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    The People's Doom Developement thread: visuals

    I like the direction this seems to be going in.

    How does one make high quality sprites

    Amuscaria. Still somewhat active in the ZDoom community but not Doomworld to the best of my knowledge.

    My ideas for a Duke Nukem fangame

    Made me vaguely reminded of this. (Which I admittedly haven't played, just found the concept memorable when I was browsing the list of Keen mods). I've idly thought that a retelling of the events of one or both of the preceeding games in a Duke 3D mod would be kind of fun, but I'm not really enough of a Duke fan to be bothered to make it happen.
  4. Is that your intended behavior, though? Because if not, the way to fix it, I've found, is to make sure your map gets a proper REJECT map built. Modern node builders are often flaky about this since some modern ports don't bother handling the REJECT map (but those ports also fix the bug in question, so it's a bit of a moot point for non-vanilla maps, but still important if you want your map to be vanilla-compatible). I used to think that the monsters waking up prematurely in vanilla Heretic bug was a sound-related one, and it frustrated me to no end until I discovered that it's actually a sight-related one--under some circumstances they can see through walls and a good REJECT lump will generally prevent that by doing a better job of determining which sectors shouldn't actually be visible from which others. More/thicker walls between earlier areas and the problem ones can also help in some instances but I don't understand the exact triggering of the bug enough to say what the optimal way to do that is, and building a REJECT won't require altering your layout. The monsters sticking together bug seems (just based on my experience) to be made more likely by monsters getting bunched up against walls/doors in the process of trying to chase the player, so it makes sense to keep them in their guard positions until fight time unless you intend for them to be wandering the map to reach the player via connected passages rather than just waiting in a closed area.

    How does one make high quality sprites

    I don't have the time or energy to write a full treatise on this (although I seem to have gotten halfway there in the process anyway) or to dig up some of the more helpful tutorials I've looked at in the past, but I'll try to at least give my basic pointers. First, how good are you at drawing, in general? It sounds like most of your experience is in "frankenspriting", i.e. combining and editing existing sprites. You can pick up certain skills from doing sprite edits but if you want to learn to do sprites from scratch, that's the arena you have to practice in: drawing stuff from scratch. There are a lot of sub-topics in this but the main things I would advise studying are: * Anatomy. In particular, focus on what parts of the body exist, and how they connect. A lot of people will make a big deal about proportions but spritework is very often distorted in this respect to better accentuate the "important" details--it's more important that your proportions are consistent and visually pleasing than that they be "correct". That's not to say that understanding the natural proportions of the body is useless, though. * Color usage. This is often times what makes or breaks something that's otherwise structurally sound, so for anything that's going to be in color this is worth studying up on. In reality, things aren't always actually the colors you think they are. Try opening some digital photos in your editor and using the color picker tool to investigate what the actual colors of light, dark and midtone areas of an object are. You might be surprised. Where the light and shadows go is also a frequent sticking point for beginners. * Animation. This is, in my opinion, the hardest and most tedious part, since you have to be able to make the sprite look like it's moving naturally and not just distorting. Refrain from the temptation to copy-paste as much as possible, and actually redraw the frames (there are times when copying can save you work, like mirroring frames and such, but many things simply are not going to look right if all you do is select bits and shift them around in 2D space). Learn other stuff if it's useful, but be wary of whether it really is useful. Good books can be very useful but there are a lot of how-to books on drawing that teach little to nothing of actual value. Avoid ones that specifically focus on superhero comics or anime in particular because they tend to be more about the tropes of the genre in question than about drawing in a more general sense. Now when it comes to Doom sprites in particular, most 3D games that used sprites either based them off of models (physical or digital) or else took shortcuts like the Wolfenstein 3-D era games that only drew monsters facing from the front. In the case of models, they were usually touched up a bit afterwards to emphasize the important details. Most of the Doom creatures and weapons were based partially or entirely off of physical models that were photographed (some custom made, some using toys or other objects like the chainsaw being based on an actual chainsaw). HacX likewised based at least some of the creatures off of similar techniques. Raven seemed to prefer working off of digital models rather than physical ones. You can theoretically hand-draw a full set of 3D sprite rotations from hand, but for most people (myself included) that's more work than it seems to be worth; I personally would advise learning 3D modeling if you really want to work with homemade graphics for 3D games but that's a whole other can of worms (although my advice on the most important points being anatomy, colors, and animation still stand for that as well). Aside from that, practice is more important than some magical "talent". Don't believe that you have to be born with mutant powers and that you should just give up if your initial attempts suck, you have to put a lot of time into studying, and studying the right things, like anything else; it's not about if you have the talent to get good so much as it's about if you have the time to get good. A big part of improving is being able to pinpoint and understand what it is that's making or breaking a particular piece. If you draw something and you don't like it, don't just say "this sucks" and move on. Ask yourself why it sucks and how you could make it better. Take notes. Draw it again and see if it looks better. Likewise, you can see something that looks cool, but the important part is figuring out why it looks cool so that you can adopt similar techniques. Is it the way colors are used, contrasts, the way the character is postured? Take notes. See if you can draw something that uses a similar technique. Those are the sort of things to think about. For Doom, John Romero's made a bunch of development dumps over the years that you can dig into to look at some of the work-in-progress that was being made, which could give you some insights into the thought process as well. For converting something you've drawn on paper to a sprite, my advised process would be: do the scan, digitally block in solid light/dark/mid colors on a layer under the scanned linework, as well as possibly strengthening the outlines if you want to keep them, then scale it down and touch it up on a pixel scale, rather than trying to pixel over a grey mess from scaling down the image without blocking in the colors first. An alternate technique that some game companies used (not id, to my knowledge, unless they did this with Commander Keen and the like) was to overlay a clear grid on the hand-drawn pictures, and then pixel in the digital image separately just using the grid as a guide for where pixels should be. If you want to look at a few examples of ways I've approached building stuff, you can look here: http://ettingrinder.youfailit.net/drawing-graphics.html These aren't really tutorials or even quite a step by step instruction but they might give you some idea. As for what tools you use, be it software or Wacom tablets or whatever, good tools can help, but a crude tool used well is still going to give better results than a good tool used by someone with no clue what they're doing. A mouse and GIMP have been "good enough" for much of what I've done and for the longest time there were people that still swore by MS Paint, up until some things were changed in that program at least. Practice with the program you intend to use is certainly good to have, and fancy features can sometimes speed things up (although misapplying them as lazy shortcuts generally doesn't end well) but the underlying understanding of what you're doing in a program-independent sense is much more important, so don't rush out to buy a "magic bullet" to make your work improve, because it doesn't work that way.


