the clear spot is where there are two opposing holes, so you see straight through the castle. I look forward to seeing what you can do with it ;)

Darth Fool
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Post by Darth Fool »

telex4 wrote: The problem is not with your idea per se, just that I think you overuse it with blobs of pure black everywhere. This photo of Criccieth Castle, for example, has a big black shadow caused by the ruined wall that is very pronounced due to the camera settings:

In this photo of Aberystwyth Castle, however, the presence of grass and mishapen walls is enough:

And in this photo, the effect is extremely pronounced, showing that the ruin has been there untouched for a long time:

Now I'm not going to do any mockups or try to make any finished graphics because I'm hopeless at it. If you prefer to stick to only using black blobs, that's your choice. I just thought I'd chip in with some ideas based on what ruined castles look like, and my concerns with the overabundance of stark black blobs.
Well, in response I would say, first off, The overgrowth you are showing takes quite a long time to develop. I simulate some overgrowth by renabling transitions, so for example, you can see grass beginning to creep in on the edges of the interior. But I don't think that just adding more green would give the sense of ruin. Maybe an ancient ruin graphic could be completely covered, but that is a whole nother story.

As for your choice of photos, it has an interesting selection bias to it. Consider, just using google, I can easily come up with my own set of biased photos, one even from the same site as one of yours!

Image

and

Image

and

Image

and Image

So, in conclusion, I may have overused black to indicate holes in the walls that are in shadow, but I think that you will find that it is very difficult not to do this if you want to indicate holes in these size graphics. Too much movement towards grey, and it ends up looking just like part of the wall. There are some places where I moderate the edges of
the black holes with dark grey, but my guess is you probably won't notice those finer touches. I can imagine other variations of ruins, such as ancient ruins which are completely over-grown, or total-ruins where the number of complete collapse to standing wall ratio is much higher, but that will have to wait for another day, possibly another artist.
Maybe someone wants to do an even lesser ruined castle, but that effect can be handled in part, jut by having 1 or more hexes be normal castles for each ruined hex.

I am not trying to be defensive (I might be suceeding, never-the-less), and I do appreciate the comments. Unfortunately, I am only a poor pixel artist compared to the likes of FM, Jetryl, and NeoRice, and my best works are all derivative offerings of existing work. I do reasonably good work when I have examples to compare with, which is why I have become reasonably proficient at animating others' units, while still sucking at making units from scratch. So, when it comes to ruining castles where, as with the units, every pixel counts and low contrast changes blur, I chose the route of having high contrast, obvious effects, while still not completely destroying the buildiings. I developed the current technique with a lot of failures that you mostly don't see. Which is why, I am curious to see other peoples ruining of castles. If I see that an effect works, I can imitate it. If it is just described, by someone who hasn't tried it or something similar, I am less inclined to believe that it will come out looking right.

Oh, and here is the second one reduced to roughly wesnothian scale. notice the dark blobs.
Attachments
aberstw4.small.jpg
aberstw4.small.jpg (1.28 KiB) Viewed 2379 times

telex4
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Post by telex4 »

Darth Fool, my images were deliberately selective :) The problem with the others you picked is that they don't look ruined because of the dark shadows. It's the combination of broken walls, weathered stone, generally mishapen architecture due to years of neglect and in some cases (as Rhuvaen noted and I tried to illustrate) creeping vegetation. The ruined nature of the buildings then give rise to large areas of shadow.

A lot of the ruined effects you have done look really good. But some of them just look weird, where you seem to have added a shadow without any discernible damage to the walls, or any hint that they're a ruin. They're just walls with big black blobs. I've attached a screenshot to show what I mean here.

Don't get me wrong, your ruins look cool, and the massive variety you've introduced is great to see. But they could do with retouching a little.

One quick fix might just be to vary the shade of grey, rather than just using black, as we already have with the doorways, to give some impression of depth. Another would be to try and add some vegetation. A more lasting fix would be to start with the changes to the wall's structure, and to add shadows in with a fixed light source in mind to highlight the damage to the walls.
Attachments
A good and a weird ruin effect.
A good and a weird ruin effect.
ruins.png (28.32 KiB) Viewed 2360 times

Darth Fool
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Post by Darth Fool »

Well, if it is just a few of the blobs that you find disturbingly too large or not rough enough around the edges, even better. To me, the weird blot you see looks like a wall that has collapsed inward while the roof is still over head. Their are subtle details in that blot that perhaps are too subtle, such as the slight crumblin under the crenelation or the darker grey pixels near one of the edges. My problem no doubt stems from staring at these images for too many weeks. Believe me when I say I look forward to someone else tweaking the graphics to improve such details.

defsy
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Trying to unblob the holes

Post by defsy »

I tried to get rid of the "black" character of some blobs by putting some dark-grey thingies on them;
like some stones on the inside reflecting a few sunrays. (Ignoring plants for now)

A few concerns:

1)Maybe you won't be able to see any change. On my Mac, using GraphicConverter
I can see the difference in the attached png, but with Preview
I can not/very hardly (mostly because I know where to look ;)).
This is because I wanted to begin with subtle changes and not throw a candle at every hole.
Also, I use a TFT if that matters...

2)Is it suitable for such shadow adjustments to use alpha,
or should it only be used to enable water/transitions?

3)Where can I find the original Tiles? (by Darth Fool?)
at http://savannah.nongnu.org/patch/?func= ... em_id=3753
I could not find any link.

4)Should I continue to try or is it not worth the effort? :?:

5)I have no real idea what transitions are... I once saw some .cfg files but can it be that, only programming?

6)Good night 8)
defsy
Attachments
Compare old and new black blobs
Compare old and new black blobs
ruin_compare.png (96.49 KiB) Viewed 2344 times

Sangel
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Re: Trying to unblob the holes

Post by Sangel »

In answer to (some of) your questions...
defsy wrote:1)Maybe you won't be able to see any change. On my Mac, using GraphicConverter
I can see the difference in the attached png, but with Preview
I can not/very hardly (mostly because I know where to look ;)).
This is because I wanted to begin with subtle changes and not throw a candle at every hole.
Also, I use a TFT if that matters...
Got in in one. Your changes are far too subtle - I can barely see them in Safari.
defsy wrote:2)Is it suitable for such shadow adjustments to use alpha,
or should it only be used to enable water/transitions?
Darth will have to confirm this, but I suspect the answer is no. If you could theoretically see water through the hole, you should use alpha. If not, no.
defsy wrote:4)Should I continue to try or is it not worth the effort? :?:
Improvements are always a good thing. If you enjoy working on this, I strongly encourage you to pursue it. :)
"Pure logic is the ruin of the spirit." - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Re: Trying to unblob the holes

Post by Invisible Philosopher »

Sangel wrote:Got in in one. Your changes are far too subtle - I can barely see them in Safari.
1) Don't trust Safari (or Preview) to display PNGs the way they are in-game.
2) I'm using a better browser and I don't see any difference either. The changes must be too subtle.
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