[AE][MOD] Highres Shields 1.1

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splette
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[AE][MOD] Highres Shields 1.1

Postby splette » Sun May 25, 2014 8:40 pm

This is purely a graphical mod which replaces the shield graphics of the playable ships. It is compatible with both vanilla FTL as well as the Advanced Edition (it includes the shield for the Lanius ship). The mod does not alter any events, change balance etc.

Two things bothered me about the vanilla shield graphics: the rough, non-aliased edge with jaggies. And the fact that the hexagon pattern was completely flat, while in reality the shield is a three-dimensional sphere.

Image

Therefore, I decided to re-generate the shields in 3D. I had to change the shape of the cells from hexagon to triangle. Besides that I tried to stay as close as possible to the original in terms of color and opacity.

Image

Image
Please ignore the compression artifacts in the animated GIF above (had to reduce the number of colors to 256).

Download Highres Shields (V1.1 | 2,9 MB)

Enjoy!

Changelog:
1.1 - rounder outer edges
1.0 - initial release


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For the old-style purists among you, I also created a highres version of the vanilla 2D hexagon pattern. To be honest, it doesn't change much. It fixes the skewing of the hexagonal pattern in some of the original shields (such as Engi ship) and uses proper antialias for the edges. Here's a screenshot for comparison:

(Click on image for close-up view)
Image

Download Highres Shields Classic (V1.0 | 1,8 MB)
Last edited by splette on Mon May 26, 2014 11:46 pm, edited 7 times in total.
TheUnluckyGnome
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Re: [AE][MOD] Highres Shields 1.1

Postby TheUnluckyGnome » Sun May 25, 2014 10:37 pm

Looks cool, I'll try it :D .
Russian Rockman
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Re: [AE][MOD] Highres Shields 1.1

Postby Russian Rockman » Mon May 26, 2014 2:40 am

This looks fantastic!!! I have been cobbling together several graphical mods and I guess I'm going to have to add this one to the list. ;)

Have you finished all shield graphics yet?
Does this affect the Zoltan shield graphic too?

I definitely need to try this out. How the heck did you draw something like that!
Last edited by Russian Rockman on Mon May 26, 2014 3:10 am, edited 2 times in total.
splette
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Re: [AE][MOD] Highres Shields 1.1

Postby splette » Mon May 26, 2014 3:04 am

Thanks.

Yes, it works with the Zoltan Shield. That's actually a post effect, that's applied within the program. It gives the shield graphic a green hue which decreases as the shield wears off.

I didn't actually draw it. I generated a 3D icosahedral sphere, stretched it accordingly to match the different ship sizes and then rendered it.
Image

I've been thinking of doing some modifications. Maybe have different color versions? Ideas?

Anyone should feel free to incorporate this Mod in his own Mod (as long as credit is given and a link to this thread).

I have been cobbling together several graphical mods

Yeah, I did the same, using bits and pieces from the different graphic mods out there. I had also done my own UI skin but eventually I liked phlakes' version more and used that until AE came out.
Russian Rockman
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Re: [AE][MOD] Highres Shields 1.1

Postby Russian Rockman » Mon May 26, 2014 3:13 am

I've got an AE ready version of Phlakes' UI, with some personal tweaks ;) , that hopefully I'll get to upload "soonish". You can sea it in the "previews for the impatient thread in Mod Development.

Different colored versions of the shield might me a good idea. :)
The only criticism I have is that the new graphic is a little darker than the original. Probably just due to the fact that the "triangle" are bigger than the hexes of the vanilla shield.
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Sleeper Service
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Re: [AE][MOD] Highres Shields 1.1

Postby Sleeper Service » Mon May 26, 2014 11:41 am

splette wrote:Anyone should feel free to incorporate this Mod in his own Mod (as long as credit is given and a link to this thread).

