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

Barugan Reef - a few feet underwater

Date: Mar 10, 2012
Screenshot #291: When standing on a platform 10 blocks underwater or a platform right at the surface and looking down, the reef shows its beauty at its best. This is best viewed with motion.

Barugan Reef - the reef cliff

Date: Mar 10, 2012
Screenshot #292: Things get dull deeper underwater. Still, there are a few things to look at here. That cliff is very nicely detailed. That pesky spring tends to get the better of me if I manage to dodge that first one.

Barugan Reef - the bottom of the cliff

Date: Mar 10, 2012
Screenshot #293: When far enough underwater, you can see a barren part of the cliff just a short ways into the distance. It seems rather difficult to see where the flat part is. This is because I've set this up so that the texture blends in smoothly all the way through. With some movement, it's easy to see where the flat part is. Careful observation in this screenshot can also hint to where it is.

Barugan Reef - several feet above the waves

Date: Mar 10, 2012
Screenshot #294: At some of the higher areas in levels, the reef becomes hard to see. The islands and air taxis, however, are much easier to see. This is half the height of the highest point in regular levels though. The supersize level may get roughly 4 times higher than this. How much of the reef can you see?

Barugan Reef - the usual air taxis

Date: Mar 10, 2012
Screenshot #295: The air taxis hovering above are nothing new and they're quite common to see. However, they are more dense than usual due to Carnivalesta being a ways to the right and this area has tons of beaches due to being an archipelago. This scene approximates the view you might see if you were looking out the window of one of those air taxis.

Barugan Reef - the far away islands

Date: Mar 10, 2012
Screenshot #296: Those islands are best seen from very high above. That very tall island with the large hills is actually the point of impact, a crater. The circle of islands around it are essentially the rim of the crater. Unlike the crater that took out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago that's over 100 miles in diameter, this one is only a bit less than 5 miles in diameter.

Sky darkening effect - the first look

Date: Mar 10, 2012
Screenshot #297: In the real world, when you get that altimeter way up, the sky gets quite dark. This is due to the fact there's very little atmosphere to look through and the emptiness of space, being black, comes into more focus. In this screenshot, this is a first look at how dark the sky can get and this is nowhere near the absolute highest possible. Still, with luck and skill, jumping this high is quite possible in the Sentus Mountains thanks to all the slopes. One wrong move, however, and it's back to the beginning. Attempting this leads to the huge amount of time on the clock.

As you can tell from this screenshot, the sky darkening effect affects the entire sky in a way that's not entirely correct. The fix for this is simple actually: just make new images so that the bottom part of the sky is mostly unaffected, but the upper part is affected in full. The debug panel is showing that the sky is 64.794/255 (25.41%) of the way to maximum darkness (or 74.59% as bright) from 60,356.69 feet above sea level. This may not be as exacting as this, but all I care for the most is that it's reasonably close.

Sky darkening effect - the second initial test

Date: Mar 13, 2012
Screenshot #298: During the day, the sky fades from a light blue-cyan color at the horizon to nearly true blue (slightly cyan and brighter) straight up. At dawn and dusk, when the Sun is pretty much at the horizon, the sky resembles a rainbow with red and orange at the horizon, white (instead of green) a dozen or so degrees above the horizon, which eventually fades to blue straight up, a darker blue. The lower the Sun is on the horizon, even a bit below the horizon, the stronger the gradient becomes.

Through hours of fiddling around in a spreadsheet (note the complex formula in the formula bar), I found something that seemed quite off, but had the general idea. There were 2 problems with the first test case. The first is that it was very fast-changing, way too fast. It was already at the white only 4 degrees above the horizon. The second is that I had the fade go from white to cyan. Yes, cyan should be included, but only after the white. That cyan needs to fade to blue toward the top. Where's green at? It's for the same reason there are no green stars visible - roughly equal amounts of red, green, and blue light are reaching your eye by that area causing it to appear white instead of green. Look at pretty much any sunrise or sunset and you'll see white instead of green.

So after adjusting the spreadsheet, I started going from white to blue instead of cyan for simplicity just to check the overall effect for the orange through white part, just to see how well it stacks up against a real world case. Thus, in this screenshot, you can see a photo I found in a Google Images search to use as a comparison source. Remove the clouds and you can see just how well my results as calculated in Excel compares to a real world photo. Although slightly different, they are almost identical where it takes a keen eye to spot any differences. However, note the 2x zoom as well. A few minor tweaks to my formula (my hue gradient scale ratio (column W) needs adjusting) and I should have it.

Sky darkening effect - attempting automation

Date: Mar 17, 2012
Screenshot #299: Wouldn't you know it? I supposedly complete the dusk sky in full and even got a start on the day sky. Supposedly? There was a mistake in the spreadsheet as I noticed I referenced the wrong variable.... Yep, all that time and effort for almost nothing... well, except the spreadsheet getting set up. Why did I do it manually instead of automating it? The complexity is so great that I felt that it would take longer to write the program than it did to do it manually.

Thus, if that's the case, why am I automating it now? I figured out a solution to bypass nearly all of the complexity - just copy and paste the RGB color data from Excel that I've been using and put it into a TXT file. From there, I just simply read the TXT file to get the RGB color data I need. That's otherwise very simple to do... or so I thought.

After I wrote the function for doing it, I encountered a problem that doesn't make sense. This screenshot shows the problem very well. Note the "ReadData" array size. It's 4. This is because 3 characters are present for the number for RGB color data, from 0 to 255. Note how, at line 3216, I have "CurrentDigit" for the array position. If you look at the value of "CurrentDigit", you'll see that it's 380. This means I'm referencing ReadData[380], of which is well out of bounds of the initial 4. You might think that an infinite loop is present, but even 70,700 characters in, the function runs just fine like I expect, never going beyond 3. It only goes beyond 3 once it reaches the end. Thing is, I'm also checking for the end, hence the reasoning of the checking for the \0 character, the string terminator. For some odd reason, the string terminator is not being found. Why it's not being found, that I don't know and it's got me bugged. It seems I'm having trouble with string terminators recently all of a sudden.... So, I'll have to think of another method.

Oddly, I didn't have this problem with my GameFAQs guide processing program even though I'm using almost the same general routine.

Sky darkening effect - day sky when low

Date: Mar 19, 2012
Screenshot #300: At last the sky darkening effect is done. The end results are very nice. To show the full glory of the new sky as well as the sky darkening effect, 11 new screenshots have been taken. The first one gives you an idea on what you expect to see under normal means. Here, near ground level in the game's very first world, at a height you'll typically encounter, the sky is bright and blue.