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

Keveran Desert - making sand dunes 2

Date: Apr 30, 2012
Screenshot #331: The left and right sides are done the same way as that of how screenshot 330 shows. The center split, however, is different. It's based on the halfway point between each side. Should a steeper slope be on the left than on the right, the center drifts to the right. Should the slopes match, the center goes straight down. It's this averaging that tends to cause a lot of long sections that span all the way down. Note the huge chains of 0s in column C (the columns have been shifted to allow for keeping tabs on clones). Note the rather large 42 in there with the 21 following. This means there are 42 rows with the same X position (this is column D). It is rare that it gets above 30 but it does happen.

Once every sand dune in a given layer is processed, the finalizing begins. This part takes but 2 minutes to do (only 1 minute if I'm fast). This screenshot shows the case where I'm applying the texture. This process is the same as that of doing the hills and mountains though I don't need terrain type transitions like the grass on the short mountains over 15 miles away.

Keveran Desert - the hidden cacti problem 1

Date: May 4, 2012
Screenshot #332: Keveran Desert is now 100% complete and its remake is way better than the original on almost every front. It took 2 weeks, but was well worth the effort. In this screenshot, you'll see lots of cacti but no close by sand dunes. There's a reason for that. Why? Because....

Keveran Desert - the hidden cacti problem 2

Date: May 4, 2012
Screenshot #333: With the sand dunes, you can't see any of the cacti at all, except the very closest ones in front of the scene. With the exact same position, not one cactus is visible. Even under optimal conditions, you can't see anything but the very closest cacti. As a consequence, I had to redo the cacti so that they were, in a way, on the sand dunes instead of between them. Even then, this barely had any effect. At least it did allow cacti between the sand dunes to be seen, but just barely.

Keveran Desert - near ground level

Date: May 4, 2012
Screenshot #334: After redoing the cacti and fixing an unnoticed bug in the video (see after screenshot 340 for the video), Keveran Desert is now 100% complete. In the low-lying parts of levels, the dominant feature you'll see are both cacti and, the main thing, the sand dunes. Some of the far away stuff is still visible though, but only between sand dune layers.

Keveran Desert - cacti between sand dunes

Date: May 4, 2012
Screenshot #335: As explained in screenshots 332 and 333, the fix I made for the cacti did allow for them to be visible behind the sand dunes. Trouble is, you'll really have to look carefully to spot them and you need to have the joined parts of the sand dunes near the bottom of the screen for any chance to see them.

Keveran Desert - typical highest point

Date: May 4, 2012
Screenshot #336: At the highest possible point in a jumbo or the supersize level, this is the kind of view you might expect to see. This is also my favorite of the Keveran Desert screenshots. Those rock cliffs couldn't be any better! If you look closely enough, you can see odd angles in them. Before the rock cliffs, however, you'll see plenty of action. The traffic and even maglev freight trains are seen.

Keveran Desert - the heights of the air taxis

Date: May 4, 2012
Screenshot #337: If you were to be in one of those air taxis, you'll see a few much like this. A good chunk of the Keveran Mountains are visible from here. Only the most distant ones are still blocked by the closer ones.

Keveran Desert - near the clouds

Date: May 4, 2012
Screenshot #338: To see the far away ones, you need a lot of height. This scenic view shows the Keveran Mountains covered with grass. Yes, that's right, grass in the desert. There's a reason for it too.

Keveran Desert - the other side of the mountains

Date: May 4, 2012
Screenshot #339: With the height of the world's highest mountains, the other side of the short Keveran Mountains is easy to see. If you look closely, you can see a coastline, best viewed on the left side of the scene where farm fields, cities and villages, and the ocean itself are visible, though not strongly or obviously.

Keveran Desert - the coastline

Date: May 4, 2012
Screenshot #340: To see the coastline in detail, you need a ton of height. With more than 2 1/2 times the height of Mount Everest in altitude, not to mention a rather dark sky to go with it, the coast couldn't be easier to see. Taking after my trip to the Minneapolis area, I used my observations of the typical distances between cities and put them to use in making that ground decal. This coastline is about 30 miles (50 kilometers) away so it makes even something the size of a farm field look miniscule. Even at the speed of sound, it's hard to see if anything is moving as you're barely moving at all. At ground level, the speed of sound is blindingly fast but way out there, it's less significant than an ant crawling along. Just remember that each one of those very-tiny-looking farm fields is 32 screen widths and it's shrunk down to barely 20 pixels, so small that 50 of them can fit in the width of the screen and you'd still have room to spare. Compare those tiny farm fields with what you see in the Sentus Mountains' foreground part and, well, you get the idea. PM really gives a sense of scale beyond what most games would bother with.