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Mechadon
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xAn said:
Any chance for a new beta getting in touch with?

I do have plans for another public test candidate release. Most likely it will come after I finish the current map I'm working on (MAP04). But that's as specific of a time frame as I can get at the moment because I have no idea when I'll finish the map. My mapping has been so infrequent on this project so who knows when that will happen.

There's also a small question of COOP compatibility that I would like to figure out before doing the next public test release. Making the maps 100% COOP friendly is kind of up in the air at the moment because of a couple of reasons. I planned for the project to be pretty much singleplayer-only from the beginning, so working in COOP-friendly items and so on will require quite a bit of extra work. Essel and Seele attempted a COOP run of the project for me recently to help prepare the maps for multiple players, but Zandronum choked on MAP05 making it really difficult to play. So at the moment I'm not even sure I want to bother with COOP-izing the maps if they will be too laggy to play.

Anyway the tl;dr is, yes, there will be another test candidate released to the public at an undetermined time in the future :)

Old Post 01-09-14 02:53 #
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Memfis
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I played MAP01 with two friends in Zandronum, it was an enjoyable experience and I would appreciate if you put some effort into making Coop play possible. I'm not so much talking about item balance and stuff (if there are problems with that, most likely they can be solved by simply adjusting the item respawn time or some other parameters), just asking to make sure that the players can't get stuck somewhere because of closing bars, etc.

Old Post 01-09-14 03:46 #
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Mechadon
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I would really like to have, at the very least, COOP-friendly support for all of the maps. Basically meaning that rooms that close off after a trigger will have a secondary access for other players. So yea, essentially what your asking for Memfis is the least I would like to implement. It seems as though that these large maps would be an interesting challenge for multiple players to tackle. And I don't want to remove a feature like that if the maps would really be fun in COOP.

There were some other suggestions made to me regarding shortcuts for COOP (so if a player dies, they don't have to trudge through miles of map). But that probably won't be possible on the finished maps since they are so close to the limits :(. I'm also not sure adding COOP-only monsters might be a good idea, though I was thinking about it before finding out that MAP05 was very laggy. But these features may not really matter that much in the end.

Now that I think about it, maybe it would be best for me to release a new test candidate and let everyone give feedback/bug reports for COOP-friendliness. That seems to make more sense than making a decision before the test candidate release.

Oh hey look, I redid a sky texture again because hey why not.

http://i.imgur.com/31tGFuXl.png http://i.imgur.com/GT6hjExl.png

The orange/pink sherbert sky was a bit overbearing and a little too dithered. I don't know why but I have struggled with making a sky for MAP04. I thought green might look ok since that color wasn't represented in any of the skies, so this is what I came up with. I was going to wait to show it after making some more progress on the map. But I figured it might be good to find out if it sucks or not before showing off any new areas.

For those of you who liked the sherbert sky, don't fret. It will make an appearance elsewhere. Not the actual texture, but the same general color scheme is used in a different sky (with a much nicer texture).

Old Post 01-13-14 09:02 #
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Ribbiks
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I think the bright greens look great with the brown/sprock, but I'm not sold on mixing it with the mellower greens in the marble. The blood/flesh detailing suggests a classic hell-christmas theme that might be better complemented by a red sky.

Though the longer I stare at that first shot the less it bothers me..

Old Post 01-13-14 09:57 #
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Dutch Doomer
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Looks quite impressive yet again :) Not too sure about the sky though, awsome as it is it isn't really going well with the stock textures. Like you forgot to put in the rest of the custom textures. It might be just me though. Looks super sexy otherwise, kudos for going big.

How many maps are you planning?

Old Post 01-13-14 11:28 #
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Demon of the Well
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Well, let me first say that I'm all for the idea of each map having a drastically different sky (as opposed to the three later maps all having some kind of red/pink/orange 'burning sky' variant, etc.). I am a little surprised you decided to reinvent the sky for this map ('Faxanadu', is it?) to such a degree, but that's probably just one of those DooMy gestalt things--the map's evidently made largely out of green marble blocks, dirt, iron, and wood, which of course says "Ultimate Doom E4" to lots of folks, which in turn says "some kind of orange-ish dusk/dawn sky."

