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Requesting feedback on graphics

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Oct 5, 2014 at 2:24 AM
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#21
Educational for you very specifically counts as "for educational purposes".

Graphically I feel overall it is a bit dark. Cave Story assets honestly don't quite have the color values you need to make the light sources seem natural.

Is the blackness outside of light for decorational purposes or to act as a fog of war? I'd it is for aesthetics then I would make dark areas just a bit visible, because nothing is ever pure black. If it is there for gameplay reasons then I would change the darkest color so it is a very dark blue instead of pure 0 0 0, it will be easier on the eyes.

I'd this engine for a cave story fan game or are those assets just temporary?
 
Oct 5, 2014 at 2:36 AM
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#22
Like I say, it's likely to be for nothing. I had designed a game with a friend a long time ago before I had any concept of how difficult game development was. I just wanted to see a small piece of it realized as an engine test before I moved on.

The darkness actually is for some fog of war type effect. I do want things to be able to sneak up on you, and if I dont make it pure pure black, someone can just crank up their brightness. On my laptop where everything is washed out, even at 1/255ths I can still see stuff. There are brighter areas where some ambient light kicks in. This just isn't one of them.

I like your idea about the solid color actually. I'll see what I can do about that. I guess from a pixel shader standpoint that would be a post process operation like

float4 color = //whatever
return min(tex2d(screenTex, uv), color);

yeah... I'll have to give that a shot. Thanks.
 
Oct 5, 2014 at 9:32 AM
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#23
Ooh, pretty engine. Because I abhor the fact that I've never been helpful critically to anyone in millions of years, please allow me to at least try despite the fact that more capable members have already said a lot.

I kind of like the really aggressive shooting sounds, they fit here, and the red flowers glowing struck me as a neat effect. I won't retread old ground about the sunlight, but it almost seems a little too intense compared to the torches, like maybe they should be little cracks of light to let the torches shine a bit more? The torches seemed a little dull in general, but I guess that depends on your intent and, as you mentioned, your monitor.

I'm not sure the CS colors fit here. The blue cave background and yellow rock gave off a weird effect. When there's no light, it's obviously very dark and moody in the cave, but with the soldiers' super bright flashlights they kind of get really bright and colorful and its a strange contrast. I can't explain well why I thought this odd, unfortunately, I don't know what sorts of colors would work better (unless that's not what caused my reaction in the first place, it could have been the way their lights work. I don't know).

You mentioned earlier that muzzle flashes are too bright in pitch black areas. Is this because they briefly show off details that you'd rather keep hidden for the moment with darkness? If so, maybe making them kind of white out the area of effect so they don't show very much would be an idea to consider. Or you could actually keep them slightly bright, but make ammo scarce enough that one wouldn't want to waste it lighting up most dark areas? That could be interesting.

Take my thoughts with a handful of salt, of course. Overall your engine and demo were very impressive and effective at creating a mood - I liked watching it. :3
 
Oct 5, 2014 at 4:40 PM
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#24
Spiritga said:
not really but this isn't educational at all
It's educational to him.
It doesn't have to be educational to everyone to be educational.

Since, from what I gather, this is all handcoded?
 
Oct 5, 2014 at 5:29 PM
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#25
Polaris said:
please allow me to at least try despite the fact that more capable members have already said a lot.
Any and all constructive feedback is helpful. Thanks for pitching in.

Polaris said:
it almost seems a little too intense compared to the torches, like maybe they should be little cracks of light to let the torches shine a bit more? The torches seemed a little dull in general, but I guess that depends on your intent and, as you mentioned, your monitor.
You know, I really did not understand this criticism... until I tried viewing this on my phone which is darker and has more contrast.... NOW I see what you're talking about. Man, that is a really tough one. I don't know what to do other than tell people to turn up their brightness. That's pretty tacky, I know, but I guess it might be a problem with most any high contrast game.

I'll try making the torches brighter here. It just seems to hard to balance the lighting in these scenes. Such a fine line between barley visible and everything turning radioactive. The bloom effect, even though I like it, does not help with this issue. I'll try posting a lighter scene here and see how that looks on your screen.

Polaris said:
I'm not sure the CS colors fit here. The blue cave background and yellow rock gave off a weird effect.
That's odd... these are the same color combinations you hit in both mimiga village and grasstown. Perhaps its really the combination with the grass and tan rock? That I could understand.

Gonna try uploading that video. My net connection is pretty terrible so it might take a while.

EDIT: Also, yes, besides FMOD for the sound system and DirectX (which is more or less necessary) this is all done from scratch. Chipmunk physics is in there as well, but I'm not really using it to any real extent... I regret putting it in there actually. I'm putting in an FMOD alternative since it does cost money for commercial use, but it's free for non-profit projects.

