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    Nathaniel3W
  Sat Jan 07, 2017 3:08 pm
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Generic Townsperson

Location: Washington, DC
I'm working on the world map for Himeko Sutori. I have a very small and very basic mockup here, showing the day/night cycle that I was working on previously.

Image

The shaders for everything shown there are based on this:

http://himekosutori.com/wp-content/uplo ... mized2.gif

I toned down the highlights a bit in the game world, but maybe I should switch it back to see how it looks. I think the world looks a little flat.

I would love for it to look like...

Image

...but I realize I'm comparing my single-developer, 0-budget game to a game built by a team of over 100 at a cost of millions of dollars. There were reasons why I went with an old-school pixel aesthetic, cost and feasibility among them.

I tried including some more detailed models in the game, and I think they look pretty good, all things considered.

Image

But that's the problem. They look pretty good. And everything else doesn't look as good. So in order to keep a more uniform look, I decided to do my mountains entirely using the in-engine landscape modeling. Also, In order to blend the mountains into the area around them, I had to attach decals to them, and if I have two mountains next to each other, their decals draw on each other. It looked pretty bad. Anyway, the point is that because I'm just me, and I have limited time and other resources to commit, I'm going with the plain, low quality mountains.

So that's where I am for now. I guess I need to experiment with more terrain types maybe, and a greater variety of stuff on the ground? I really need to do something to liven up that world map. Maybe I need to work on water next.

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    Xilef
  Sat Jan 07, 2017 3:50 pm
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Location: UK
A lot of what I'm having trouble with visually is your hard black outlines with no anti-aliasing.
Is this a screen-space outline shader? It looks like it is screen-space looking at the artefacts around the buildings. I think I'd soften your outlines massively, perhaps tint them towards a purple shade to simulate diffuse lighting from a blue sky.

I think those mountains do match the surroundings (trees, buildings), just that there's a massive juxtaposition with the harsh black outline which makes it look like the 1-person amateur style that you're recognising you have; that style matches simpler mountains that also look 1-person amateur.


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    Nathaniel3W
  Sat Jan 07, 2017 8:16 pm
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Generic Townsperson

Location: Washington, DC
Thanks so much for the input Xilef. I really appreciate you taking a look at it. The outline is done in post-processing, where the shader takes a look at the screen depth of adjacent pixels. Anywhere the change in depth is above a certain threshold, it multiplies that pixel by black.

I'll try some of your suggestions and get back with some screenshots.

I'll try without the outline shader, with a purple tint to the outline shader, thinner lines, and maybe I should do something to soften the black grid as well. And add in antialiasing. I'm pretty sure UDK has a readymade solution for that. And maybe I should go with the Civilization look and try a soft gold tint that fades at the edges instead of the plain black grid. And maybe a fog that changes color with time of day? Maybe I should reconsider my whole palette--I can do that with post-processing color correction, so I won't have to redo and reimport every texture in the game.

As for the mountains, I got those from the Unity Asset Store. I reworked the colors quite a bit to get them to fit with my cartoonishly saturated palette, but I don't think I'll be able to get them to work as multi-hex mountain ranges. Maybe I just need to shell out the money for World Machine and make mountains to fit my hexes.

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    Nathaniel3W
  Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:12 pm
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Generic Townsperson

Location: Washington, DC
I've thinned out the Sobel edge, tinted it to match whatever the shadow color is at that time of day, added antialiasing, bumped up the highlight intensity, changed the hex grid (and it changes color during the day to match the highlight color), added shadows, and added a different terrain texture (crops). I think it's a pretty big improvement from where we were 24 hours ago.

Image

But something is going horribly wrong when I try doing in-game post-processing color grading:

Image

I'm going to have to work on that some more. And I need to try out World Machine to make real mountains.

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