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

Vertical clouds - a serene scene

Date: Mar 23, 2012
Screenshot #311: Earlier, the clouds were nothing more than a flat plane. This has changed but only for the closest part of the clouds. This is because that part of the clouds is always fully opaque. Using 6 MB more memory, the end result was very nice, best viewed when in motion. Although it may seem that such a feature doesn't have much use since it takes a long enough time to get this high, there is one world in particular where you'll see this almost constantly - Nodera Highlands. In this scene, I'm only about 35 feet above the tops of the clouds.

Vertical clouds - reaching out of the clouds

Date: Mar 23, 2012
Screenshot #312: When in the clouds just at their tops, you can get scenes where the fog from them causes a noticeable gradient on the character.

Vertical clouds - reaching into the clouds

Date: Mar 23, 2012
Screenshot #313: Here's the opposite of the above - reaching into the clouds. From below, the gradient is much stronger (though I'm considering making the bottoms taller, to about half that of the tops instead of 1/8). You can see how the clouds begin to hide the platform to the right of the character (this also occurs when above the clouds).

Vertical clouds - hiding in the clouds at night

Date: Mar 23, 2012
Screenshot #314: At night, things get dark. In Carnivalesta, they get dark when far enough above the ground. When the character is redone, the character will be much more difficult to see in the clouds than this. No levels in Carnivalesta will even get close to the clouds so there's nothing to worry about. Can you find any mountains poking through the clouds?

Vertical clouds - the cloud bottoms

Date: Mar 23, 2012
Screenshot #315: The one part that could very well use a redo are the bottoms of the clouds. Here, the way things are are not very decent as there's big gaps between the layers. This is why I need to use half the height instead of 1/8.

Vertical clouds - the initial preview

Date: Apr 15, 2012
Screenshot #316: Since I was short on time, due to a vacation, I had to cut a few efforts short with the clouds vertical effect. Having returned to working on Platform Masters after a break, I'm now putting full effort toward this. The shapes don't need redoing, just the texture. A texture fade will also occur. When in the clouds, earlier, there was an obvious grid from tiling due to the texture I used. The update will address the many weak points of the vertical clouds, perhaps even changing the texture of the clouds themselves to go with it. This screenshot shows an example of one of the changes. I simply changed the texture for the part in the middle of the clouds. This is already a big improvement over what I had, outside the texture mismatch of which will be addressed later on. You practically can't tell that any grid even exists now, at least, not without looking closely.

Vertical clouds - the initial tests

Date: Apr 18, 2012
Screenshot #317: It took a while to get everything processed and working, but this is almost the final version of the vertical clouds. Almost? I haven't fully added them in yet, the grid effect needs to go away (easily done with randomized offsets), and the clouds going into the distance (the original ones) need a texture update and, while I'm at it, adjusting the resolution for the most distant layers. Currently, the resolution is double what it needs to be - beyond a certain point (so you don't get duplicated rows), extra resolution has almost no effect, especially with the clouds where it's very difficult to see each row due to minimal contrast (ground decals have high contrast so it's easy to see the rows). With this in mind, I could save 5 or 6.2 MB, depending on where the threshold occurs. This screenshot lacks the closest layer of the clouds, but from the previous version, this is already much better.

Vertical clouds - gaps from bugs

Date: Apr 18, 2012
Screenshot #318: During the importation of the updated vertical clouds into the game engine, I frequently encountered unexpected gaps that I couldn't explain. Either I referenced the height of the wrong image group, I used the bottom of the image instead of the top (the bottom is the most common case used - know the height of the ground and it's easy to place a hill on top of it), or I forgot the division by 2 (since each image group consists of 2 images with 2 parts in each (one for the top, used when above the clouds, the other for the bottom when below the clouds). In the end, the results are much better than the clouds were before. Before new screenshots of the overall looks are posted, I'm going to be updating the original clouds for the resolution and texture.

Vertical clouds - the lower parts coming in

Date: Apr 19, 2012
Screenshot #319: World 16, Nodera Highlands, is a world in which you'll regularly be going in and out of the clouds as the levels in that world are highly vertical, the most vertical of all the worlds (the Sentus Mountains (world 10) have the most total vertical span across every level, but individual levels are not as vertical as those in. Taking place both below the clouds where a snowstorm is going on and above the clouds, where the sky is crisp and clear with great visibility, the clouds need some attention. Because it's possible to go in the clouds in every single world that has them, except the Sentus Mountains because you can't get low enough, I wanted the clouds to be designed around this fact. The original clouds, those covering the X and Z axes (Z being depth, X being left and right) went from the edge of visibility to a scaling of 8. From there, I intended on having the closest part of the clouds rising above vertically.

Unfortunately, I didn't bother to do it until halfway into March of 2012, almost a year later. From the vacation I had and only 4 days to do something after the completion of the sky darkening effect (to the limits I can right now), I went at working on the vertical clouds. Short on time, I couldn't really polish them off. After the vacation, I had no time restrictions so I could put much more effort into the clouds than I did before. Now, they are otherwise perfected.

In this screenshot, this is a view you'll regularly see in Nodera Highlands. Here, you're close to the clouds and the vertical clouds are just starting to come into the view.

Vertical clouds - reaching into the cloud bottoms

Date: Apr 19, 2012
Screenshot #320: Like before, the character is obscured by the clouds when the character goes into them. Unlike before, the bottoms of the clouds are now improved, otherwise exactly like the tops were before. This is certainly a major improvement.