EDIT: alright, here's a scene where the inner rock is not pitch black. This particular scene is definitely WIP so please go easy on it. There's visible missing blocks of terrain and I need to unclusterf**k the scenery badly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecYPxgz4y2g
 
Oct 5, 2014 at 6:53 PM
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#26
Loving the videos :) Seeing Curly hopping back and forth looks nice... Great outdoor area.

As for dealing with darkness uniformity across different hardware... Assuming you can't have everyone calibrate their monitors using a color space standard, (At least I recommend everyone should calibrate their screens if possible. There is a color management tool built into windows 7 and up...) Then the next best thing, and what I see in most light level sensitive games, is to make a menu that let's you adjust software brightness, to where the brightness level should only be one step or so above the black in the picture, to just barely reveal the darkest details in a dark picture. That might help everyone stay close to your intention.

PS random tip, don't forget to make backups xD
 
Oct 5, 2014 at 7:04 PM
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#27
X-Calibar said:
As for dealing with darkness uniformity across different hardware... Assuming you can't have everyone calibrate their monitors using a color space standard, (At least I recommend everyone should calibrate their screens if possible.
This sounds crazy, and I'm possibly missing something, but I don't know how to adjust mine. I have the basic option of brightness, but otherwise, I can't find a single option for color calibration. I can if I hook my laptop up to a second monitor however.

X-Calibar said:
make a menu that let's you adjust software brightness, to where the brightness level should only be one step or so above the black in the picture, to just barely reveal the darkest details in a dark picture. That might help everyone stay close to your intention.
While that still seems tacky, it might be necessary. I had considered that, as I really don't know of any way to reliably adjust the monitor that doesn't require visual confirmation from the user. I suppose when you first start the game, or start a new game, it'll ask you to "confirm" the brightness setting.

X-Calibar said:
PS random tip, don't forget to make backups xD
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6qFJ09KY-A
 
Oct 5, 2014 at 7:55 PM
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#28
This looks amazing! Also, is this like a dark re imagining of cave story or something?
 
Oct 5, 2014 at 9:12 PM
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#29
Oh goodness you didn't have to upload that because of me o.o;

I'm sorry. At the same time, I'm glad that you did, because your environment combined with the sunlight effects are pretty gorgeous. The darkness and light do seem more balanced here, but to be honest you should probably disregard what I said earlier. I kind of meant that the background gets really bright and colorful when the soldier's lights are shining on it and I thought it contrasted too much (particularly at 1:12), but after making my screen brighter it seems a little more reasonable. I don't know. I word it too poorly and it could very well be an issue on my end or invalid criticism, so you may want to keep that in mind. Balancing the lighting is definitely a difficult task, it seems, especially with varying monitor quality - but maybe X-Calibar's idea of making a standard for people to adjust to would help give you a more uniform playing field. I don't think it'd be too tacky, don't you worry.

Thank you for putting so much effort into this, I appreciate it. c:
 
Oct 5, 2014 at 10:11 PM
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#30
Thanks for the kind words and the suggestions, I really appreciate it. I think I do now understand what you're saying about the flashlights being too bright and I agree. It's a tough problem to solve, and perhaps one that can be tackled with HDR. A more "cheap", but practical solution would just be to dim their flashlights when I know they're all bunched up together.

Also, video uploading is a really easy task, it's no trouble at all. Slow net connection makes them take a while to put up, but I can keep working during that.
 
Oct 6, 2014 at 1:22 AM
oh him
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#31
Holy shit, this thing is amazing!
 
Oct 7, 2014 at 8:55 PM
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#32
So I tried to do that operation where darker shades of black faded into blue and that just looked... extremely odd. I tried adding some very blue ambient light to this scene, though it's still kept dark. The blue does not show up well on the interior of the grass but... well here, just see for yourself. I think it makes it a tad less harsh around the edges.

EDIT: Oh my god, what is up with that youtube preview? That looks horrible

EDIT 2: if you're having a hard time seeing the blue, try switching to 720p... YT compression is making the dark spots real blocky

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiSBNMEsYvc

Even though this might not work well in a place where I do need total blackness, it still obscures better than just using raw white light I think.
 
Oct 18, 2014 at 3:54 AM
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#33
This is amazing. If any of you know what brutal doom is (you probably do) it has the same way of "sprites aren't changed, but lighting is realistic, and more details" which I personally love.
 
Oct 19, 2014 at 12:09 PM
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#34
Fluff i wanted to ask you some questions.
1st. If you use the engine for speedrun mod would you make a leaderboard and a speedrun replays(like CS+)
2nd. Would you release the engine for making fleshed-out mods or re-imaginings of Cave Story at some point.
 
Oct 19, 2014 at 10:23 PM
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#35
1) I'm... not sure how to answer that. I don't think I will be making a game at all with this (I just don't have the time), but someone else is welcome to.

2) yes
 
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