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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 7:13 pm 
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I hadn't planned on doing more than one or two graphics so I'd initially been dropping each graphic in it's own thread on this board, but every other day I'm coming up with new ideas for things so it seemed prudent to create a single thread to throw them all into, just to keep things neat. If an admin wishes to move the contents of those smaller threads into this one, I've provided links to them below:

I've already got:
ImageImage
Diamond and Crystal Armour Plating

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Rock Armor Plating

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Distortion Modulator

The only ship part currently missing a graphic is
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Nova Bomb 256 x 256
Image
Nova Bomb 64 x 64



I've got some thoughts on tech icons, buildings and some upgrades to ship parts that are stuck using recoloured versions of existing graphics. Can't say when I'll get around to doing something with those thoughts, but I'll post here as new ideas come up. Feel free to post here if there's something particular that you'd like me to try my hand at.

Any images I put in this thread are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 licence. Please provide an art credit to me under my real name: Kevin RJ Berry.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:14 pm 
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I must say that I don't like the icon for the nova bomb.
  • It's too colorful and reminds me more of an firework explosion than what I would associate with a weapon that annihilates a whole system.
  • The other problem is the skull itself. As far as I know all icons are designed to be species agnostic. The skull doesn't fullfil this rule for obvious reasons.

My suggestion would be to show a bright star which bursts into pieces, showing at the rifts the even brighter inner parts of the star. At the outside you see some one or two planets or just a very hard edged drop shadow of them.

http://img0.mxstatic.com/wallpapers/d76 ... large.jpeg
http://www.wowowall.com/wp-content/uplo ... ernova.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... a-xray.jpg (keep in mind this is an x-ray image)
http://fc04.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2010/ ... llmosh.jpg

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:57 pm 
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adrian_broher wrote:
I must say that I don't like the icon for the nova bomb.
  • It's too colorful and reminds me more of an firework explosion than what I would associate with a weapon that annihilates a whole system.
  • The other problem is the skull itself. As far as I know all icons are designed to be species agnostic. The skull doesn't fullfil this rule for obvious reasons.

My suggestion would be to show a bright star which bursts into pieces, showing at the rifts the even brighter inner parts of the star. At the outside you see some one or two planets or just a very hard edged drop shadow of them.


Thanks for your input... I may give your suggestion a go later.

As for this one: I was going for something symbolic, so the idea was to make something that looks like a real supernova, but with the clouds of gas resembling a skull as a universal symbol for death (and which is a common motif in existing FreeOrion icons). The brightness in the colours was quite intentional as I wanted to accentuate the massive energy output rather than have it look like a dull nebula which most remnant supernovas seem to be.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 2:08 pm 
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Just some concept art for what an organic hull might look like and how it might work.
I imagined it being something like an elephant and howdah rather than it being a big creature that people climb inside. The creature provides the locomotion and the structure of the ship, but non-organic parts are grafted on to it to provide the crew with the normal amenities and to attach weapons and other equipment.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:24 pm 
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Heavy Asteroid Hull concept.
I'm aware that the lore talks about hollowing out an asteroid, but that seems like a very inefficient way of making use of an asteroid as a structure. If the deception is the goal, it would be simpler to take a ship and cover it with moulded concrete so that it looks like an asteroid. The true benefit of an asteroid is that it's a massive structure that does not need to be preconstructed. It just needs some post-processing using pre-fabricated parts to make it functional as a massive mobile weapons platform.

In this concept a large asteroid is wrangled from the asteroid belt and is surrounded by a cage of prefab corridors which connect a number of domes which make up the actual ship. I've taken some inspiration from the platonic solids for the design of the corridors and have gone with a dodecahedral mesh for the large one allowing for 20 domes. Smaller ships may have an octohedral or tetrahedral network, with only 6 or 4 domes respectively. Various functional parts and weapon batteries are then fixed on to the asteroid and attached to the network with corridors.

