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bishop_pass

The Western: FPS? RPG? RTS?

107 posts in this topic

Cool idea, and well thought out for a draft, but I think that the pistols should be Smith & Wesson 6-shooters, the rifles should be Remingtons, and the knives can be homemade. All the firearms should have re-load time. (I know it sucks in the middle of a gunfight, but that''s what gives it a challenge.)

As for faction, you could go to a noutorious person''s house and prove yourself to become part of a local gang or you could collect the bounties on them instead.

I''ll be working on the layout for Tombstone, and one of the Miner''s Towns. And I''ll post a draft when I can. Peace.
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quote:
Original post by smiley4
I'd like to say that I'm realy excited about starting a project like this based on this theme.

Excellent!
quote:
Original post by smiley4
I'll be working on the layout for Tombstone, and one of the Miner's Towns. And I'll post a draft when I can. Peace.

Perhaps you could just hold your horses for a moment, and let me have some say here...

Roles to be filled for the development of a first class Western RPG are, or could be: (Note that one person might fill several roles, and more than one person might fill one role)

  • Weapons and fighting mechanics designer
    Create a fighting system which works. Build a large and diverse roster of weapons which are as accurate as possible with regard to real weapons of the era. Minimally, the roster should include:
    • Pistols
    • Rifles
    • Shotguns
    • Gatling guns
    • Bow (and arrow)
    • Spear/Javelin
    • Tomahawk
    • Axe
    • Cannons
    • Liquor bottles
    • Rocks, bricks, lumber, etc.
    • Chair
    • Hammer
    • Fist
    • Feet
    • Poison
    • Dynamite
    • Molotov cocktail

    There should be detail with regard to guns. There is no such thing as a generic gun. Within the subcategory of pistol, there should exist a set of different pistols, each a recreation of a real pistol, with specs such as caliber, velocity, range, accuracy, etc. All methods of fighting should be addressed and detailed.

  • Map and terrain generation
    The map should, at the very least, capture the spirit of the area, with regard to terrain features characteristic of that area. Vegetation must be selected which is appropriate for the area. As an example, saguaros (the classic cacti) grow in the Sonoran desert, but not in the Colorado Plateau. The map might be pieced together from USGS digital elevation maps (DEMs) available for free. From there, it is the responsibility of the map designer to effectively place vegetation densities, roads, trails, and so on.

  • Prop designer
    Naturally, this designer works closely with the weapons designer and the architecture designer. All of these designers work closely with the 3d modelers and shader writers. An attention to detail is a must. An example of typical props might include:

    • Carriages
    • Stagecoaches
    • General handtools
    • Lockpick tools
    • Barrels
    • Furniture
    • Cash registers
    • Gallows
    • Food
    • Letter openers
    • Clocks
    • Safes
    • Portable telescopes
    • Packs
    • Rope
    • Crates
    • Books
    • Glasses (both for eyesight and drinking)
    • Anvils


  • Costume designer
    This is a very important role to be filled. Like all of the prop designing roles, attention to detail is a must, and an appreciation of the era is required. Diversity is to be expected. Some costumes might include:
    • Hats
    • Trench coats
    • Vests
    • Pocket watches
    • Shirts
    • Ties
    • Dresses
    • Pants
    • Boots
    • Bandanas
    • Longjohns


    Additionally, all prop designers must work together to create items such as holsters, bandoliers and scabbards.

  • Horse system designer
    It is the job of the horse system designer to effectively integrate horses into gameplay. All of the features I have mentioned previously in this thread and the thread associated with horse riding would apply if possible. Some of the key elements with regard to the horse system are:
    • Saddlery and tack: saddles, bits, bridles, saddlebags, reins, etc.
    • Horse coloring: bays, buckskins, chestnuts, appaloosas, paints, grays, sorrels, palaminos, etc.
    • Horse breeds: Arabs, Pintos, thoroughbreds, Morgans, quarters, etc.
    • Conformation: stance, base wide/narrow, balance, eyes, nostrils, muscular build, etc.
    • Health: conditioning, lameness, etc.
    • Training: past and present.
    • Skillset: gaits, backing, turning, stopping, pirouettes, jumping, catchability, cutting, etc.
    • Demeanor: spookability, experienced events vs. unexperienced events.
    • Fair treatment syndrome: sense of justice, revenge, etc.
    • Rider skills: gaits, backing, turning, stopping, pirouettes, jumping, catching, rearing, mounted firearm use, etc.


