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Offline Roads

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zoom
« on: October 26, 2012, 08:55:37 PM »
I counted 9 zoom levels from max zoom in to max zoom out for pak128.  It appears the graphics have the best appearance at zoom level 6 on my monitor.  I'm wondering if/how pak size affects this?  For example, would say, a pak196 look similar to pak128 if it were zoomed to level 1 or 2 or 3?

Offline Sarlock

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Re: zoom
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2012, 09:02:16 PM »
It's because of the way the zoom increments are done.  The zoom level you are referring to is the "pure" graphics at a 1:1 pixel ratio.  Your tiles are shown in the original 128x128 form (the same size as they are in the source PNG files).  You will also get a pretty clean zoom when it goes to 1:2 zoom level where everything is half its original size.  Everything else is in between and is extrapolated.  It still looks good but you do lose a bit of quality in the process from having to spread out the image over an uneven number of pixels.

As far as I know, all of the paksets follow the same convention with zoom.  The ones that I have looked at all behave the same way.  The inner most zoom levels expand beyond the original source graphics to a 2:1 ratio at the closest zoom level.

If you compare the same zoom level in pak64 to pak128 you'll see twice as many tiles on the same screen size.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2012, 09:08:04 PM by Sarlock »

Offline Roads

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Re: zoom
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2012, 09:33:13 PM »
Thank you kindly, Sarlock.  This is good to know.


Since my time on this board I've come to the conclusion that most people when it comes to their viewing preferences can be placed pretty much in two categories.  The first and by far the largest I think is the group that likes the see as much of the map as possible.  The second group and the one I obviously belong to is the "scene" group where we prefer scenes, more like looking at a canvas painting and only care about zoomed in when laying track or getting a perspective of the larger picture of things.


I'm thinking a pak256 is not a bad idea.  With the zoom as you describe it, if you max'd zoom then you would have basically pak128.

Offline Sarlock

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Re: zoom
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2012, 10:38:39 PM »
Eep!  128 has enough pixels already... 256 would have 4 times more!   :o  I think us poor artists would go on strike for higher pay!

Offline Roads

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Re: zoom
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2012, 11:27:23 PM »
No worries Sarlock.


As for me, I would prefer working with more pixels.  The thing I'm thinking about and really wanting to do is pak256.canvas or pak256.art or whatever name seems to fit best.  My thinking is I'll be doing all the art work myself unless some new people who like the same kinds of thing I do happen by.  Some of the reasons for this departure and naming convention are:


The sun coming from the south will only be a guide line, not set in stone.  If the artist feels it would improve the graphic then light from the east could also be shown.
Roofs, walls, etc., will not have to be perfect.  After all they aren't in either real life or in paintings, sometimes walls lean and roofs sag.  In fact nothing would have to be "perfect," it would just have to look good.
All buildings would be set to one and only one terrain.  This way buildings in which the terrain showed could not only be "grounded" but any vegetation would match the surrounding vegetation.
The pak would be heavily geared toward industry and those chains designed so there would be as few as possible necessary "dead head" runs.  In fact, a player's profit, instead of being heavily dependent on upgrading of vehicles and speed bonus would be heavily dependent on how cleverly he managed his routes.
Also I would like it to begin around 1830 - I think it would be just great to have a stage coach and horses and those animals could be depicted much better in 256.


I know this sounds like a monumental task and it is but my thinking is I have a few "good" years left and so put some of that time to good use. :)

Offline Sarlock

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Re: zoom
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2012, 11:38:47 PM »
One of the biggest hurdles with a new pakset is the sheer amount of groundwork required... ground tiles, water tiles, roads, rails, other infrastructure... before the pakset is even playable.  You probably need a few hundred tiles done before you can even use it.

I'm also not sure if 256 is supported... I think it caps before that.  192 would work.

Offline Roads

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Re: zoom
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2012, 12:32:08 AM »
Hopefully I will not give up because I really want this.  Actually it is not like I have not tackled big jobs before.  I'm living in the house I built myself 30 years ago.  At the time I had no carpentry experience.  It is a 3 story modified A frame.  When I got it framed up, my Daddy-in-law said the rafters would miss by 3 feet.  They did not.  In fact they fit just fine.  Good old Pythagoras.  :)

It is not perfect but many people have complimented me on it.


Modify:  Can anyone tell me if 256 is supported?

Offline An_dz

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Re: zoom
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2012, 03:33:20 AM »
Modify:  Can anyone tell me if 256 is supported?
Yes, up to 65535.

Offline Roads

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Re: zoom
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2012, 04:06:50 AM »
Many thanks, An_dz!

One thing I want to say about the number of tiles needed.  If the begin date is 1830 or earlier, railroads either won't be a necessity or one type will suffice.  Also I'm thinking I'll only do two, possibly three terrain types at the beginning.  Much like my house, I'll "move in" before it's completed and continue work on it.

Offline Ters

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Re: zoom
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2012, 10:08:38 AM »
pak256? That would be like 8x8 tiles visible in HD (8x11 on an equally wide 4:3 screen). You would have to zoom out at least 50% (and lose at least 75% of the graphics quality) to do anything serious.