Camouflaged versions of this can be achieved by carving out channels for the corridors and burying them, the domes and other parts... or simply painting them to match the surrounding rock.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:25 am 
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Hey, that's some nice concept art! :D

Does that mean you're also considering doing some ship models/graphics? We could definitely use that...
BraveSirKevin wrote:
I'm aware that the lore talks about hollowing out an asteroid, but that seems like a very inefficient way of making use of an asteroid as a structure. If the deception is the goal, it would be simpler to take a ship and cover it with moulded concrete so that it looks like an asteroid. The true benefit of an asteroid is that it's a massive structure that does not need to be preconstructed. It just needs some post-processing using pre-fabricated parts to make it functional as a massive mobile weapons platform.
Well, literally hollowing out an asteroid, especially bigger ones, would probably indeed require more effort than to construct a comparable hull from scratch (in reality). Nevertheless I think you can make better use of the massive structure an asteroid represents than just mounting structures on it's surface. For example by digging deep into it and putting all installments that don't necessarily need to sit on the surface deep "underground", where they will be much better protected. So all the "internals" of a ship would be buried deep within the asteroid. That's at least how I imagine something like "asteroid ships".


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:24 am 
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BraveSirKevin wrote:
Just some concept art for what an organic hull might look like and how it might work.
I imagined it being something like an elephant and howdah rather than it being a big creature that people climb inside. The creature provides the locomotion and the structure of the ship, but non-organic parts are grafted on to it to provide the crew with the normal amenities and to attach weapons and other equipment.
Well.. organic ships can go either way - either engineered organisms or just a constructed hull using organic components (see Cylon basestars in re-imagined Battlestar Galatica).This could be two separate research branches, though.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:41 pm 
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Vezzra wrote:
Hey, that's some nice concept art! :D

Does that mean you're also considering doing some ship models/graphics? We could definitely use that...


Thanks! And yes, that's exactly what it means. Assuming the road map hasn't been thrown out of the window completely, the current stage is supposed to be dealing with the tactical combat system but it seems like almost everyone who was involved on that front has either disappeared completely or has just stopped working on it. Hoping that if I start, then the others might get inspired to get back on track with that too.

Even without the tactical combat, one of the weakest things in the game right now is the ship design menu so some new and interesting graphics might really push this game up a few notches. My skill set includes 3d modeling, texture mapping and painting and I've been looking for some fun sci-fi challenges in this area... I usually deal more with fantasy type stuff which I then convert into papercraft models and sell in PDF form to tabletop gamers (http://www.papercraftdungeon.com if you're interested.)

I've already replaced the graphics for these ships with my concept art in my own copy of the game. I can upload the files if anyone wants them. As for full game-usable 3d models, I've always had a policy that I'll not proceed further in the development process until someone with the capacity to approve stuff has approved and locked down the concept art and roughs. I don't like starting over or backtracking to rework things that should have been sorted out in the planning stage. I'm not entirely sure who the responsible person in this regards is (it used to be pd but he's gone inactive).

Vezzra wrote:
Well, literally hollowing out an asteroid, especially bigger ones, would probably indeed require more effort than to construct a comparable hull from scratch (in reality). Nevertheless I think you can make better use of the massive structure an asteroid represents than just mounting structures on it's surface. For example by digging deep into it and putting all installments that don't necessarily need to sit on the surface deep "underground", where they will be much better protected. So all the "internals" of a ship would be buried deep within the asteroid. That's at least how I imagine something like "asteroid ships".


Quite right. I actually imagine those domes to be something like very large buildings that go deep into the surface of the rock, maybe as much as 25m (8 storeys) down. I also pictured them using natural "caves" and cleared-out gas pockets in the asteroid structure as storage tanks for fuel, water and some sort of photosynthetic microorganisms that would serve both as a source of nutrition and as an efficient way of keeping the air breathable. My primary goal here was to create something that would look good in the game; have lots of visual interest with something besides pock-marked rocks all over the place; and, very importantly, some sort of appearance of functionality so that it conveyed the idea that it might actually work if someone built it in the real world.

As for defence, I think this one's about as defensible as one could get. The majority of the asteroid's surface area is still bare solid rock so most shots fired at it are not going to damage anything important. The corridors can be temporarily sealed off if they take a massive hit and get compromised. Being made up of pre-fab modules, they'd be relatively easy to repair after the battle, and because there are multiple routes to get from any one dome to another, the loss of a few corridors would be more of an inconvenience than a disaster. This means the only parts you need to shield (as in deflector shield) are the domes and installations themselves. Game mechanics aside, (ie. if this were real life) destroying - or even just severely disabling - an asteroid ship of this design would be almost impossible with a laser or any other beam-based weapon... Most of the hits would hit nothing of value, and a lucky shot destroying one dome or installation would have very little impact on the efficacy of the others. The most effective weapons against it would be powerful mass drivers or ballistic missiles because the impact of those projectiles would send massive shockwaves all over the rock gradually breaking it apart and indirectly doing structural damage to the installations on it. Because each successive impact would render the armour more and more useless in a way that can't be repaired, it's easier and more effective to use point defense to prevent the missiles and projectiles hitting in the first place.

em3 wrote:
Well.. organic ships can go either way - either engineered organisms or just a constructed hull using organic components (see Cylon basestars in re-imagined Battlestar Galatica).This could be two separate research branches, though.


