CNV Development Feedback

compelx

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2010
Location
Dallas, Texas - United States
Hello all!

I'll use this thread to communicate with everyone. If you all have any questions, tips, constructive criticisms, or suggestions of any kind feel free to share.

I would like to start by asking for feedback on the idea of the camera following the player. Check out this video that demonstrates:

https://youtu.be/DOc4mJEoIGw

As you know the original games did not implement this functionality - I suspect it had something to do with lazy loading of objects or perhaps tearing. Other than placing cameras in large grid patterns to be activated when the player enters the boundary I'm not sure how else I could try and emulate the original camera style.

So what do you all think?
 

JC Denton

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 20, 2010
Location
Belgrade, Serbia
Hey man, :)

I like the idea of smooth scrolling. This looks pretty good, although I would "zoom it in" a bit to make things bigger.

BTW, in one interview, Tony Zurovec explained the reason behind "snapping camera". It was necessary since there was no way to achieve smooth scrolling with SVGA back in a day (too much data) so they opted for a "dirty rectangle" (as the called it) - update the whole screen only when the player reaches the certain point. The alternative to this was, of course, smooth scrolling of the screen, but the cost would've been doing VGA instead of SVGA (320x240 instead of 640x480) and Tony ABSOLUTELY HATED that resolution. :D

BTW2, here's the interview in case you missed it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dL3nrrj2ZA . VGA vs SVGA and Crusader talk starts at around 10:55 time. :)
 
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compelx

compelx

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2010
Location
Dallas, Texas - United States
Awesome! I'll take a look. I'm in the process of setting up different resolution configurations. The question becomes what level of zoom do we want. I play on a 4K 27" monitor, set at 2K resolution in Windows, and when DOSBox runs its setting it to what...640 x 480. Everything is expectedly huge. Should we try 2x zoom, 1.5 zoom? I can post pictures.

Also, before I forget, didn't you say way back when you started organizing sprites that some frames are missing from the walking sprite sheet? It's either that or something else... maybe a different x\y movement value per frame... Because walking looks rather odd compared to the original. I'm not talking about initial step or final step - I haven't worked on that yet - but the look/feel of the players movement doesn't feel right to me and I'm having difficult determining what the cause is.
 
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compelx

compelx

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2010
Location
Dallas, Texas - United States
I actually think I've solved it - I was eating lunch, playing the no remorse on my laptop and I whipped out my phone and took a slow-mo capture of the animation. The problem stems from the fact that my sprite frames are centered and they're all the same width (the largest frame width-wise determines the width of all the others). It looks I need to offset movement based on the actual difference of width between frames. That way, visually, only the movement of the legs makes the player move and it won't look like the player is on a moving conveyor belt.
 
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compelx

compelx

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2010
Location
Dallas, Texas - United States
Sounds good! My next step is to recreate a small area of the first level in No Remorse so I can demo out collisions and be able to more easily compare differences in animation timing and movement.

I've grouped the sprites from SHAPES.FLX into separate folders based on the first 3 characters of the block ID shown in Crusader Explorer. I at least have a way of knowing what is supposed to go together... well, sort of. Some sprites that look like they should go together are separated (and it's not immediately obvious why) but the majority of them are where they should be.

The problem is that I cannot identify many of the sprites. Large objects are fairly easy to distinguish: that is a chair, that is a desk, that is a biochemical barrel... but the not-so-large objects, especially guns, are impossible for me to tag correctly without some kind of block ID to friendly name translation.

From what I've been told there is a reference but it may not have shipped with the consumer game.

I'm not sure if Crusader Explorer is ignoring non-image data. It could be skipping over some meta content that I could use. What might help is if I could find out more about these FLX files. I know the general idea behind SHAPES.FLX, at least in the Ultima era, was to delta compress frame data (only what pixels changed between frames) to save on installation medium size.
 
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