Offline Roads

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Re: zoom
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2012, 10:46:15 AM »
Ters,

I just want to be able to display animals, horses, dogs, ducks, etc. so that I can give them a bit of detail.  For example, I'll probably want to show the horse's mane flying when it is running rather than just laying flat.  If this is just not possible or practical, then I want as large a pak size as is possible.  Can you suggest a size?


Modify:  I think I miss spoke here.  Not a pak size as large as possible - simply one that is a little larger than pak192 comic.  From my test, it is close to big enough but I'm afraid dogs would be very small and ducks just not possible.  Another thing I want to do, again if possible, is size everything, including vehicles to the same scale.

Offline Ters

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Re: zoom
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2012, 11:43:49 AM »
Interestingly, the scale issue you mention last is why I prefer pak64 over pak128. Although each individual piece of graphics look better in pak128 than in pak64, the tile grid also becomes more apparent. In particular, there are unrealistically huge spaces between railroad tracks.

But my experience is that when increasing the graphics quality beyond where Transport Tycoon were and pak64 are, the game becomes worse. Either the scales go completely crazy, like Railroad Tycoon 3 where the landscape internally has about the right scale between vertical and horizontal, and smooth gradients. However buildings are way too large compared to the landscape, and vehicles and tracks are again too large compared to buildings. Since tracks are way too big compared to the mountains, you can't zigzag up and down like in reality. When the graphics is otherwise so good, it hurts seeing trains going up hills at a 45 degree angle, while pak64 can get away with it because it's so simple and unrealistic.

Alternatively, some games use a pretty much uniform scale for everything, but reduces the map size (in terms of real measurements, like metres) so much that there isn't room for more than a single city. I've been playing Tropico 4 lately, which is much of what I want, just too small maps (and no railroads). Having a game with uniform scales from chickens to mountains on map covering a European country, let alone the US of A, seems to simply be beyond the capabilities of even the most powerful personal computers. And Simutrans caters to players with much less capable computers than that.

In my opinion, there is a sort of "uncanny valley" between the simplicity of pak64, and the graphics I really dream for, but which is unachiveable at the moment.

Offline Roads

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Re: zoom
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2012, 12:17:45 PM »
I remember playing the original Tropico years ago and liking it a lot.  Had not even thought about looking for sequels.

Sadly, I understand what you are saying.  Far be it from me to argue with the expert.  Still, with the new zoom you and Markohs are developing, I'm wondering if you can't have a realistic looking scene when zoomed in and at least acceptable looking graphics when zoomed out.  If you tell me it is an exercise in futility attempting to develop something that is scaled realistically and cannot be zoomed with acceptable graphical quality such that you can lay railroads or just enjoy an expansive view, then I have no choice but to drop this dream for now and enjoy other entertainments.

Offline Ters

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Re: zoom
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2012, 01:36:49 PM »
I remember playing the original Tropico years ago and liking it a lot.  Had not even thought about looking for sequels.

The sequels have made the transition to full 3D, yet retained very much the same look.

Sadly, I understand what you are saying.  Far be it from me to argue with the expert.  Still, with the new zoom you and Markohs are developing, I'm wondering if you can't have a realistic looking scene when zoomed in and at least acceptable looking graphics when zoomed out.  If you tell me it is an exercise in futility attempting to develop something that is scaled realistically and cannot be zoomed with acceptable graphical quality such that you can lay railroads or just enjoy an expansive view, then I have no choice but to drop this dream for now and enjoy other entertainments.

I'm no expert, but what I'm thinking is as follows: Imagine a picture of 32x32 pixels that is all white, but has a one pixel wide black vertical or horizontal line. Now you want to rescale it to 16x16 pixels (zoom out 50%). Either you skip every other row and every other line, in which case the line may stay or it may disappear. Or you let each pixel in the resulting image be a mix of the four corresponding pixels in the source image, in which case you end up with a gray line.

With photorealistic graphics, this probably isn't much of a problem, as there won't be any/many clear cut lines like this. If you render a vehicle in 128x128 in Blender, or render it in 256x256 and scale it down to 128x128, I don't think there will be much difference. It is more problematic with hand drawn graphics. Manually creating mipmaps would help, but would also demand many times more work of the artists.

Offline Roads

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Re: zoom
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2012, 02:01:29 PM »
I'll do some more tests with pak192 comic using zoom and the program you and Ters created.  I am planning on getting proficient with Blender and doing all the graphics with it.  Hopefully there is a sweet spot where at least one looks great and the other looks good.  If this works then I can try for a larger size, maybe not 256 but some of the sizes Timothy has listed in TileCutter.

The problem of course with doing anything bigger than 192 is I have no way of displaying what it will look like in game.


Modify:  In the unlikely event someone happens across this thread, likes my ideas and wonders what is going on with this, I'm scrapping the idea.  Creating a new pak is obviously a massive undertaking and the truth is, even if accomplised, it would only give me part of what I want to eventually have.  Plus, I would also be stuck with things like a 1x1 res square which, to say the least, limits creativity.


Instead I've found Unity games and I'm going to devote my time and energy to that.