0.3 Technology screen and Tech Graphics

Development of artwork, requests, suggestions, samples, or if you have artwork to offer. Primarily for the artists.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
miu
Graphics Lead Emeritus
Posts: 286
Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2003 2:33 am
Location: Finland/Helsinki

0.3 Technology screen and Tech Graphics

#1 Post by miu » Wed Sep 08, 2004 1:42 pm

discussion goes here.

How we want to show technology graphics? someone suggested smac-like, I havent played it (my shame), anyone with some screenshots for reference? I'm favouring plain but goodlooking 2d-renders over 3d-rotations like in moo2, but do you have any new ideas or suggestions how we could represent technologies. Should we make new graph for every refinement you can research?

About guidelines for our feel, I think we dont have to set any strict rules, just that we aim for realistic look over cartoony/surreal. Technology graphics should look like they belong to their timeline = early techs show more pipes, "part of machine" - details, maybe even futurish-steampunky but polished. More advanced techs go, more streamlined, glowing, trasparent etc they should seem. Same with colors, early techs should have "normal" colors, more advanced will have more surreal feel. Anyway, this is not a major consern, every tech should look something to be proud of, shining, new, and awe-striking. But when doing graphics, take account in which part of tech-tree/ages technology belongs.

Tech-screen UI, drek had suggestion (moment, I'll dig it up), anything else? I will first finish and polish the galaxymap UI, and after it is in good shape star working with this, specially as we dont have much knowledge of techtree yet.
Difference between a man and a gentleman is that a man does what he wants, a gentleman does what he should. - Albert Camus

User avatar
Geoff the Medio
Programming, Design, Admin
Posts: 12268
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 1:33 am
Location: Munich

#2 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu Sep 09, 2004 3:04 am

When you start a new game of SMAX, you pick a tech to research...
Image

Some of the icons also have similar icons for related "theme" techs, such as the "nano" techs seen here...
Image

I imagine these rather simple two-tone icons is not really what you were thinking of for tech pictures, but they do have a sort of elegance to them... In a way, they look better then just about anything that could be rendered. It may be an issue of picking a "style" of icon that fits in with the rest of the UI, as well... obivously those were intended to fit into SMAC's UI.

I can understand the desire for a more photographic representation as well.

User avatar
Tyreth
FreeOrion Lead Emeritus
Posts: 885
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2003 6:23 am
Location: Australia

#3 Post by Tyreth » Thu Sep 09, 2004 3:11 am

I think representative icons like these are fantastic. And given that we will have a large number of theories it may be best to reserve renderings for other things in the game that are a higher priority. Just my thoughts.

User avatar
Impaler
Creative Contributor
Posts: 1060
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 12:40 am
Location: Tucson, Arizona USA

#4 Post by Impaler » Thu Sep 09, 2004 6:14 am

I also like the SMAC style, its clear, understandable and visualy recognizable, the theam elements help the player remember the tec trees lay out as well.

Its also the easiest to modify later as anyone with Paint can get in their and manipulate them. Lastly the colors provide feedback on the area/theory the tec is under.

With our system of Theory/Aplication/Refinement we would likly have a unique icon for each Theory and Aplication and Refinments would be indicated by a "Level XX" pasted onto the Aplication icon or perhaps just the level number in the corner like an exponent.

It should be pointed out that SMAC has a lot of supporting data for each TECH, theirs a wonderfully voiced wav file contianing some of the best quotes to ever apear in a game plus a short and long tech blurb explaining how said tech was achived. The simple icon on its own wont replicate the SMAC experience though its better then the Moo2 system the icon on itsown is only half the picture the supporting media do a lot to bring things to life in SMAC.
Fear is the Mind Killer - Frank Herbert -Dune

User avatar
BreadMan
Space Squid
Posts: 88
Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2004 1:37 am
Location: Chico, California

#5 Post by BreadMan » Thu Sep 09, 2004 7:24 am

I also vote for icons. They're clean and easy for people to collaborate on, and its easy to make a lot of them so we can have individual icons for every tech.

User avatar
Geoff the Medio
Programming, Design, Admin
Posts: 12268
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 1:33 am
Location: Munich

#6 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu Sep 09, 2004 8:01 am

This is prehaps a bit off topic, but I feel I should also point out that SMAC uses the same style of icons for base facilities and secret projects as well...

Image

SMAC does not use them for much else though... ie. there are no icons for social engineering choices, unit chases, unit weapons / armours, unit special abilities, stock unit types, or factions.


I was also going to suggest considering a vector graphics format for the icons, but now that I think about it, it might be just fine using standard bitmap-like formats, as there's not much fine detail in the icons to worry about getting blurred anyway... (part of their advantage)

User avatar
Impaler
Creative Contributor
Posts: 1060
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 12:40 am
Location: Tucson, Arizona USA

#7 Post by Impaler » Thu Sep 09, 2004 9:29 am

I think using similar BitMap Icons for Buildings would be apropriate as well, tech and buildings are the 2 most heavily modified and expanded area of a 4X game so they should be the most flexible and accessable to the end user.