Of course, there's no reason for you to have to throw your weight behind that particular convention. I think the green/mountainous sky you have there can work, and I'd posit that the reason it's looking kind of weird/flat to people (which it does, sort of) isn't because of some core incompatibility between it and the stock textures or because of the green/light green/brown color scheme, but rather because it looks like there's no lighting work to speak of currently implemented in either of those shots, which makes the landscape look rather washed out in comparison to the strident toxic-green shade of the sky. Not knowing what sort of lighting scheme you have planned for the map, I can only say that if the finished landscape is planned to be fairly gloomy/shadowy with a lot of light contrast, I think that green sky could work very well, sort of giving the impression of casting a sickly post-nuclear glow over the strange surroundings. On the other hand, I reckon I'd say that the brighter you planned for the final landscape to be, the more I'd personally lean towards suggesting something a little more conventional, color-wise.

Old Post 01-13-14 19:46 #
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Mechadon
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Oh yes, there is no lighting done in those screenshots. That will make a judgement a bit more difficult. Sorry I should have mentioned that! My process might be weird in relation to other mappers since I like to do my lighting as a separate process after finishing layout/architecture. As far as the outside, ambient lighting is concerned, it will probably be standard stuff (I'm guessing either 192 or 176 for the sky lighting level).

I had the same reservations about the green sky+green GSTONE making scenes look too flat. There were probably 4 or 5 different sky textures and color combinations I tested, and I was left with a choice between the current green sky you see, and this one:

http://i.imgur.com/AgwdldWl.png
(imagine the weird, orange spikey mountains are replaced with the brown mountains) (this sky will be used in a sekrit map btw)

Hopefully that's a good shot and a good comparison of the E4~ish look with the GSTONE. I was going for that orange+pink E4 dusk sky look that you mentioned DotW...in fact, it uses the exact same color palette as the E4 sky ;). The orange and pink have a nice contrast with GSTONE, and it gives off the very recognizable E4 vibe as well.

Some other things that I had to consider, that I didn't bring up, is that the map [probably] will feature a lot more browns than what you see. My original concept for MAP04 was to make a gothic~ish cityscape with lots of individual buildings and a bit more focus on human construction mixed in with some gothic "marble n' metal" here and there. I want the theme to act as sort of a buffer, transitioning the player from techbases in the first 3 maps to gothic and then finally hellscapes in the latter 3+ maps. So when deciding if the green would work, I tried to think if it would work well with the other texture themes I want to use (but obviously those areas don't exist yet, so there's nothing to compare them against).

But it seems like the sky by itself is fine, right? I thought it came out pretty good considering some of my previous textures (I'm using a slightly different approach to making them now). If so, it seems to be a question of how it works with the look of the texture theme and architecture. So I'll just jump back on doing some mapping and see how things turn out as progress is made. At the current moment, the green sky is growing on me. The great thing about though this situation is that it is extremely easy to swap out sky textures.


Dutch Doomer said:
How many maps are you planning?

As far as the 'main' episode goes, that will be 6 maps plus 1 boss map. I will most likely keep the silly April Fool's release map in for giggles too. Aside from that, there are a couple of secrets that might be included as well ;)

Last edited by Mechadon on 01-13-14 at 22:13

Old Post 01-13-14 22:06 #
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Mechadon
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Hey guys! For some reason I don't really post updates in here very often these days. I have been making some decent progress lately though so I figured posting some work-in-progress shots of MAP04 and a few other things would be a good idea.

Here are some shots of the areas I'm currently working on in MAP04. Note that, as usual, my in-progress shots don't usually have any lighting done in them.

http://i.imgur.com/Z8RpO9Bl.pnghttp://i.imgur.com/wsWM8wml.png
http://i.imgur.com/5o73WCJl.pnghttp://i.imgur.com/i1NgSW3l.png

I've also updated/remade some of the sky textures (again, yes).

MAP01, MAP02, MAP03, and MAP05

You'll notice that I ditched the green sky for the orange sky in MAP04. The E4 look was too good to pass up; the orange with the greens and browns seems to pop (plus I really like how the sky came out). I'm using the green sky for something else and, hopefully, it'll work better in that instance.

So I can't remember if I've talked much about MAP04 or not. The basic idea behind it is a gothic cityscape with a few instances of human construction mixed in. I want it to act as sort of a transition from the techbases in the first 3 maps to the hellish stuff in the latter maps. Gameplay wise, I'm looking to keep things non-linear like the other maps, but with a central hub at the center of the city where there will be some sort of important thing to do. I'm hoping to have the flow be a bit like MAP02's, but on a much larger scale.

Right now I'm going really heavy on the GSTONE stuff; I haven't really delved into the overarching cityscape theme yet. It's actually something I'm not familiar with making so it'll be an interesting exercise, I hope. I'm going to try and push for a large-scale sense to most of the architecture, without falling into the problems I had with MAP05's large, blank walls. The GSTONE castle will likely be an isolated area, atleast in its heavy usage. But we'll see...I'm kind of enamored with this texture at the moment. Once I move on to other areas of the map, I'm going to try a diverse texture palette and hope that works well in a cityscape style theme.

