Work In Progress / [WiP] "Formicula"

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nuncio
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Posted: 3rd Oct 2015 16:34
Hi! This is a new thread that tells you everything about the progress of my newest idea. i wanted to do this game for a long time but not before harry released his "giant ant" that is the main piece of this game.
synchromesh did a great remake of doom and now i'm trying to rebuild "it came from the desert" in GG. i have tried to show you by rebuilding special scene from the game. i will show in the following posts like a comparison picture.
this is a very very early state i just started yesterday but i will seriously keep on working on this in the near future when i finish "island hopper" before that i will just make little progress but enough to show here and ask how you like this idea
here are some pictures from the first map i built WITH the original screenshot from the original game.
the backstory to this is:
You are a man who crashed his car in the night and must return to the village to get help. it is a dark night in the desert and you realize you are not alone. in the later story the desert town is attacked by giant mutated ants that came from the desert.
based on the movie "them!" and the novel "formicula 3000".

btw. just a little joke to close this. i didn't know where to post this. work in progress or bug reports okay.
http://www.nuncio-rap.de
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smallg
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Posted: 3rd Oct 2015 18:47
very cool
not played it but you've done a great job on rebuilding that first screen shot (cant tell about the 2nd as there's no pic but still looks good too - im not sure the 2 square buildings in the middle fit so nice though?)
the sky backdrop is a nice touch
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nuncio
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Posted: 3rd Oct 2015 20:56
thank you!
do you mean the western buildings in the second screenshot? i don't know if i keep them but all buildings will be placed later. i have one huge building but i want the town buildings to be low and small
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nuncio
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Posted: 4th Oct 2015 00:53
here are 2 more ideas including a mine
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science boy
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Posted: 4th Oct 2015 01:52
i like what you are doing, i love the old skool games. was going to do a lands of lore etc.

never seen such inspiration in a game developer
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HarryWever
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Posted: 4th Oct 2015 11:41
That is looking real nice.. i love the rebuild of that screenshot, nicely done.

I have a egg, i send to smallg.
maybe you can use these in your scene.

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nuncio
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Posted: 4th Oct 2015 17:57
yes, eggs are still needed! i can use many different kind of eggs. in the cave scene the player must destroy queens eggs these could look different.

thanks for the nice feedback!!!1 this game will have 3 or 4 levels and should be shorter than my other projects. tonight i will work on this and show you new shots maybe. i'm glad you like my idea!
http://www.nuncio-rap.de
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nuncio
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Posted: 5th Oct 2015 00:40
i have new shots! this time i have parts of the city and a ruined city after the ants have attacked it. this is going to be the first level and it will play at night maybe with the flashlight. i have one new comparison picture of the main street. i'm planning more. i still have to put in an airfield and an army base. the rest is to be from my own mind.
http://www.nuncio-rap.de
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nuncio
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Posted: 6th Oct 2015 00:24
hi! new shots from the desert. thanks for bringing this thread into the news! awesome can you tell me how to show the terrain texture in the distance? in the distance my desert becomes green :/
today i got 2 new comparison pictures, crashed cars and some pipelines. the next step will be some foliage. i'm not really happy with the terrain texture palette i put together...
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MooKai
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Posted: 6th Oct 2015 12:51
It came from the desert.... Was a great game, I still have the original disks somewhere at home.
Btw. Nice project.
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smallg
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Posted: 7th Oct 2015 21:33
keep them coming
for the terrain its the sliders in the middle of the screen - transition range
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nuncio
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Posted: 8th Oct 2015 06:51
i have to take a look at it again but i think that the slider is aleady to the top. i can't remember that i had this problem before but it's really annoying (green terain in the distance) i will look at it again.
last night i made the "Hive", the final level where you have to fight thru a cave that has been turned into the hive of the ant queen and destroy eggs and kill the queen AND get rid of some government- men in black like agents that want to protect the queen from being discovered. i spent some hours with this but i got no pictures yet worth showing but it already looks okay. it has become bigger than i wanted (again). maybe today i can show something from the hive.
in the "main map" i also put a lot of cactusses and foliage to the desert, also looks better now.

in map 1you are in the desert, your car is wrecked and you find a destroyed village. youi have to go to town and meet the sheriff.
in map 2 you are in the hospital with a docter who has studied one of the dead ants and you must find the army base in the mountains and get some explosives.
in map 3 you must blow up all the eggs that are spread across the town and then enter the mine to find entrance to the hive.
in map 4 you must destroy the eggs and kill the queen.

