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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 12:09 am 
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eleazar wrote:
How does the game engine use nebulae anyway? I can't find a text file with the graphic's names. Does it use any graphics with the name "nebula#.png" ?

Currently it just looks for nebula1.png through nebula5.png This could be increased by changing a single line,
Code:
const int NUM_NEBULA_TEXTURES = 5;

Obviously this was just written to get something up on the screen, not to make a thoroughly customizable and configurable nebula scripting system. Whenever nebulae get reworked, this will presumably change (though it's not exactly a top priority). I'd suspect we'd have nebula definitions, similar to tech or building defintions, with effects and a graphic, and sizing or shaping rules...

Quote:
Does it take into account the size of the nebula graphics when figuring out how many a galaxy needs? I.E. would smaller nebula graphics cause the engine to place more in the galaxy and visa versa?

No. And I don't think it should... We'd eventually want to have the in-game size of the nebula be specified in of itself, and have whatever graphic is provided scaled to this size. Or perhaps not even have nebula graphics in that sense, but instead generate the shape / size of the nebula from in-game conditions (related to the arrangement of stars perhaps) and then render a cloud or textured surface to represent it.

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...most of those ideas IMHO don't mesh with the game mechanics already laid down. For instance, ships are either in transit along a star-lane (presumably a different dimension) or in a star-system. There's no lurking off to the side hidden in a nebula.

The technobabble mechanics for starlanes hasn't been established, but it could easily be made to allow nebula to affect ships travelling on starlanes through the nebula. Also, systems could be located in nebula, causing the nebula to effect all ships in that system.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 12:38 am 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
eleazar wrote:
Does it take into account the size of the nebula graphics when figuring out how many a galaxy needs? I.E. would smaller nebula graphics cause the engine to place more in the galaxy and visa versa?

No. And I don't think it should... We'd eventually want to have the in-game size of the nebula be specified in of itself, and have whatever graphic is provided scaled to this size. Or perhaps not even have nebula graphics in that sense, but instead generate the shape / size of the nebula from in-game conditions (related to the arrangement of stars perhaps) and then render a cloud or textured surface to represent it.

Presuming that the nebulae are supposed to be some sort of "terrain" then perhaps game-created effects are the way to go. The desirabillity of that i leave to be debated in other sections of the forum. But i believe using a lot of smaller nebula graphics, better (less obviously repeating) effects could be created with less effort. But, naturally, that all depends on what kind of talent is on hand at the time.

However, if for the next release, please tweak the game to choose from as many Nebula#.png graphics as it can find in that folder. That would at least make it easy for artists to experiment with.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 1:25 am 
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eleazar wrote:
...please tweak the game to choose from as many Nebula#.png graphics as it can find in that folder.

I took a quick look, and the code that does this for galaxy map star images seems to be coded to work only for stars. As such, it will take more than an hour for me to change, so I don't have time to do it right now. You should put a feature request on sourceforge. (There are many there, some old, but this is a relatively minor coding change requiring no graphics / design input, so has a reasonable chance of getting done...)


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 2:25 am 
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thanks for looking.

done.

on source forge i'm "eleazzaar" by the way.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 11:11 am 
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I'm a little tired of doing tech icons, so I've taken a break from that and made some new nebula images. They are based on NASA Hubble pictures and public domain.
One might complain that they are edgy, but I assure you they look perfectly smooth on a black background. I can provide images with a higher resolution if desired.

The Boomerang Nebula
Image

The Messier Nebula
Image

Some observations regarding the star map:

- Nebulas do not change (position, type) if a new game is started

- Is there any randomization involved in the star placement? Not changing the galaxy options (no. of stars, galaxy shape), I always get the same map (same star systems with the same planets in them, same starting position). I guess this is a known issue...

- On turn 1, the map scrolls smoothly, but from the second turn on, it lags.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 11:30 am 
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Anything "random" is repeatably pseudorandom in development builds. In the release builds, non (less) predictable randomization seeding is turned on.

Regarding the lag, there are a variety of similar performance issues that aren't a priority right now.

Edit: Do you have or can you make versions of those nebulae that don't have such prominenet stars visible in them? They're difficult to reconsile with the already-present galaxy-plane stars and parallax background stars...


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 3:47 pm 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
Edit: Do you have or can you make versions of those nebulae that don't have such prominenet stars visible in them? They're difficult to reconsile with the already-present galaxy-plane stars and parallax background stars...

Yes, more Nebulae are welcome, but Geoff's right.

•Any stars bigger than 1 pixel should be edited out, and any obvious 1px stars
• Also very bright areas should be minimized. The usable stars and/or star names of the wrong color will disappear in the bright/intense spots of both of these nebulae.