One thing I would NOT do is enforce the Mono-Cromatic rules that SMAC forces onto all these Icons, I have tried to Modify these files in SMAC and have found that SMAC only reads "transparent" and "not transparent" off the bitmap and then makes all the "not transparent" one of 4 predefined colors based on the Catagory the tec or facility is under. Thus its impossible to show a tech/building Icon as anything other then one of the four chossen colors. The benifit is ofcorse that you cant incorrectly mismatch catagory and color when making the bitmap this way, you have to get into the Alpha.txt and set the coresponding tecnology to a new catagory. Ofcorse Firaxis itself managed to assign many tecs to ludicrously silly catagories, for example AIR POWER the most miliarily powerfull tec in the game was NOT in the concour group. :shock:

We should either display the Icon adsactly as it was made OR let the user define and set up their own color options so they can set comands to "make all Tec Icons of Type X Color X". The Former will place all the burdon on the Mod maker to make things sensible after any modification but would require less coding. The Later is obviously the reverse.
Last edited by Impaler on Thu Sep 09, 2004 10:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
Fear is the Mind Killer - Frank Herbert -Dune

User avatar
utilae
Cosmic Dragon
Posts: 2175
Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2003 12:37 am
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

#8 Post by utilae » Thu Sep 09, 2004 9:30 am

Yes, this SMAC method of using icons is cool.

User avatar
pd
Graphics Lead Emeritus
Posts: 1924
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2004 6:17 pm
Location: 52°16'N 10°31'E

#9 Post by pd » Thu Sep 09, 2004 1:14 pm

i prefer using rendered(what else ;) or real time rendered tech graphics, only because it looks better. note that it's the aim of the graphics team not to make a excel like game(like stars!) - instead, make it beautifull.

basicly we could use a combination of icons and pics. in sitrep or an overview(i would like to see a tree diagram similar to ascendancy) we could use icons but in detailed tech descriptions nicely rendered pics are much better in my opinion.
Its also the easiest to modify later as anyone with Paint can get in their and manipulate them. Lastly the colors provide feedback on the area/theory the tec is under.
if you are going to modify the pics later, you are free to replace them with icons of course. so this isn't an issue.
And given that we will have a large number of theories it may be best to reserve renderings for other things in the game that are a higher priority.
i guess, we won't have a fully developed tech tree in v0.3, right? techs will be added while the game is developing. so that most of the renderings can be done along the way.

besides this we shouldn't not do something because it might be hard to do ;)

just my 2 cents

muxec
Space Kraken
Posts: 152
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 7:55 pm

#10 Post by muxec » Tue Sep 14, 2004 11:00 am

SMAX SUX

Civ3-like techview tree would fit the best. But monochrome SMAC - style icons (smaller than smac) would fit OK.

User avatar
Daveybaby
Small Juggernaut
Posts: 724
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2003 11:07 am
Location: Hastings, UK

#11 Post by Daveybaby » Tue Sep 14, 2004 11:27 am

I havent been following the tech system discussions very closely, but maybe you could use SMAC style icons for theoretical techs (since they tend to be more abstract concepts than physical objects) and use renders for applied techs, since they are things you build.

e.g.
the 'quantum mechanics' tech gets an icon
the 'quantum disruptor gun' tech gets a render
the 'quantum shield' gets a render
etc.

This assumes that you have a distinction between theoretical and applied tech in FO, which may not be the case (like i said, i havent been following closely).
The COW Project : You have a spy in your midst.

muxec
Space Kraken
Posts: 152
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 7:55 pm

#12 Post by muxec » Tue Sep 14, 2004 11:47 am

Daveybaby wrote:I havent been following the tech system discussions very closely, but maybe you could use SMAC style icons for theoretical techs (since they tend to be more abstract concepts than physical objects) and use renders for applied techs, since they are things you build.

e.g.
the 'quantum mechanics' tech gets an icon
the 'quantum disruptor gun' tech gets a render
the 'quantum shield' gets a render
etc.

This assumes that you have a distinction between theoretical and applied tech in FO, which may not be the case (like i said, i havent been following closely).
Nice idea.

But Smacis Octo-rectangular screen sucks

User avatar
Tyreth
FreeOrion Lead Emeritus
Posts: 885
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2003 6:23 am
Location: Australia

#13 Post by Tyreth » Tue Sep 14, 2004 11:53 am

Daveybaby wrote:I havent been following the tech system discussions very closely, but maybe you could use SMAC style icons for theoretical techs (since they tend to be more abstract concepts than physical objects) and use renders for applied techs, since they are things you build.
That's more along the lines of what I was thinking also.

User avatar
Zanzibar
Psionic Snowflake
Posts: 470
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2003 10:35 pm
Location: Earth

#14 Post by Zanzibar » Tue Sep 14, 2004 11:57 am

I like the idea of using SMAC icons for the sitrep, and renders for the detail screen. The renders can either be static (in the case of pre-rendered), or real-time (in the case of animated). Also with the detail screen you could have text describing EXACTLY what the tech does, and some SMAC-like blurb audio file for the total immersion effect. Just my $.02 worth.
Image

Image

User avatar
Aquitaine
Lead Designer Emeritus
Posts: 761
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2003 1:54 pm
Location: Austin, TX

#15 Post by Aquitaine » Tue Sep 14, 2004 6:47 pm

FWIW, I think the SMAC icons are easy to understand and highly effective from a UI point of view, but I hated the entire color scheme they used.

on reflection that's not worth much. but there it is anyway. :)
Surprise and Terror! I am greeted by the smooth and hostile face of our old enemy, the Hootmans! No... the Huge-glands, no, I remember, the Hunams!

Post Reply