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Topic: Discussing Blackland: Boulders, Quarry Stones and Cliffs

Astuur
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Joined: 2009-02-28, 10:08
Posts: 733
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One Elder of Players
Location: Frankfurt / Germany
Posted at: 2011-08-10, 08:26

This thread is a follow up to Chuck's assessment of the Blackland stones (the type you can quarry) and the newly introduced boulders for Blackland.
Chuck's original post can be found here .
I have a feeling that a good solution of this topic may need some more thinking,
more discussion and modification on a larger scale.
So I am starting off this new thread to keep things more structured and invite everyone to participate.

more to come.

Edited: 2011-08-10, 08:43

Being no programmer, I apologize for all my suggestions that imply undue workload and for other misjudgements due to lack of expertise or relevant skills.
I am on Win32, have no means to compile, and rely on prefabricated distributions (Thanks to Tino).

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Astuur
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Location: Frankfurt / Germany
Posted at: 2011-08-10, 12:28

Re: Blackland quarry stones, texture.
I did not do the shape or the texture of these stones, I have kept them from Alexia's original models. I have merely added a shadow.
(they should be blender files - ever seen them?)
Tried a more detailed texture (carefully trying to avoiding the bunny face-smile.png

Is that anywhere near?


Being no programmer, I apologize for all my suggestions that imply undue workload and for other misjudgements due to lack of expertise or relevant skills.
I am on Win32, have no means to compile, and rely on prefabricated distributions (Thanks to Tino).

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Astuur
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Posted at: 2011-08-10, 17:11

You wanted a basalt menhir .... here is one.
The runes on it are rather faded, but it's an old one. face-smile.png

(this is to say that with a sized reduce to 80%, I couldn't get it any clearer on that stone, though the rendering in WL is better.)
Speaking of it - the 80% - I'm still not quite happy with your decision, but since you seem to be sure, I'll comply.
I mean, there is no "correct" size for boulders. So if they are too big, then it's because you want them smaller.
I wonder why....
Here is how it looks in the field with both sizes:

The old stuff is not yet shrunk.
Guess that is all I can do today, there is some real work waiting.
I'll reply to the other points of your last posting later.


Being no programmer, I apologize for all my suggestions that imply undue workload and for other misjudgements due to lack of expertise or relevant skills.
I am on Win32, have no means to compile, and rely on prefabricated distributions (Thanks to Tino).

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Astuur
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Posted at: 2011-08-10, 17:36

Just a short note:
What I really wanted to discuss here, but then skipped for working on the stuff above, is the following:
Should I not try to make my Blackland boulders similar to the quarry stones (i.e. white color)?
I am not so pleased with the contrast, but then, I have no real idea what the Blackland concept really is.
Alexia once mentioned, that a different set for different worlds might be nicer, and I agree.
My Blackland boulders are very similar to the desert type, and whitish plus texture does look good on Blackland.

Okay, I don't think there is any white stone of volcanic origin. These quarry stones look like coquina on
Rügen (German Island) or Møn (Dänish Island) and that is all sediment stone.
But do we really need to be so "realistic" ?


Being no programmer, I apologize for all my suggestions that imply undue workload and for other misjudgements due to lack of expertise or relevant skills.
I am on Win32, have no means to compile, and rely on prefabricated distributions (Thanks to Tino).

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chuckw
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Joined: 2010-03-15, 16:23
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Posted at: 2011-08-10, 19:58

Astuur wrote:

Speaking of it - the 80% - I'm still not quite happy with your decision, but since you seem to be sure, I'll comply.

I mean, there is no "correct" size for boulders. So if they are too big, then it's because you want them smaller.

I wonder why....

On the Question of Scale
Graphic arts will always be a subjective topic and there are rarely "right" and "wrong" answers. We have all heard "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." I can't argue that boulders don't come in certain sizes :), and there is certainly no single scale for the objects seen on the WL game board (or "maps", if you will).
However, I can state that there is perhaps a subconscious (and certainly undocumented) tendency and historical precedent in Widelands to scale down immovables in comparison to more game-critical elements like workers and wares. This has been done, I believe, to maximize visible playable area on the maps for transportation and production of wares (the goals of the game) and at the same time allow visual interest (read "eye candy") and convey an idea of environment without detracting from game play.
Case in point, look at the snapshot in the above post. One could easily argue that the buildings are greatly under-scaled when compared to the size of the workers and other bobs. It is desirable to make the wares and transporters visible enough for the player to get valuable feed-back on his playing strategy. Presenting buildings and other immovables at that same scale would quickly lead to the necessity of much larger maps to the point of making game play awkward and technically unwieldy. Carriers and wares piling up at intersections could easily get blocked by buildings and go undetected by the player. (Indeed we have that potential now in some circumstances.)
Ultimately it's a balancing act. The tie-breaker in the question of the size of an element on the game board must be "How will this element effect the playing of the game?"
I tend to look at the game board from those two different aspects (namely game play and eye candy), and while I subconsciously accept the "larger" workers and wares from a need for information, I likewise accept the "smaller" scale of the immovables and get an adequate "impression" of the environment. As I play the game, I subconsciously accept and become conditioned to those differences in scale. But while I cease to compare workers to buildings, I also tend to continue to make comparisons between different immovables, trees and buildings for example.

