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General Category => AI War Classic => AI War Classic - Mods & Modding => Topic started by: eRe4s3r on December 23, 2009, 08:10:08 AM

Title: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: eRe4s3r on December 23, 2009, 08:10:08 AM
Colony Ship and Transport replacement do not work anymore since sprite sizes changed

Oh yes... install, extract transport ship rar in your AI War/Images directory, back up first

Colony Ship replacement here -> http://arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,2653.0.html
Transport replacement here -> http://arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,2662.0.html

The rar includes the fortress and shield gens in their respective folders, all animated and all color masked

The fortress now has... glow
The forcefield now have... glow (except the smallest 1 (MK1) since its just 32x32 ~.~

Only thing is that the color mask might cause some weirdness on the fortress..since the brightness isn't totally uniform ;p

Edit: Oh yes, thats about all the gfx mods i am doing for now ;)

Merry xmas everyone ;p

By the way, for those who want a more "fitting" color mask for the fortress with generally darker tone can dl alternate below (just replace the color mask.png in the flying fortress folder
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: FFLaguna on December 23, 2009, 08:30:07 AM
For the fortress, can we get some asymmetric "bars" radiating out from the center, just like the image you said the fortress would be modeled after? The one you came up with is gorgeous, but it's too symmetric! :D
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: eRe4s3r on December 23, 2009, 08:36:09 AM
hehe.. well i will see about that... but sadly that "fancy" image doesn't really scale well to 512x512 (i never build a fortress so i didn't even know that they were this large, heh)

For the moment nobody will ever build a fortress anyway (since they are completely useless) consider them a large, useless glowing beacon of hope for now ;)

That said, i am maybe doing a revision of the fortress but given its size it won't be anytime soon

Ma boredom is limited
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: FFLaguna on December 23, 2009, 09:17:33 AM
Okay, well how about this: The blue domes on the ends of the spokes are a bad color. It ruins the cool metal and light blue look that the rest of it has. ;)
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: eRe4s3r on December 23, 2009, 09:33:19 AM
Well then you have to pick another player color! ;)

If you REALLY dislike player colors altogether you can just replace any colormask.png (in the folders in images/ships) with this one

Its empty so all ships display their "true" color for the fortress that would be a very dark grey
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: FFLaguna on December 23, 2009, 09:47:43 AM
Oh, thanks a ton! Heheh, I'll use the color mask you suggested :D
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: raptor331 on December 23, 2009, 12:19:14 PM
wow didn't think my request for a new fortress skin would be answered so fast thanks!!!! ;D
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: I-KP on December 23, 2009, 02:56:29 PM
If anyone is interested I've been using this as a replacement Fortress sprite:

(http://www.btinternet.com/~shotgun.anaemia/flyingfortress.jpg)

Now that's what I call a lump of heavy metal.  (Shame the stats don't match the bark, eh.  "Soon my pretty.  Soon.")

Here (http://www.btinternet.com/~shotgun.anaemia/flyingfortress.rar) are the PNGs.  (Re-used bits and pieces already in the game here and there in the above.)
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: Spikey00 on December 23, 2009, 03:08:44 PM
*Explodes*

Chris should totally replace the default fortress model with one of these... rofl.  I sure like them!
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: Kaptein on December 23, 2009, 05:23:56 PM
I-KP now THAT is a good bitmap
I've been pixel arting (although hobby-ishly) with and around some of the all time masters, like Fool (http://www.pixeljoint.com/pixelart/29178.htm)
i must say, that is pretty top shelf, even if its not pixel art :) if all of ai war had that style it would have been a crime to complain

Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: I-KP on December 23, 2009, 05:50:48 PM
It's not all pixel art, granted.  I do try not to deviate from the style that has already been established within a game which is predominantly pixel art-esque for Ai War.  The Golems have pushed that boundary back a bit tho with their more render art angle, which the above is more in tune with.  Bare in mind also that I pinched the spikey Golem render for the second ring in the above so it's not entirely done from scratch, just very heavily altered.  (Easy way to keep to an established style is to recycle some bits of things already done - bit of a cheat some might say but the important part being that nothing from other games is recycled.)
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: eRe4s3r on December 23, 2009, 09:22:18 PM
Yesh that looks much better indeed ;p

But you really put way too much effort in that one!  ;D :D Reusing existing sprite parts.. i never thought of that...

Seeing that fortress reminds me that it'd be nice if the ships were 3D Models.. one could do so much more in terms of light/shadow and glow effects that way.. ah well ,p

Do you have any more replacement sprites?  ;D
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: raptor331 on December 23, 2009, 09:31:03 PM
Yesh that looks much better indeed ;p

But you really put way too much effort in that one!  ;D :D Reusing existing sprite parts.. i never thought of that...