:arrow: And speaking of the nebulae, their appearances would be improved if some would be randomly flipped horizontally or vertically.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 11:07 am 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
Do you have or can you make versions of those nebulae that don't have such prominenet stars visible in them? They're difficult to reconsile with the already-present galaxy-plane stars and parallax background stars...

I guess I could remove the stars, but it would firstly be a lot of work and secondly a pity since they look beautiful. It is illogical to be unable to colonize the larger stars in the nebulae since they should be in range, but without a doubt it is obvious to the player that these stars are artwork and not part of the interactive game. So removing them would be because of some sort of realism argument.

The Carina Nebula
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 4:13 pm 
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The Silent One wrote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:
Do you have or can you make versions of those nebulae that don't have such prominenet stars visible in them? They're difficult to reconsile with the already-present galaxy-plane stars and parallax background stars...

I guess I could remove the stars, but it would firstly be a lot of work and secondly a pity since they look beautiful. It is illogical to be unable to colonize the larger stars in the nebulae since they should be in range, but without a doubt it is obvious to the player that these stars are artwork and not part of the interactive game. So removing them would be because of some sort of realism argument.

There is no realism argument for removing the stars. Nebulae have stars in them, therefore realism supports leaving them there.

The reason for removal are practical and aesthetic:

* Practically, it can be difficult to distinguish nebula stars from playable stars at the certain zooms, and the little bright, sharp-edged shapes can interfere with the legibility of text.

* Aesthetically, the stars simply don't match the appearance of any of the stars in game, and because of their definite edges, don't hold up nearly as well as the nebulous gasses to magnification, i.e. they get pixelated.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 9:28 pm 
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eleazar wrote:
* Practically, it can be difficult to distinguish nebula stars from playable stars at the certain zooms, and the little bright, sharp-edged shapes can interfere with the legibility of text.


I disagree. There will always be starlanes connecting to the interactive stars, and I don't think the nebulae's stars would interfere with UI text elements more than once in a blue moon.

I've removed the stars from the boomerang nebula so everone can compare before/after and decide which one looks better:

original nebula
Image

nebula without stars
Image

(I've made some beauty changes to this picture which I could easily do to the one above, eg make the border smoother.)


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 10:29 pm 
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The Silent One wrote:
eleazar wrote:
* Practically, it can be difficult to distinguish nebula stars from playable stars at the certain zooms, and the little bright, sharp-edged shapes can interfere with the legibility of text.


I disagree. There will always be starlanes connecting to the interactive stars, and I don't think the nebulae's stars would interfere with UI text elements more than once in a blue moon.
StarLanes only appear if you have explored far enough.

You also haven't addressed this point with the boomerang nebula:
eleazar wrote:
• Also very bright areas should be minimized. The usable stars and/or star names of the wrong color will disappear in the bright/intense spots of both of these nebulae.
It's as important (or more-so) than the stars. The bright spots, especially in the boomerang nebula, can easily devour stars, text starlanes.

The Silent One wrote:
I've removed the stars from the boomerang nebula so everone can compare before/after and decide which one looks better:
If you want a test compare the nebulae from RC2 with the same nebulae in RC4 in which i removed the stars and cooled off the hot-spots. Do this comparison in the game.
I have, and the galaxy map is clearly more legible with these changes that more clearly separate the foreground from the background.

If you aren't willing to do this, i'll probably finish them sometime.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 10:38 pm 
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Eleazar wrote:
StarLanes only appear if you have explored far enough.

Sure, but before that, the star isn't very relevant for your game.

eleazar wrote:
• Also very bright areas should be minimized. The usable stars and/or star names of the wrong color will disappear in the bright/intense spots of both of these nebulae.

That indeed may happen. However, I don't know how to do that as to achieve a visually pleasing result.

Here some star free nebula.

The Cat-Eye Nebula
Image
(This one looks very well in-game.)

The Spirograph Nebula
Image
(I'll reduce the opacity of this picture and smoothen it a little if there are no other complaints.)


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:44 am 
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The Silent One wrote:
eleazar wrote:
• Also very bright areas should be minimized. The usable stars and/or star names of the wrong color will disappear in the bright/intense spots of both of these nebulae.

That indeed may happen. However, I don't know how to do that as to achieve a visually pleasing result.

Here some star free nebula.

The Cat-Eye Nebula

The Spirograph Nebula


I added these to trunk along with a less intense version of the boomerang.
Instead of simply darkening it, which would turn the white to grey, i replaced the while with a relatively bright blue, and adjusted the rest of the colors accordingly. I mostly used Photoshop's gradient mask feature.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 10:50 am 
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The Helix Nebula

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 4:18 pm 
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NCG-2347

Image

Crab Nebula

removed, wrong resolution.
[edit] Thank you to imgplace, sorry couldn't shrink this one:

Image

Working on the Messier Nebula now. He'll take some time, lots of stars to remove.


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