My decision to reduce the size of these sstones was not by any means an attempt to diminish the value and quality of the artwork, but to present them in a manner that I believe enhances the playing experience by their inclusion. When I personally looked at the new graphics (especially sstone4.png) from the aspect that they could represent megaliths and menhirs purposefully positioned through ancient human activity, there is a point at which the impression of their size starts to distract my thoughts to something like, "How in the world could any number of people move THAT thing?"
Perhaps I am too easily distracted, but distracted I was.

As always, Widelands is the child of a community effort, and if the majority wish modifications, I will do all I can to support them.
So, for what it is worth, that is my attempt at an explanation for my decision. Other related posts where I comment on the scale of buildings in particular can be found here and here.

I welcome all comments.


I see little people.

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chuckw
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Posted at: 2011-08-10, 20:11

I do like your more detailed texture for the quarry stones. The bunny no longer "hops" out at me. (sorry) face-grin.png

I like your basalt menhir, too. I prefer the smaller one, of course. face-smile.png


I see little people.

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chuckw
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Posted at: 2011-08-10, 23:23

@Astuur in answer to your post #5614 above:

I wasn't involved at the time the blackland world was introduced and I can't find any historical background on it to draw on so I, personally, consider blackland a fantasy world (look at the trees and plants face-grin.png ). As such, I say let your imagination and creativity soar!
White boulders, like the quarry stones, would not be unexpected. For that matter stones of other colors and textures (slate, sandstone, granite, obsidian, basalt, limestone) occur naturally in our real world. What should prevent them from appearing in the blackland? Or more exotic materials for that matter?

I say have fun with it and take the opportunity to create your own reality.


I see little people.

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Astuur
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Joined: 2009-02-28, 10:08
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Posted at: 2011-08-11, 08:19

Well Chuck, I was hoping for some explanation, not that sort of treatise!
I did not intend to make you write that much. All the more I thank you for taking the time to do so.
As is usually the case, I can well follow your line of argumentation, but just like you said, there is always something subjective about graphic decision. In that "subconscious" perception, we seem to differ here.
It's not really such a big thing for me. I had some woes that the shrinking might cause unwanted blurring with the texture, and
indeed it did when I tried. But back in WL it still looked allright. Besides, you have already done the size adjustment, and your
sizing routines may be better than mine. I used bicubic. Case settled.
It does, however, raise another, more general question: That about the relative importence of graphics vs. gameplay. This is directly linked to the size that our objects take on screen. When I design things I run WL in 640x480 on 24" monitor fullscreen, when I play I use higher resolutions up to 1900x1200 for a better overview. But lately I have shown WL on my living room TV (44")at 1900x1080. That made me realize how much I miss of all those nice little details and anims when things get too small. What I want to say with this, is that I think we need some sort of guidline for what screen sizes and resolutions we are doing this stuff. And maybe we could come up with a recommendation about these things for the players.

As for the Menhir, you have given me my best argument yourself:

...thoughts to something like, "How in the world could any number of people move THAT thing?"

I could not have said it any clearer! face-smile.png
I guess "subconciously" I wanted exactly this effect, because that is what I felt in front of realworld menhirs! face-smile.png
Well, our Graphics Elder has spoken, and it's okay.
But I really had to show you this :


Being no programmer, I apologize for all my suggestions that imply undue workload and for other misjudgements due to lack of expertise or relevant skills.
I am on Win32, have no means to compile, and rely on prefabricated distributions (Thanks to Tino).

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Marcelo_do_Pagode
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Joined: 2011-07-23, 18:59
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Location: Brazil
Posted at: 2011-08-11, 14:49

Just to add a little more spice to the "how in the world...", think about the stone figures(moais) in Easter Island (Rapa Nui / Isla de Pascoa) where the largest moai raised weighs 82 tons and is 9.8 m (32.15 ft) long. For more info regarding Easter Island: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_Island

I must say that I find reason in both arguments, both sides has it's merits. In fact, one easy way out would be having does babies in both scales a let the map designer choose which one he wants to use. The only discussion left would be to decide which of the two would be used to substitute the ones that are laid out in the pre-existent maps. In my opinion, for those maps we should use the small ones to cope with the original scaling idea.

Edited: 2011-08-11, 14:54

Marcelo do Pagode
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Astuur
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Joined: 2009-02-28, 10:08
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Posted at: 2011-08-11, 16:41

Yep, Marcelo - I've been thinking of Rapa Nui, too. face-smile.png
But I disagree with you about the 2 version suggestion.
Chuck is the boss man here regarding graphics, and he is so, for a reason - and well earned, I might add.
If he wants the smaller type, that means he does not want the bigger ones, then I am prepared to accept this decision,
(albeit not without an explanation ; ), and not introduce my favourite through the back door.
I'm always one for discussion and explaining things, but in the end the responsibilities should be clear.


Being no programmer, I apologize for all my suggestions that imply undue workload and for other misjudgements due to lack of expertise or relevant skills.
I am on Win32, have no means to compile, and rely on prefabricated distributions (Thanks to Tino).

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