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BrendaEM

Alternate Light Gem

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In the T family games, there was a light gem that showed how much light was falling on the character.

 

In T3, I noticed that because I could see who the light was falling on the character, I needed the light gem less, and the gem itself became another 2D element to distract me from an otherwise 3D world. In minimalist, I cold always tell what I was wielding by just looking the character's hand. I never needed a 2D icon to tell me that I was using--they just lowered the immersion.

 

As an option, it would be interesting to make the light sensitive gem--in a heavy ring that the character wears outside his glove, or perhaps as an amulet. When you need it, you can just look at it.

 

Also, I hope beyond hope that in TDM, you can see your character body character in first person mode. Player shadows added immeasurably to presence in the game.

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That would be just be a cosmetic issue on the screen. The calculation for the lightgem would still have to take place, because it is needed for the AI as a source of information. After all, if they look at you, they have to know if you are in a shadow or not, and thus they need the value that is calculated by the lightgem. So even if you switch it off on the screen, whch you could easily do, it would still be running in the background. In fact I have it on my todo list, to add an option that allows players to switch it off in their config file, if they want to. Some people (like me) like to have it on the screen and some don't. I don't find it distracting and if it is not present then something is missing for me. :)

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In T3, I noticed that because I could see who the light was falling on the character, I needed the light gem less, and the gem itself became another 2D element to distract me from an otherwise 3D world. In minimalist, I cold always tell what I was wielding by just looking the character's hand. I never needed a 2D icon to tell me that I was using--they just lowered the immersion.

 

Since TDM is built in the flexible doom3 engine, the player can turn off the hud if they wish...they just have to go into the hud.gui file and comment out what they don't want to see. Although, we have tried to make the hud as non-intrusive as possible.

 

Some examples. Please ignore the quality, these are just quick snaps from a test map.

 

Health and Air only pop up when needed.

 

post-3-1175620612_thumb.jpg

 

Weapons and Item representations are fairly minimal.

 

post-3-1175620920_thumb.jpg

 

As an option, it would be interesting to make the light sensitive gem--in a heavy ring that the character wears outside his glove, or perhaps as an amulet. When you need it, you can just look at it.

 

Might be interesting for a custom mod, but that's not our goal. We wish to provide a Thief Styled toolset, and retaining the familiar elements is part of that.

 

Also, I hope beyond hope that in TDM, you can see your character body character in first person mode. Player shadows added immeasurably to presence in the game.

 

First person body awareness is not in TDM. Technically, it is far more work than it is worth. We chose to have a 'true' first person control scheme. TDS used a hybrid, which was essentially...a third person model with a camera strapped to the head. We explored the pros and cons of doing it quite some time ago, and in all honesty...it takes away much more than it adds. For a thief style first person game, control is far more important than visual representations of the players body. There is a player model, but it is only used for reflections, in rare cases. The shadow can be turned on, but we aren't going out of our way to support the player shadow. There are areas of development that are far more detrimental to Thief styled gameplay. :) Eye candy is lower on the list. ;)

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Also, I hope beyond hope that in TDM, you can see your character body character in first person mode. Player shadows added immeasurably to presence in the game.

 

In Doom 3 you don't need to have a visible body in order to see the player shadow. You can have either or, however you want it. However, we don't support body awareness in the sense that you wont see your body in first person. You can switch on the player shadow though, but that's not officially supported. Since we still have to provide a player model, for a variety of reasons, the shadow would still work, but it might not be correct in all cases. And we also can not make our AI detect that shadow. Once D3 is released under GPL, this might be feasable, though.

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In TDS, you needed an item icon, but never needed to know what weapon you were was using, if you can see it in your hand. If you look at the...

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/index.php?act=A...ost&id=1353

...screenshot, we see the vine arrow in 3D, and we may also notice the HUD icon, if we look closely.

 

I think the Minimalist Project added something good to Thief gameplay that got me thinking: in a 3D game, in the end, I think the best HUD--is less HUD. Yes, we still need it for messages, and showing things like health--until we can have damage maps on the character, but that's a few years from now.

 

I think the player shadow does add to the immersion of moody lit games like T. In the real world, we cast shadows. In TDS, I could sometimes how well I was hidden, by checking for shadows. In the Cradle, I jumped at my own shadow.

 

Walking across narrow things is easier, if you can see where your feet are. When I T2, now I notice, "I have no legs!"

 

I was not suggesting getting rid of the light-gem subsystem, but as a option to move the gem to the player model. If it's too much work, I understand. it was just an idea.

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In original Doom 3 you could see your fists, and in some ways they act similar as your lightgem proposal. In fact when I coded it, I tried to get my data from there. :) The only problem is though, that this light is not reliable, because it depends on your position. So if you stand with a lightsource in your back, your arms would be dark, but you would still be fully exposed.

With the light capabillities of D3 you don't need the LG as much as in Thief though, because your environment is showing you much more precisely how the light flows.

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in a 3D game, in the end, I think the best HUD--is less HUD. Yes, we still need it for messages, and showing things like health--until we can have damage maps on the character, but that's a few years from now.

HUDs will *always* be necessary to relay non-audiovisual somatosensory information. Period.

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You can't see your health though. You "feel" it. Attempts to turn the standard health bar into pain skins or similar nonsense accomplish nothing more than making a health bar that's a royal pain in the ass to read.

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you needed an item icon, but never needed to know what weapon you were was using, if you can see it in your hand. If you look at the...

 

You might be able to see that your bow is out, but not what arrow is currently selected. Having to draw an arrow just to see what you have selected is silly and annoying, so we decided weapon icons were still necessary.