  • Gambling sytem designer
    An effective card playing system needs to be worked out, both in terms of presentation and AI. The allowable games must be documented, including all variations, and the provision for AI players as well as real players. The real mainstay here is poker, plain and simple.

  • Architecture designer
    A study and replication of the architecture of the time is important. There are a few different designs which should be exploited, depending on the locale. These include refined clapboard sided structures, the rustic slipshod structures common in more primitive newly developed mining towns, adobe structures typically seen in towns such as Santa Fe, and stucco haciendas more common towards the Mexican border. The architecture designer must also work closely with the culture designers to produce structures which have purpose. Examples include banks, liveries, houses, jails, the sheriff's office, ranches, general stores, saloons, outhouses, the telegraph office, railway stations, assay offices, and so on.

  • Weather and sky designer
    The Western United States, specifically the Southwest, is often arid and dry, and often at high altitude. Because of the aridity and high altitude, stunning sunrises and sunsets are commonplace. And despite the aridity, summer thunderstorms are commonplace. Big billowing cumulus clouds often precede a shortlived yet powerful thunderstorm. A system which allows for dynamic stunning yet realistic weather is necessary. With regard to nighttime skies, the high altitude, low air pollution, low light pollution, and dry air provide for sweeping starfields at night.

  • Western culture designer
    The duties of this role are to gather together the ideas which western culture is comprised of. These include activities, occupations, operations, governmening methods, manner of speech, customs, and so on. Specific examples include: hangings, gunfights, law procedures, etiquette, etc.

  • Indian culture designer
    Like the western culture designer, the duties of this role are to explore, refine, and describe how Indian culture can effectively be modeled and integrated into the game, including making suggestions to many of the other designers with regard to design: for example, the Indian culture designer will guide the architecture designer with regard to teepees. He will guide the Western culture designer with regard to how the law viewed Indians, etc. And most importantly, he will as faithfully as possible, provide detail on the different Indian cultures which might exist in any given area, including their rituals, attitudes towards the white man, their population, etc.

  • Mining culture designer
    The mining culture designer's role is to detail and describe and integrate the operations of mining as it was often done in the Old West. Essentially, the components of gold and silver mines are to be discovered and described, including their functionality, social structure and phycical structure.

  • Railway culture designer
    The railway culture designer must effectively exploit the concept of the railway to maximum effect, providing opportunities for gameplay. The types of railway cars and locomotives of the era should be detailed, along with the accompanying infrastructure, such as water towers, stations, spur design, etc. Naturally, it is the railway culture designer's duty to suggest to and work out details with the weapons and fighting designer and the character dynamics programmer the prospects of fighting onboard trains, such as chases and fights on the top of moving railway cars.

  • 3D Modeler
    3D modelers must interact with the prop and culture designers for input, and they must interact with the programmers for limitations and requirements.

  • Terrain rendering programmer
    The terrain rendering programmer naturally works closely with the map generation phase, as well as the architecure, railway and mining designers, as well as with the general systems programmer. Numerous methods exist for efficient and realistic rendering techniques, such as quadtrees, ROAM, etc.

  • Character dynamics programmer
    More to be said...

  • Weather dynamics programmer
    More to be said...

  • General systems programmer
    More to be said...

  • Shader programmer
    The shader programmer naturally works closest with the 3D modelers and the prop designers.

  • Sound effects and music creation and acquistion
    More to be said...

  • Sound effects programmer
    More to be said...

  • Technical director
    More to be said...

  • General gameplay desinger
    More to be said...


