Non-photorealistic shaders

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Postby chuck_starchaser » Fri May 23, 2008 12:58 pm

@Safemode:
Well, I hope you're right about the numbers.
To me, using a special shader for reviving the look of early WC games (specifically WC games), is not a way to show respect to those old games, but almost a mocking, like baby-talking to a 10 year old or something. WC games were clearly striving for realism. The 37 images per ship in the original Privateer were rendered with shadows, phong shading, and all the bells and whistles available to them. WC1 and WC2 less so, but remember those were the days when there were a lot of 16 color display cards around; so the paint colors were cartoonish, yes, but they had to be, or else the color might not come out at all. I think WC mods should strive to revive the spirit and intent in those old games, rather than "make fun" of their limitations. But this is just my opinion.
Now if I was working on a game set in the WC Academy sub-universe, then perhaps I would write toon shaders myself.
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Postby klauss » Fri May 23, 2008 1:05 pm

Actually, the intent here was merely showing that it was possible.

The intent there was exactly that, a proposal. Certainly a not very well thought proposal. It was 2am, and I was tired yet coolified (looks cool), so I just posted before I went to sleep. You can read over PU what I think of that proposal when I managed to give it some thought ;)

In essence, and this goes to you safemode since you want to make it an option for retro mode, unless we somehow apply that look to all artwork, the shader alone is a half-assed job that won't work to achieve the "old game" look. Not saying the shader is bad, only that if it's not matched with proper artwork the look will fall apart and it will instead look like a disparate collage.

In fact, now that I come to think about it, the backgrounds already (and the hud) stands out horribly as out of style with the renderings. Imagine base backgrounds, and most everything else. Horrible, horrible lack of unity, that's what it would scream.
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Postby DualJoe » Fri May 23, 2008 1:09 pm

After reading remarks about attacking and fighting, I read back my posts, but I don't understand how they'd be considered attacking remarks.

Could be because English is not my native language.

I wasn't attacking you personally Chuck I was just commenting on your posts.

I wonder how you guys would interpret conversations between me and my family and friends if you think this is fighting?

Could be a cultural difference as well as linguistic I suppose.
I've heard comments from soldiers of other nationalities that the Dutch are very direct.
Unfortunately being Dutch I don't know how else one is supposed to react or talk.

Rest assured Chuck if ever I wanted to attack you personally I would do so in your face leaving no doubt as to my intentions, in true Dutch tradition.

I'm starting to suspect there are loads of ways to launch hidden attacks on people in the English language, while appearing charming and polite on the surface.
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Postby chuck_starchaser » Fri May 23, 2008 1:32 pm

I do find the first paragraph insulting; but let's put an end to this flame, already. I'll PM you about it.
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Postby safemode » Fri May 23, 2008 1:37 pm

in retro mode, you dont have to worry about anything but Unit textures being "shaded" with the non realistic shader. there are no backgrounds to worry about.

I dont think there is anything in retro mode that can't be affected by this shader that would be too good looking. Retro mode does need more than just a shader though, that's obvious. I just saw this as a major step forward without having to have special textures for retro mode....which never would have flied.
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Postby chuck_starchaser » Fri May 23, 2008 1:58 pm

safemode wrote:in retro mode, you dont have to worry about anything but Unit textures being "shaded" with the non realistic shader. there are no backgrounds to worry about.

My understanding of Klauss' post was precisely that *because* the backgrounds are not affected by the shader, the toon look of the ships would clash with them, artistically speaking; which I totally agree: You'd have to provide a set of "toon backgrounds" for the retro mode to look aesthetically cohesive.
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Postby klauss » Fri May 23, 2008 3:39 pm

safemode wrote:It would be ideal to have a shader that can make the game look cartoony like that but with like a pallette (if at all possible), or at least a nullification of lighting effects.


Anyway, safemode. If you still want to go in persuit of something for retro (ie: use the shaders on all artwork, even sprites which... I'm not really convinced it would work... and wouldn't make much sense to mods either, but may give you some fun times), then you can control how flat it looks by manipulating the parameters on those shaders.

I didn't parameterize the "steps", but it could be done easily. At one point, the shader does ceil(x*4.0) * 0.25, which is what "posterizes" the image. It was an intentional departure from PHT's shader, I wanted to see how it looked less flat, and more artsy-style (like hand paintings). But if you use PHT's original ceil(x*2.0) * 0.5, I guess you'll get what you want.

You can also modify the shading on the lines. Right now they're colored as the mesh is, only a bit darker, because that's how modern cartoons are drawn - there's this new style that kicked in a few years ago where lines are toned down, hidden a bit. But if you make the color output of the shader for lines always black, you'll get it to look pretty old-school I think.

Heh... I think I'll try myself at home. Just curious.
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Postby pht » Sat May 24, 2008 4:53 am

I see that the techniques branch now supports the necessary control to implement outlines, nice work.

I made some more screenshots:

The "outline" and "relay" show how fixed color outlines would look. I also used noise (fetched from 2d texture) which can be apparent as irregular tone changes in the first screenshot. I "pixelated" the textures so that there are some but not many color changes along an individual mesh.

The "hatch" shows how the hatching shader looks with outlines, noise and the hatches aligned to texture coords.

The "illu" screenshot is another NPR - a "technical illustration" shader that can be used for just that -- or maybe some other funny stuff.

Also I have noticed there is some FUD that the NPR shaders might replace the normal (photorealistic) shaders. I'd like to point out that I made these shaders just to test them in a real 3d environment (you know-most of the literature uses just the ubiquitous teapot) - nothing more and nothing less. Shall someone really think of their inclusion in the mainstream of the game, I suggest doing so in the discussed retro mode or very special situations such as some virtual newspaper etc.
Attachments
outline.jpeg
Cell shader with noise and outline.
relay.jpeg
The relay station in the starting sector.
hatch.jpeg
Serenity hatched.
illu.jpeg
The technical illustration shader.
npr.tar.gz
Updated shaders (now requiring the gfxtechniques branch).
(98.24 KiB) Downloaded 97 times
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