Blog - Creating a visual style for NS2

FlayraFlayra Game Director, Unknown Worlds EntertainmentSan Francisco Join Date: 2002-01-22 Member: 3Posts: 6,819Super Administrators, NS2 Developer, Subnautica Developer admin
edited November 2006 in NS2 General Discussion
From this blog entry made today, November 10th, 2006.
Post edited by Unknown User on
Charlie Cleveland
Game Director, Unknown Worlds Entertainment
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Comments

  • CoolCookieCooksCoolCookieCooks Pretty Girl Join Date: 2003-05-18 Member: 16446Posts: 5,602Members, NS1 Playtester, Contributor, Constellation
    QUOTE
    We aren't very familiar with the new technology, so we don't know exactly to what extent we want to use shaders and other bells and whistles in what is going to be a 5+ year leap forward in technology


    For this, I recommend looking at other games made on the Source Engine such as Dark Messiah and HL2 Episode 1 for their great use of shaders and graphical effects. These teams use the shaders to great use and even some upcoming projects such as HL2 Episode 2 is definately worth a look at.
  • XopherMVXopherMV Join Date: 2003-12-02 Member: 23854Posts: 9Members, Constellation
    I like the visual styles of Battlestar Galactica. Check out their C&C, repair bay, launch bay, medical facilities, detention cells, and crew quarters. The external styling of their ships are pretty cool too.
  • Zor2Zor2 Join Date: 2005-01-13 Member: 35341Posts: 213Members, Constellation
    QUOTE(Flayra)
    I don't know how much I have to write about, but I want to get in the habit of being a bit more open about what's going on behind closed doors here so here goes.


    Best thing Ive read all day. Keep them coming please! smile-fix.gif smile-fix.gif
  • MouseMouse The Lighter Side of Pessimism Join Date: 2002-03-02 Member: 263Posts: 3,212NS1 Playtester, Forum Moderators, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow mod
    QUOTE
    There are many joys to having a distributed team. Working half-naked, cooking at home, living in the location of your choice and no commute are all great.

    ..I...I suppose
    -/AUS/- PS_Mouse
  • AlcapwnAlcapwn "War is the science of destruction" - John Abbot Join Date: 2003-06-21 Member: 17590Posts: 1,965Members
    I would use the shaders for specific stuff; like phase-gates, (instead of starts coming out of the gate; make it something pretty) and when the commander drops stuff; it could kina "Fade" in with a wavy shader effect.
    *IMAGE BALEETED.* Sigs may not exceed 400x75 and/or 40KB. No exceptions. -Talesin
  • NeroNero Join Date: 2002-12-20 Member: 11236Posts: 84Members
    edited November 2006
    Flayra, you doesn´t need to be concerned what will happen next 5 years. The next 5 five years probably will be NS3. For the next 2 and 3 years is very known what will happen.
    Source Engine seems to be improving.
    We will have UE3 (Unreal Engine) that will surely guide next gen FPS in terms of technology.
    Next ID Engine is about 4 years away. We don´t know what Carmack will bring.

    More than that we can´t know. It depends what hardware manufactures will offer for next years. But the trend (until 2009 or 2010) is to multiple cores design and GPU integrated into CPU as one core. For 2010 it will possible have the first optical CPUs that surely will end the IO bandwidth problems.

    So, what I suggest to focus:
    - Whatever the engine is, it should not be a problem for the next 5 years. The hardware needs to evolve more to do any graphical revolution.
    - RTS design of the game. NS1 had enourmous changes in its life. I do not recommend any company to make a huge changes after gold. So, it needs to be a *very good* alpha and beta testing.
    - Inspiration: Alien Series - Terror, Horror, Fear of the dark, Fear of the unknown. Maps that explore an unknown world (not just alien invasion at a human base)
    - Terrifying alien creatures. Gorge is so cute that surely i could get one as pet smile-fix.gif.
    - Game structure: I do have some ideias but i don´t know if it´s an apropriate moment to do so. But my suggestion is to concentrate game on resources. I did some hypothetical maps of a new resource and hive structures to hive points of control be not so important for marines at all.

    I will only post this for now. I will add more suggestions for the next days.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • Andrew_e1Andrew_e1 Join Date: 2005-01-07 Member: 33331Posts: 77Members, Constellation
    QUOTE(Nero @ Nov 10 2006, 10:05 PM) »

    Flayra, you doesn´t need to be concerned what will happen next 5 years. The next 5 five years probably will be NS3. For the next 2 and 3 years is very known what will happen.
    Source Engine seems to be improving.
    We will have UE3 (Unreal Engine) that will surely guide next gen FPS in terms of technology.
    Next ID Engine is about 4 years away. We don´t know what Carmack will bring.