[edited by - bishop_pass on December 12, 2002 4:23:59 PM]
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Oddly, it only just occurred to me that my photo gallery is essentially themed around the landscapes which are the settings for Westerns. It includes ghost towns, gulches, canyons, mountains, deserts, and cacti of the American Southwest.
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Smiley, as much as I love S&W guns, especially the older ones (Schofield, anyone? Sweeeeeet), everyone knows that only whores carried S&W''s in the old west. Get yourself a nice Colt.

I recommend setting it post-Civil War, to take advantage of the metallic cartridge and the better railroad system.

With regard to weapons, it is absolutely imperative that they be 100% based on historic gear. Nothing sucks more than a cowboy with a big old anachronism strapped to his thigh. No .44 Magnum, no .357, no swing-out cylinders or telescopic scopes, unless they''re hand-made by some engineer. These things just didn''t exist.
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Ouch! Perhaps I need to brush up on my American history (only whores had Smith & Wessons? I was just going by what''s popular in Kentucky''s Western Shops.)... And as for holding my horses, I''m a professional artist in the Army, so I''m used to putting my foot in my mouth and chewing. If you give me a project, I''m sure to complete it and complete it with at least standard quality. And for a project like this, standard quality with the diversive cohesion of these objects will put it damn well near industry standard. Notice, I''m only an artist who can draw well and is good with Photoshop. As for 3d landscapes and (my favorite hobby) character modeling, I''m still not getting paid to do that yet. I do have CAD experience, so drawing the layout for buildings should be a sinch aside from the research that will be needed for periodical style. And I believe that I can make such characters in DXF. and then import them into Lightwave and Animate from there.
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I feel special now. I've been quoted a few times. You think I'm stupid you REALLY think I'm stupid!!! lol

Anyway, that Desperados thing is cool, but it's an isometric view. To take it a step further, it should be a 3d a RPG/ACTION/FPS with 3PS option.

(Sorry if I use forceable language like "should", but it's the only garantee that my opinions are even consitered. If I was going in the corperate side, I would kiss a$$. It's just circimstancial language.) (Either that, or I've been watching too much TV.)

[edited by - smiley4 on December 12, 2002 2:38:42 PM]
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quote:
Original post by smiley4
Anyway, that Desperados thing is cool, but it''s an isometric view. To take it a step further, it should be a 3d a RPG/ACTION/FPS with 3PS option.

Agreed. I''m not a big fan of isometric views. About the only isometric view I could probably stomach would be a ''non-isometric'' view as in Neverwinter Nights, which actually exhibits true persepctive. First person is good, but there''s also something attractive about a 3rd person view - provided it had a dynamic camera, gave closeups, and so on.
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Also, if anyone is willing to pitch in to help me by Virtools Dev and Physics pack, feel free. It''s only 5K+, lol.
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quote:
Original post by smiley4
Also, if anyone is willing to pitch in to help me by Virtools Dev and Physics pack, feel free. It''s only 5K+, lol.

Since you''re the most enthusiastic person here (aside from me) which of the above roles that I posted would you be interested in? I''m not claiming to be project director of anything here at this moment - I''m merely seeing where people''s talents, interests and focus lie. I realize you already said that you do art, but, to be more precise, exactly which of the above roles could yyou fulfill?

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All of the design elements I could do. But to do all of them myself would require a lot of time for research and development to give the western elements a stylized approch. I mean let''s face it; if all the props, costumes, railroads, scenery, locations,and more importantly, the mods that can be customized are to work in cohesion; then they better not take up too much space on the hard drive.

As for anything with code, I don''t have a clue, but I believe I can pick up on a visualy-based programming system like Virtool Dev with its Physics plugin and let the programmers streamline the code to take up less room. With a little more practice, I can make realistic mods to use for such an environment, but my experience now is only based in animation.

To put it short, anything that requires that I impliment graphics, I can do. As for drawing up a diagram for interactivity, I can do it with a little help because I''m still rusty at it.

