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

Nodera Ice Shelf - ice cold water

Date: Feb 13, 2012
Screenshot #281: With Nodera Ice Shelf now 100% done, the showcase for the finalized version of the game's first ice world can begin. In the low-lying area, the view is dominated by the closest ice burg and freezing cold water. Although it is possible to swim in this wavy water like any other water, it's dangerous to be in due to the fact it's so cold. After being immersed for 5 seconds, the water will gradually begin to sap HP away, about 10 HP per second (depending on depth), and it takes a while to recover that. Thus, avoid it as much as possible. Brief dips in the water is fine.

Nodera Ice Shelf - closest ice burg 3D effects

Date: Feb 13, 2012
Screenshot #282: The closest ice burg has undergone 4 changes. The first change is the improved 3D effects on the front of the closest ice burg. The second is that it's also brighter. The third is the vertical span between the highest and lowest points is greater, doubled. The fourth and final involves the top of the closest ice burg - ground decals are used with the most distant part being well done.

This screenshot shows one of the 3D effects when nearly level but still a bit below the top of the closest ice burg.

Nodera Ice Shelf - drifting ice burgs

Date: Feb 13, 2012
Screenshot #283: Being July and in the northern hemisphere, frozen areas melt and lose their ice. Nodera Ice Shelf is shedding some of its built-up ice and thus ice burgs are found drifting along. The bottom of this image shows the far edge of the closest ice burg in its full glory. Beyond it lie more ice burgs, lots of them and randomly scattered around. This is a view from what you might expect from the highest point within a jumbo level.

Nodera Ice Shelf - the ice shelf

Date: Feb 13, 2012
Screenshot #284: Nodera Ice shelf gets its name from this large object, the ice shelf. Mixed in among the ice burgs are air taxis, nothing new. Notice the variable Z distance of the ice shelf and with that the varying height. This is the results of what screenshot 280 was explaining. The looks came out a bit better than I originally thought.

Nodera Ice Shelf - the northern Sentus Mountains

Date: Feb 13, 2012
Screenshot #285: At a point near the clouds, the northernmost part of the Sentus Mountains are best visible. That's right, the Sentus Mountains. The scene is facing due south so the Sentus Mountains are visible. The mountains can be seen poking through and into the clouds as well, the most distant ones that is. The ice shelf also stands out very well too.

Nodera Ice Shelf - far above the clouds

Date: Feb 13, 2012
Screenshot #286: From far above the clouds, there isn't much to see. Still, you can see the most distant of the Sentus Mountains poking through the clouds very easily. The only thing missing here is that of the sky darkening effect.

Barugan Reef - making the reef

Date: Mar 6, 2012
Screenshot #287: Starting February 29, 2012, leap year day of all things, I resumed work on Platform Masters to get more scenery declared 100% finished. Knowing that Barugan Reef was almost done, since only the reef itself needed to be done, I wanted to get that one out of the way. Little did I know it was going to take well over a week to finish. The culprit is the reef itself, especially the corals. A 1024x43 image takes a whole day to do. Although the corals take a very long time to process, they add considerably to the quality of the scene. This screenshot shows this very well and how nicely the reef itself looks like. It is simulated to assume that the camera is exactly at sea level. The islands and updated reef cliff are not important and thus there's no point in including them in the simulation. They will, however, be included in the game engine.

With no effective algorithm (like my case with trees - the only method I know of for making trees is also used with the corals), a tiny 100x56 patch of the image from a single coral takes almost 1 1/2 hours to do (imagine that being scaled up to 448x704 for trees - I'd literally need several days to do it). Because of this, it gets boring so I watch TV while doing this. Although this slows things down more, it's the only way I can keep enough motivation for doing it and with motivation comes speed. Thus, watching TV a lot, although it slows the overall progress, actually speeds it up considerably, almost triple, if not more, simply because I can stay at it far longer. If I didn't, I'd otherwise stop progress only a little bit into a single layer and not return for a while.

The rocks and urchins (? I'm unsure if they are urchins) have decent algorithms for making them and are thus quite fast to do. What takes 1 1/2 hours for a coral is done in only 5 minutes. Thus, if I left out the corals, I could have all layers done in only a single day. Fortunately, the corals aren't particularly big (sure 128 CU may be a bit big, 19 feet, they're small pixel-wise compared to trees making them far more manageable and worth doing.

The layer at 3.5 is setup, but, like the 3, expected to take about a day to complete. The layer at 4 is already partially done from the previous design so I have a bit less work to do, but it'll still take a while. The layers at 4.5, 5, and 5.5 are narrower, half as wide (512 pixels instead of 1024), so they won't take as long to do. In a way, it's a good thing I went with steps of 1/2 scaling unit instead of 1/4 as I was once thinking of doing.

Barugan Reef - fish detail loss with distance

Date: Mar 9, 2012
Screenshot #288: With the reef itself done, only the fish remained. I knew that the fish were going to be small since the math says that they will be, but I didn't think it'd be this small! I thought I'd get stuff that was in public domain (hence NOAA), so I spent a few hours browsing fish at Wikipedia. Much of what I found was either nontropical, or freshwater only, but a few were suitable for Barugan Reef. Of those, many were quite small, so small that they'd only be 2 pixels tall. Then I came across the Atlantic bluefin tuna (ya know, that tuna fish sandwich likely is that particular fish). Seeing that it was over 2 meters for its average size, I thought that it would stand a chance at retaining some detail.

This screenshot shows the results. The original image (edited from the JPG format it was originally saved in) is very richly detailed. Yet, if I had this particular tuna at the position where the platforming takes place, it's already lost pretty much every detail. The eye and mouth opening have shrunk to barely a pixel. The dorsal fin in the front is at least big enough to make out that it is a fin. However, move this large tuna out to the position where the closest part of the reef is and almost every detail on the tuna is hard to see. Move the tuna to a point halfway between the limit of visibility underwater and the closest part of the reef and you've got pretty much nothing but a line. Throw in the fog and the big bluefin tuna becomes even harder to see.

From this test, I see no point in using images in the public domain. I could just simply make my own images, essentially colored lines of varying sizes since that's all what a fish that's even 60 centimeters long turns into even fairly close to the scene.

Barugan Reef - a few feet above the waves

Date: Mar 10, 2012
Screenshot #289: Barugan Reef is now 100% done. The underwater part is what has the greatest change. From a few feet above the waves, the reef itself is clearly visible, except the very far part. The fish can be easily seen as well.

Barugan Reef - at the surface

Date: Mar 10, 2012
Screenshot #290: When treading at the water's surface or standing a little into it near the surface, the far part of the reef is the best visible. What is the most distant part of the reef that you can see?