Platform Masters Title
Platform Masters - Will you be the world's next platform master?

Terrain - a simulation

Date: Sep 2, 2010
Screenshot #51: TSO has it and I thought the terrain in TSO was good. This makes TSO look cheap! With the platform colors issue resolved with the discovery of the HSV system to get a seemingly infinite supply of colors along with it, I freed up a lot of memory. With that issue resolved, slopes have become more feasible. Even with sloped platforms now possible, there's still more than enough room for the ground to be sloped as well, of which uses 5.39 MB memory. Unlike TSO that uses a 3D terrain, PM only uses a purely 2D terrain. PM's terrain is also far, far finer in terms of slope resolution. TSO stepped by 5, but PM steps by about 2.1. TSO is based on angle steps, PM is based on the vertical span. TSO would've used 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, ... for it's slopes, making them 5, 11, 16, 22, 28, and 35 pixels for the 60-pixel horizontal span. PM revolves heavily around the block, 32 pixels. Instead of 5, 11, 16, ..., it's 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, ... except after 12 where it steps by 2's until 32. At 32, it's 4's until 48 (an odd jump since these slopes are not all that common) then increasing semilogarithmically (it doesn't follow a true exponential curve, but it's close) until it maxes at 128.

While not yet implemented in the game engine, I wanted to see what the terrain would look like. Thus, I reused one of my simulation screenshots that I use to design worlds in and simply add the terrain in as the game engine is expected to draw/render it. If you're familiar with TSO's history with terrain, I was having problems with the frame rate, solely due to the thousands upon thousands of draws I needed (that is, until I came up with a solution to that problem). With what you're seeing in this simulation screenshot, it's only a puny 64. At worst, it'll only use 132 draws and that's if nothing but the terrain is shown on screen with fractional parts at the edges of the screen. The clouds easily use up more than 6 times that! In other words, there won't be any problems with the frame rates from this. 3600 is the limit and even with the 12-channel ground, extra scenery layers, special objects, etc., I'm only getting to 1/3 this limit, most of it from the clouds then the onscreen text.

So then, how and when are slopes encountered? Slopes generally can be classified into 2 types: gentle and steep. You won't see slopes until world 3. Although worlds 1 and 2 both use terrain, but it's flat all the way across the entire 65,536-block span (2,097,152 CU, about 58 1/4 miles or 93 3/4 kilometers). From worlds 3 until 9, only the gentle slopes are used, those that are 45 or less. Beyond world 9, the steep slopes are used, which get as steep as 75.96 though much beyond 60 is very rarely seen. Worlds that have bottomless pits, such as Keveran Forest, techically still use terrain, just in a different way to allow for "blank" spots in the terrain.

If the terrain is uneven, then what about the 16+ levels per world? They're all spread out across the terrain. Level 1 is at the far left edge. Level 2 is about 4000 or so blocks to the right (this is randomized some), and level 3 would be another 5000 blocks further (also randomized). The spacing between jumbo and supersize levels is much greater. With the position offset comes offsets in the positions with the scenery. In a way, this system provides a great way to add depth to the sheer scale and size of the scenery. There's even an option to allow a simple fade to black and back for level transitions, and there's also the high-speed transport, going several thousand mph (the former is the default setting as the latter can cause trouble for those with motion sickness).

The cloud fogging effect

Date: Sep 8, 2010
Screenshot #52: Unless you seriously improve jumping or hold that up arrow key with leviburst for generally more than 20 minutes, you otherwise won't see this special effect. The fogging effect is just that - the whole scene fogs up, but only when near or in the clouds. When near the clouds, the intensity of the fog increases with closing distance. When in the clouds, you won't have a clue as to what the scenery is like, and it's quite difficult to see what's going on in the foreground as well. 125-foot base visibility is no joke!

Keveran Forest - more scenery enhancements

Date: Sep 8, 2010
Screenshot #53: ... And Keveran Forest just got the hills at 128! Wondering what the effects would be if I added a layer of hills between each of the 3 originals, and one further out, I did a small test. I really liked the effects and went on to make better quality versions and this is the end result. The new hills are at 88, 176, and 352. Previously, the 256 was the furthest, but 352 is quite a bit further than that, 37.5% further.

There is also another reason for adding the extra hills. With the supersize and jumbo levels, which cover a much greater span, it becomes quite easy to see the rather obvious gap when you get into the upper reaches of such levels. The gap, with the new additions, is a lot more difficult to see. The normal levels may only get to about 2000-3000 CU for the height, but it wouldn't be unusual for a jumbo level to peak 4000-6000 CU and the supersize level to peak 5500-8500.

Carnivalesta - extra scenery enhancements 1

Date: Sep 8, 2010
Screenshot #54: Liking what I got with Keveran Forest, I turned to already-gorgeous Carnivalesta and otherwise did the same thing - yep, more hills and mountains between the existing ones, and even further back. There's even a 704 which is very close to the edge of visibility - it's only visible, if you look hard enough, when against the night sky.