In any business, even if it''s just for the reward of having a demo to show to others, it''s best that we work as a team. When we are starting out like this, we should build off of each other''s expertice, opinions, and value each other''s input. What would we like in a game and what seems realistic? Once we have a plan, communication plays a bigger role than just our individual skills, because the more we communicate, the more we can learn and the more we can do with better quality than we thought we could. The instant we stop working as a team, the project itself suffers, thus producing shoddy work.
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I'm part of the creative side of the house. Now I COULD create music, but I would require a MIDI setup with editable programming, like a Clavinova, since my live performance talents are shight. I play by ear, had only about 4 years of off and on practice, and I've been out of practice for about a year, if that gives you a clue why. As for my expertice in sound editing, I can do adiquete work but I'm no where near as good as my neighbor. (To bad he doesn't want to make games...)

And thank you for saying that I'm enthusiastic, because I am. I've been wanting to express my creative side for a long time but not be in the foreground like a pop star. And making content for games is a way to do this. I'll draw my insperation from movies, books, and all other forms of media. But I will value the input I get from others and incorperate it into the progression of the content.

[edited by - smiley4 on December 12, 2002 5:36:48 PM]
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bishop: You seem to already have a wealth of knowledge with regards to the era and various related subjects that I don''t come close to, but I''d like to do some research and contribute in some way if I can, if there is going to be a project here.

My skills are pretty much in the area of concept and 2-D art. Game design is something everyone can contribute to, and something I''ve been interested in and researching for a couple of years. So, doing research and design in areas like props, costumes, architecture, and transportation with accompanying concept sketches and possibly textures would be possible for me. I could also contribute to system and culture design, with maybe a limited role in map and terrain generation.

On to the subject.

Weapons and Fighting Mechanics:

Are you thinking strictly RPG-style turn/round-based, or more of a hybrid between FPS and RPG skills? Here''s what I think regarding the latter.

A large and diverse set of weapons that are as accurate as possible for the time frame is spot on. Realism would be the general tone governing all areas of system design, but fun first if it comes down to it.

Caliber, velocity, range, and accuracy with regards to firearms could depend solely on the type and quality of item, or be additionally governed further by player skills that are gained. An aiming reticle could exist, and it''s size would vary depending upon a gun''s caliber, quality (which could also affect accuracy and firing rate etc.). The more shoddy a gun is in quality, the wider the reticle, simulating the less-accurate spread of fired rounds, and in turn a better (more expensive) quality gun would have a tighter reticle.

The reticle could also be taken a step further to simulate realism and widen while running, jumping, moving, and becoming tighter when prone, kneeling, or just standing still.

Gained player skills could also control accuracy, firing rate, rate of decay, etc. Initially though, it seems like some of this overlaps, and may enter into an area of diminishing returns. More thought needed.

Hand-wielded and thrown weapons could do varying damage based on type, quality, and trained player skill as well, but the matter of actually hitting a target would again be ultimately controlled in real-time by the player.

Map and Terrain Generation:

The use of DEMs is a good idea. I don''t own it, but I''ve done a lot of research on the Torque engine, which would seem to be a good choice here for a couple reasons. Many people have contributed code sources like a foliage replicator, grass replicator (with swaying grass =), day/night cycle resources, starfields etc. Obviously some of this would probably have to be modified and/or optimized, but a lot of the groundwork has been laid due to the nature of the community. I like the idea of being able to design and "plug in" area-correct vegetation and paint the terrain. I''m not trying to sell anything though, and I''m the farthest thing from a coder, so take that as you will.

Props, Costumes, Architecture:

The links you''ve already provided are cool. A specific time frame would probably have to be nailed down before serious research begins and concept sketches are churned out.

Your description of the architecture makes it sound much more interesting than I had initially conceived. Sounds neat. It''s all in the details.

Various culture designs:

Would be extremely important to creating a believable dialog, and the primary asset of the writer/quest designers.

Horse System:

In my mind extremely important. The system should be simple and intuitive, but based on the cost/quality (breed, training etc.) of the animal and trained player skill.

I think at base level skill the horse should not ever be unresponsive totally, but will respond less-quickly to turning, running, etc. As player skill and animal cost/quality rise, so does responsiveness, higher jumps, more accuracy when using firearms, stopping speed, top speed. Some of the more intricate actions, such as cutting and pirouetting might be unattainable without the proper skill or quality/type of animals.