Given the information in the descriptions, and the fact that you get there by learning to tame megafauna and then go on later to create ships that are clearly meant to be organisms, i got the impression that the organic hulls were meant to be something like Moya from Farscape: an independent, possibly sentient, animal that was already capable of space travel on its own in the wild, but domesticated and bred for the purpose of being used as ships and being surgically (and possibly genetically) modified to make it more useful in that role. It occurs to me that while every race may use the same animal as an organic hull, different races might use them differently. Some may infect it like a parasite, altering its structure to form natural weapons and using mind control to direct it... others may simply form a symbiotic (in the biological sense, rather than in the game mechanics sense) and use it to get around without physically altering it at all, but race specific ships seem to be something that's not to be included in the game for a very long time to come, if ever/

A constructed hull using organic parts in the Cylon sense is less of an organic hull and more of a case of making the pilots and the ship into a single cybernetic organism. I'm all for this idea, but it seems quite far removed from what organic hulls seem to be meant to be based on the in-game descriptions and where they appear on the tech tree.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:56 pm 
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BraveSirKevin wrote:
em3 wrote:
Well.. organic ships can go either way - either engineered organisms or just a constructed hull using organic components (see Cylon basestars in re-imagined Battlestar Galatica).This could be two separate research branches, though.


Given the information in the descriptions, and the fact that you get there by learning to tame megafauna and then go on later to create ships that are clearly meant to be organisms, i got the impression that the organic hulls were meant to be something like Moya from Farscape: an independent, possibly sentient, animal that was already capable of space travel on its own in the wild, but domesticated and bred for the purpose of being used as ships and being surgically (and possibly genetically) modified to make it more useful in that role. It occurs to me that while every race may use the same animal as an organic hull, different races might use them differently. Some may infect it like a parasite, altering its structure to form natural weapons and using mind control to direct it... others may simply form a symbiotic (in the biological sense, rather than in the game mechanics sense) and use it to get around without physically altering it at all, but race specific ships seem to be something that's not to be included in the game for a very long time to come, if ever/

A constructed hull using organic parts in the Cylon sense is less of an organic hull and more of a case of making the pilots and the ship into a single cybernetic organism. I'm all for this idea, but it seems quite far removed from what organic hulls seem to be meant to be based on the in-game descriptions and where they appear on the tech tree.
We already have both. The Static Multicellular Hull is a non-living organic hull (and has no regeneration because of that). The others are living.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:29 pm 
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BraveSirKevin wrote:
I usually deal more with fantasy type stuff which I then convert into papercraft models and sell in PDF form to tabletop gamers (http://www.papercraftdungeon.com if you're interested.)

Yowsers, that stuff is really nice, I'm impressed (and, um, I used to work for GW so I don't impress that easily)

I've already replaced the graphics for these ships with my concept art in my own copy of the game. I can upload the files if anyone wants them.[/quote]
Yes please, even occasional changes make the game more interesting at times (I keep meaning to upload my Devon starnames.txt, don't always add it in but invading my home village is always fun...)

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:49 pm 
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BraveSirKevin wrote:
Assuming the road map hasn't been thrown out of the window completely, the current stage is supposed to be dealing with the tactical combat system
If you're referring to the old roadmap that had a plan what should be done for 0.4, 0.5, 0.6 etc. up to 1.0, that has been replaced by something more flexible - see here.
Quote:
but it seems like almost everyone who was involved on that front has either disappeared completely or has just stopped working on it. Hoping that if I start, then the others might get inspired to get back on track with that too.
The problem is that our only Ogre programmer (Ogre is the render framework we use) has left the project. Lacking a programmer familiar with that framework work on tactical combat has been on hold for a while now, and that's not likely to change anytime soon, unless someone joins the team who can fill that hole. Or someone of the current team decides to try something really crazy and starts to dig into Ogre...
Quote:
My skill set includes 3d modeling, texture mapping and painting and I've been looking for some fun sci-fi challenges in this area...)
That's good to hear :D 3D modelers willing to contribute to an open source project like that are hard to find.
Quote:
As for full game-usable 3d models, I've always had a policy that I'll not proceed further in the development process until someone with the capacity to approve stuff has approved and locked down the concept art and roughs. I don't like starting over or backtracking to rework things that should have been sorted out in the planning stage. I'm not entirely sure who the responsible person in this regards is (it used to be pd but he's gone inactive).
That's a reasonable policy, the person you're looking for is eleazar, he is our current graphics lead. Unfortunately he's quite busy ATM and doesn't have much spare time for FO until end of summer IIRC, so you'll probably have to wait a few weeks until he can properly take care of graphics stuff again ;)