Aside from my latest work on MAP04, I've done a ton of behind the scenes work. I've made more updates to the existing maps, in particular with MAP05. Many of the large, blank walls have been made slightly less blank over time as I'm able to squeeze out lines from area to area. The other maps have had a zillion little and big things tweaked and changed over time. There's also some secret things I've worked on that will [hopefully] make an appearance in the final release. I also have a boss monster planned, but that is going to heavily depend on whether or not a sprite set can be made/found (I'm working with Cage on this one so hopefully it'll turn out).

Since there have been so many updates since the first public test candidate, I'm going to shoot for a second public test candidate after MAP04 is in a playable state. I have no idea when this is gonna happen, but ideally it will happen before the end of Summer if I can keep myself motivated.

Also I have a quick question to ask for those interested in COOP. The maps will be made COOP friendly eventually; I'm hoping a second test candidate will provide some good feedback in that regard. My question is this - would extra COOP monsters be a welcome addition? I suppose it depends on the map somewhat. But if the general consensus is yes, then I can work them in before I do another test candidate release.

I'll try to remember and make some more frequent updates in here in the future (so long as I'm still mapping) :)

Last edited by Mechadon on 05-14-14 at 19:48

Old Post 05-14-14 06:07 #
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Obsidian
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Good grief, I hope the dreck I'm working on looks even half this epic. Excellent job man and good luck with the rest.

Old Post 05-14-14 06:19 #
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General Rainbow Bacon
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Holy shit. You put anything I do to shame. This is doom art at it's finest.

Old Post 05-14-14 06:45 #
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DeathevokatioN
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Looks outstanding mek, I can only just imagine what it'd look like after lighting! ;)

Old Post 05-14-14 14:26 #
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Suitepee
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The guy who made my favourite map in all of BTSXE1 is making his own megawad full of seemingly artsy maps?

Consider me interested!

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http://www.twitch.tv/johnsuitepee/ = Doom: The Lost Golden Souls livestream part 2 coming soon...

Old Post 05-14-14 16:21 #
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[WH]-Wilou84
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Mechadon said:
My question is this - would extra COOP monsters be a welcome addition?

Yes please. :)
Added difficulty ( either in real co-op / survival conditions or with the -solo-net parameter ) is always welcome. But it may cost you a lot more time to properly balance all this, so I dunno... We certainly don't wanna die before playing this :o

As for the screens, as usual you do have very impressive vistas here.
The skies are great, except maybe the map01 one ( a pure blue-ish sky like the map02 one would look better, the green layer is too distracting I think ).

Cheers and good luck with all the work that remains. :)

Old Post 05-14-14 21:23 #
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Mechadon
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Thanks as always for the kind words guys :)


Suitepee said:
The guy who made my favourite map in all of BTSXE1 is making his own megawad full of seemingly artsy maps?


Actually its only 6 maps for this particular project, heh. But they are huge maps so, in a way, it'll almost be like a megawad crunched down into 6 maps (well maybe not quite, but close).

Also I'm glad you enjoyed my BTSX map!


[WH]-Wilou84 said:
Added difficulty ( either in real co-op / survival conditions or with the -solo-net parameter ) is always welcome. But it may cost you a lot more time to properly balance all this, so I dunno... We certainly don't wanna die before playing this :o

Thanks for your input Wilou! Hopefully I'll get a bit more feedback in relation to this question before I do another test release. But what I'll most likely end up doing is just the standard COOP escalation; add in extra monsters across each difficulty level. I also like to sprinkle extra power-ups around in COOP so I'll try to do that as well. If I can think of any neat additions for COOP aside from the usual escalation, I'll test them out. It will require extra testing on my end, but I'll likely just test to make sure the map works mechanically with COOP monsters, and leave balancing issues for the public test release.

Oh yea, regarding the MAP01 sky, thanks for your feedback there as well :). I've grown to really like the green hills in the background even though there is a very distinct contrast between the blues and the greens. The hills lay very low on the horizon so you just get a glimpse of them in specific areas in the map, unlike the perspective I took that screenshot at.

Old Post 05-15-14 19:00 #
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Doom_user
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Mechadon said:
Also I have a quick question to ask for those interested in COOP. The maps will be made COOP friendly eventually; I'm hoping a second test candidate will provide some good feedback in that regard. My question is this - would extra COOP monsters be a welcome addition? I suppose it depends on the map somewhat. But if the general consensus is yes, then I can work them in before I do another test candidate release.