Different types of horses for different uses. Pack mule, work horse, speedy roan, another breed known for it''s jumping ability maybe, who knows. Some with less carrying capacity, some demand less upkeep (which ulitmately translates to money). Item decay could cause it to eventually break a leg, and have to be put down. =)

smiley: Your enthusiasm is inspiring, keep it up man.

Iron Chef absolutely nailed it on his last post. I totally agree.

I think the possibilities are enormous, and I''m clueless on why the genre has been effectively untapped so far. I think it also lends itself well to a MORPG type of format as well.

I don''t have many drawings scanned yet, but I could produce some random stuff if pressed. I have a couple images from another game project I worked on months ago.
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quote:
Original post by Polish
bishop: You seem to already have a wealth of knowledge with regards to the era and various related subjects that I don''t come close to, but I''d like to do some research and contribute in some way if I can, if there is going to be a project here.

Let''s assume that there tentatively is the makings of a project here, at this point, without obligating anyone to anything yet. In other words, I would like to encourage some actual work on the project, without truly formalizing it to the nth degree at this point.

I realize that a more formal agreement and spec is ultimately necessary, but it''s just a little bit premature. However, I also don''t want to preclude those who are interested (including myself) from actually acheiving real work in addition to mere discussion and thinking.

If anyone can do 3d modeling, I would love to see some prototypes, specifically related to horses and pistols, but in general, everything.

I can code, and I know quite a bit about 3d rendering. I personally would like to start in on some aspects of this whole thing.

But as was mentioned, communication is very important. For example, I don''t want to see anyone just start making 3d models of a horse without consulting with me. At the risk of sounding contradictory, I believe specs and communication are necessary before anyone can just start doing real work.

Is there a place where we could setup our own private forum for discussion, aside from EZBoard, because for some reason my username got messed up there.
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As for the horse modeling, it will be easier than you think. I''ll take a free existing Poser model from www.3Dcafe.com and modify it until it looks like something we could use. As for what most game designers do to cut down data, I could make it generic enough so that the only difference between horses of their class would be the textures I apply to them.

As for the horse system, to simplify it until we are sure of the data we WILL have, I think that there should be a three part system according to height: small, medium, and tall wich is also broken down into colors of black, brown, or white. Because lets face it, who really cares what kind of horse it is unless they are horse enthusists? They only want to know if you can ride it or not. (And do the little extras we were talking about.)
As for the spook, yes, I think it would be cool, but the longer you own the horse and gain it''s trust, the less of that spooking should occur (unless it''s only a form of enemy-warning-system). (I mean lets face it, the horse getting spooked in the middle of a gunfight is no way to go.)

The landscape can also be simplified using Bryce 4 or 5. Since it''s a more intuitive program than 3DS max, I can create certian styles of map that can be reused by the computer in the square pattern of map building and then I can create textures that can be applied to any one of those squares. In short, the simple stuff can be made with simple programs, but as for significant buildings and characters, I will have to create those with 3DS max because it will be more data if I don''t.

But most importantly, I beleive a game should be fun as well as emersive. So I thought of the MOORPG-like RPG/FPS with 3PS option that can be played on or off line. (If we have to charge a fee to play online, just so we can get back all the money we spent putting into the game and earn a slightly steady income while doing it so we can afford to make an upgrade, let it be cheaper than the compitition, but I''m getting ahead of myself when it''s not needed.)

I didn''t tell you before why I think that it should have the FPV with a 3PV option, but here goes. The downside of FP is that you can''t see your character and if you are hit from behind you can''t turn around quick enough, but you can aim better and some are more accustomed to that format because you don''t get some of the fu#@ed up views you get in 3PV. In a 3PV, you can move quickly in the direction you want, you can see your character, but your aim isn''t as controled -- even when you use auto-lock and sometimes you get fu#@ed up camera angles as it follows your character even when there is a collision detection system applied to it. So for aim and view, each perspective has its advantages and disadvantages. I think that a game should be emersive, fast-paced when need be, reasonably challenging, and fun.
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As for getting a privite forum, I don't know. However, once I get my cable pipline service at home hooked up and my Yahoo messenger up and running we could try communicating through that.

