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ruckage



Joined: 02 Mar 2008
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 9:46 pm    Post subject: Modding possibilities Reply with quote

Hi. Just bought the game a few days ago and first of all I have to thank you as this is just the kind of game I've wanted for ages but couldn't find.

Now onto the main point of this post, I quickly discovered where the textures were stored and how to get to them as I like to fiddle around with that kind of thing and so the first thing I started working on was some new nebulas as despite loving the look of the game for the most part I felt the space backgrounds sometimes let it down a bit, they aren't bad just not as impressive as the rest of the visuals.

The five files are below for you to see, they are only basic and fairly unrealistic but they are all visually very different to try and create some variety, they're also at a higher resolution than the original images.



In game these look quite impressive, but it doesn't drastically alter the look.

My understanding of how the backgrounds are generated is this, 2 of the 5 nebulas are selected and placed opposite each other on the sky sphere, these act like alpha maps allowing the background colour to show through the whiter parts of the nebula image. Combined with the number of other variables, (colours, planets) you get the possiblity of lots of different backgrounds - trouble is because the background is basically monochrome they tend to look quite similar still. I have some ideas to improve this and would love to help design the graphics if you would like.

1. Scrap the single color backgrounds. Instead have a selection of full colour nebula / space scenes that you use in the same way - 2 picked at random to make a full background. You could maybe double the amount to increase the possible combinations.

2. Instead of just planets have some other interesting images - derelict spaceships, distant asteroid belts etc.

3. Adding a halo effect to the planets would really make them stand out.

4. Adding a sun in some scenes as a definite light source would be very dramatic.

Thats enough to be going on with I think, like I say I would love to help out with this if you're interested as it would be a fun project for me, I'm not too shabby when it comes to artwork so I promise I would make a good job of it.
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Reactor
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Joined: 15 Nov 2004
Posts: 151

PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi ruckage, sorry for taking a few days to reply here.

I'm glad to hear you're enjoying the game! Smile

Quote:
The five files are below for you to see, they are only basic and fairly unrealistic but they are all visually very different to try and create some variety, they're also at a higher resolution than the original images.


I like them! I had fun tinkering with the original backgrounds and how they looked, but because of time I didn't get to push the designs as far as I would have liked. By all means, feel free to add to the game however you can. You should know though, the game wasn't designed with modification in mind (again, because of time) so editing things like the colourising of the greyscale backgrounds would require some extra coding- something we unfortunately don't have spare time to do.

Quote:
I have some ideas to improve this and would love to help design the graphics if you would like.


As mentioned above, because we're working towards other projects (amongst other things) we don't have the available time to get involved with editing the game. However, I'd certainly be interested in hearing your ideas, and perhaps learning a thing or two. CellSquads is now a number of years old, and my techniques as an artist have developed quite a bit since development, but I'm always up for seeing artistic ideas or modifications.

Quote:
1. Scrap the single color backgrounds. Instead have a selection of full colour nebula / space scenes that you use in the same way - 2 picked at random to make a full background. You could maybe double the amount to increase the possible combinations.


I found four issues arose when approaching the background artwork in the way you've mentioned. The first is time. It obviously takes a while to produce good backgrounds, and I was the only artist working on the project, so getting things done quickly was key. Secondly, we wanted to keep the game size small, and found that saving the background artwork as an image (a jpeg) introduced compression artifacts which looked quite ugly- this is a common problem in many games, except for those which can afford very large background images.

Thirdly, it's not an easy thing creating a number of different background pieces and matching them together, especially when a great deal of the game is random. Lastly, I wanted the backgrounds to look nice, but not have the kind of detail which can distract... which is important if you're trying to track a small ship. A lot of background images (or object/planet) images can do that.

Quote:
3. Adding a halo effect to the planets would really make them stand out.


Great idea.

Quote:
4. Adding a sun in some scenes as a definite light source would be very dramatic.


I recall that being something I wanted to add, but for some reason (perhaps time, or simply how the original artwork looked) they weren't. That part I don't remember. Another likely option was simply that we didn't want a sun in every scene, yet we had a light source in every one.

Quote:
I'm not too shabby when it comes to artwork so I promise I would make a good job of it.


Good or bad, if you'd find enjoyment in editing the game in any way, than that certainly sounds good to me Smile
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