Seeing that fortress reminds me that it'd be nice if the ships were 3D Models.. one could do so much more in terms of light/shadow and glow effects that way.. ah well ,p

Do you have any more replacement sprites?  ;D

If the game used 3d models my computer wouldn't be able to handle this game :'(
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: eRe4s3r on December 23, 2009, 11:38:19 PM
Well tis true, but AI war only saturates my basic strategy urge, not my "Homeworld 3 (Style) with Total War aspect (Map) " urge, and as a 3d-artist of course my "grand space visuals" urge (which is the main reason i even do spaceships in space renderings ,p).

Or to put it bluntly, i grave for epic visuals or a Nexus 2 or Homeworld 3 release :D
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: RCIX on December 23, 2009, 11:43:51 PM
If you want an awesome space game check out Evochron Legends (http://starwraith3dgames.home.att.net/evochronlegends/index.htm)! i saw it from a blog post linked to by someone on this forum, i forget where -- something about Sugar Free Gamer...

I plan to pick it up soon, but i think Droid Assault (http://www.puppygames.net/droid-assault) is first. Just not sure...

[end shameless plug of other indie type games]
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: eRe4s3r on December 24, 2009, 01:28:49 AM
Mhh, Evochron is just a X³ wannabe ;) And X³ is pretty much the space sim standard .. sadly its not really very RTS like, has no decent story, no decent gameplay at all besides shooting and trading (and juggling the UI)

I'll just play Homeworld 2 Complex 7.4 ...
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: Kaptein on December 24, 2009, 10:06:23 AM
i had no idea pixel art could be so fun, but then i only got into it because i was writing pixel art editor
http://ssedit.fwsnet.net/gonzo/ssedit.png like that

http://ssedit.fwsnet.net/gonzo/animegirl.png for example :P if its not fun to do, I'm not doing it
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: I-KP on December 24, 2009, 11:15:37 AM
Quite.  Pixel art is extraordinarily laborious so if it's not fun it simply doesn't work.   ;D

As for any other sprites, not any major ones that haven't already been posted up on these boards somewhere; however, I have replaced a few of the standard shot images.  I didn't like the massive snowball energy bomb so turned that into something sleaker (but still white and easy to see), changed the sniper shot into a skinny lazer bolt rather than a big blob, changed the lightning ball explosion into a radial electrical burst with a defined centre (was har to tell what was firing the lightning before), gave missiles a subtle flame trail instead of a wide cloud of smoke, &c.  Nothing major really.

Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: raptor331 on December 27, 2009, 01:14:59 AM
I can think of some starships that might need a little redone, the leech and the zenith starship for instance. Just thought that for next time your bored.
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: I-KP on December 27, 2009, 07:52:28 AM
Actually, I've done a Superfortress.  (Well, started one.)  Super-Heavy Metal incomming!
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: I-KP on December 27, 2009, 08:32:57 AM
Super-Heavy Metal (http://arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,2746.0.html) Superfortress sprite alternative.
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: eRe4s3r on December 27, 2009, 08:56:00 AM
Blah seriously, you make me want to do 3D Again ;( Your stuff is just plain awesome

Sadly i think they are TOO detailed, now the starships (capital ships) look out of place, lol
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: I-KP on December 27, 2009, 09:02:22 AM
It is the biggest thing in the game, and is rarer than Pope poo.  Yes, it is rather busy but it's no more detailed than some of the newer GFX to be added to the game thus far from a 'detail per square screen inch' point of view.  The thing is, there are an awful lot of square screen inches on that mother.  ;D
(Which is why it's only a GFX mod for peeps if they like it and not a suggestion for replacement in the core game.) 

Normally I wouldn't dream of doing such a thing if the game was still rooted in the pixel art style but all of the new heavier stuff has become render art in style.  Sit a couple of the newer Golems next to the Super-Heavy Metal sprite and they work, visually.  The origianl Superfortress sprite is 1024x1024 as well.  (This one is actually a fair bit smaller than the original in pixel count - not that that matters for PNGs.)  Reproducing something as large as the Superfortress in pixel art is beyond sadistic.  

I'd be tempted to make the Superfortress unkillable - a perma-threat.
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: Baleur on December 29, 2009, 06:06:27 AM
AI War really REALLY needs a proper 2d artist hired.. I'm talking high quality artistic beautiful stuff. Frankly AI War is making 2d look bad (although i still love the game, it aint about looks! just a little bit ;) ). Its just that, AI War could be incredibly beautiful and soothing to look at, WHILE it is incredibly awesome gameplaywise.
I hate to admit it but as it is now i'm kinda apprehensive about playing it more than 2 hours in a row, its just a tad boring to look at for that long. Yes i am a gfx whore!
But see, its not about "ooh shiny!", its about beauty. If something is appealing to your senses, you're more comfortable with it. This applies to music, art, games, anything.

