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

Keveran Forest - dense fog at lowest point

Date: March 1, 2014
Screenshot #501: At the lowest possible point, the fog's thickness is pretty obvious. The bottoms of the Keveran Mountains are pretty much invisible, hinting at how dense the fog actually is and this is only the halfway point. On the ground, the fog reduces visibility much more. You can see the texture fading above getting less intense the more of an upward angle is used. Temporarily, placeholders for where the highway (and the usual maglev train tracks and tracks) will be and the span for where the Teigram River will be. The highway spans from 3 to 4 SU and is easily visible through the trees that will be placed later on. The Teigram River spans from 8 to 16 SU. At this height, the area at 16 SU is already almost 2/3 fogged out hinting to a visibility on the ground of only 24 SU (compare to Ronnisa Plains' 72 SU visibility).

Keveran Forest - top of the fog bank

Date: March 1, 2014
Screenshot #502: The fog bank is 2048 CU thick which doesn't seem like much. At the bottom, the alpha is only 8 which hardly seems like anything. Remember that, over the span of just 4 SU (let alone 24 SU), you have a total of 32 layers' worth of that 8 so it really adds up fast. From 1 to 4 SU, the fog steps by 1/4 SU. From 4 to 8 SU, it steps by 1/2 SU with the gradient adjusted accordingly to account for the extra distance (slightly less than 16 for the alpha at the bottom). Beyond 8 SU, the fog steps by 1 SU with the gradient adjusted accordingly (giving about 31 at the bottom for the alpha). Do note that this is only a preview. Once the trees are added in, the system will be changed a bit as the trees can make up some of that fog. Also note that the Teigram River is more clearly visible as well though not much. Some of the Keveran Mountains are also visible that you couldn't see from the lowest point.

Keveran Forest - river and mountains visible

Date: March 1, 2014
Screenshot #503: From near the height of the highest point on a jumbo level, what wasn't visible down below is now very clearly visible. The obvious weak point to this fogging system is the banding/striping effect you see, the sudden changes in fog intensity. This, however, won't be anywhere near as visible once the trees are added in with the fog included with them. The high noise from the tree leaves will make it much more difficult to make this out. This is needed to keep the memory usage, draw count, and pixels drawn as low as possible.

Keveran Forest - from layered to fixed fog density

Date: March 1, 2014
Screenshot #504: From my first run at dealing with the fog, I found that the farthest reaches, beyond the layer of the Keveran Mountains at 81 SU, there was almost no practical difference with the fog over any of the height differences. Whether 200 pixels below the horizon or 350 for the same spot, there was hardly any difference that could be made out. As a consequence, there was a big optimization potential available that could cut down on a lot of draws and memory. If you look closely at the bottom left, you can see the familiar sudden changes in the fog as shown in screenshot 503. You don't see this between the next farther layers. This is because I've integrated it in with the solid ground layers that are here so the ground, the normal fog from regular distance, and this fog are all included in one single draw.

Keveran Forest - the ocean beyond

Date: March 1, 2014
Screenshot #505: Although it's almost invisible in this view, there is an ocean beyond the Keveran Mountains. Ground decals will be taking up this section, including the usual farm fields, cities, forests, roads, etc. It's not easily visible, compounded by even thicker fog as there's an elevation difference of 2685 CU, but it is visible with enough height. The visibility at the ground is only 512 SU but the clouds use 768 SU as they're far above all the mist.

Barugan Reef - Baruga Crater redesigned

Date: March 2, 2014
Screenshot #506: The last of the hills that needed to be processed was Baruga Crater's central island, Baruga Island. There were only 32 hills needed for this. This puts the grand total at 1254 unique hills. Once that was done, and I moved the nearby islands closer so that they formed a much more circular shape for the rim of the crater. This screenshot shows the leftmost side and how it appears in Barugan Reef where it's the easiest to see (just play the first level and you'll see it).

