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Jiia

Trees

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I'm a bit stuck. I'm not sure where else I can cry about this, so I thought I would bother you guys. In my game's invironment, there are going to be a ton of trees. Almost everywhere you look. The camera viewpoint is similar to Prince Of Persia (two newest releases). Here's a barren screenshot. The problem is that I want really huge trees sprawling into the sky. These trees are going to easily seperate the player or enemies from the camera. The camera can be manually rotated, but I want to avoid making the player do this often. On the other hand, if the camera rotates automatically, the player's input directions change, making things a mess. I've seen games that turn static objects (trees) transparent or show outlines or silhouettes of the player. These ideas seem better to me than camera rotation, but they also keep slapping "this is a game" into the players face. I would love to find some other choices. I have limited access to other games to play myself, so I was wondering if perhaps someone could explain some features used by other games they've played? With all of the medieval MMORPGs spilling into the market, there are probably a lot of tree situations. Or if you just have an idea or suggestion, that would be just as welcome. Thanks

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1) is it a 3D game? (apparantly it is, lol)
2) is it PnC or WASD?
3) what is the reason of allowing players to see things behind a tree or a wall?

In a PnC design, allowing player to rotate the camera freely is a great asset, such as in Lineage, that seems to be the only good of PnC.

Make the tree or wall transparent will not kill the players' feeling about a game, players might not even notice the effect as long as the view is natural to eyes, such as in UO (though it's 2D). Actually I think transparency is a feature the current games are lacking. I guess extra coding might be involved since the effect doesn't seem to be supported by nowadays display cards. So will this discrease the fps? If so that's a big concern.

I am a noob on the 3D stuff so dont take my words seriously. :P

[Edited by - Hawkins8 on June 7, 2005 10:53:56 PM]

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You could limit the amount of branchs on lower area of the trees. If you look at RL trees/forests they tend to have less branchs near the bottom.

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The reason the player needs to see around trees is because they will be plentiful. Like a real forest. And if the tree scale is true to life, one tree could hide an entire character from view easily. The player could run right into a sword without realizing it [smile]

It's not point and click. It's very action oriented. You can play with WASD, analog, or the mouse. Actually any kind of input can be used to move around. But you also have to be ready to dish out jumps, sword swings, and kicks. Rotating the camera would be very annoying during the combat of my game. With a mouse, it wouldn't be too bad. The double buttons along with shift provide all of the attacks even as you move the camera. But with a controller, even a dual analog controller, using one of the sticks to operate the camera will require removing your fingers from attack buttons. A very bad thing during heated combat.

Oh, and transparency is very supported by modern hardware. Although 2D API support is all but gone, all of that stuff can be done with 3D API's to mimic 2D. Never tried to make a full fledge 2D system with a 3D api. Just my interface and GUI controls.

I appreciate the suggestions so far

edit:

I know I'm asking a lot. A 3rd person action oriented combat driven engine where one can do hardcore battle in a dense forest without having the view obstructed. Sounds impossible. If anyone just has ideas on how to improve or change the alpha-blending or outlining tricks, I would love to hear them. Random ideas are fine!

[Edited by - Jiia on June 7, 2005 11:24:56 PM]

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What is the aesthetic you are trying to achieve? Is it important to have bunches of trees because it makes you feel like you're in a real forest; because it looks cool; because it provides tactical considerations; or because you have the technological capacity to do so?

If you really want to create forests, what about a level design that calls for tightly knit areas mixed with clearings. The tightly knit areas would help create the feeling of the forest, and could be navigated through but not fought in (or maybe not navigated through at all, in some cases). Your character could even all but disappear, and you could show branches swaying and birds flying to capture the feel of a forest. Enemies would, by design, simply stick to the clearings, which are tree sparse, and you'd have a natural room / safe hallway system, if that was acceptable.

Alternately, you could bring the camera above the character's head, but I really don't like that situation. Or you could use some sort of market when they're obscured, but that snuffs out some of the hard work on animation.

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You could try the Resident Evil approach. Those types of games use static camera angles so the player doesn't have to worry about "getting the best view", though if done poorly they can backfire and be worse off than a free-roam camera. Or in combat you can have the camera automatically pan to a more suitable (or preset/player-defined) viewpoint.

Of course, as others have mentioned you could use the alpha to turn objects that obstruct the players view of his avatar ghostly, and transparent.

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What about going to an over-the-shoulder camera view or something like that? Bringing the camera down and close in to the player would both make the trees seem taller (because you're viewing them from lower) and might increase the feeling of crowdedness...

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Quote:
Original post by Gyrthok
You could try the Resident Evil approach. Those types of games use static camera angles so the player doesn't have to worry about "getting the best view", though if done poorly they can backfire and be worse off than a free-roam camera. Or in combat you can have the camera automatically pan to a more suitable (or preset/player-defined) viewpoint

That's pretty much how it works. The camera keeps the player in the center of view, but other than that, it's automatic stuff is optional. Are you saying that trees getting in the way of a view without automatic rotations would be okay? Or is there another trick to doing this with locked views that I'm not getting?

I really want to avoid a Hitman / Rune camera. I personally dislike that view quite a lot, especially when dealing with melee combat. That or a first person view would be a really huge change. The feeling of the game and the way it's controlled. My camera is not glued to the player in that way. It moves with him, but it's behavior is more similar to a 2D RPG than anything else. You can zoom and rotate, but these actions will normally be unnecessary. Since the view is looking so downward, buildings and such will not be much of a problem. Trees, though, will fill a lot of my screen.

Another problem I'll probably have is the fact that my trees will be built from components (trunks, braches). It just means making the object transparent isn't going to cut it. It would reveal the connections and open edges of the mesh.

Quote:
Original post by Hawkins8
To your question, how about employing a radar map.

That's not a bad idea. It would definitely prevent the player from running into those swords. But I'm not sure that alone would be enough, or how well it would fit into a medieval theme. I'll have to consider it.

Thanks again for the suggestions

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I quite like super pigs idea of adjusting the cameras distance from the main character based on who open the current area is. Standing on open hill the camera is far enough for you to see for miles. crawling through a narrow cave the camera so close you can almost touch it.

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