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

Keveran Desert - wavy sand texture tests

Date: August 3, 2012
Screenshot #371: Since I especially like the wavy texture on the updated sand dunes, I wanted to get the foreground part to match this then later blend in with the rest of the sand. Trouble is, with the coastline, sand to grass gradient, and the Keveran River, I didn't have much available memory for any other ground decals. Through some small adjustments, I was able to, though barely, extend the range of the wavy sand texture out to 3 as that was all I had available. Thinking that 3 seemed a bit too close still and short of making the repeat width for the Keveran River narrower, I wanted to check the contrast or degree of difference between the wavy sand texture and the original. At a scaling of 12, the farthest sand dunes, you practically can't tell any difference. Up close, it's obvious. Thus, there's a threshold at which the degree of noticeability is low. Since sand dunes obscure the direct transition (since there's a layer at 3), this makes the transition not as easy to notice. I targeted 4 as the threshold, but I didn't have enough memory and I can't optimize anything either, including for draws (though 1300 as I currently have it is well below my 2000 limit so it's not much of an issue).

This screenshot shows the difference. The top part shows the wavy texture as it would appear from a top-down view. The bottom part shows the original texture scaled at the same ratio. The difference is somewhat noticeable, though not significantly. The texture is intended to simulate full screen, hence the 200% zoom. This makes the difference more noticeable. Put a sand dune right where the transition is and it's not as easy to to differentiate. This just gives an idea on the detail I go into when planning, and how I deal with the limits I have. Since I could never get malloc to work, this is what I have to deal with.

Keveran Desert - GIMP errors for Keveran River

Date: August 7, 2012
Screenshot #372: Whenever I'm working with very large images, GIMP isn't very stable. Should it exceed 1.8 GB of used memory (even though I still have over 1 GB to spare), regardless, GIMP crashes. Under certain circumstances, I get the "failed to allocate %d bytes" error appearing. Without the 1.8 GB limit being approached, I can still get crashes, mostly the "failed to allocate %d bytes" error, most common when working with selections. This screenshot shows the error I'm referring to. In my case here, I performed the blur to get the "extension" I need, as is explained in my "how I process ground decals" video. I used select by color to select the transparent areas of the blurred image, inverted the selection, deleted the blurred image I didn't need any more, set intersect mode, and select the transparent area to get just the transparent area extension for bucket filling. Trouble is, if I'm not paying attention and I select a solid color instead of the transparent area, of which clears the selection, then press control+Z to undo this mistake, that's how I got this "failed to allocate %d bytes" error to appear.

What's with the magenta, white, and small bits of other colors? I need to keep track of how many times I've done this. I need 240 rounds total and this error just happened to have occurred as I was on the final stretch. White represents even numbers that are not a multiple of 10. Magenta represents any odd number. Blue is for multiples of 10 that are not multiples of 20. Cyan is for multiples of 20 but not 40. Green is for multiples of 40 but not 80. Yellow is for multiples of 80 but not 160. Red is for multiples of 160. I've never had a need to go to 320 or beyond. Because of uncertainty on how I want the gradient for the grass far from the river, whether 1, 1.5, or 2 SU (I originally planned for 1 SU, or about 100 1/8 feet. Short of doing all this blurring, selections, etc. all over again for another attempt, I'm getting all I need and use the one I'm working on as a template. The amount I do need is known though - 4 SU total span of which covers 256 of these. The gradient near the river is known to be 1/4 SU and I'm very confident on that. The large image size is to work around GIMP's accuracy problems - numbers are rounded down instead of to the nearest integer.

Keveran Desert - updated sand dunes

Date: August 8, 2012
Screenshot #373: This is what the final version of Keveran Desert will look like. Up close, the sand texture (from the decals) and the sand dunes together blend in very well. Even the 2 types of cacti are clearly visible.

Keveran Desert - cacti between sand dunes

Date: August 8, 2012
Screenshot #374: As per my original intentions, I wanted the cacti visible between the sand dunes. Here, you can see 3 cacti clearly visible, one of which visible almost in full (a bit more to the left and a bit higher and you can see the full thing). You can easily see the trains as well and the Keveran River certainly looks much different.

Keveran Desert - greenery near Keveran River

Date: August 8, 2012
Screenshot #375: One change that was needed was getting greenery around the Keveran River. The end result, after GIMP crashing several times on me, was well worth the effort. The road and the lines and traffic on it are visible if you look closely enough. You can also see the tops of the rock cliffs as well.

Keveran Desert - the sand to grass gradient

Date: August 8, 2012
Screenshot #376: The traffic, trains, rock cliffs, Keveran Mountains, and coastline are unchanged, as they didn't have any problems that needed fixing. One thing that did need fixing was the ground at the far end of the Keveran Mountains. You used to see a very sudden and abrupt change from sand to grass with increasing distance. Here, I just added a gradient which makes this blend in far better. You can see this gradient at the bottom of the screen. It does take a ton of height to even be able to start to see it, however.