that's it so far. i think more levels would be boring i tried to uses as much inspiration as possible from the original game.
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Emrys
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Posted: 8th Oct 2015 09:15
These screenshots look great. I love you interpretation of this classic
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nuncio
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Posted: 8th Oct 2015 19:46
thank you! i'm happy you like it!
the last level is "the hive" here i have some very early pictures. i will show you comparison pictures soon, they are funny. the cave is a real challenge. i have no roof yet, i built it from cliff rocks.
http://www.nuncio-rap.de
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nuncio
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Posted: 11th Oct 2015 00:17
new pictures. i made some more stuff in the city. there are some things missing but it's almost finished. i can't put in so much stuff anymore, the ants need place to walk. i have a problem with the map. every time i play testgame i can't see anything written, all texts are missing. maybe this can be because of not enough memory? i can't change any settings anymore, no texts.
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Slaur3n
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Posted: 11th Oct 2015 11:49
Very cool, i love the idea )
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science boy
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Posted: 12th Oct 2015 10:36
from what i believed memory was not a problem anymore,

i think the new map terrain infinite and memory and other extras can be solved by a skyrim approach, areas loading and unloading, this would solve a thousand issues. and keep up the good work, maybe a memory issue not sure.
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Posted: 14th Oct 2015 02:50 Edited at: 14th Oct 2015 02:57
Oh that's just Genius ..... I envy your idea
Whats more you have nailed the whole look of the game
Most impressed !!
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Emrys
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Posted: 14th Oct 2015 15:37
Coming along nicely, well done.

Can we load / unload models yet?
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nuncio
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Posted: 14th Oct 2015 23:19
thank you guys, very nice to read!
i have 4 levels now. the first three are in one map, just different places, the last one is a cave system. i have shots from the first map wich is at night, i'm about to try out some lighting. i would like to have it that the player must use the flashlight

btw. i reduced the entities in my map and now the text is back again so i'm sur eit must be a memory problem.
http://www.nuncio-rap.de
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nuncio
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Posted: 15th Oct 2015 23:57
level 3 in the hospital. the doctors have done some research on the ants. the player gets briefed and has to go blow up the eggs.
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HarryWever
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Posted: 17th Oct 2015 10:29
I really love it..

harry
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science boy
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Posted: 17th Oct 2015 11:06
Quote: "I really love it..

harry"


me too, the idea is brilliant, a science lab disecting one from the desert in a lab etc, is genius
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Posted: 18th Oct 2015 22:29
Well, that's fANTastic
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Posted: 20th Oct 2015 13:45
^@ wolf this is part of my ANTology

thank you guys for your feedback, this is very nice to read here. keeps me working on it. i will soon have more to show. maybe it might be finished in some time. 4 levels...
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nuncio
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Posted: 5th Dec 2015 21:04
this is the latest screenshot from map 1 of my "formicula" game. latest version, made with GG1.1
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Bolt Action Gaming
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Posted: 11th Dec 2015 15:40
Very cool idea.
I love the KBUG radio station, btw
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Posted: 16th Dec 2015 08:35
^thank you

i have some news on formicula now.
the game will have at least 4 levels. they all are nameless yet. i will tell you what will happen:

level 1: game starts. you are in the desert after you had a car crash and you need to walk into town to get help. on your way you come across a destroyed village and lots of dead bodies where you find a gun (hopefully) and you will encounter some giant monster ants that you find responsible for the attack. you must run to town (the town is named "shelby", in the original audio book the town was named "dustville" but this was a big cliché name so i changed it). your goal is to find the sheriff who is at the police station. this level plays at night.

here a lot of stuff could happen in a cutscene or just a text. maybe the sherrif drives to the village and sees the destruction and probably believes me after meeting one of the monster ants that is killed and brought to town.

level 2: this is the same map but it's expanded and bigger than the first one. next day, a new bright day. you are in the hospital with a doctor who has studied one of the ants and advises you to go to the army base and get some explosives to blow up the ants and their offspring. so you must leave town, find the army base nearby and get the explosives. on your way you meet many ants that are attacking the town now.

next imaginary cutscene: the inhabitants are attacked, most of them manage to escape. just a few brave citizens stay in town and have to hide because the ants have control over the town.