    More than that we can´t know. It depends what hardware manufactures will offer for next years. But the trend (until 2009 or 2010) is to multiple cores design and GPU integrated into CPU as one core. For 2010 it will possible have the first optical CPUs that surely will end the IO bandwidth problems.

    So, what I suggest to focus:
    - Whatever the engine is, it should not be a problem for the next 5 years. The hardware needs to evolve more to do any graphical revolution.
    - RTS design of the game. NS1 had enourmous changes in its life. I do not recommend any company to make a huge changes after gold. So, it needs to be a *very good* alpha and beta testing.
    - Inspiration: Alien Series - Terror, Horror, Fear of the dark, Fear of the unknown. Maps that explore an unknown world (not just alien invasion at a human base)
    - Terrifying alien creatures. Gorge is so cute that surely i could get one as pet smile-fix.gif.
    - Game structure: I do have some ideias but i don´t know if it´s an apropriate moment to do so. But my suggestion is to concentrate game on resources. I did some hypothetical maps of a new resource and hive structures to hive points of control be not so important for marines at all.

    I will only post this for now. I will add more suggestions for the next days.



    Yes...gorge is cute and I would like to have one as a pet too, but if they take it out as it is of NS2 then I will be VERY mad...

  • moultanomoultano Creator of ns_shiva. Join Date: 2002-12-14 Member: 10806Posts: 3,793Members, NS1 Playtester, Contributor, Constellation, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Gold
    Shameless plug, but for collaborative document editing, I highly recommend Google Docs. It saves a lot of emailing.
  • jaboojaboo Join Date: 2004-01-05 Member: 25076Posts: 132Members
    I always liked the style of event horizon even tho the quality of the script isnt as impressive

    HERE ARE SOME SCREENS FROM IT smile-fix.gif
    http://imdb.com/gallery/ss/0119081
    http://www.ibiblio.org/samneill/pictures/eh/120say.jpg
    http://www.ibiblio.org/samneill/pictures/eh/390crawl.jpg
  • NS-SkorpioNNS-SkorpioN Join Date: 2006-10-31 Member: 58101Posts: 119Members
    QUOTE(Nero @ Nov 11 2006, 02:05 AM) »


    - Terrifying alien creatures.



    Agree 100%

    Maybe a creature like the "relic" movie, to be a fantastic incorporation.

    IPB Image
    IPB Image

  • GoldenprizeGoldenprize Join Date: 2006-11-05 Member: 58379Posts: 156Members
    hmm i think NaSe 2 will comming end of 2008 or 2009 sad-fix.gif
    (remind: my english is bad , im a long time out of non-english school)
    bunnyhoppers are 6ay


    DEUTSCHLAND
  • TomgupperTomgupper Join Date: 2006-11-11 Member: 58529Posts: 10Members, Constellation
    Visual style is so very very important in my opinion!

    There's been quite a few good sci fi movies and tv shows that have really got the right sort of atmosphere down-pat. My personal fav. would be Joss Whedon's Firefly / Serenity. It's got that sort of gritty , on the edge of space feel to it. With nice contrasts between brightly-lit alliance ships and facilities, to the dark and derelict, abandoned, forgotten ships dotted around space.

    What I think firefly/serenity did very well is focused on the history behind the universe. The basic theory in the show is that only two super-powers survived earth and blended into one. So you've got these east meets west ( China / US ) blends in architecture and furnishings. It gives this really interesting feel to the whole show and adds another sense of atmosphere and depth. Maybe following historical and architectural trends might help come up with a unique graphical style ?

    I own the whole series and the movie, I can get some screengrabs if you havn't seen the show before and don't know what I'm talking about.

    Another obvious point for inspiration would be the alien films. But that one is obvious!

    And yet another tv based point of interest might be the new series of Dr Who as well as the spinoff series "Torchwood".
    One episode in particular is set in a survival complex - quite interesting design work on that one, worth a look ( two screens below ).
    http://members.optusnet.com.au/tomgupper2/drwho_01.jpg
    http://members.optusnet.com.au/tomgupper2/drwho_02.jpg

    The thing with NS, is that it's always had its own unique style. There were influences, yes, but you couldn't flat out say "That's copied from this". It had definition.