I know that it's a cheesy way to do it, but the information can be faster since it has a voice option.

Also, I'd like to thank bishop_pass, Polish, and Iron Chef Carnage for you guys support and input. We really are expressing a wide range of ideas here.

However, I'll have to disagree with the don't go making model just yet thing. I say let your creativity go for right now until we are done brainstorming. We are still in the idea toying and developmet stage. As for what we need to add and what we need to take away from, that's for when we go into phase 2. I understand the don't-go-try-to-make-the-game-yourself thing. I'm just saying that we should go with what we know, present it as a group and decide from there, based on each others experice fields and what is feasible, what CAN still stay and what can be added.

I used to be with another group in college -- a film club -- that was all about power struggles. We were trying to put out several films for a film festival within 1 year with only half the people needed just to create one film while we tried to recruit more people in, but we didn't reach that goal to it's fullest because the leader was thinking unrealisticly about what he was trying to do and was excluding those people who wanted to help.

So that we remember it when we need it the most, I'm just trying to reiterate the importance that we work as a team, teach each other some things we don't know, learn from the ones who do know, and don't exclude those with a genuine interest, but include them in what they can do while they learn what the others know. It seems like our goal is to create a game that is fun, emersive, and exciting based on a theme that's not very much exploited. The good thing is that we aren't putting any time-limit on the work just yet until we have a thoughly thought-out plan.

Let's continue this path of rational respectfulness because the more fun we have with this project, with the freinds we make while taking on this project, the more successful and rewarding this project will be.


[edited by - smiley4 on December 13, 2002 10:42:31 AM]
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Having that said, I''m going to do some research on the historical layout of Tombstone city structure from the period of 1880-1890. I believe that if we can get an accurate measure of how it really looked, then we could also have something educational that people could learn from just by playing the game. I''ll be looking for microfich copies of the town that have been posted on the web (if there are any) and I''ll also look at the old photos from that time as well as the new photos of the restored buildings. This will take a lot of reasearch to get it somewhat accurate but I beleive it will be very rewarding.

We are basing this game on the past, right? So we better get it very close to how it was. Perhaps, we can also put in timed events for famous people like Doc Holliday, Billy the Kid, and Wild E. Burk. If it becomes emersive enough it will be like the gamer was transported back to that time to change it how it could have been.
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Ok, after doing a little google research, I''ve found that this will be a harder undertaking than we first expected. Not all these events happened that you see in the movies, and a lot of the stuff that DID happen you wouldn''t want to see anyway. I''ve been reading up on Tombstone, Billy the Kid, and various indian tribes of the day and have found that some of the architecture only lasted about 2 years at most. So, what do you want, a game that is based on the realistic aspects of what life back then would be like, or would you like to add a little of the Hollywood legend to the mix to make it conform to a game? That means no timed events like I suggested unless the accuracy of the time''s events is thrown out the window. To make it a game, it would be cool if it looked like the Old West setting without all the accuracy of the Old West events.
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quote:
Original post by smiley4
Because lets face it, who really cares what kind of horse it is unless they are horse enthusists? They only want to know if you can ride it or not. (And do the little extras we were talking about.)

This is where I fully disagree with you. Granted, I'm a horse enthusiast, but let me put this in perspective for you. I'm not a gun enthusiast, but I want guns that are specific, because that's the way it is/was. I don't want guns referred to as big, medium and small. I don't want every store in town to be called "General Store". Some might have advertised "Dry Goods". With regard to horses, they were the backbone of Western culture, and their influence was significant. Horses weren't just "brown", "white" and "black". Horses were what they were, and how the culture perceived them, which is, at its simplest, represented by a number of terms, such as: filly, colt, mare, stallion, gelding, bay, grey, palamino, buckskin, appaloosa, chestnut, paint, and so on. You see, anyone using horses knows horses, and everyone back then in that area used horses. And the same went for guns.