level 3: the ants have nests with eggs in the whole town that the player has to destroy with explosives. there are six nests in the city and the player has to find them, destroy them and kill all ants he meets on his way. this is also the same map of "shelby". the player is able to enter most buildings and in many houses he can find useful things. in the end the player has the enter the mine to kill the last remaining ants, the eggs and the queen. this level is the "main level" and the biggest. i hope this is not too much media in one map...

level 4: [SPOILER!!!]
in the mine the player must walk through tunnels and caves and destroy 6 ant nests. some caves were made by the miners with rails and beams but most of the cave system was done by the ants. or the military. because at the end of your rampage you come across a secret army base in the underground where the player finds out that the ants were made by the army. they mutated regular red ants into monsters to use as a biological weapon. but the experiment failed and the ants broke out. in the camp you still see the bloody traces of the massacre on soldiers and scientists. the player has to blow up the eggs, kill the queen and get out of the tunnel. after finding the exit the palyer also has to deal with some angry soldiers that want me to keep silent about what i have just seen. when the player managed to get out of the cave system he is back in the desert again and just needs to find a car and that's it.

the end is very close to the game "it came from the desert".

last night i completely finished the final map with all ants, trigger zones and all the rest. i just need some lighting and the map would be finished.
i can't testplay my map because of my runtime errors. if i could i would bomb you with screenshots now. i hope it will work in the near future.

i would like to release this game soon because most of it is finished.
http://www.nuncio-rap.de
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yrkoon
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Posted: 16th Dec 2015 17:42
Sounds absolutely excellent, Nuncio. Like stated elsewhere, I can't wait to play it.
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nuncio
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Posted: 21st Dec 2015 00:51
@yrkoon: yes, thank you very much for helping me with this

now i finally got the last map working, here are some pictures. the final map of "formicula", just a little teaser and without lighting

this is inside the ants hive wich also houses a secret military science- facility
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Bolt Action Gaming
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Posted: 21st Dec 2015 15:32
You're doing some interesting things with your level design. I really like the concept, unique elements, custom textures. Your sheriff is perfect for a character-creator made person! The custom elements are a real nice touch but I think your best feature is your level design looks very smartly done - the levels look fun to play and easy to navigate.

Just a few suggestions, if you're amenable:

1) Maybe turn up the fog (decrease the starting distance/intensity) - a nice brown haze over everything might be just the ticket for unifying textures, colors, and models.

2) Your custom textures - looks like the signs in particular get a rough black border on them. Maybe something less jarring?

3) Shadows - pay close attention to your interior shadowing/exterior shadowing. There are instances where some cars have shadows and some do not. (Specifically the one with the crown vic simultaneously showing the TGC city pack car - the TGC car doesn't have a shadow). A lot (or all) of your indoor scenes have no shadowing to speak of. It's tricky but can be done. Set all objects (walls, floors, ceilings, chairs, tables, etc) as static. Put in static light sources, bake the lighting.

Alternately you can use my free shadow decals found here: https://forum.game-guru.com/thread/213818. I use these to manually 'set' shadows when the engine doesn't do what I want or I don't want to mess with baked lighting.

4) Keep the style consistent and clean - you've done a really great job unifying your theme, textures, and objects. The only place you seem to be having difficulty is actually some of the clutter objects. Sometimes in this case it helps to remove the quantity/volume of objects and reduce it to a more controllable number.
For instance, while I really like your car crash with the van/firebird - the firebird is an old model and it's pretty low poly/texture quality. It stands out like a sore thumb in this case. Keep low poly models for backdrop elements, not focal points.

5) Use clutter elements effectively - see an old blog post I wrote on this for more detail: http://fpscreloadedreview.blogspot.com/2014/10/technique-evaluation-ground-clutter-and.html The basic idea is use a little grass to hide the seams from ground textures and buildings and blend foreground objects to the earth.

What I'd do is build your levels, get them shaped the way you want... then go back and do a visuals tuneup run on it - add clutter, vegetation, tweak fog and light levels, adjust shadows, etc. Then have some playtesters run through it and give it a good look at how the scenes look. Take their input and do whatever you feel is necessary with it.

