We don't need 3D models! But we do need...

...Extra viewing angles. I think that the doom community would greatly benefit from a modder creating a package of extra viewing angles for the doom monsters, 16 would likely suffice. The reason for this is that currently, in a modern source port, when looking down from a significant angle, one can see the paper thin quality of doom maps. This causes several issues, such as a glaring reminder of even GZDoom's current failings. So... would this ever happen?

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Well, you could easily switch on x/y axis for monsters/decorations in gzdoom/zandronum and in other advanced port settings and they won't look so paper thin while you use mouselook/freelook. 

Edited by Myst.Haruko

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EDGE 1.35 - 2.0.1+ supports 16-angled rotations on sprites, if it helps any.

 

Generally, OpenGL sprite rendering is billboarded. Not much else can be done about that, which is why 3D models are useful for such scenarios where the Z axis needs consideration.

 

 

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I don't see how you could possibly have an accurate, non-awkward looking, consistent set of sprites that could account for extreme angles. I don't know if anyone is actually talented enough to pull it off or if it would even look good. I've thought about this problem and I think that 3D models that look like the sprites, but have been put through some low res post processing effect, might achieve the same thing. 

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Hmm, extra viewing angles. To get the extra viewing angles you are back to models again, as that is the fastest and easiest way to generate all the extra views. 

 

If you are pathological about models, then you either draw them all by hand, hoping you get all the angles and details correct by eye (good luck with that!).

 

Option 3 is to use some kind of photogrammetry software to reconstruct the missing views. Something like this: http://cvl-demos.cs.nott.ac.uk/vrn/ . But, surprise, it creates a 3D model to map the image onto so that you get accurate rotational views of your object. Even though you never manually handled a vertice, you'll know that they are in there somewhere, unseen. Not sure if this will keep you up at night or not. 

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Distortion of sprite-based objects viewed from above/below wouldn't be generally solved by the sprites having vertical view angles, because sprites representing objects of any other shape than a nearly spherical one would end up looking off anyway (imagine for example a thin but tall column). I'm afraid the only reliable way of preventing the distortion that doesn't involve 3D models is not using a 3-point perspective renderer and sticking to 2-point perspective with Y-shearing, at the cost of not being able to look fully up or down. I, for one, am willing to accept this tradeoff and consider Y-shearing the preferred solution, but I understand that not everyone is going to agree.

Edited by scifista42
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I think most relevant ports already support 16 angle sprites. Their use has been exceptionally rare, even in mods for supporting ports.

The main issue here is not the implementation but actually making all those sprites.

For vertical angles the whole story will become even more unappealing. Say you got 3 vertical angles - one from straight ahead, one from above and one from below. Suddenly you do not have 8/16 sprites but 24/48 to make. I guess many modders will walk away in horror at this point.

 

Whereas for a model or voxel you only need to make ONE object!

 

Also, saying "We" is implying a lot, it's a personal preference after all, nothing more.

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Voxel Doom, like most projects, has fallen by the wayside. I think at some point—perhaps in a future where there is an actual economy for modders—we may see devoted teams actually pull it off. Voxels are the ideal solution because they maintain Doom's look better than 3D models. The problem is that they are rendered as a series of cubes and that can eat up resources quickly.

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Physically making sprites, especially ones that manage to replicate the half-pixel-art, half-photo-realism of the Doom monsters, is incredibly difficult.  It's no small feat to just make a bunch more viewing angles that everyone thought looked good.  If it was, we'd all be using them on the ports that supported them.

 

The fact that we're 25ish years on from Doom and still almost universally using the original sprites (or at least small variations of them) is good indication the challenge it would be to add a bunch of new angles.

 

Edited by Bauul

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Well vertical sprites make things more complicated, though last month I had an idea of two sprites for extreme vertical angles. Sprites would be drawn from the viewpoint of straight up from underneath, and one straight down from above. You only need one of each, since then you could ideally rotate the sprite.

 

A working implementation that doesn't feel wonky would mostly likely be a large pain in the rear though, I'd imagine. Even then you'd need spriters to make two extra sprites for it to actually be worth anything.

Edited by Altazimuth
Clarified

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Voxels for props (no animation, or at most a handful) is possible and there are largely complete packs.

 

Voxels for enemies (20+ frames of animation) do not exist.

 

Also there's a sort of uncanny valley effect. The state-based animation in Doom is a very rough system and it tends to look bad with models; I think it'd also look bad with voxels. Among other things, it makes that much more blatant how monster movements are always in one of 8 directions (with sprites, the fact that they can't turn angles smaller than 45° is kinda masked by the granularity of the sprites) and how they just swap from one frame to another without transition. Quake, at least in its vanilla version, has the same problem and the monster behavior kinda looks like stop-motion animation (because, basically, it is a computer version of stop-motion animation). Advanced Quake ports feature interpolation to smooth out model animation and turning, but interpolation wouldn't help with voxels because, contrarily to models, you don't just change vertex positions. You remove some cubes and add some others. Interpolating that in a way that looks natural is a nightmare.

 

Like, imagine two frames. In one, the character has its arm raised, in the other the arm is dangling the character's side. Computer interpolation between these two frames would most likely not be a downward rotation of the arm, but the raised arm retracting like a snail's eyestalk, while the character's flank grows a new arm. Something like this:

lqIaAPm.png

So basically, voxels are good for simple props. They are bad for organic shapes and terrible for complex animations. Doom's entire monster movement and animation system was designed for sprites and is going to look bad with actual shapes instead of moving cardboard pictures. Drawing sprites for differences in elevation is just too much work.

 

And this is why, in 2017, you don't have sprite packs for exotic angles or monster voxel packs.

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How are 16 viewing angles even remotely relevant to the z-axis? I thought that "16 viewing angles" referered to a set of 8 angles in the xy plane (instead of the usual 0, 45, 90 etc. ones.

 

On 8/12/2017 at 10:15 PM, Gez said:

 

And this is why, in 2017, you don't have sprite packs for exotic angles or monster voxel packs.

 

Well, that, and because every single time I see threads/proposals about hi-res/super-detailed sprites/models/voxels and whatnot, they are almost always hiding an intention of somehow skimping on the -admittedly tedious- spriting work, and any discussions end up being more about how to use models to approximate sprites, or how to automatically make voxel sprites from 2D sprites etc., or combinations thereof. With that kind of attitude, of course it's never gonna work, because as soon as one realizes the amount of posprocessing work that must go into it regardless of how "easy" the new technique may have appeared vs hand drawn sprites, most simply wash out.

Edited by Maes

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It would be interesting if a market for modding developed and people were regularly being paid to take on these massive projects. I think the main reason they don't get done is because of the lack of compensation for the work.

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