    Those were probably swans, which have a reputation for being pretty aggressive in guarding their nests (and capable of doing some real damage if you mess with them). Though I've heard geese are also like this, too.

    Thoughts on Blood

    CRUEL TOMATO SORBET! Yeah, they sounded pretty ridiculous. Funnily enough you got something of the opposite in Rise of the Triad, where El Oscuro had a rather creepy sounding voice but was supposedly really just saying things like "Eat your vegetables" in Latin. I discussed this back when we had the Bio Menace thread, but I'm convinced this was a failing of the episodic shareware model. Devs were incentivised to put their best stuff forward in the demo version to draw in the registrations but slacked off on what you got when you registered since by then it was already paid for.

    Thoughts on Blood

    Been a while since I played it, but as I recall it was okay, but never felt like it deserved the level of worship some people give it. As good as Duke 3D and Shadow Warrior? Sure. Better than? Not really.

    Post Your (Other) Video Game Screenshots Here

    Is that released somewhere? I'd like to play it.

    Future technology

    Speaking as someone who can't claim to have any vast degree of deep scientific knowledge but who finds a lot of sci-fi concepts to be a bit annoying given how easily they start to smell of bullshit under closer scrutiny, I'd put nano-tech in the "I'm not sure" box. To the best of my knowledge, miniaturization of microchips is already hitting challenges where if the circuits get any smaller they become too unreliable to use, and we might need a breakthrough in quantum computing or the like to surpass that, if that's even something that's possible (quantum mechanics seems to be one of those things that many people like to invoke but few really understand. I certainly don't.) OTOH chip miniaturization is something that's usually discussed in the context of making computers go ever faster, where if you're just trying to power some sort of nanobot then as the saying goes "just enough is plenty" and you could squeeze a lot out of much more primitive computers than we have now if you knew how, so maybe it's possible to build a CPU small enough with current or near-future tech, after all. There are probably other similar challenges to such a scale as well though like what powers them, do they get remote control signals and if so how, etc, etc. Microscopic scale organisms exist in nature but are pretty basic in their behavior, after all, so getting something that can act "intelligently" on that scale isn't something we have much proof of (and if such decision-making isn't needed and you just want some sort of live goop that converts one thing into some other thing, you'd probably just genetically engineer the aforementioned microbes instead of building nanobots. We kind of already do that to some degree.)

    What is/was a meme you hate/hated?

    "The cake is a lie" and "arrow in the knee". Maybe they'd be funnier if I'd ever actually played the games in question but they always seemed to me to be just stupid (and not even funny-stupid) catchphrases regurgitated everywhere ad nauseam.

    Demon Gate/D!zone/etc

    Real thing on DOSBox although to get the frontends like D! and such to work you'll also need 4DOS since DOSBox by default still doesn't support them correctly for some reason. Procedure is to get all the stuff mounted first and then run 4DOS before you run the frontend. Also worth noting, a very small number of early PWADs for the original Doom won't play correctly even on vanilla v1.9 due to changes in sector movement and/or boss trigger code; for those using a downgrade patch and running them on v1.2 may be in order, I think some ports (PrBoom, not sure about Chocolate?) might have an emulation mode for this. I don't know if anyone's compiled a comprehensive list of WADs that have issues (something to go on a to-do list somewhere if not, I suppose--it can be hard to pick up on since it's generally not immediately apparent if there's a compatibility issue or just shoddy map design), off the top of my head VILLAGE.WAD is one such that's affected.

    What Video Game Are You Currently Playing?

    While some of it is no doubt down to lack of interest (Q2 seems to be the second least popular Quake, after Q4), there's also the fact that the way Quake 2 handles mods that go beyond custom maps (with custom DLLs) turned out to be a dumb idea in hindsight since they generally have to have recompiled versions for nearly every port in existence (and separately for Linux and Windows, and I suppose Mac, versions), and ports are borderline mandatory due to the original engine's other failings on modern systems. For a fairly decent (semi-)recent map pack, you could try Serge Jaeken's Zero Signal. As for the thread topic at large, last thing I played was Star Trek Strategic Operations Simulator for VIC-20 (which I just recently acquired). In spite of the title, it's much more arcadey than it is strategic or a simulation.

    Haunted real places by DOOM

  15. No strong opinion on "master" and "slave", but I remember an argument being made somewhere (although I can't find the article offhand) on similar lines that "Error: aborting child process" might not be the best message for a program to throw if it could appear on an obstetrician's screen in view of a patient. I dunno, man...