Just to be clear, I'm not criticizing. You've done a fantastic job on one of my favorite games from when I was a kid. Your tongue-in-cheek jokes are pretty great too (that bus stop advertisement cracked me up). I want to see you succeed for all of our sakes. I feel your game really shows exactly what the average gameguru developer can do.

Again, I have nothing but respect for what you're doing here - keep up the great work. I hope my comments weren't too forward.



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Posted: 21st Dec 2015 23:22
thank you very much for this long post. i will take a look at all the things and remember your ideas when i come to the points of progress! lightmapping is still not made but i wanted to do this as the final work when all levels are finished. i'm glad you like my level design. thanks for these many helping suggestions!
now that i got the final map running again i can show the last screenshots from the finale of the game.
it's a mine that is infested with ants, the cave, the hive, the secret scientific facility that has been run over by the ants. they made terrible experiments with the ants as you can see in teh screenshots, tunnels, soldiers, ants and many eggs and finally the player is back in the desert after the fnal level and walks to the car and end, over.
parts of the facility is grey bunker but some areas are highly futuristic style, this is a litte of a costrast but i like this different styles to symbolize the "work" the scientists did there.



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nuncio
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Posted: 25th Dec 2015 03:10
Quote: "1) Maybe turn up the fog (decrease the starting distance/intensity) - a nice brown haze over everything might be just the ticket for unifying textures, colors, and models."

hi! i tried that and i would like to know if this is kinda what you mean and if you think this is better (see screenshots) i like it
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yrkoon
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Posted: 25th Dec 2015 12:57
Hi Nuncio.
I think the sky cannot be THAT clear and blue if there is so much dust in the air on the ground Level at the same time. Currently, it rather looks as if we are viewing the aftermath of a half-dissipated gas attack on the Military facility.
Depending on your Story, it is conceivable to use this to make the main attack of the ants happen during a sandstorm by employing a greyish-brownish pale hazy sky and stepping up the fog a considerable bit.
Allegedly, on clear days in the desert visual condtions can be so extremly clear and sharp that objects seen may look much closer than they really are,
that - although somewhat cliche-like - sounds great for me for the first, indtoructory Level.
From what I have seen on the pics that you showed, it would be a shame to look at them with a Hell Tanner attitude ALL the time.
Just my 2 Cents
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nuncio
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Posted: 28th Dec 2015 09:23
hi! thanks for the feedback this was really useful! yes, the fog was not a good idea i guess. in this level i have redone the whole map and also changed the skybox back to normal. i will show some pictures soon. looks much better now. now the army base is an own map and no longe rpart of the complete city map! same with the explosives- factory.

i'm thinking about a little fogged up and dusted level in a sandstorm or something like this. i added a new level wich is an explosives factory where the player has to get the explosives to go out and kill the ants. pictures are coming soon.

i guess "formicula" (this will not be the final name!) will be a little bigger than expected but not too much when this runtime error will be solved i can start completing it.
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Bolt Action Gaming
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Posted: 28th Dec 2015 15:00 Edited at: 28th Dec 2015 15:01
Yrkoon has some good points about the desert. I'm not a desert dweller, so I'm hardly an expert on it. That said I do like some of the fuzz that you got with the fog settings - so maybe do as you were saying and do a dust-storm level? Maybe see if you could get devcore to make a dust-storm decal or two for you to help really cement the deal. Definitely keep playing with the light levels/etc until you have it exactly where you want it.

Compare your air base/military base vs this picture:


Now here's a duststorm coming in:


And here's another reference pic for a regular clear day at a military base in the desert:


As you can see, you're not too far off. There's only so much one can do with a game engine. Keep at it, you're doing awesome!

(In case you can't tell, I rely a lot on reference pictures)

I'm glad to hear you have improved skyboxes. In retrospect went back and re-examined your pictures and it does seem like they could use some improvement. Some nice, HD skyboxes would be just the ticket, I think.

Also glad to hear you broke apart the levels too; I assume you got a save feature to keep your settings like guns/ammo/etc counters right? There's a post somewhere in the scripting forum for how to do that, if I recall.

Looking forward to the future progress of this. Keep at it, Nuncio
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yrkoon
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Posted: 28th Dec 2015 18:56 Edited at: 29th Dec 2015 20:17
YESSSS, Bolt Action Gaming, although I've never witnessed a real desert storm myself, your picture shows almost perfectly what I was thinking of when that idea for Nuncio's game occured to me.