    As for terrifying alien creatures, Yeah, Gorges were little cuties, but skulks and fades, they scare the bejesus out of me.
    and I suppose I should stop ranting!
  • scaryfacescaryface Join Date: 2002-11-25 Member: 9918Posts: 192Members
    edited November 2006
    QUOTE(jaboo @ Nov 10 2006, 08:57 PM) »

    I always liked the style of event horizon even tho the quality of the script isnt as impressive

    HERE ARE SOME SCREENS FROM IT smile-fix.gif
    http://imdb.com/gallery/ss/0119081
    http://www.ibiblio.org/samneill/pictures/eh/120say.jpg
    http://www.ibiblio.org/samneill/pictures/eh/390crawl.jpg


    I really like the look of the screenshots in the first link, the rest look too bright for the ns world and too retro-futuristic (a little retro-futurism isnt bad though)
    The first link kinda gives an idea of what I see for ns2 so I second that look tounge.gif

    Isn't look and feel largely up to the mappers? Natural selection now has a lot of different visual styles, based on the map you're playing.

    I also agree with using the alien series as inspiration, with the creepy blue lighting, random fog everywhere, and generally slimy-looking aliens. Maybe blue lighting wouldn't work too well with orange(?) colored skulks/gorges, though.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
    If Hellen Keller falls in a forest, does she make a sound?
    In game, I am: Windows``, Good friend Bob, slow gherkin, Zordon of Eltar
  • whoppaXXLwhoppaXXL Join Date: 2006-11-03 Member: 58298Posts: 699Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    My main suggestion is to keep it dirty, guys. I loved this atmossphere. As an marine you got every day the same message: "Why the ###### iam still here and this day gonna suxx more like the last one." All what you could do is making your hard day job.. AND THIS FEELING IS UNIQUE! And NaSe 2 should get it, too.

    Besides I think source would be the right partner... It's getting very good looking updates and it's similiar to the HL Work. That's the best start, isn't it?

    I wish you a good progress, I loved this game and I trust you, Flayra, that You release an Awsome game in the future.

    Pwn em!
    "I got in one little fight and my com got scared, he said you're moving with your squad to the ###### hive."



  • TheRealQuasarTheRealQuasar Join Date: 2005-01-30 Member: 39075Posts: 56Members
    You know we're all behind you in whatever way you need. Personally, the thing that drew me into NS was the pure atmosphere of it all, although the engine is beginning to show its age now. And I know that you're all the most awesome people in the world, so you can only improve.

    You might have to start selling desk-cleaning products on the side, because if you make the atmosphere any thicker it might start leaking out of the screen. And that can only be a good thing.
    Quasar - NS Forums since version 1.0, whatever my join date may say.

    GENERAL RULE OF THUMB:
    Most food cannot be kept longer than the average life span of a hamster. Keep a hamster in or near your refrigerator to gauge this.
  • CrispyCrispy Jaded GD Join Date: 2004-08-22 Member: 30793Posts: 3,225Members, Constellation
    edited November 2006
    QUOTE(scaryface @ Nov 11 2006, 08:57 AM) »

    Isn't look and feel largely up to the mappers? Natural selection now has a lot of different visual styles, based on the map you're playing.
    The mappers will be using textures created by texture artists and props created by environment artists. You can think of most mappers as architects-come-builders-come-interior designers. They usually don't create the the paint they slap on the walls (i.e. the textures), they just choose the ones they want from a catalogue (i.e. texture library) that they are supplied with.

    If I were to recommend how to go about economising on your map props and textures, I'd start with making a tutorial map for the Kharaa and TSA teams. You could set the TSA tutorial in a TSA facility, allowing you to come up with a number of TSA props and func_details (such as tables, chairs, lockers, doors, etc.) and also TSA textures (doors, tesselating wall, trims, tesselating floors and ceilings, etc.). Now, the TSA doesn't neccessarily have to have it's own brand of furnishings, but it could be some sort of universal IKEA that supplies most human institutions such as the TSA, affiliated mining colonies, etc.

    Next step would be to have a Kharaa infested version of these prop models and textures, from minimal to full infestation.