Mount Sentusia - making lava islands

Date: August 31, 2012
Screenshot #377: It seems that pretty much every platformer is going to have its lava levels in some form or another. Mount Sentusia, world 13 (unlucky 13?) is Platform Masters' only world that has lava. No other location has lava. Mount Sentusia is a volcano with a lava lake in its crater, a large lava lake. Unlike a normal water lake, like beautiful Lake Keveran, this isn't a lake to go swimming in. Fall in and you'll get fried to a crisp real fast. If submerged neck deep, lava does 120 HP damage every second, blindingly fast. Only later bosses, with continual contact in the wrong way, can do that kind of damage or beyond at that rate. There are areas in the lava that get close to 3 blocks deep, so deep you wouldn't be able to jump out with the default jump - you wouldn't even see the character rise out. Such areas, however, are very rare.

The lava lake, though large, is actually quite shallow for the most part. Scattered around are various islands, high points that rise a little above the lava. This screenshot involves setting up the making and positioning of these lava islands. There are 70 total islands. Up close, the islands are small and widely spaced. Farther away, they are bigger and closer spaced. The screenshot shows the largest island. What's with the red squares and numbers? Originally, I made a map so I could lay out the positions of every island and get the spacing right. I also made the map so I had guidelines to go by of which I follow closely. The numbering is just to keep a progress check. In this case, I'm just about to start number 58 out of the 65 in this group. Where's the other 5? These are closer to the scene and not part of this set (otherwise, I'd have to make everything 4 times bigger which will require a lot more time to complete.

As of the time of this screenshot, I've already got the lava texture redone, of which uses ground decals instead of the standard ground. This is because I'm using a rather richly-detailed texture that really looks nice. Other changes are involved as well. It's been almost 2 years, too, since I last dealt with Mount Sentusia and compared to that time, it's already looking way better. Finish Mount Sentusia and I'd have a streak of available (but not all finished) worlds in continuous order from 1 through 17.

Mount Sentusia - making the heat glow gradient

Date: September 2, 2012
Screenshot #378: At high temperatures, about 1100 Kelvins or so at the minimum, objects emit light in the visible spectrum instead of just reflecting light emitted from some other source (like the sun). At low temperatures, the object emits in the red spectrum. As temperature increases, this goes toward yellow, white, then eventually blue and on to the ultraviolet at extreme temperatures. You can see something similar when you turn an electric heater on - the heating element that gets hot starts off dark gray or black, but, as it gets hotter, it begins emitting its own light, starting as red, but eventually getting to orange or yellow-orange, depending on temperature settings.

Mount Sentusia has lava and it's hot, very hot. It's something like 1500 Kelvins or so (1230 Celsius or 2240 Fahrenheit). Being that hot, anything will emit light. Thus, this is where the heat gradient comes in at. The processing of it is easy enough. While it may not be exact, I thought of the way Super Monkey Ball 2's volcano world had the gradient for its objects near the lava. Platform Masters uses something like that, to some extent. This screenshot shows how I went at processing the gradients. You might notice a familar setup - a spreadsheet (with over 23,000 rows) that I reference, GIMP, and inputing values from the spreadsheet (opacity in this case). As of the time of this screenshot, I was just about to finish the lava lake for Mount Sentusia.

Mount Sentusia - making the far decals

Date: September 6, 2012
Screenshot #379: The far ground decals are rich in detail. The kinds of details put into them will be explained on the next page of screenshots. Making the far ground decals, however, is something different. This is a screenshot showing what things were like before I ran the autoscale script. The setup isn't entirely unique (worlds 1 and 2 used something similar), but it is rarely done. This is because I'm using the same texture for all the far parts. What's more, and what is unique, is that both Mount Sentusia and the Sentus Mountains use the same texture. Sure any time a city appears, that base texture used in Ronnis for the far parts of Ronnis, is used, but that's not what I mean. Instead, the entire texture - the forests, cities, rivers, farm fields, etc. are both exactly the same for both the Sentus Mountains and Mount Sentusia. Why not just make something unique for all layers? It's generally not worth the effort, especially since I can just offset the textures to make it varied and 32 Kbl is a huge repeat span. The closest part for the Sentus Mountains, however, will be unique, but still uses 32 Kbl for the repeat width (a huge boost over the current 6 Kbl). Because the Sentus Mountains and Mount Sentusia take place at different times of the day, the water and fog have to be done separately, hence the 2 near-identical textures. Water at dawn is the same as that of dusk - it's darker looking. Fog goes from a light blue to a light orange. Both changes happen simultaneously and thus I only need 2 textures instead of 4.

Mount Sentusia - the lava lake texture

Date: September 9, 2012
Screenshot #380: When I updated the texture for the lava, I was quite surprised as to how good it came out. Upon first seeing it in my game engine, I was even more impressed. The detail in the lava texture is, well, very detailed and quite realistic, to some extent.