Imagine having to stumble through THAT, albeit with your trusty goggles on, and every large shadowy shape you hardly can fully make out COULD turn out to be a giant ant.

And it is a great idea to approach devcore for help with a sandstorm decal, he proved time and again how good he is at such things.

From what I've seen so far, this game really may become a GG Classic .
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nuncio
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Posted: 29th Dec 2015 00:16
hi guys! i will respond next time, already late thanks for the input! i just leave here some new pictures from the army base! this is without any fog. how do you like this? what would you suggest?
i'm thinking about a single fog- level...
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yrkoon
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Posted: 29th Dec 2015 07:39
Generally great and convincing to me (never joined the Forces, but the Military camp appears 'just right' to me.)

The only Thing I'm having doubts about: do large cacti really go well together with lush green grass Areas around them ?
As far as I know, cacti are not fond of "wet feet".
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nuncio
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Posted: 29th Dec 2015 11:49
Quote: "so maybe do as you were saying and do a dust-storm level? "

this is quite a good idea. in the first level the player has to walk thru the night only with a flashlight, i will use "black fog" as night, this looks kinda nice but i can't get it running anymore because of the old runtime error. but i will keep this idea in my head.

Quote: "Maybe see if you could get devcore to make a dust-storm decal or two for you to help really cement the deal. Definitely keep playing with the light levels/etc until you have it exactly where you want it. "

the lighting that i used in the last set of screenshots is what i hope to be the final lighting. i don't know yet. maybe it's a little too dark and too much contrast? actually i like it. at leat it's close to how i would like it.

Quote: "Keep at it, you're doing awesome! "

Quote: "Looking forward to the future progress of this. Keep at it, Nuncio "

thank you! that keeps me working on it!

Quote: "In retrospect went back and re-examined your pictures and it does seem like they could use some improvement."
right now i only have this one skybox with the hills in the background. i have many skyboxes, also customized ones but when the hills are missing it looks strange. so i think i can't use another skybox. maybe for the foggy dust storm level i can use "hazy" skybox from stock media.

Quote: "Also glad to hear you broke apart the levels too; I assume you got a save feature to keep your settings like guns/ammo/etc counters right? There's a post somewhere in the scripting forum for how to do that, if I recall.
"

no no i didn't do anything about it. every map / game is a new start. but i can live with that. the player gets his instructions and has to do a job and then it's finished and a new objective comes up. the palyer always starts with a pistole with some bullets and the chance to finde more weapons and ammo in the game. i hope this will work.

Quote: "Imagine having to stumble through THAT, albeit with your trusty goggles on, and every large shadowy shape you hardly can fully make out COULD turn out to be a giant ant.
"

i can see this in my "inner eye" and it looks great i will try to make this when i finished the rest of the game. but it sounds like a lot of work and a lot of special problems to solve.

Quote: "(never joined the Forces, but the Military camp appears 'just right' to me.)"

me neither i am not really happy with the look of the army base, i mean it is okay and i will keep it like that but actually the buildings are not all from the same visual style because they're all mixed items from various sources. but i don't have a big choice, i have to take what i got and make a good use of the media i have here. i think it's okay but it could be much more professional.

Quote: "do large cacti really go well together with lush green grass Areas around them ? "

this is a very good question. i have just started a google search for "desert cactus" and the are some of them with green around them. maybe i should do a little less green around the cactus. i'm not an expert and i really do take your suggestions and criticism seriously to make a good game in the end
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yrkoon
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Posted: 29th Dec 2015 16:06 Edited at: 29th Dec 2015 16:09
Well, I was specifically referring to this picture



when I uttered my doubts - because it appears to show the ground fully covered with thick grass, whereas the other pictures of cacti are showing only scattered grass, as one would expect to shoot up after typical rainfall occuring once per year for 2 or 3 weeks, until the blazing sun reduces them to almost ashes.
I may be deluded by the viewing angle of said Picture. If the grass is also in scattered state there, leave it as it is, I'd say.
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yrkoon
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Posted: 29th Dec 2015 16:36
And, by the way, to my militarily untrained eyes, the Military camp is looking just fine, even better than the camp in ICFTD.

At first, I was tempted to comment on the number of Radio antennas, but then I thought twice, remembering that there is this secret science lab guarded by the camp, probably needing its own communication channels.

