Structure Improvement

Improving the artwork in Warzone2100 - not for mod discussions
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Colditz
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Structure Improvement

Post by Colditz » 31 Jan 2010, 18:05

Hi everybody,

reading for a while at this board, and now just want to share some work with you. Playing WZ2100 since 1999 and your nice rebuild of the game since 2007, I've looked forward to see some minor graphical improvements over the years. Nothing happens so far, so I decided to start a few changes myself. I didn't changed the style of the buildings to much, keep the details given by the textures, getting more details with advanced geometry. I'm using OBJ Files (converted PIE Files) to get the correct proportion and measures of the original models, including assigned UVW coordinates. After that, I process with 3ds max.

Regarding this, I have a few question to the WZ2100 staff:

1.) How much polygons can handle the file format at the moment?
2.) What do you think is the polygon limit for one main base building?
3.) How far can I go regarding texture sizes of the base and building?
3.) Can we expect normal /specular mapping support in the future?

@Everyone: You're doing great work!


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Berg
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Re: Structure Improvement

Post by Berg » 31 Jan 2010, 18:10

Very Very nice.

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Re: Structure Improvement

Post by KukY » 31 Jan 2010, 18:11

Colditz wrote:1.) How much polygons can handle the file format at the moment?
Many.
Colditz wrote:2.) What do you think is the polygon limit for one main base building?
Try to keep it as low as possible.
Colditz wrote:3.) How far can I go regarding texture sizes of the base and building?
1 texturepage is max 512x512.
Colditz wrote:4.) Can we expect normal /specular mapping support in the future?
???

I like your models, small changes really make a diffrence, but they are too detailed.

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Re: Structure Improvement

Post by Colditz » 31 Jan 2010, 18:26

KukY wrote:
Colditz wrote:1.) How much polygons can handle the file format at the moment?
Many.
Colditz wrote:2.) What do you think is the polygon limit for one main base building?
Try to keep it as low as possible.
What means "many" and "low" regarding the aged WZ2100 engine?
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Re: Structure Improvement

Post by KukY » 31 Jan 2010, 18:36

Colditz wrote:What means "many" and "low" regarding the aged WZ2100 engine?
Format itself can handle lot of polys, but they need to be displayed.
There may be only 1 that structure, maybe 5 those, maybe 10, or even hunderds of those(f.e. defenses and walls).
So try to keep number of polys as low as possible.
If you need exact numbers, ask someone else.

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Olrox
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Re: Structure Improvement

Post by Olrox » 31 Jan 2010, 18:37

Hey, welcome to the forums!

I'm not staff, but have already seen a lot about those limits and produced some content also.
Your work is really good, and by that I mean REALLY good. Since you are "fresh" into making models for warzone, you couldn's know, but there's a real need to be careful with poly count, as the engine has many limitations.
You should already know the difference between the base structures and defensive structures. I think that in base structures, an interesting limit would be 128 and 256 polygons (triangles, not n-sided polygons) for 1x1 and 1x2 structures respectively, and 512 for the other structures (2x2, 3x3): that was my personal limit.

However, for defensive structures, the poly count must be much lower because the numbers are much more significant, units are also something to be careful about. My personal limit for those was 64 triangles per tile for defensive buildings, and 256 polys/droid for the largest units.

However, those were my own speculations, no one really tested it to see how many would effectively prejudice performance on any machine.

Taking this on consideration, and adding to the fact that many details aren't going to be seen on the usual zoom distance, the current detailment of your models is a tad too high, I think. However, chopping some pieces and welding some vertexes could easily make them suitable for the game.

That said, I really think that you could have a few words with Mangust about his efforts on remaking the models of the game, in the Art Revolution mod. I think that if you worked together, maybe we'll see a renewed warzone someday! I'm sure you have what it takes to produce quality content. His objective is the same as yours: make new models with higher quality, but preserving the original style. You can see what's already done in the models by MaNGuSt topic.

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Re: Structure Improvement

Post by Terminator » 31 Jan 2010, 20:21

I like all these models =) . Minimum changes (in models style)- Is the Best for warzone =)
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Re: Structure Improvement

Post by Mysteryem » 31 Jan 2010, 21:15

Colditz wrote:1.) How much polygons can handle the file format at the moment?
It's currently 512 polygons and 512 points (vertices).
2.) What do you think is the polygon limit for one main base building?
I would say that 512 should be ok considering there won't be many on screen at one time, but try to minimize the number of polygons as much as possible.
3.) How far can I go regarding texture sizes of the base and building?
In trunk the maximum texture size is 2048x2048, anything bigger than that should scale down automatically.
3.) Can we expect normal /specular mapping support in the future?
It is a feature I would like, but I don't think I will be seeing it in the game in the near future.