    After that you have a minimal, but core set of textures that you can build on with subsequent maps set in different locations (and therefore requiring different visual styles). But in the meantime you could get away with a tutorial and a couple of TSA/TSA-affiliated map settings that use just these textures for your initial internal builds and playtests.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • Sephiroth2kSephiroth2k Join Date: 2002-04-21 Member: 481Posts: 814Members, Constellation
    I think that you should bring more contrast if possible
    to NS2. There's a lot in NS1, but the dark areas aren't
    dark enough IMO. I like being able to hide in a dark
    area as a skulk so a marin either doesn't see me, or
    has to turn his flashlight on. The only problem with
    contrast is that some people boost their brightness
    up to completely do away with the contrasting. This is
    mostly a mapper kind of thing.

    I also would like to see more consistency between the
    maps. Obvious each will have its own unique feel and
    flavor, but make more specific guidelines possibly in
    lighting or distances between hives, RT's etc.

    I think what Nero means with the gorge is that the new
    models be more intimidating in appearance.

    One thing that bothers me about the aliens start-game
    is that if the marines get upgrades right off the bat its
    hard to fight powerful long-distance weapons with the
    alien melee weapons. Gorge's spit is too underpowerful
    to be considered as a weapon to use on the offensive.
    Currently it is at best a deterrant, and not too great of
    one at that.

    Also I see too much similarity between games (NS). They
    generally take the same route, especially marines. Basically
    the way it goes is PG tfac siege, or simple shottie rush. 15
    shotties against 15 skulks is more than a little one sided.

    I dunno, probably wrong in a bunch of these, these are just
    some things I see..
    image

    "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" - CONFUCIUS
  • DarkaDarka Join Date: 2005-08-03 Member: 57466Posts: 25Members
    QUOTE(Sephiroth2k @ Nov 11 2006, 12:55 PM) »

    One thing that bothers me about the aliens start-game
    is that if the marines get upgrades right off the bat its
    hard to fight powerful long-distance weapons with the
    alien melee weapons. Gorge's spit is too underpowerful
    to be considered as a weapon to use on the offensive.
    Currently it is at best a deterrant, and not too great of
    one at that.


    gorges are not supposed to be powerful, they arent killing machines
    most of us know what happened when self heal was first added to gorges
    they're here to support not to take on 2 marines at a time

    btw Flayra i dont know how u made NS but ive been playing it for a long time now and am still hooked on it
    keep up the good work biggrin-fix.gif
  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu Anememone Join Date: 2002-03-23 Member: 345Posts: 10,501Members
    UkiTakiMaki's stuff is very awesome, yes, but I don't think it really fits NS. Plus, he set the visual style for 2 of the most popular Source mods (Hull Breach and Nuclear Dawn) so it would get kind of confusing if NS looked anything at all like either of those 2.

    QUOTE (MOOtant @ Sep 21 2012, 11:06 AM) »
    What is wrong with being a racist?

  • w00tiew00tie Join Date: 2006-10-30 Member: 58099Posts: 72Members, Constellation
    Pretty nice smile-fix.gif
    IPB Image Constellation Member IPB Image
  • NeroNero Join Date: 2002-12-20 Member: 11236Posts: 84Members
    edited November 2006
    QUOTE(Sephiroth2k @ Nov 11 2006, 11:55 AM) »

    I think what Nero means with the gorge is that the new
    models be more intimidating in appearance.

    That is what i tried to say. Gorge was just an example. The alien models for NS2 needs to do a new design focusing the "intimidating" appearance. Lerk, Gorges, even Onos doens´t give me terror when i saw them.
    Working more on map lights too. Most of the NS maps are too bright. Doesn´t give me a feeling that was an abandoned base.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • lavrlavr Join Date: 2006-10-31 Member: 58130Posts: 7Members
    QUOTE(Andrew_e1 @ Nov 11 2006, 02:26 AM) »

    Yes...gorge is cute and I would like to have one as a pet too, but if they take it out as it is of NS2 then I will be VERY mad...


    ++;
  • RobBRobB TUBES OF THE INTERWEB Join Date: 2003-08-11 Member: 19423Posts: 3,660Members, Constellation, Reinforced - Shadow
    I think there's way to much blue in our Colorpalette, ok it might freeze the Atmosphere (blue = cold), but its to boring for the Eye. There need to be more warm colors to make something interesting, and there needs to be some shiny stuff, like Colorfull Volumetric Lighting or how its spelled [Orange Glow for example].
    Also, reflective Surfaces and Water would contribute to the Maps very well.

    As for PG13.... DROP THAT, please.
    Besides a lack of Tension for the Players its just boring- the first Time I saw an Onos I was like "eeew that looks disgusting" due to the blood like skin - something like that is a plus, but the Models itself need to look disgusting, not only the Skin.
    We need Gore not only as an Attack, we need the real stuff with severed Limbs and Bloodspills in the Maps, and Options to directly interact with dead Bodies as a small Selection of Stuff. Gore is allways a great Way to create Tension, no matter what Rating Boards say.