5 reccommendations for COOP friendly levels

-When a player reaches a new weapon or key in the level, make a compartment open in the starting area which contains a duplicate of that weapon or key.

-As players reach new areas in the level, make compartments open in the starting area with quick access teleporters to those areas.

-Don't let monsters overrun the starting area.

-Make sure all doors, lifts, and switches that open doors or raise or lower lifts can retriggered if necessary.

-Don't put long sections in the level where the player has to run through non stop damaging floors.

Old Post 05-15-14 21:12 #
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40oz
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The contrast in the clouds in all those skies is beautiful. Despite the textures I've made, I always have a really hard time with skies, and usually resort to recoloring and morphing existing skies in hopes of making them unrecognizable. I guess it has something to do with gauging a vanishing point/horizon line or something.

do you make them yourself? If so, could you share some tips?

Old Post 05-15-14 21:23 #
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Mechadon
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I've edited the original post with an updated project description just in case anyone is interested.


Doom_user said:
5 reccommendations for COOP friendly levels


Thanks for the tips Doom_user! I will be sure to do as many of those things that I can (some will be impossible now due to static limitations...ugh).


40oz said:
do you make them yourself? If so, could you share some tips?


Thanks 40oz, I'm glad you like the skies :).

I've spent way too many hours trying to figure out the best way to make sky textures. I've tried making them from scratch but that's pretty difficult to do if you want to make them look somewhat natural. I've also tried using stock photos which helps to retain a more natural look, but I've found that you have to be very selective in the kind of photos you use. So I've settled on a method that basically uses stock photos as a base which I heavily modify so that it will look good in Doom's palette. If your trying to make a sky from scratch, then my tips might not be quite as useful.

It depends on the texture your looking for, but I've found that most sky textures need lots of details. Unlike normal textures, the player always views the sky texture as if its zoomed in. Because of this, large swaths of blotchy colors don't look nearly as good in the sky versus what you see in the image editor. Take the old MAP02 sky for example. I was attempting to make a low contrast, soft sky texture. But Doom's color palette just can't pull off that look very well. In the new sky for MAP02, you can see that the smaller, more densely packed cloud texture, along with more contrast, works waaaay better. Most of the time the base image I'm using won't have enough details, so I will either paint some new ones in or play around with the clone tool a bit.

Contrast is really important too. The way I approach coloring is to desaturate my base texture, fiddle around with contrast/brightness a bit, and then experiment with various color palettes. Different ranges in the Doom palette work better at different contrasts and brightnesses. But for the most part, the higher the contrast, the easier it is for a color range to bite into the image without losing details. Colors like the blue range work best in a high-contrast image. You can get away with slightly less contrast with the browns and pinks since those ranges have more colors and can work well with a few other ranges. Many times I'll have to do some manual painting to get the shadows and highlights just right since fiddling with the brightness/contrast sliders can kill off a lot of your details.

The addition of a horizon is actually something I just discovered recently. It goes a long way in making a sky texture look convincing. I don't think its a necessity though since Doom's original sky textures (well, some of them) don't have vanishing points and they still look great. But if its something you can pull off, it does add a nice layer of depth. Most of my latest skies have the horizon built in from the stock photos I've used. Though I did have some success with using a perspective manipulation tool in GIMP to create a horizon line. If your creating one from scratch, the perspective tool might work though you'll have to try and paint/clone the lower corners where that line gets shrunk.

Something else you may want to experiment with is creating custom color swatches. Maybe GIMP lacks good color palette tools, but I had to rip out each color range from the Doom palette myself and save them as separate color palettes for easy usage. Though you don't always want a sky texture that uses just one color range. So I started making custom color palettes by picking colors from Doom's palette. Some color ranges work pretty well together. For example, the E4 sky uses an orange and pink palette and it looks really awesome. I'm using an extended version of that same color range in the MAP04 sky texture that you can see above. If you can't make a custom color range that works well, sometimes you can get away with painting over top a paletted image (in RGB mode) using colors from the palette and they will still mesh together with a bit of detail lose after converting back to index mode. The desaturated browns and greens can work well for this, and they sometimes play nice with the brown and green range too.

As far as creating a sky from scratch, I think what I would probably do is look at stock photos of skies and just experiment with various methods of noise creation and layer mixing to try and replicate a natural looking sky. The last time I seriously tried it, I had problems creating enough detail. Also getting the perspective right is tricky too since I would usually end up making something that felt really stilted and/or overbearing. If you don't mind working with stock photos, you can mix custom made stuff with that and create something that is entirely different looking. I did that with MAP05's and MAP06's skies.

