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Terrain Effects, Digital Painting, and that Dread

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Terrain Effects

Here's the shot:

See the little rocks and patches of dirt? Yep. Actually, "Terrain Effects" are almost exactly like IsoFeatures except that their size is always the same as tiles and they're drawn under IsoFeatures.

It shouldn't be too much trouble to make a generic class for both IsoFeatures and TerrainEffects, then take that code and make a generic Quad (sub-tile) for each, so that IsoFeatures and TerrainEffects can be built up from Quads just like Terrain fringe is.
... and maybe I'll re-do how Terrain fringe is handled ...

Digital Painting

I was bored and felt a hankering to do some digital painting, so on a lark I answered ryguyrocks' call for concept art. He asked for an alien/machine sort of thing, so I worked far too hard (like 6-7 hours) and made this:

I'm never going to work that hard for free again -- If I can help it. Unless it's a totally awesome idea.. but I should shut up.

Look out Craig Mullins, I'm gonna catch up to you someday!
But honestly, I feel incredible about how far I've come with digital painting in only the last few months. I used to look at work by Craig Mullins and could never understand how it could ever be done. I'd get depressed by how good he was and how I could never do what he does. But now I see how I could do what he does... with a hell of a lot more practice! Heh.

Now I just need someone to commission me to do some concept art for actual payment.

That Dread Horizon

I was feeling a real coding "high" on Monday, but now I realize that I'm on the brink of having to implement a whole huge area of the engine that I've never done before -- gameplay. The possibilities are enormous and I'm going to have to make a lot of decisions about how the game is going to work while advancing on, if you will, that Dread Horizon of the Eldritch Unknown.

I know, it seems so easy when you're just sitting around BSing about your idea for the Coolest Game Ever, but it's completely different when you start seriously planning implementation. Like how do I deal with the 'map knowledge' of many computer-'players' (I won't call them AI) running on asymmetric political and economic levels? I can't store and update a boolean "map" of who knows about what for every single CP if there are 120 of them, nor do I want the CPs to just outright "cheat" and see the whole map -- I'm looking at you, Galactic Civilizations! And like every game ever, for that matter.

I'm going to have to do a lot of planning and documentation, I think.

And I should totally make a game called "Mechapocalypse".
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First of all the concept art is just freaking sick. Nice fing job on that! I've been trying to digital paint for years and realized that I'm going to have to either A.) Take a natural painting course first or B.) Give it up :)

I know what your going through to a degree in regards to preparing for game play. What I have planned for my next project is probably nowhere near what your attempting but nonetheless the same issues exist.

The best thing to do is probably find the best games of that genre your developing for and play them along with taking tons of notes.

Good luck man...it's supposed to be fun right?

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I really like the concept art you did for free. I know I would commission a ton from you at that price ;-)

As for the gameplay, I know the hardest thing for me is to lock everything down since I constantly get new ideas from this site that I want to implement. Keep up the good work (on all fronts).

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It looks like your project is coming together pretty quickly. Good job with the frequent updates. And of course, complements on the excellent art.

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Thanks -- I find that having a fine arts education, incredibly, really does help. I didn't learn a heck of a lot of technique, but I really learned a lot about looking at art which lets me recognize and understand the weak points of my own technique then improve on them. And yeah, traditional painting experience actually does help a ton with digital painting.

And heh, I think I've played enough countless hours of Civilization to know the genre ;) But seriously, games do change when you start closely examining them from an informed point of view, asking "what was the developer thinking here". It makes them a lot less difficult, actually, because it is relatively easy to conceptually deconstruct the creation of fellow humans. Like if you play a game and know what the game engine is and isn't capable of, nothing can really catch you by surprise.

I think way back and maybe I enjoyed Quake more before I knew how to make maps; there was a magic to it. Still, I'll never argue for ignorance, as a general principle. That's part of why I didn't get along much in the fine arts: I'm not satisfied with mystery, and often enough the answer to the mystery of a lot of (not-so) fine art is not all that "deep" or interesting.
Ok, enough rambling.

And man, I haven't even started coding gameplay, it's going to be a nightmare. Though hopefully I can find a way to keep everything extremely modular so that changes can be made painlessly. And thanks for the support -- in more ways than one?

Thanks dude! It's probably coming together quickly because I have a lot of time for it -- and I'm finding that maintaining a journal on GameDev disciplines my efforts. Like if I don't make progress on my code, I can't update, and if I don't update, I'm letting everyone down. It's great.

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