But no, the hills and mountains weren't the only things I improved on. Although hard to see, the loop-de-loop on the roller coaster has a different shape (more egg-shaped), and it also has vertical supports that cross over the series of X's.

Lastly, though more obvious in this screenshot, is the addition of another row of barker and food stands. These are explained individually as follows:

I haven't added in any additional rides yet and I don't have enough ideas to cover the entire 1024-pixel span (8192 CU, 1201 1/2 feet, 366.2 meters).

Carnivalesta - extra scenery enhancements 2

Date: Sep 8, 2010
Screenshot #55: With the clutter of the low-lying area out of view, it's now much easier to be mesmerized by the beauty of the more distant scenery with the cities more easily visible. With the supersize level, you'll almost get to this kind of height (1763 feet, 537.4 meters). It's also much easier to see the most distant mountains, best seen against the night sky.

Carnivalesta - extra scenery enhancements 3

Date: Sep 8, 2010
Screenshot #56: Significantly higher up, fairly close to the clouds, it's much easier to see the more distant mountains. It's also possible to see the mountains poking through the clouds, though with the low density clouds that Carnivalesta uses, it's quite difficult to see this. With the new hills added, I had to rewrite the function for drawing the clouds, which took the bulk of September 7 just to do. Although it took rather long, I also optimized them and fixed a class 1 bug that've been aware of for a while - odd, unexpected horizontal offsets seen only at certain Y positions for the camera. Without the semi-rewrite (I reused as much of the code as I could), the effect of the mountains poking through the clouds wouldn't behave correctly.

Nodera Ice Shelf - closest ice burg update

Date: Sep 8, 2010
Screenshot #57: Nodera Ice Shelf is generally unchanged since the previous set of screenshots, except for one thing. The original plan for the closest ice burg was to have the closest edge to appear to be going into the back. Originally, it appeared that snow was "draping" down from the sides. Only when it's possible to see over the lowest parts, that's when the snow starts to become visible. Keveran Desert already does this, so Nodera Ice Shelf should as well. The extra sets of hills and mountains will also be added, but they haven't when this screenshot was taken.

Menus - the scroll bar

Date: Sep 8, 2010
Screenshot #58: When things can't fit into an allotted space, a scroll bar is present. Platform Masters is no exception. It was getting rather difficult to change worlds at will so I began to design the menus to make this easier, much easier. The scroll bar, though, only seems to be 1/6 of the way down, hinting that there are possibly 21 worlds. Until now, the existence of worlds 19 and 20 have been kept hidden from the public (that is, they were classified). They were thought of very shortly after I went to using 18 worlds. Worlds 19 and and 20 are special in a way too - there are certain conditions that are required in order to access them and when you do, you're in for a serious challenge, especially world 20 which is extremely difficult, making even difficulty 2 seem more like 6. Beyond this, I won't say anything else about them. Their names will eventually be declassified though, but beyond that, you'll have to figure out how to access them.

What's the other option? "Back". Just like TSO 2.4, there was always a "back" option at the very end. This option simply allows you to go up a level in the menu tree. The orange arrow to the right of each option means that selecting it will cause you to go up a level in the menu tree upon selecting that option.

You might be thinking that there's some significance to the fact that some options are in yellow. Why is this? The option is normally supposed to be selectable, but, since that world has not been implemented into the game engine, they cannot be selected. Options are also occasionally in red, meaning that they cannot be selected due to something blocking its access. There are other cases of yellow and red text instead of white, but these are rare.

There are a few other minor changes as well, notably the font size for the menu location and the menu help header. The menus were supposed to cover 720x480, but I had them as 740x464 instead, which seemed odd. The spacing also wasn't consistent, of which also got updated.

With the ability to change the world via the menus, I can at last start adding them in. Expect a huge number of screenshots and YouTube videos to come in a short notice....

Jeremys House - the grass effect

Date: Sep 9, 2010
Screenshot #59: Located in the western outskirts of Ronnis is Jeremy's House, world 1. This area otherwise lacks detail, though the houses seem to go on forever. This is because I've only got the minimum requirements I set for the world. Getting the houses positioned was the tricky part, but, strangely, I had more difficulties getting the ground to display properly, thanks to forgetting to update something after a copy/paste operation.

However, take a close look at that objects on the ground. They seem to be "buried" in the rather short grass. This is another special effect, one that is repeated throughout the game. Worlds 3 and 14 also have this and more intense (it's as if the lawns in world 1 have recently been cut). The grass is harmless and doesn't affect speed or acceleration.

Jeremys House - the hills and houses

Date: Sep 9, 2010
Screenshot #60: Those houses seem to extend out for a very long way... and they do. The furthest houses are 3200 feet from the camera. Beyond the houses are hills. The extra hills have not been added to this world yet as that element was only a recent addition.