Not necessary for the game, but if this was a _movie_ project, within the first 10 minutes of the movie, I'd surely have the main character make a remark on the fact that this seemingly unimportant Military base utilizes an uncanny high number of Radio antennas, just to fire the viewers' anticipation.
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nuncio
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Posted: 29th Dec 2015 17:47
Quote: "I may be deluded by the viewing angle of said Picture. If the grass is also in scattered state there, leave it as it is, I'd say."

i will look at it again and make it a little less thick. ausdünnen
Quote: "And, by the way, to my militarily untrained eyes, the Military camp is looking just fine, even better than the camp in ICFTD."

lol great thanks
Quote: "Not necessary for the game, but if this was a _movie_ project, within the first 10 minutes of the movie, I'd surely have the main character make a remark on the fact that this seemingly unimportant Military base utilizes an uncanny high number of Radio antennas, just to fire the viewers' anticipation."

i will do that, it's a great idea. it's really awesome that there are so many ideas and suggestions for the game and i will try to put it all in. thank you. especially thank you for the encouragement before this project was coming back to life again.


btw. should i use another grass for this map, maybe brown / burned grass?
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yrkoon
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Posted: 29th Dec 2015 19:52
>btw. should i use another grass for this map, maybe brown / burned grass?

Well, it depends.
Not sure about North american deserts, but there are quite some documentaries showing african and australian deserts literally almost explode with plant life after a yearly rain shower.
So, if you have a lot of green in each Level, the green life can be sufficiently explained by stating somewhere early that "the yearly rainstorm last weeks" brought it forward, "but within three weeks time, it'll all be reduced to brittle again for the rest of the year ". Since your main character will only stay in the area for a week at best, that's fine.

Of course, it also adds the cliché of letting the hero arrive in Shelby when it is in its most paradise-like Outlook, thus leveraging the Horror even more when it kicks in; decide for yourself if you want that.

If there were a veritable, long since deserted Ghost Town to be visited, the "Hell Tanner" view Bolt Action Gaming suggested couldn't be beaten.
But my belief is that an inhabited town would always show some colour variation, and that includes - but is not restricted to- some foliage .










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nuncio
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Posted: 31st Dec 2015 01:58
i tried to do a hell tanner styled level, how do you like the screenshots? i have 2 different skyboxes. in the last picture i have "hazy" the other three have "golden"
btw i have model that's very similar to a landmaster
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yrkoon
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Posted: 31st Dec 2015 08:57 Edited at: 31st Dec 2015 09:12
Good ones for a start.
Too bad GG doesn't have terrain paging. "Damnation Alley" could be an interesting Project, we already could have "places infested with Killer Coackroaches", "Giant bat attacks", "Giant Gila Monsters barring our way"; would still need a host of aggressive bikers, but these should be available in the near future.

Too bad also the old "Damnation Alley" YouTube Video featuring all Landmaster Scenes from the movie, underlayed with Hawkwind's song is no longer available there, but here's a new one with awesome inspiration:

[video=youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCNpT7ZJiKU[/video]

Sorry the Video doesn't show here for some reason.

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nuncio
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Posted: 14th Jan 2016 00:02
the map "golden nugget" is the mine and the entrance to the mine tunnel. just a short level. now i just have to add evil ants to the map. "formicula" is coming to life a little more. but it will get a new name later... copyright problems.
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yrkoon
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Posted: 14th Jan 2016 14:30
Looking very well like most of your screenshots EXCEPT picture 7218.
I know this here statement is straight into the face of the "smear, dirt, garbage and shadow" crowd here, but you honestly cannot put office workers in a room with black mould sitting on the walls in such (or any) extent.
Miners are said to be a tough bunch, but - at least in western countries - they are well aware of health aspects in all matters pertaining to their work place. "Sowas wie hier geht gar nicht!!"
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Bolt Action Gaming
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Posted: 14th Jan 2016 15:27
Hey nuncio - do you know how to do interior shadowing?

It's not terribly difficult, just tedious and time consuming. It does provide a pretty good look for most maps though.

What you do:
Set all entities which will be affected as 'static'
Set up some light sources - also set them as static.
Hit F3 and run the lightmapper.

This will build shadow mapping for interiors and makes most maps look vastly better as a whole.
yrkoon
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Posted: 14th Jan 2016 16:22
Yeah, good reminder, Bolt Action Gaming, THOSE are the kind of shadows a game should have.
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