    As for Visual Styles... Might I suggest H R Giger as Inspiration? biggrin-fix.gif
    image
  • CrispyCrispy Jaded GD Join Date: 2004-08-22 Member: 30793Posts: 3,225Members, Constellation
    QUOTE(TychoCelchuuu @ Nov 11 2006, 05:53 PM) »

    UkiTakiMaki's stuff is very awesome, yes, but I don't think it really fits NS. Plus, he set the visual style for 2 of the most popular Source mods (Hull Breach and Nuclear Dawn) so it would get kind of confusing if NS looked anything at all like either of those 2.
    I semi-agree. I don't think Uki's smooth, rounded surfaces and slightly mecha-style fit the NS universe as far as player concepts go (see pics below), but his environmental concept art could be useful for NS maps.

    http://www.nuclear-dawn.net/loadimage.php?...ept_Art_005.jpg
    http://www.hull-breach.com/ipb//index.php?...d=si&img=19
    http://www.hull-breach.com/ipb//index.php?...d=si&img=25
  • Rendy_CZechRendy_CZech Life is a Koan Join Date: 2003-10-11 Member: 21608Posts: 470Members
    Some of my favorite concepts

    IPB Image
    IPB Image
    IPB Image
    IPB Image
    image
    Playing NS since 1.0
    image <- Highly addictive elements!!
    Maps:
    ns_Hulk
    co_Overmind
  • RobBRobB TUBES OF THE INTERWEB Join Date: 2003-08-11 Member: 19423Posts: 3,660Members, Constellation, Reinforced - Shadow
    the last one reminds me of several locations, including a classic mess hall.
    image
  • SloppyKissesSloppyKisses omgawd a furreh&#33; Join Date: 2003-07-05 Member: 17942Posts: 1,068Members, Constellation
    I like the visual of the very last picture in that blog post. I like the colors of green in it. It's dark, not well lit and looks more futuristic and evil.
    XrgpE3Q.jpg
  • tk-421tk-421 Join Date: 2006-11-03 Member: 58315Posts: 191Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    I'd have to agree with Rendy_CZech on the last photo he has posted above. The combination of the futuristic curving map room with subtle hanging wires is a great atmosphere. It's not overdone - and the black, dark corner to the right of the sketch is a great example of the kind of hiding places that NS could use.

    In designing an atmosphere for NS2, could you use a two-tier approach? What if you first established design principles, such as 1) always dark corners, 2) always multiple hallways and ventilation shafts, etc. and then moved on to create different atmospheres for different worlds?

    By this I mean that you could have one graphics set or theme that was strictly for Martian space-ports...another set for deep space exploratory vessels, and another for lost colonies on the brink of a star system. The ships might require a certain number of futuristic panels, door mechanisms, and design standards while the lost colony could have debris and chaotic sketches of warning signs hurriedly written on the walls.

    Maybe if you went in multiple directions and created a set of maps with 3 or 4 per theme you would accommodate the largest audience?

    Besides Rendy_CZech's inspirational pieces, here are a couple I'd like to volunteer:

    IPB Image

    IPB Image

    Additional Rudolf Herczog art here -> http://rudolfherczog.deviantart.com/
  • urinalcakeurinalcake Can&#39;t work a sound card Join Date: 2002-11-08 Member: 7799Posts: 649Members
    kind of sucks that you guys have the bumps in the road and all, but i guess it comes with the growing pains and all.

    but you're right on the mark with leaving teamspeak or skype open. we leave ventrilo open all day, and are easily able to creatively collaborate in seconds, instead of leaving messages over IRC or sending e-mails. it cuts worktime in half and overall leaves a generally more inspired team.
    -Michael 'urinal-cake' Sanders

    Game Analysis, Testing and Development
    http://www.mikeysanders.com
  • Router_BoxRouter_Box Join Date: 2004-09-07 Member: 31483Posts: 638Members, NS1 Playtester, Constellation
    QUOTE(moultano @ Nov 10 2006, 10:53 PM) »

    Shameless plug, but for collaborative document editing, I highly recommend Google Docs. It saves a lot of emailing.

    we've found google docs to kick ###### working in the ANSL admin team. Set up the account, "NS2devs" or whatever and just have people be able to all log into it.
    IPB Image
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