I'll probably do this then. Thanks a lot, the graphics look great. My only quarrel with it is that the perspective and depth it creates feels a little like off in relation to the actual ship hull. I also feel like the original graphic did get around this whole problem by displaying more of a cross section of the shields. With the modded image, I wonder a lot if the ship is above or below the graphic. If it is below then why does the graphic not overlap with the actual ship hull. If it is above then I get more the impression that the ship is floating above its own shield bubble. Maybe that is just me though. I wonder if a cross section of the sphere, rendered from top down view on its inside, would look any different.

Some more small questions: Did you do the enemy shield as well? How does it look when stretched to fit the enemies? Also did you match the exact size of the original shield bubbles? The example seems to be slightly smaller. Laser and Beam impacts might get positioned wrong if the actual graphic does not match the original ellipse size for the ship.
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Re: [AE][MOD] Highres Shields 1.1

Postby splette » Mon May 26, 2014 12:04 pm

Thanks for the feedback.

The only criticism I have is that the new graphic is a little darker than the original. Probably just due to the fact that the "triangle" are bigger than the hexes of the vanilla shield.

In terms of color they should be the same. But the (triangle) lines in my version are thinner than the hex lines in the original. This might be the reason. I liked the thinner lines better but if there is a consensus here to make the lines thicker I would consider to do that.

I could increase the number of triangles but I am not sure it will look better. I can try for one ship and post it here to get some feedback.

My only quarrel with it is that the perspective and depth it creates feels a little like off in relation to the actual ship hull.

I didn't fully understand what you mean. In terms of transparency etc, my shields are the same as the original (less transparent towards the outside, fully transparent towards the middle).

If the ship is below [the shield] then why does the graphic not overlap with the actual ship hull.

That's not the case in the original shield image either.

I wonder if a cross section of the sphere, rendered from top down view on its inside, would look any different.

I understand what you mean. I could give that a try, yes. But I doubt it because there aren't any light sources in the scene. The shield is brigther on the outside not because of a light reflection but simply because of the gradient I applied to that material. Anyway, I'll play around with it.

Some more small questions: Did you do the enemy shield as well?

The enemy ships don't use the hexagonal pattern shield. They only have a plain gradient bubble as a shield. It's the same image for all enemy ships. So, I didn't change anything there.

Also did you match the exact size of the original shield bubbles? The example seems to be slightly smaller.

In my initial release, some of the bubbles were 1-2 pixels smaller than the original ones. I fixed that in V 1.1. (But I didn't update the animated gif)
splette
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Re: [AE][MOD] Highres Shields 1.1

Postby splette » Mon May 26, 2014 12:27 pm

Here's an image of how it would look with thicker lines and/or more triangles. (click on image for full resolution)

Image

Btw, I can't change the bright highlights at the intersections of the lines.
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Re: [AE][MOD] Highres Shields 1.1

Postby Sleeper Service » Mon May 26, 2014 12:57 pm

I like the 2xline thickness more triangle version best.

splette wrote: My only quarrel with it is that the perspective and depth it creates feels a little like off in relation to the actual ship hull.


I didn't fully understand what you mean. In terms of transparency etc, my shields are the same as the original (less transparent towards the outside, fully transparent towards the middle).

If the ship is below [the shield] then why does the graphic not overlap with the actual ship hull.


That's not the case in the original shield image either.

Ah sorry, I have trouble explaining this... Again, this is just my own impression. The premise of the mod is that the shield is actually a three dimensional sphere and should be displayed like that, right? But as ship images are layered right now, the ship is actually displayed on top of that sphere, not inside it. IMO the increased opacity towards the middle of the shield can not hide that, ultimately the modded shield just gives a too good impression of being a sphere. I perceive the vanilla image as a cross-section of the shield, deliberately displayed in a two dimensional manner. While I find that the edges and structure of your shield look much better, I still feel like the modded images give less the impression that the ship is actually inside the shield bubble. IMO vanilla got around the whole depth issue by deliberately displaying a two dimensional cross section of the shield, which does not require the shield to overlap with the hull or anything. But with your image I started to wonder why the true sphere does not overlap with the ship hull (which is technically not possible anyway).

