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

Vertical clouds - in the clouds

Date: Apr 19, 2012
Screenshot #321: Earlier, when you were in the clouds, the texture was strong and had an obvious grid. This time, it's very difficult to see any grid effect. When in the clouds, like it was before the clouds went vertical up close, it becomes difficult to see where you're going, but at least you can still make out significant enough detail.

Vertical clouds - gliding just above the clouds

Date: Apr 19, 2012
Screenshot #322: Ever wished you could just fly among the clouds? You can in Platform Masters... well, sort of. Gliding isn't exactly flying, but it does call for interesting scenes. This is a serene scene too. Hovering barely 100 feet above the tops of the clouds with the pretty sunset in the background, you can't get much more serene than this!

Vertical clouds - Sentus Mountains cloud tops

Date: Apr 19, 2012
Screenshot #323: In the Sentus Mountains, you can't get low enough to go into the clouds because the terrain is in the way. Still, you can still get close enough to the clouds to see the vertical clouds, though not very well.

Vertical clouds - far above the clouds

Date: Apr 19, 2012
Screenshot #324: With the updated vertical clouds came a new texture. The new texture is smoother, brighter, and, best of all, doesn't have that obvious grid. I wanted to update the original clouds so that they used the new texture. In addition, the original clouds, for the part beyond a scaling of 192, had double the necessary resolution. As smooth as the clouds are, this extra resolution has no real benefit. It just wastes memory basically. So, I fixed that while at it, saving a pretty decent 4 1/4 MB of memory (a few KB short of that anyway).

Vertical clouds - the new clouds texture

Date: Apr 19, 2012
Screenshot #325: The best way to view the new texture is an overcast sky with tons of height. While a grid is apparent if you look closely enough, it's nowhere near as obvious as it was.

Vertical clouds - below the clouds at night

Date: Apr 19, 2012
Screenshot #326: Carnivalesta takes place at night. Being night, things are dark. That also includes the clouds. Like it is during the day, the clouds, when near them, provide for some very nice scenes.

Vertical clouds - just into the clouds at night

Date: Apr 19, 2012
Screenshot #327: At night, the clouds offer a great way to keep hidden... if only platforms in the real game itself went up that high in the first place. If you look into the upper corners of this screenshot, you can see the stars very clearly as they are not obscured by the clouds. The top center part is otherwise fully obscured by the clouds.

Ground decals - effects of wrong scale shape

Date: Apr 22, 2012
Screenshot #328: With work started on Keveran Desert, of which hasn't been touched since screenshot 41 was posted (seriously, that long ago), I began with one of my favorite aspects of PM - ground decals. The coastline is, unlike the desert itself, vibrant, green, and... wait! Green!? How can a desert have grass or be so lively when they have pretty much nothing but sand? This part of the scenery is a massive 30 miles away, on the other side of the moisture-blocking mountains. Getting this high will require some considerable effort, but far less than what's needed to see the stars during the day.

The thing is, when making ground decals, I have to have the scale shape's widths for each row exactly on (rounded to the nearest pixel that is) or I'll have strange effects occurring. The first of these is simple. If the scale shape is too narrow, you'll see the image's width unusually narrow for that row and strange gaps in the image will occur. If you view the full size image of this and look just above the leftmost part of the H on the HP indicator's text, you'll see 3 small black dots. What happens when the image is too wide? The black dots or gap won't be visible, but the texture will still look odd from not lining up. This kind of case is much harder to spot, sometimes even impossible. The closer part of the ground decals are hidden so I could isolate where the problem occurred. You'll see the finished result later on when I'm completely done with Keveran Desert. If you recall the farm fields from Jeremy's House, you should have an idea what the coastline here is going to look like... except that it's over 5 times as distant for even the closest part of it.

Ground decals - a rare setup

Date: Apr 23, 2012
Screenshot #329: Ground decals are nothing new, though there are times where I have rare setups. For the case of the river in Keveran Desert, this is where I needed to figure out a more efficient method for doing the second part of the river's shoreline. Unlike the Sentus Mountains where, thanks to great distance, the rivers were always very close to each other, or coastlines near the ocean (a fairly common thing early on) where I have only 1 shoreline to deal with (islands otherwise don't count), the Keveran River in the Keveran Desert was a different case. I either had to memorize or guess the shape of the first shore I did. Wanting the river to be roughly the same width (I wanted some variation), I needed a guide and so, I duplicated my completed first shoreline and moved it to the approximate width I was after. The lighter lines is the actual shoreline. Note how it often crosses over my faint line. The faint line used for reference isn't even accurate either - get something heading at a steep angle away and the accuracy goes down - it's based on the cosine of the offset. Get a 60 angle (of which is not present, not even close) and the distance is halved at the maximum. Ronnisa Plains will also need this for its river, though it's much more distant though it being wider (and not the 3 Kbl width I currently have, which makes little sense) kind of cancels that out. What's the pink lines? That's the scaling grid so I know the Z position of each point. Each line is one full scaling unit's distance.

Keveran Desert - making sand dunes 1

Date: Apr 30, 2012
Screenshot #330: The sand dunes were really tricky to get started. I first needed some research because sand dunes are alien to me. I've never been to a desert and the few sandy beaches I've been to have practically nothing as far as sand dunes go (2 inches is way too small, the biggest I've seen with my own eyes outside TV). Thus, I had to do some research to get the basics on sand dunes of the size scale I'm after, nearly 100 feet from trough (the lowest point) to crest. While doing the research, I notice that the sand dunes in a given area are almost always the same basic shape. While, yes, they are varied, they vary very slightly across 100 feet.

So, upon seeing this, I realized I needed to set up a spreadsheet to roughly simulate them. In the case of the Keveran Desert, the wind is being channeled by the surrounding short mountains restricting the wind in 2 directions. A bend in the path is planned for leaving the wind to come from only one direction - from the right in the scene. This means transverse sand dunes are used. The part the wind blows against resembles an S curve with the steepest part being in the center. The part away from the wind has the steep part at the top which gradually gets fairly level at the bottom. Although 34 is the limit for when avalanches occur, I've allowed for a very slight overflow, reaching 35 at the highest possible. To set the slope limits, I use a random number generator (the RNG). I just set the range limits, do a little multiplication and addition, and I store the randomized results in a list off the side. Making sure I fit within my array size limits and that tiling will work properly, I had to do some tests. Initially, I had the bad idea of doing an entire sand dune's worth instead of just checking the placement of the limits. It took about 8 hours to get everything up and going but once it was up and going and working fine, I was making progress quite fast.

With the spreadsheet set up and no further problems detected, the main progress began. I only needed to trace the shape as indicated in my spreadsheet, utilizing various shortcuts I've been aware of for a long time. The screenshot shows one of them. I'm using GIMP's line drawing feature to do several rows at once. Note column B. This is how many pixels there are in that row. Columns C and D set the starting position. Note how B has 1, 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 1 directly above with a 2 and 1 above it. Patterns like the 1, 2, 2 I utilize so I can draw lines. Some patterns are hard to do such as 1, 2, 1, 2, 2 repeating. Should I get a long streak of those, exceedingly rare to begin with, there's also copy paste. Get a long chain of 2s and it's really fast. The same goes with long chains of 3s or 1s. With slopes not going above 35, 0s are not possible. Should I have a need for 0s, I, well, see the next screenshot for details as, there, I get very long chains of those.