That said, the entire line of ship hulls is due for a major revision (this has already been delayed for quite some time but is sure to come), so you might want to delay any more elaborate work in that department anyway until this revision is done.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:42 pm 
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Vezzra wrote:
The problem is that our only Ogre programmer (Ogre is the render framework we use) has left the project. Lacking a programmer familiar with that framework work on tactical combat has been on hold for a while now, and that's not likely to change anytime soon, unless someone joins the team who can fill that hole. Or someone of the current team decides to try something really crazy and starts to dig into Ogre...


I imagine it's going to have to be the latter. There should be prominent notice or forum post somewhere to ask if anyone has the skills, or a willingness to learn them. There's almost 2000 people signed up here, and at least 5 times that many who read the forums but haven't participated, so it's quite possible that someone out there would willingly fill that role if they were aware that it needed filling.

The big problem with OGRE for me is that it doesn't provide any precompiled builds and compiling them requires proprietory software and IDEs that I do not have and would not spend money on since I'd not use them for anything other than compiling OGRE. Apart from that, I don't consider myself a programmer. Although all my tertiary education was in fact in computer science, with a focus on C++ programming, I switched to a career in graphic design and commercial art almost immediately upon finishing college. In 13 years I've done virtually nothing that's more complex than the occasional bit of javascripting to add interactivity to PDFs. If I could find a way to get around the first hurdle, I'd be quite willing to contribute on the OGRE front, but I'd definitely not want to be the only one responsible for it, or even the lead in a team. My strengths really lie on the graphics side of things and I'd prefer to leave the coding and compiling to others more capable.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:08 pm 
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adrian_broher wrote:
The other problem is the skull itself. As far as I know all icons are designed to be species agnostic. The skull doesn't fullfil this rule for obvious reasons.

We try to make the effort to be species agnostic, but sometimes the result is too vague or ambiguous, and it's better to be a bit anthropocentric. I've done a skull and face for FO which are basically human, but and three eyes (or eyeholes)-- A tongue-in-cheek way to deal with the problem.

For icons in general i'd rather see something on the symbolic/simplified side than a highly detailed photo manipulation-- those details tend to go to mush when used in the game.

Organic hull concept is awesome 8)
Proceed by all means..

The thing to keep in mind however, that the particular lineup of hulls we have is likely to undergo change as development progresses. So we'll certainly have some kind of organic hull, which if we get really good art for, the description will probably cleave to. If you do all the current organic hulls, theres a decent chance that some of the hull concepts will be dropped eventually. So FYI.

But really if you just want to do concept sketches like that (on a transparent background) that's really the file the project needs in for the near-ish future. That sounds like the most efficient use of your time, for the biggest in game improvement. I think concept-sketch style art would be cool in the ship design GUI anyway.

Be very much aware of the silhouette of the ship-- which the big close-ups are cool, for most of the game the player is going to see the ship as a smallish 3D entity while zoomed out, or as an icon. They gotta all be readily distinguishable at those sizes.

I'm with Verraza on the point of putting a ship in an asteroid. Of course, you gotta make some things stick out so it doesn't just look like an asteroid, but i think you can do that while also giving the impression that the bulk of the ship is hidden within many meters of rock.

em3 wrote:
Well.. organic ships can go either way - either engineered organisms or just a constructed hull using organic components (see Cylon basestars in re-imagined Battlestar Galatica).This could be two separate research branches, though.

From a visual prespective there's not much point in worrying about cylon-style organic ships. You can't tell they are organic by looking at them from the outside -- so that kind of organic-ness resides in the fluff text which can easily be changed at any point.

To make the different lines of ships visually distinct, it is the obvious kind of organic-ness that we want.