Air Taxi - Baruga Crater redesigned

Date: March 2, 2014
Screenshot #507: Baruga crater's right side is visible here, along with how it appears during the day. In this view, you can see almost the entirety of the crater. To see Baruga Crater in Air Taxi, spend about 26 to 28 minutes in this world and it'll start coming into the view. You only need to pass the time - deaths or repeatedly completing the same level have no effect, just wait. If you want to lose a life or use leviburst, you can get there much faster, but it still takes a few minutes, even at 896 mph. Unlike other worlds that don't involve the riding of a vehicle, changing levels has no effect as the positions are always fixed.

Designing traffic - start small and get bigger

Date: March 7, 2014
Screenshot #508: Designing the basic shape of the 12 types of vehicles (up from only 5) present in Platform Masters is basically a 2-step process. The first step depends on whether or not I had that vehicle type done before. If I have, I simply import it and make the size adjustments as needed. If I haven't done it before, such as the case with the motorcycle and buses, I simply make a lower resolution version to get the basic shape down then I upscale it to the intended dimensions and adjust as needed to fine tune the result. The second step is to add or split the extra details. Tires, rods, windows, doors, etc. are split from the basic design so it's much easier to get the 8 vehicle colors (up from 7). The left/right difference is mainly just a horizontal flip with a few extra adjustments.

Designing traffic - adding text details

Date: March 11, 2014
Screenshot #509: Once the shapes are done, I began working on adding in the various details to the vehicles. At this point, everything except the 18-wheelers is done. Labeling is either a ficticious business name, a region, or a nearby city/district. Not all regions have traffic though. There are 4 (5?) regions with traffic: Ronnisa, Keveran, Sentus, and Musan (Nodera is uncertain as there aren't any nearby roads for traffic to be on).

The nearby cities has a few you're not very aware of. Of course, you're familiar with Ronnis, right? Just east of Lake Keveran and north-northwest of Keveran Forest along the coast is Kevinsville. You can't see it as the visibility isn't high enough. Then there's the 4 major cities that are in the Ryanara Passage. Osa is the nearest to Carnivalesta, being just north of there (Hersiak is along the way, about the 1/3 mark). About 60% of the way to the Sentus Caverns is Desleal, seen along the route while playing the levels in Maglev Train. Tucked away deep into the Sentus Mountains west-northwest of Osa is Cydis. Remember those platform levels in the background of the Sentus Mountains? Those platforms lead to Cydis, with the farthest visible level (at 224 SU) being about where tiny Emerist is. Almost due east of Desleal is Musianna, a sea port town with Musan Swamp to the south of it and Musan Taiga to the north.

What's with the 48, 64, and 24? This is the span of the circle so I can add in the lighting more precisely. Basically, I just copy from the font and paste it on the target image. I copy the finished output, paste, and shift to the right 1 pixel to get a bold version of the font. It's quite repetitive but very simple to do. Coming up with the names is more difficult than doing this and it's easy for me to come up with random names.

Designing traffic - designing the semis

Date: March 14, 2014
Screenshot #510: Designing the 18 wheelers (aka semis) are a major time consumer. Remember how they used to look so, um, bland and empty, containing just text? Forget that! Instead of just basic text, they're getting detail. It's not a little bit of detail, it's either a moderate amount or a lot, depending on the intent. This semi, the one for Platform Masters, is the most detailed of all of the semis. The one for Electronics Island and Galactic Groceries are other very detailed ones. Out of the first 6 I've done at this point, the ones for Comfort Furniture Store and Hardwaremart have actual pricing marked on them, as if for advertising. The odd ball, Office 101, is probably the most basic of all the semis. The red color of the semi is actually just a temporary placeholder. All businesses mentioned on these semis are fictitious.

The small font size is the smallest one with any hint at being readable. It takes a bit of effort but it is readable but only with the very closest of layers. The closest available is 1.25 SU, present in both Jeremy's House and Maglev Train. So, instead of this, which is designed at 0.5 SU, I scale it down to 40% of the original size, a 2:5 ratio. This is so I can test readability.

I chose this one for the screenshot because it's not only richly detailed, it's also got detail in it that you wouldn't be able to see that I thought I'd like to share. Note the creative use of "best" in the bottom left corner. The "champ begins July 20" is seen on the sailboat with the Platform Masters theme.