Aside from that, I regret to inform you that when converted back into .pie format you will probably lose a large amount of detail in your models. One warzone tile is 12.8 wide, the smallest scale division you can create points to is 0.1 so you can only fit 128 points in the width of one tile, if you've gone into more detail than that then points will end up ontop of each other; I hope you understand
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Colditz
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Re: Structure Improvement

Post by Colditz » 31 Jan 2010, 21:33

Hey Olrox,

many thanks for your detailed answer! These polycounts are very low, I didn't expected that!

But that's challenge on the other side. With some good textures you can fake more detailed surfaces then.

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Re: Structure Improvement

Post by Per » 31 Jan 2010, 21:50

Colditz wrote: Regarding this, I have a few question to the WZ2100 staff:

1.) How much polygons can handle the file format at the moment?
2.) What do you think is the polygon limit for one main base building?
3.) How far can I go regarding texture sizes of the base and building?
3.) Can we expect normal /specular mapping support in the future?
Hello, really nice work! :D

The engine can currently handle 512 polygons per object. For larger buildings, it is ok to approach this limit, but for smaller objects like weapons and droid components, please keep it much lower, both because players won't notice the details (in fact might see it rather as noise) and because there will usually be a lot of them displayed at once so the engine will struggle.

You can make the texture page any size you want, we can downsize before releasing or do it dynamically if it is too large. Then we can keep the original around to use when the engine supports larger versions.

As for normal/specular mapping, it is a chicken and egg problem. We have not written support for it because we have no artwork that uses it, and ... well, you get the picture :) Basically, if you make artwork to support it and we include that, we'll write code to use its bump and normal maps.

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Olrox
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Re: Structure Improvement

Post by Olrox » 31 Jan 2010, 22:14

Per wrote: As for normal/specular mapping, it is a chicken and egg problem. We have not written support for it because we have no artwork that uses it, and ... well, you get the picture :) Basically, if you make artwork to support it and we include that, we'll write code to use its bump and normal maps.
I really hope he's going to make artwork that supports it!
(I'm really sorry for the harsh words that were on this post before this edition. Maybe we're having a happy ending after all the trouble)
Last edited by Olrox on 03 Feb 2010, 04:16, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Structure Improvement

Post by Per » 31 Jan 2010, 23:20

Olrox wrote:I think that the staff really should try to gather those willing artists so that their efforts add to each other: Graphical improvement is something that has been claimed for a very long time, or at least since I've joined, and we are seeing more and more artists around here everyday. And many of them are leaving or have already left.

I, for one, was struck with this morbid feeling some time ago, when I've realized that the dev team itself wasn't interested in my services as an artist. I was shocked because my very own work was praised by many people from the community and staff as well...

Really, the way things are, we are only going to see talented people arrive and leave daily, until we've got a coordinated, real team of artists. I haven't seen anything from elio since long ago, and Mysteryem seems to be struggling to find the time to help with the project... There isn't a real team working on graphical improvement.

That is my humble opinion, and it could sadly be one of the last I'm announcing here on the forums. Because I feel like I've wasted my time struggling in here, and I really feel bad when I think that I'm wasting my time.
You are right that we have done a really poor job of coordinating and integrating various past efforts. elio and Mysteryem have to some extent been doing some of this, but the rest of us have been quite busy with coding, and have been shy to make decisions on what to integrate. This indecision is worst when we see differences between the style of new changes and the old version, since we have no good way to achieve consensus about which direction the artwork in the game should develop. The other problem with style differences is that we are hesitant to change only some parts to a new style and leaving a clash of styles in the game, perhaps hoping that someone will provide a full replacement one day. So basically the 'safe' way of providing new artwork is to stay very close to the old style, and we really are in need of good advice on how to deal with anything else.

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Re: Structure Improvement

Post by Colditz » 31 Jan 2010, 23:40

On the other side, you shouldn't wait until you have all meshes/textures reworked and in the game.

Everything is going forward, slowly, step by step, and decisions should be made which stay close to the original game.

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Re: Structure Improvement

Post by Per » 31 Jan 2010, 23:54

Those models look awesome. How many polygons are they? Are you changing the textures as well?

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Re: Structure Improvement

Post by Colditz » 01 Feb 2010, 00:13

The Cybord Factory (blbcfact) has 364 Triangles so far and is almost finished. As you can see, the base is mapped with normal mapping which saves a lot of polygons and looks better. Now, with knowledge of the polygon count, I have to rework to other models as well to reduce to 512 and below. The texture are going to completely redesigned with diffuse map, specular map and normal map if supported.

Regarding the textures - in future releases, do you keep the current scheme with those texture collections or will it be possible to assign one textures to one mesh like in any other game? Would be nice so far if you have one folder in /texpages/, e.g. /buildings/blbcfact/ with the files blbcfact_dm.png, blbcfact_nm.png and blbcfact_sm.png to keep the clarity.
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