Such as in these two games, now THIS is 2d done right! --> http://www.vertex4.com/sunage/media - http://positech.co.uk/gratuitousspacebattles/
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: RCIX on December 29, 2009, 06:22:26 AM
Such as in these two games, now THIS is 2d done right! --> http://www.vertex4.com/sunage/media - http://positech.co.uk/gratuitousspacebattles/

That's nothing! you should check out Droid Battles (http://www.puppygames.net/droid-assault/). Maybe i'm just too much a fan of the futuristic clean vector art style, but that is in my opinion far and away the best 2D art i've ever seen (with a close second being Eufloria (http://www.eufloria-game.com/))
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: eRe4s3r on December 29, 2009, 07:47:34 AM
Well you ought to be thankful about whats there ;) Up until recently arcengames was like.. 1 person and a artist. Personally when it comes to 2d, i am more of a effect guy (meaning i can do splosions n'stuff) but i also can do high resolution sprites (what GSB does for example, thats what i do in 50% of my commissions ,p) the thing is, some people are really good at mashups of existing sprites , some are really good at making entirely new 2d sprites, some are good at rendering 3d sprites (and designing!) explosions and stuff.

Of course - i am also a graphics whore , like any gfx artist the thing is, until x4000 focuses completely on fixing all the effects to max quality the game will remain as it is. I have given many suggestions for making the game look better (just imagine at 1004 there wasn't any additive blending for the effects!) but now that we have the blending the next step is to layer effects properly (smoke + glow sprite + effect sprite + spark sprites) and to do this well the entire thing would have to be non-hardcoded (its extremely bad to try to make things look nice when you have to recompile your code all the time).

The problem is that currently it seems there is no interesting in advancing the graphics to entirely new levels - ie, layered effects instead of 1shot animation sprites, dynamic particle system (explosion affect other particles) dust/cloud effects, and of course slight glow sprites for engines, engine trails, explosion overglow, afterglow etc. pp

Redoing the sprites isn't even so much a focus , imo the game could look vastly better with just improving all the other things, on-map environment, effects, particles and such...
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: I-KP on December 29, 2009, 08:37:50 AM
I see nothing in GSB that I haven't done before, better in some cases, but it'd be a huge undertaking to re-skin AI War from top to bottom.  That said there are still a number of things that can be done to what already exists to give the game something of a slight aesthetic make-over:-

- Fix the ugly grey border (http://arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,2716.0.html) effect when scaling bitmaps.  Yes, this might take a while but it'll certainly be quicker than redrawing everything and it will have a significant quick-win impact on the visuals.
- Apply some efficient layering system for effects (overglow, subtle 'contrails' or engine particle effects/sparks &c.).
- Find a style and stick to it.  Before the update AI War seemed to be pixel art in style.  That seems to have crept somewhat into the render art style.  (Personally I prefer the latter for the larger stuff as render art for tiny objects as a hugely ineffecient use of pixel-pushing time.)
- More variation of shot sprites.  (I can churn out alt. shot gfx at a frightening rate if asked.)

Anyway, AI War has a full-time artist now so workload shouldn't be an issue.  *cracks the whip*  ;)

Another thing that adds massively to a game is sound.  IMHO the audio is perhaps the weakest element to AI War.  (Except the music!)  A lot could be done:-

- Cue sound effect volume by distance from the point of view.
- Give distinct shot effects to different ship types.
- Introduce distinct impact sound effects based on damage.
- Add ambient effects for some of the rarer elements (such as distant, eerie metal creaking sounds when there's a broken Golem at the planet) and maybe just for the planet itself (such as a subtle drone / 'galactic wind' effect).  Realism aside, of course, otherwise you'd not hear anything at all!

I'm not entirely inexperienced when it comes to creating sound effects either.  (The Orbital Mass Driver is one.)  It has been a while since I've been out and about with my recorder and made wounderful things in my old and creaky installation of Soundforge.  Ah, thems were the days!
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: eRe4s3r on December 29, 2009, 10:42:47 AM
Ah, i too agree that we need some ambient drone, ambient wind, ambient creeky noises stuff

For an idea on that, play dead space, and just stand still - listen to the ship, every noise tells a story every panel thats active does something, any rumbling is asteroids pounding the hull.. thats the kind of atmosphere a good audio sphere produces

As for the grey border, unless you know way to automate it in photoshop this be impossible to fix for all the sprites.. theres a lot of sprites.... I too explained why this happens before but lack of macro knowledge stopped me from redoing ALL the sprites.. that grey border is impossible to get rid off without modifying every png.. so that sucks. While i can do basic things with macros, how do you duplicate a layer, and use gaussian blur on a LOWER layer - set that to 10% opacity and merge visible and save? Heck, it sounds easy saying it but its a bummer doing this 1600 times.. or more and this only fixes the grey border, not the aliasing issues

Originally the only reason i replaced the colony ships and transport ships was to get rid of the ugly grey border on that so yeah...

