Another lenghy read, but this is very cool. (Images)
So I was just about to go to bed when I had this one thought that I could not distract myself from, so I got up, and made this thread in order to incite discussion on something. And that was when the proper 3D infestation is to make it's apperance in the game, how will it be related to lights when they are obstructed. Please bear in mind that I was having a hard time trying to decide if this should be in General Discussion, or Ideas and Suggestions, but I decided to make the thread here in order to allow for people to provide their own solutions and discuss about the problems and solutions I am going to provide.
NOTE: If you developers out at UWE have already thought about this, then I apologize for any offense that you may possibly take for this and may question it's existence. But I still believe that this thread has a purpose as stating what may be completely obvious and possibly planned for is very important as there may be other people in this forum that have not realized something like this, and I think the discovery of an idea for this is too cool to pass up. I am also writing this at 5 AM so I may be slightly scatterbrained here.
THREAD SUMMARY HERE: http://www.unknownworlds.com/ns2/forums/in...t&p=1925515http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMMiKKv7g7s
-Video of the Prototype. This will be relevant to the discussion so please watch or re-watch this to leave it fresh in your mind.
Now as you may or may not have noticed, the infestation appears to be a transparent sprite that is cast over all textures and surfaces within a defined volume, oriented at the cyst's rotation. This means that any underlying textures, lights, or grates will still pop through and leave a rather odd look to the rooms.
Of course, as indicated in the video above, when the infestation turns into what looks like a procedurally generated 3D mesh, this effect will not occur (or should not, anyways.) So we will not be having cheesegrater holes on infested grates, and we won't be having lights shine through the infestation unless we were to have some sort of transparency to it.
With this in mind, I imagine completely infested rooms from bottom to top would have to be blacked out and completely impossible to see in without flashlights. This can look cool, and if done right, could be a very immersive aspect to the game. But this puts a couple problems on the table.
Problem 1) As anyone who has made a map for this game would know, the light props/textures do not actually cast lights on the geometry as would be done in a half-life/source .bsp level. This means that you would have to go in and manually add in spotlight and point light entities that would float close to, but not inside the light in question. Unfortunately, when this is done, if the infestation were to creep over and cover a light, the light entities would currently not respond to the change, and the room would still maintain original illumination.
Solution(?) to Problem 1) Have the light entities tied to the model through some form of parenting, so when the infestation sweeps over the light, the entities would respond accordingly, possibly lowering the brightness of the entities until completely covered which would then disable the entity.
Okay so that problem is solved, but another problem comes into play. And this is involving gameplay.
Problem 2) So now imagine we have a room completely infested, with all the lights blocked out. Any player or commander that goes to this room will have a problem navigating the room, and the current solution is for power nodes to have this rather ugly solid red tone to all the lights which really hurts my eyes. Now as you can probably understand, any room with a destroyed power node is going to be under the control of the Alien team. The advantages are many, but navigation is a problem, especially to the commander.
Solution to Problem 2) I was looking at the Cyst and I noticed that they glowed a very nice bright orange color, as do most of the Alien buildings. So what I did was I opened up my map NS2_Goliath and made a quick temporary edit to it in order to prove a point. And that is that I think alien structures should cast a light in the level. Whether these lights should cast shadows or not I do not know yet, but the results are very cool.
As always, these images are thumbnails and a larger version is available at just the click of a button.
EDIT: Current status of suggested lighting. Paramaters and details on second page.
Note: I deleted some light models and changed the skin on the other flouresecent ones to prove my point. Hopefully by full release UWE will have multiple light models for on/off function, and maybe even a flickery animation for the transition between two states.
Now my intention is that this is to be a Before/After shot of a room that is infested. With either power node off or all the lights obstructed by infestation. As you can see, the results provide you with a navigable surface, while still leaving the idea that the room is without power. This on a gameplay perspective also provides the aliens with plenty of shadows to hide in.
With this solution, I believe that we can abolish this red light emergency lighting system that you get when aliens destroy a power node in favor of something more dynamic and impacting on gameplay. When the power node is destroyed, all the lights in the room will turn off and stay off until repaired. Alien commanders can place the cysts in a controlled area, and will be able to light up the room, while establishing a new feel of player control.
What do you guys think of this idea? Do you agree with it? Disagree? Maybe you have your own ideas that are related to this that I haven't touched base on? Personally I think this is a very exciting idea and would very much like to hear your opinions on the matter.