Actually that is all purely theoretical anyway, I judged that from the images and I'm not even sure it would appear like that ingame or if it is just me who feels like that anyway. All just a though.
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Re: [AE][MOD] Highres Shields 1.1

Postby Russian Rockman » Mon May 26, 2014 1:46 pm

Sleeper Service wrote:
splette wrote:Anyone should feel free to incorporate this Mod in his own Mod (as long as credit is given and a link to this thread).

I'll probably do this then. Thanks a lot, the graphics look great. My only quarrel with it is that the perspective and depth it creates feels a little like off in relation to the actual ship hull. I also feel like the original graphic did get around this whole problem by displaying more of a cross section of the shields. With the modded image, I wonder a lot if the ship is above or below the graphic.


I got this perception too... it sort of looks like the ship is "above" the shield bubble, rather than "in" the bubble.
Perhaps taking the snapshot from a crossection of the shield would work...

Unfortunately there isn't really a good way around this and when I look at the vanilla images again they have the same problem, only problem is they look "flat" as well. Of course, both of those things were really not things I notice too much while actually playing the game. It also affects the ship more when there are more active shield bubbles, you don't really notice it when you have a more transparent shield. I think the middle "transparent" part of the image just needs to be a "tad bit" wider... The wings and helm is always the thing that sticks out on every ship, everything else looks fine.

Sleeper Service wrote:Some more small questions: Did you do the enemy shield as well? How does it look when stretched to fit the enemies? Also did you match the exact size of the original shield bubbles? The example seems to be slightly smaller. Laser and Beam impacts might get positioned wrong if the actual graphic does not match the original ellipse size for the ship.


It looks as if the shield images are the same size, but I can't tell "exactly." Enemy shields appear to be hardcoded, the game just resizes the bubble depending on the room layout of the ship.

splette wrote:Here's an image of how it would look with thicker lines and/or more triangles. (click on image for full resolution)


I actually like the original more after seeing those, they seem sort of "low res" with the thicker lines,and the smaller triangles one seems "cluttered".

EDIT: After playing with Better Planet's and Backgrounds, which has brighter backgrounds, I noticed I couldn't see the lines at all, maybe the ticker lines would actually be better... I think we need to see some images of how they actually look in game. ;)

splette wrote:Thanks for the feedback.

Russian Rockman wrote:The only criticism I have is that the new graphic is a little darker than the original. Probably just due to the fact that the "triangle" are bigger than the hexes of the vanilla shield.

In terms of color they should be the same. But the (triangle) lines in my version are thinner than the hex lines in the original. This might be the reason. I liked the thinner lines better but if there is a consensus here to make the lines thicker I would consider to do that.

I could increase the number of triangles but I am not sure it will look better. I can try for one ship and post it here to get some feedback.


This is what I was talking about... Looking at the shield images in GIMP, I could tell they would not be the same in game as the vanilla ones because they are just darker. So I took the time to tweak with the images a bit and here is an image of what I came up with. (I increased the lightness by 25 and the opacity to 60)

I used the Zoltan Cruiser because it's shield is basically the same as the shield image with 4 shields, but green. The first image is vanilla
second is mine
third is splette's
http://imgur.com/OPP3kfJ
Image

As you can see, the color is not actually the same, checking only the first layer doesn't work because of the transparency. I feel my "recolor" is a bit closer. Also, for some reason the perspective of the ship being "above" the shield bubble is a little less noticeable on mine I think. Maybe it has something to do with the transparency.


EDIT: So Overall, here is my general opinion. I will probably use this as it looks better in general than the vanilla shield images. I would like to see how the image with the thicker triangles looks in game. If you can work on fixing the color and transparency to match vanilla more that would be nice. Honestly, after playing with this a while I don't really notice the illusion of the shield image being "below" the hull. (Strangely the only ship that looked weird to me is the Zoltan ship) But if you could work on making the image loom more like it is not "below" the ship that would also be nice.

And also if you want to make a version that uses the vanilla hexes that is just more "high-res" and "slightly" more spherical looking that would be cool to see as well. ;)

Thought I should say again... Good Job! This is really a neat idea. :D

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