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






Jeremy's House - highest point in tutorial level


Date: January 7, 2013
Screenshot #421: This is a view of what you'll most likely encounter at the highest point in the tutorial level. Here, the farm fields beyond are easy to see.




Jeremy's House - new hills when near the clouds


Date: January 7, 2013
Screenshot #422: You won't reach heights like this for a long time, so here's a screenshot showing what the actual view looks like. You can definitely see the ground between the hills here. I'm expecting that. It's actually less visible than I was anticipating, but it's close enough (worlds 11 and 14 have the gap even closer, though only slightly). This view shows the layered air taxis quite well, of which are easy enough to add.









Sentus Mountains - new lighting algorithm starting out


Date: July 23, 2013
Screenshot #423: The 6-month gap in development was due to losing an essential resource for me: TV. It all started from moving to Fargo in hopes of getting better Internet, job opportunities, pizza delivery, and various other things. The problem all started when Van Raden, the owners of the apartment I was going to, denied us for no stated reason. Because my sister's job transfer was going to happen almost first thing in December and she needed a place immediately. What was available didn't allow for DirecTV to be installed because we were on the wrong side of the building and the apartment owners wouldn't allow us to mount a dish on the roof for whatever reason (strange as other nearby buildings have dishes mounted on the roof). The only way to get TV, thus, was either local TV (which pretty much has nothing of interest) or cable. Unfortunately, cable TV has only 1 choice available: Cable One. They are outrageously expensive, double bill you, and have a very low data cap that is expensive to overflow (and overflowing, for me, is inevitable with just my streaming alone). Thus, I had no choice but to go without TV and without TV, just as I was nearly finished with the space bases, I can't keep at the boring stuff for long. Compare 1 hour a month (if I'm lucky) without TV to around 200 hours a month with TV. The difference is obvious. With another move that will allow me to get TV and the ultra fast upload I was looking so forward to, I'm back at working on Platform Masters. While I'm not fully on as of the time of this screenshot (I don't have TV just yet), I'm active enough and TV is only a short ways away.

Despite the lack of TV, progress was still being made, but only on the problem-solving front. One of the problems that I figured out was how to improve the lighting on the numerous hills and mountains. Everything else in Platform Masters has richly detailed textures, but the 2-toned lighting for the hills and mountains is almost an eye-sore. Only recently (July 19) have I thought of a solution for improving the lighting, adding a jagged look to them.

This screenshot shows one of the precursors to getting the jagged look. In programming, it is wise to add one bit of the process at a time. When I got conical lighting working, the first step as this depends on the slope and heading of the exact spot on the hill mountain. The jaggedness is derived from the conical lighting. I attempted per-row slopes, but I get bizarre bands that have way, way too much contrast. So, instead, I focused on the average slope of the whole side. What you see in this screenshot is a test I wanted to do once I got output working. I was quite impressed with the result, but not very strongly.




Sentus Mountains - new jagged look for the mountains


Date: July 24, 2013
Screenshot #424: As I was anticipating, I needed to make the mountains look jagged, as hinted at on the sides. The way to do that is a very complicated process. In general, however, the jaggedness is derived from the conical lighting, a simple angular offset. The end result, after fiddling around with the parameters to find the best-looking results, this screenshot shows the results. The mountain on the left was the original design I had. The one on the right, the jagged-looking one, is my output. Now, doing the next 1000+ hills and mountains, that's going to take a long time to do. I do, at least, intend on testing one the hills in Lake Keveran.




Lake Keveran - testing jaggedness on hills


Date: July 24, 2013
Screenshot #425: The Sentus Mountains are jagged and rough. The Keveran Mountains are much older mountains so weathering and erosion have had a much greater toll on them. In this case, I only processed 1 of the hills, those at 51 SU disntance. Although the jaggedness isn't very strong, it definitely, without any doubt, makes the hills look far, far better. Now picture every one of the hills like that odd one near the center. Throw in a beautiful, very detailed lake and you've really got a recipe for something extremely scenic! Remember that Platform Masters sailboat?




Sentus Mountains - more jagged mountains


Date: August 9, 2013
Screenshot #426: After rewriting the game's story, making it far better than before and incorporating new features and design elements into it that were missing, and also writing the initial draft for the developer secrets levels, levels exclusive to the deluxe edition, I began working on getting the jaggedness applied for the remaining mountains in the Sentus Mountains. I have bulk processing set up and 6 total images, but more are intended. Now that I have TV, I can go full speed ahead now, hopefully to the end of the project.

Before I went full on with the jaggedness, I wanted to see how it looked overall, at least to get the idea. I also needed to test bulk processing. This screenshot shows the output of the first 2 layers where only 3 mountains had to be extended. Extended? In order to keep the existing style for the jaggedness, since there are perspective effects, I needed to continue the slope all the way in the same style I was using. This gets the lighting and jagged ness to have the same consistency. Unlike doing the entire mountain, this is blazing fast to do and I can also streamline the end results too. From what I'm seeing here, and in previous screenshots, the jaggedness really enhances the mountains, giving them a much stronger 3D feel. Of course, I need to make a few minor adjustments, but the end result is now only moments away, at least for the Sentus Mountains.




Sentus Mountains - all jagged mountains


Date: August 10, 2013
Screenshot #427: So, is applying jaggedness worth it? In some ways, it is. It improves the realism. In others, it doesn't. The final decision? The only way I'll make that, I guess, is to do the same thing with Lake Keveran.

Taking the program another step farther would be to generate the hill or mountain itself. This, however, I don't have a need for but it would be nice.




Lake Keveran - jagged Keveran Mountains near lake


Date: August 11, 2013
Screenshot #428: I finally finished the lighting enhancements for the Keveran Mountains for Lake Keveran. Before the change, Lake Keveran was gorgeous around 1000 feet above the waves. How would the lighting-enhanced hills affect Lake Keveran? It turns out, it wasn't as strong of an effect as I had thought, but, at least, the scene did improve some. Of course, this is only about 840 feet instead of the usual 1100 or so that I like using. I wanted a view of the hills near the lake, but still in that good zone to get feel for how the overall effect was going to be.




Lake Keveran - jagged Keveran Mountains general look


Date: August 11, 2013
Screenshot #429: With as much of the Keveran Mountains visible as reasonably possible (slightly off, but close enough), you can get a good sense of how the Keveran Mountains change with increasing distance - you can easily see the perspective effects.




Lake Keveran - jagged Keveran Mountains high above


Date: August 11, 2013
Screenshot #430: From just over 3 miles above the waves, the farthest visible parts of the Keveran Mountains are seen very well. This view really shows how good the Keveran Mountains look with the enhanced lighting. Sure these very distant ones look like they're extremely smooth, as if the jaggedness hasn't been applied, the jaggedness at the extreme distance these have is smoothed out due to texture blending. The conical lighting, however, is still clearly visible though the fog makes it much harder to see. Unlike the earlier scenes of Lake Keveran, this very high area looks significantly better.

At this point, I'm split 70/30 for applying the enhanced lighting. It is better overall and it definitely enhances the realism, and it isn't all that difficult to do either, just extremely repetitive (one reason why I had to have TV - it intensely helps keep me at it).











Footnotes:
None.