Hopefully all of that is helpful in some way :). I still struggle with sky texture creation after having remade the skies for this project atleast 9 or 10 times now. Although I guess all of the retakes and repetition helped me figure out the better methods.

Old Post 05-16-14 21:50 #
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40oz
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I was actually looking at your green sky and was thinking I could snap a photo of my carpet or a bucket full of cottonballs with the right lighting from a low angle, then use an image editor to add contrast, stretch the image a little flatter or something. then manually edit it so that it tiles correctly.

Your advice helped a good bit thanks :)

Old Post 05-16-14 22:13 #
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Mechadon
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http://i.imgur.com/ZHd9sjtl.png

>:O

I've been hammering away on MAP04 and I've made some pretty good progress! Here are some minor screenshots so it looks like I'm actually accomplishing something.

http://i.imgur.com/SsIRqb0l.pnghttp://i.imgur.com/rGJVEkxl.png
http://i.imgur.com/ZkAHzSJl.pnghttp://i.imgur.com/R0HXuZQl.png
http://i.imgur.com/P7PVX4Il.pnghttp://i.imgur.com/2Z1GKabl.png

DeeBee Shot

Most of the work I've done is micro and macro detail, though I have finished bits and pieces of major layout. There's still lots of large scale structure I'm working on. Also I haven't really touched many city elements yet; the GSTONE still has its claws in me :P

If I can keep up this pace, hopefully the map will be done~ish near the end of Summer.

Old Post 06-20-14 06:34 #
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Obsidian
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*Fervently takes notes*

I still find it weird that you do the lighting separate, but it sure as Hell seems to work for you. :P Also this(taken from Jungle Spirits by Jimmy).

Old Post 06-20-14 07:25 #
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Dreadopp
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That looks very cool so far. >:O indeed. :)


Obsidian said:
I still find it weird that you do the lighting separate

I tend to do the lighting afterwards as well, especially if I'm adding a new section to the map. I normally wait until that section is mostly done before adjusting the lights. It's kind of a habit for me. :)

Old Post 06-20-14 12:14 #
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Mechadon
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Doing the lighting separately is a weird quirk I picked up a few years ago. I guess it's easier for me to work on certain things in stages (layout, detail, lighting, then gameplay). Particularly with larger maps, doing the design in stages like that means I can focus easier on each component.

That being said, I don't know if it really makes a huge difference in the end product. I think it makes my mapping a tiny bit faster or something :P

Old Post 06-20-14 19:35 #
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Demon of the Well
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Mechadon said:
>:O

<3

Must've missed it last time you posted an update, but it's just as well--there are only so many ways I can say "That looks incredible", after all, and the new batch of shots is no different, even without lighting applied. I particularly like the way some of the (tragically) seldom-seen fleshtech textures are creeping in to some of the interior spaces, and also that new candle sprite--does it animate, or is it static like the traditional small black candle?

As to the issue of co-op compatibility, I don't really play co-op myself and so am unlikely to be devastated if it's not there, but assuming it's present, I could still probably get some use out of it via -solonet mode--kinda like a "New Game+", if you will.

Old Post 06-21-14 04:01 #
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Mechadon
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Thanks as always Demon of the Well :). The candle/candleabra is animated. It uses a simple 2 frame animation which gives it a flicker. Sort of like the Doom 64 candle if you are familiar with it.

I'm hoping to work in more flesh and tech stuff once I start digging into more of the cityscape scenes. Some parts of the map should have techbase themes which are being taken over by hell/gothic themes. That's the plan anyways.

Old Post 06-21-14 06:23 #
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Jimmy
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wheeeeee Mechadon have my babbys

Old Post 06-21-14 17:00 #
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SFoZ911
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You sure know to be creative using the stock texture. +1

Old Post 06-21-14 17:34 #
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xAn
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*push*push*push*

Old Post 08-06-14 22:12 #
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Mechadon
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Uhhhh...here have an unfinished snake head thing.

http://i.imgur.com/TLbA4zAl.png

Old Post 08-07-14 03:57 #
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Demon of the Well
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Excsssssellent. Be sure to put a venomous fight thereabouts.

Old Post 08-07-14 04:39 #
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Obsidian
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Haha, have a heap of HKs behind a middle texture so it looks like it's spitting poison at you. :D

Old Post 08-07-14 04:58 #
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