I don't think we need to start whip cracking at the artist, we need to start whipping x4000 to make AI War modable ;)
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: I-KP on December 29, 2009, 02:58:16 PM
I've never devled into batch processing but I think it can be configured to grind through a dir.  I'll investigate at some point.
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: RCIX on December 29, 2009, 04:08:37 PM
Well you ought to be thankful about whats there ;)

Don't worry, i am :) i never cared so much about graphics although it does make a game more awesome :D
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: Fiskbit on December 29, 2009, 06:46:07 PM
I've never devled into batch processing but I think it can be configured to grind through a dir.  I'll investigate at some point.

If I had Photoshop, I'd be looking into batch processing right now. Perhaps I'll get the trial in a few days, if no one beats me to doing this. I used batch processing at school to handle converting tons of files back in the day. Wasn't too hard to figure out, but a little confusing on first glance. I'd have to figure it out all over again now, though.
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: RCIX on December 29, 2009, 07:06:28 PM
I've never devled into batch processing but I think it can be configured to grind through a dir.  I'll investigate at some point.

If I had Photoshop, I'd be looking into batch processing right now. Perhaps I'll get the trial in a few days, if no one beats me to doing this. I used batch processing at school to handle converting tons of files back in the day. Wasn't too hard to figure out, but a little confusing on first glance. I'd have to figure it out all over again now, though.
I'll take a shot :D
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: eRe4s3r on December 29, 2009, 07:22:25 PM
Well when you find out how, be sure to write a Tutorial and share it, because the Macro function of Photoshop is a mystery to me  8)
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: RCIX on December 29, 2009, 07:50:46 PM
Well when you find out how, be sure to write a Tutorial and share it, because the Macro function of Photoshop is a mystery to me  8)
Ok, do this:

1. On a dummy image, create an Action with the steps you want to apply to a bunch of images. (in this case, i used I-KP's glow suggestion in the other thread then a Create Layer, Merge Visible, and Save)
2. Open Automate (in file) then Batch...
3. Select the Action you just saved, Folder source with the folder you want to apply it to then check off the bottom 3 checkboxes below that.
4. Destination = Save and Close with Override Action "Save As" commands checked
Click ok and it will start working. The Save action is overriden so that it saves over the original files!
Title: Re: GFX Mod: Alternate Fortress and Forcefield Generators
Post by: Baleur on December 30, 2009, 08:44:23 AM
I see nothing in GSB that I haven't done before, better in some cases, but it'd be a huge undertaking to re-skin AI War from top to bottom.  That said there are still a number of things that can be done to what already exists to give the game something of a slight aesthetic make-over:-

- Fix the ugly grey border (http://arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,2716.0.html) effect when scaling bitmaps.  Yes, this might take a while but it'll certainly be quicker than redrawing everything and it will have a significant quick-win impact on the visuals.
- Apply some efficient layering system for effects (overglow, subtle 'contrails' or engine particle effects/sparks &c.).
- Find a style and stick to it.  Before the update AI War seemed to be pixel art in style.  That seems to have crept somewhat into the render art style.  (Personally I prefer the latter for the larger stuff as render art for tiny objects as a hugely ineffecient use of pixel-pushing time.)
- More variation of shot sprites.  (I can churn out alt. shot gfx at a frightening rate if asked.)

Anyway, AI War has a full-time artist now so workload shouldn't be an issue.  *cracks the whip*  ;)

Another thing that adds massively to a game is sound.  IMHO the audio is perhaps the weakest element to AI War.  (Except the music!)  A lot could be done:-

- Cue sound effect volume by distance from the point of view.
- Give distinct shot effects to different ship types.
- Introduce distinct impact sound effects based on damage.
- Add ambient effects for some of the rarer elements (such as distant, eerie metal creaking sounds when there's a broken Golem at the planet) and maybe just for the planet itself (such as a subtle drone / 'galactic wind' effect).  Realism aside, of course, otherwise you'd not hear anything at all!

I'm not entirely inexperienced when it comes to creating sound effects either.  (The Orbital Mass Driver is one.)  It has been a while since I've been out and about with my recorder and made wounderful things in my old and creaky installation of Soundforge.  Ah, thems were the days!

I agree with all those points :)
Something relatively "easy" that would add alot of visual variety would be as you said, simply different variations of the same shot sprites, or of repetitive sounds such as shot sounds or explosions osunds. Even something as low as 3 varitions would add alot of imaginary depth.