 

I've been in favour of an inobtrusive HUD right from the beginning, and have worked hard to keep it that way--for example, you'll be able to make the icons transparent to varying degrees so that they're even less obtrusive than normal if you want. Overall, very little screen real-estate is taken up by the HUD, but as Zylon says, there are some things that are just necessary.

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Speaking of HUD transparency--

 

A few months ago, I made a simple little mod for Thief that changes the light gem so that its transparency varies according to how visible you are. So if you're in pitch darkness it's at about 10% opacity and barely visible, whereas in full light it fades all the way back up to 100% opacity. Works great for preventing at least one bright HUD element from messing with your vision in low-light areas.

 

Any chance something similar could be implemented in TDM? Maybe have the entire HUD brighten or dim based on the local lighting?

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It would be easy as pie to do for the lightgem. You would just replace the default .tga images of the lightgem with ones of varying opacity.

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There are not some hud items that are just necessary. You cite the health bar as an example, but that's only 'necessary' because you insist on using the 25 year old method of have a 0-100 health bar and health pickups in the first place.

You may as well shoot yourself in the foot and then complain that your crutch is a necessity.

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There are not some hud items that are just necessary. You cite the health bar as an example, but that's only 'necessary' because you insist on using the 25 year old method of have a 0-100 health bar and health pickups in the first place.

A health bar is necessary in any game that gives the player some wiggle room between "perfectly healthy" and "most assuredly dead".

 

Oh that's right, you think it's fun to hide gameplay-critical information from the player.

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In Doom 3 you don't need to have a visible body in order to see the player shadow.
I disagree with this statement... The D3 shadow system is designed under the assumption that only opaque objects will cast shadows, and becomes glitchy if there are invisible shadow-casting objects, such as the player's body. For example, if you look at the ground while walking, there won't be shadows where your invisible feet clip into the ground, which tends to look wrong.

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The shadow is calculated from the actual model. So I don't understand your argument, because the player model is not invisible technically. It's just that you don't see the player model during game, because it is rendered in a seperate renderpass. It works like this, that the shadow is calculated and then the player model is switched off for the full scene. So for the player the body is invisible, but technically it is of course not. Otherwise you wouldn't get a shadow. :)

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I know how the player shadow works. I think you're misunderstanding what I'm saying. I'm saying D3 is not designed to have correct shadows cast from invisible objects (which isn't realistic anyway). If you have an invisible object that clips into something else, its shadows wont show up where it's clipping, due to how shadows are cast from back-faces.

 

(let me draw a picture to show what I mean)

 

Edit: See below.

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A health bar is necessary in any game that gives the player some wiggle room between "perfectly healthy" and "most assuredly dead".

 

Oh that's right, you think it's fun to hide gameplay-critical information from the player.

 

Typical closed thinking - the fact that your little brain isn't good enough to think of any alternatives, means that there aren't any. You'd fit right into any game developer pipeline.

I know you're going to say that the reason they've been using this ridiculous simplistic system for 25 years is because it's the best one, if it ain't broke don't fix it, etc, but that's not the case, the reason is that it's the easiest and simplest one to implement. Game developers all all lazy cunts to the last man, that's why they keep pumping out the same repetitive titles in the same few genres. The thought of doing anything new or adding any extra work gives them nightmares, and sends their publishers into spasmodic fits.

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btw, how is the health bar handled in Stalker?

 

Heh, do you really need to ask that question?

It uses the same old piece of shit system that's been copied by every game since Zelda in the mid 80's.

The system that the Bane would have us believe is the only possible health system that can ever exist in a game, or the universe will collapse in on itself.

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Penumbra went with a "screen pulses with red heartbeat faster and faster the more wounded you are," and the end result was that it was really annoying. In the demo you take a fall as part of th story, and spend the next 20-30 minutes with a heartbeat sound and a red pulsing across the screen. That's not really an improvement over a little unobtrusive bar somewhere that pops up when you're wounded, IMO.

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@Sparhawk: Ok, here's a picture of what I mean:

post-244-1175674172_thumb.jpg

It depicts the invisible boot of a thief that's walking forward, with the toe clipping into the ground. The clipping is exaggerated in this picture, but usually exists to some extent, and the effect is just as noticeable even if the clipping is minor. As you can clearly see, the ground is not in shadow where the toe clips into it.

 

Doom 3 draws shadows correctly for opaque objects, but you cannot expect it to draw them correctly for invisible objects (which wouldn't make logical sense anyway)

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Health bars aren't the only possible way of doing it of course, but it is a simple and convenient abstraction for the notion of "being hurt" and it does its job well. Sometimes there just isn't much point in making things more realistic just for the sake of it.

 

Anything more complicated makes it tedious to check how wounded you are (whereas in real life you would know because it would hurt! But nobody's suggesting implanting electrodes into players so that they actually feel pain when they're wounded - well, except maybe oDDity).

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@Sparhawk: Ok, here's a picture of what I mean:

post-244-1175674172_thumb.jpg

It depicts the invisible boot of a thief that's walking forward, with the toe clipping into the ground. The clipping is exaggerated in this picture, but usually exists to some extent, and the effect is just as noticeable even if the clipping is minor. As you can clearly see, the ground is not in shadow where the toe clips into it.

 

Not that it makes any difference to your general point, but I'm fairly sure the shadow volumes are generated by extruding the silhouette with respect to the light, rather than the back faces as in your diagram.

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Whoops, my mistake. That makes sense, given that D3 has a "r_showSilhouette" debug command.

 

Still, it's harder to explain the silhouette version of the problem with pictures...

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