Ship sprites

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Ship sprites

Postby TBeholder » Tue Jan 17, 2012 7:18 am

Here's a question: how to treat ship sprite and sprites shown on it? Are they to be switched between isometric (VS style) and straight (WC style, ancient VS) projections? Or simply show it in 3D and allow to set the viewing angle in config? It's just a few points and lines, after all. They could rotate, but this would require rendering the ship's model instead of a sprite... base upgrade image, maybe?

I started toying around with weapon sprites (weapons VDU, graphics/hud/draw_weapon_sprite), and noticed they don't reflect all 3 coordinates, but the question is, what we need...

BTW, having VDU sprite of the player's own ship looking down left IMO is not convenient, and it doesn't correspond well with armor sectors. Maybe, at least turn its nose to upper right (there's already a parameter for inverting sprites) for one's own ship?
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Re: Ship sprites

Postby travists » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:31 am

This is one area where "looks cool" conflicts with useful. A 2D, top-down, fore-up schematic display of the target (or your ship for that matter) with draw weapons on is far better. This allows the player, at a glance, know the damaged sections of the ship, weapon status, and estimate threat level. I also feel that some sensor models should be able to show a targets armor as well as structural damage. Currently those ships with aft to the top left hitting them on the front gives the instinctive impression that you are hitting them on the back.
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Re: Ship sprites

Postby TBeholder » Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:44 am

travists wrote:A 2D, top-down, fore-up schematic display of the target (or your ship for that matter) with draw weapons on is far better. This allows the player, at a glance, know the damaged sections of the ship, weapon status, and estimate threat level.
Dunno, isometric IMO would be okay (with projections and Z lines like on Elite radar you'd know exactly where it is).
But nose to down left makes me mentally try to turn it inside out. And, yes, currently doesn't correspond to shield/armor sector gauges.
Still, the main question is "only 2 needed or more".
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Re: Ship sprites

Postby travists » Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:57 am

What does the third dimension give you? Especially given that you can call up a camera view of you target if you want to see how it looks. 3D Iso has it's place, such as in the buy screen, but what does it do for the player? One could as well have a 360 rotation around the ship for the graphic. But then I am a Wing Commander fan from the first game on my 486, it was cool when we got the extra memory and you could see the gloved hand on the control stick moving as you moved your joystick. Eye candy is great, but don't make the interface sticky.
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Re: Ship sprites

Postby TBeholder » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:13 pm

travists wrote:What does the third dimension give you? [...] Eye candy is great, but don't make the interface sticky.
One, things don't obscure each other.
Two, with vessel sprite, the frame of reference is not going to rotate each frame, so if done correctly, an arbitrary angle is not going to eat more resources than having only VS isometric view and flat.
All sines and cosines have to be calculated only once for the given angles, then stored in variables, and projections for drawing run as linear combinations of the original vector's components with pre-set weights. :)
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Re: Ship sprites

Postby travists » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:24 pm

If I understand your intent, you want to calculate the sprite on the fly. If we do this, it may be possible to add some key bindings to rotate the target display. Store the last rotational state as "preferred" possibly not just for that flight, but amending .config for permanent storage. I can see an entire full screen "Target Information" panel. rotate the target around, check systems status, scan the cargo, see what weapons are loaded and if they are on or not, etc. This assumes you sensor package supports all of the features of course.
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Re: Ship sprites

Postby TBeholder » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:52 pm

travists wrote:If I understand your intent, you want to calculate the sprite on the fly.
I only about to improve the pictogram system for target/ship/damage/weapons VDUs.
The problem is: there's a possibility to put a greater potential into it, for consistent, but minuscle (a few extra multiplications per drawing vs. switch between simplified static variants) tradeoff in performance. Decision is needed because either way will leave some footprint on config variables, so perhaps it's better to use less limiting one from the start.
Of course, i could also simply fake the more complex version and accept angle numbers as option switches for now. :lol:
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