To simplify something which had fine nuances to the point that it matches the perspective of a person of another era whom has little interest in a subject is to remove the richness, the culture, the grittiness, the immersiveness, and the communicative ability of the story from the stage, and render it into an amateur production chock full of mistakes, a production which lacks depth, scope or breadth.

[edited by - bishop_pass on December 13, 2002 4:22:52 PM]
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quote:
Original post by smiley4
However, I''ll have to disagree with the don''t go making model just yet thing. I say let your creativity go for right now until we are done brainstorming. We are still in the idea toying and developmet stage. As for what we need to add and what we need to take away from, that''s for when we go into phase 2. I understand the don''t-go-try-to-make-the-game-yourself thing. I''m just saying that we should go with what we know, present it as a group and decide from there, based on each others experice fields and what is feasible, what CAN still stay and what can be added.

I agree with this philosophy, but understand that most work at this point is concept work, serving to inspire.
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quote:
Original post by smiley4
Ok, after doing a little google research, I''ve found that this will be a harder undertaking than we first expected. Not all these events happened that you see in the movies, and a lot of the stuff that DID happen you wouldn''t want to see anyway. I''ve been reading up on Tombstone, Billy the Kid, and various indian tribes of the day and have found that some of the architecture only lasted about 2 years at most. So, what do you want, a game that is based on the realistic aspects of what life back then would be like, or would you like to add a little of the Hollywood legend to the mix to make it conform to a game? That means no timed events like I suggested unless the accuracy of the time''s events is thrown out the window. To make it a game, it would be cool if it looked like the Old West setting without all the accuracy of the Old West events.

I wouldn''t have a problem with creating fictional towns. Just make them appropriate for their purpose, era, and so on. And certainly give them good names.

If you want to learn about some real towns, try these:
*Rhyolite, Nevada
*Bodie, California
*Cerro Gordo, California
*Keeler, California
*Darwin, California
Skidoo, California
*Vulture City, Arizona
Jerome, Arizona
Mogollon, New Mexico

If it''s got a star (*) beside it, I''ve personally been to it and possibly I''ve done photography onsite.

Of course, I could get you bigger lists. For example, here''s some old and possibly now defunct towns of Wyoming, listed by county: (I''m not necessarily familiar with them)
ATLANTIC CITY-fremont
BALD MOUNTAIN CITY-big horn
BEAR RIVER-uinta
BOSLER-albany
BRYAN-sweetwater
CAMBRIA-weston
CARBON-carbon
CODY-park
CUMBERLAND-lincoln
DUNN-sweetwater
EADSVILLE-natrona
ENCAMPMENT-carbon
FORT BRIDGER-uinta
GEBO-hotsprings
GLENCOE-lincoln
HAMILTON-freemont
HEART MOUNTAIN-park
HECLA-laramie
JIREH-niobrara
KIRWIN-park
LEE CITY-park
LEWISTON-freemont
LAMONT-carbon
MEDICINE BOW-carbon
MILFORD-fremont
MINERAL HILLcrook
MINER''S DELIGHT-freemont
MOSKEE-crook
NORTH FORK-fremont
OPAL-lincoln
PIEDMONT-uinta
RAMBLER-carbon
RIVERSIDE-carbon
ROCK CREEK-albany
RUDEFEHA-carbon
SHERMAN-albany
SOUTH PASS CITY-fremont
SUBLETTE-lincoln
SUPERIOR-sweetwater
TINTON-crook
WINTON-sweetwater

That Wyoming list was lifted from www.ghosttowns.com.
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I'm sorry if you misunderstood what I was saying. I'm saying that the graphics should be in the simplistic format -- not the names. The names will be applied to certain combinations of the graphics features. Like Big, Black, and tempermental could equal Arabian Stalion (not that there were many of that breed in the old west).

As for all the rest of the graphics, I'm not saying that we should slack off a bit. I'm just saying that for a prototype, we should make it generalized to get the game's ideas down, and work from there.