Vezzra wrote:
the person you're looking for is eleazar, he is our current graphics lead. Unfortunately he's quite busy ATM and doesn't have much spare time for FO until end of summer IIRC, so you'll probably have to wait a few weeks until he can properly take care of graphics stuff again ;)

PM me when my absence is holding something up, especially art-related.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:13 am 
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BraveSirKevin wrote:
There should be prominent notice or forum post somewhere to ask if anyone has the skills, or a willingness to learn them. There's almost 2000 people signed up here, and at least 5 times that many who read the forums but haven't participated, so it's quite possible that someone out there would willingly fill that role if they were aware that it needed filling.
I appreciate your optimism :D

Unfortunately I think it won't be so easy. While 2000 sign-ups sounds impressive, keep in mind that this is the total number of accounts registered in 10 years (AFAIK even including all the zombie accounts created by spambots). Two third of that have less than 5 postings, less than 400 have more than 10 and only ~120 more than 50 postings - during the course of a decade! I'm bad with estimations, but judging by gut feeling I'd say there are roughly a dozen people actively participating in the discussion (maybe a bit more?) with up and downs over the course of time. This would fit with the numbers I just gave.

Of course there are very probably much more people just silently following the discussions, but I'd rather estimate them to be in the hundreds instead of thousands, the vast majority being gamers who are interested in the progress of the project, not programmers with OGRE skills ;) And among those few who actually fill that profile there have to be some who are both willing and have the time to put the effort required to develop a 3d space combat engine into an open source project. We are talking about some serious commitment here...

That said, I don't think we shouldn't try to recruit programmers with OGRE skills, I just think it won't be easy at all. AFAIK someone tried something like that already (attracting more programmers to the project) a few years ago (I think it was MikkoM, the veterans here probably know more), but not very successfully. It will certainly require some serious and persistent effort.
Quote:
The big problem with OGRE for me is that it doesn't provide any precompiled builds and compiling them requires proprietory software and IDEs that I do not have and would not spend money on since I'd not use them for anything other than compiling OGRE.
Um, what proprietory software? OGRE is open source (that's why it's called OGRE - Opensource Graphics Rendering Engine AFAIK ;)) and certainly doesn't require proprietory software to build, that would defeat the purpose of making an open source project, wouldn't it? And there are also precompiled builds for some platforms at least.

And if you happen to be on Win or Mac, you don't need to bother with FO's dependencies at all, as we provide SDKs for these platforms, for use with build environments you can get free of charge (Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2010 on Win and Xcode 3 or 4 on OSX). These SDKs include all dependencies and are really straightforward to use, more or less download, unpack and you're ready to go. The biggest problem is that building FO is very memory intensive, most complaints we get from people trying to build FO on their own are that the build process crashes.

So getting OGRE to work shouldn't be the thing that stops you ;)
Quote:
My strengths really lie on the graphics side of things and I'd prefer to leave the coding and compiling to others more capable.
This, on the other hand, is a far more compelling reason. You're right, it's always best to stick with one's strengths. Furthermore, it's even more difficult to find decent 3D modelers willing to contribute to open source projects like this than to find programmers. If you decide to stay long term (which really I hope you'll do, I like what I've seen so far very much!), you'd be our only 3D modeler. Programmers, OTOH, we currently have four and a half... ;)


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:42 pm 
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Here's the organic hull art to use if anyone wants to. Obviously this is more like a WIP mod than official content, and is just meant to add something fresh to the game while replacing old graphics that don't fit well. Final artwork will eventually replace this.

Image
To use this in your own games, replace /FreeOrion/default/data/art/hulls_design/organic_hull.png

Image
To use this in your own games, replace /FreeOrion/default/data/art/icons/ship_hulls/organic_hull_small.png

Some notes for the Dev team:
The hull design image is scaled to 2000 x 1000 px, to match the existing asset. The new asset has a file size more than 3 times that of the existing one. This is because the existing asset was saved as an 8-bit PNG with a very small colour pallette (possibly as few as 11 colours) and the new asset, while also an 8-bit PNG, has a pallette of 128 colours to preserve its detail.

In-game, the asset is not used at the full size of 2000 x 1000 px. but actually appears considerably smaller. It is being reduced by code, but a considerable saving of both file size and memory resources could be made by saving the PNGs at the resolution that they are intended to be used at. A 1000 x 500 px image would be a quarter of the current size and even as a 24-bit image would still be under 200kb. In light of this, and the fact that the game is already very resource hungry, I think we should ascertain the maximum image size required for the game and resize all the hull design PNGs to conform to that maximum. Even better would be to crop the images tighter and use code to position them on the screen, as a 500x1000 rectangle of transparent pixels is 500k of wasted RAM with an 8-bit image and four times that much with a 24-bit image.


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