Also, I'm not opposed to using famous towns, I'm just sayin that we may have to stick to a town structure as it was at a specific time and keep that layout as is, execpt if they play the online version. When playing the online version, the structure of the town may change according to major historical events or the legends of those historical events. (Thus a better reason to pay per month because they'd just be buying a continueous upgrade. Wouldn't it be more conveinent if the upgrade could be bought and downloaded without having to worry about where the key is? The only requirement is that you have the original disk for instalation.)

As for the one-player mode, you can still have all the explosions of gunpowder barrels, fast-action pistolering, and realistic environmental social-structure that made up the old west. In short, you could re-write history in an idealized simulation by being just as honourable or noutorius as you want.

[edited by - smiley4 on December 13, 2002 5:30:44 PM]
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quote:
Original post by smiley4
I''m sorry if you misunderstood what I was saying. I''m saying that the graphics should be in the simplistic format -- not the names. The names will be applied to certain combinations of the graphics features. Like Big, Black, and tempermental could equal Arabian Stalion (not that there were many of that breed in the old west).

Ok, but this is one area where I excel.

quote:
Original post by smiley4
The landscape can also be simplified using Bryce 4 or 5. Since it''s a more intuitive program than 3DS max, I can create certian styles of map that can be reused by the computer in the square pattern of map building and then I can create textures that can be applied to any one of those squares. In short, the simple stuff can be made with simple programs, but as for significant buildings and characters, I will have to create those with 3DS max because it will be more data if I don''t.

Can you make models and export them to a simple text format with an identifying name, texture, or color for each surface? Procedural textures are the way to go for many if not most surfaces. By ''procedural'' I might, for one object, mean a runtime shader, and for another, I might mean a texture which is procedurally generated at game development time.

Take, for example, a 4x4 post of a fence. If you modeled a fence, composed of slats and posts, you could attach a texture name or color to the posts. A program could then read the data file, determine which geometry is describing the posts by the color or texture applied to the posts, and then invoke a procedural texture generator to generate textures for those items.

Let me show you how this can be very powerful. Let''s say you create a horse model, but you are not inclined to create complex horse colorings, as you have apparently indicated. We wouldn''t want this anyway, because, unless you want to create 20 different appaloosa textures, we''d all have appaloosas running around that look the same. And furthermore, a player should be able to identify the unique markings of his horse.

Here''s how it works. A single texture is created for all horses. This texture has a green face on the front which blends to blue on the sides. The whole horse head blends to red on the neck, and then yellow across the body, and blending to grey on the rump. The lower parts of the legs blend to black, and the hooves are yet a different color.

A procedural texture generator is then able to read the color on the horse''s body and determine what area of the horse''s body the procedure is generating color for. Since the rump is grey, the procedure can create spots if the horse is an appaloosa. Since the face is green, the procedure knows how and where to place blaze, stripe, star and snip markings. Since the lower legs are colored black, the procedure knows how and where to generate white stocking and sock markings.

If you were to texture a horse according to the parameters I outlined above, I could demonstrate for you a program that could generate an infinite number of horse colorings that are true to real life, and would likely change your mind with regard to the potentials of how diverse and realistic the graphcis can be.

In reality, there are some specifics that I would need to go over with you on how to generate that base texture.

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More specifically, the procedure generator would need a base texture which is not blended in red and green, but blue only.

For example, let's say the horse's body is colored with the RGB triple (10, 10, 45) and the horse's rump is colored with the RGB triple (67, 92, 200).

At this point, no blending is done. There is a discrete difference between the border of the two areas. Then bring the texture file into Photoshop and turn on blur for the blue channel only to invoke blending.

What this achieves: the red and green channels remain unblended. This way, the procedure generator program can determine absolutely which area of the texture it is in by the identifying red and green primaries. And then, by comparing the blend factor of the green primary, the program can determine the transition from one area to another. Given this information, the program knows which area it is in, but also how close it is to another area.

[edited by - bishop_pass on December 13, 2002 6:01:57 PM]
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