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Graphic Design...

Posted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 10:55 am
by Paolo Sforza
Sean,

I've now got some graphics of Japanese armour (top and side), artillery and infantry and a bit of tropical terrain (trees). Data is being spreadsheeted (as per your current 3.99 table format). Graphics can be rescaled, etc. However, I need some design rules. AFV scale I know. I'm assuming 72bpi gif is the standard? Infantry and artillery are easy to work out from screen capture and the 5m/pixel rule (or is it 4m?) I don't know whether you use a standard trnasparancy or a specific transparancy colour? If there are any design rules/guidelines/advice that would be useful - could you please post them (maybe on a new 'Design Considerations for v 4.00' thread?) I've also generated a l-o-n-g list of Japanese family names for the v4.0 naming conventions.

Cheers.

Re: Graphic Design...

Posted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 11:12 am
by Sean OConnor
Paolo Sforza wrote:Sean,

I've now got some graphics of Japanese armour (top and side), artillery and infantry and a bit of tropical terrain (trees). Data is being spreadsheeted (as per your current 3.99 table format). Graphics can be rescaled, etc. However, I need some design rules. AFV scale I know. I'm assuming 72bpi gif is the standard? Infantry and artillery are easy to work out from screen capture and the 5m/pixel rule (or is it 4m?) I don't know whether you use a standard trnasparancy or a specific transparancy colour? If there are any design rules/guidelines/advice that would be useful - could you please post them (maybe on a new 'Design Considerations for v 4.00' thread?) I've also generated a l-o-n-g list of Japanese family names for the v4.0 naming conventions.

Cheers.


Great Paolo! All the graphics are done as .bmp files so there is no such thing as BPI really.

I use 4 pixels = 1 metre for the gameplay distances, but a slightly larger 5 pixels = 1 metre for tanks and infantry just to make them slightly easier to see. Keep houses and trees at 4 pixels = 1 metre, but to be honest it doesn't make a great deal of difference - it just looks like a slightly smaller house.

The transparencies are done by dragging and dropping the .bmp files into my program MakeMask.exe which is installed when you install Firefight (look under the Start Menu entry for the game). Either do it this way or email me your graphics and I'll take care of it.

I'd rather you kept the Japanese names shortish. There is a limit of 15 characters for a surname at the moment!

Japanese Graphics...

Posted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 3:04 pm
by Paolo Sforza
That's fine Sean, I made the assumption about .GIF as the flag file was a 72bpi gif? Japanese names will be shortist (8 chars or less) - I'll do the edit over weekend. Won't have a vast amount of time this weekend, but hope to get everything to you by - say, Late Tuesday GMT?

Be CRITICAL! If you don't like something then please feel free to ask me to tidy it up.

Don't know Maskmaker so hope it's OK to just send you the BMPs and let you do the grind of processing them. I'm also not yet familiar with the rotating facilities with 3.99, but will give it a whirl next week.

I've got quite a bit of data on Japanese tactical organisation, gun and armour which I'll send on in a message. Otherwise, I'll post to www.sforza.150m.com and tell you when there is something new there via this forum. It's free server space so apologies for the adverts. Also space might get limited so I won't leave too many graphics on the site for too long.

How do you area terrain? I wouldn't mind having crack at paddy fields and sea/beaches. How do you do linear terrrain. I wouldn't mind having a go at log sea walls (as at Tarawa). Are they some kind of repeating texture field, in which case tell me the size of the repeat (again BMP?) and I'll have a go. Do you have only one type of tree in the game (ie. how many different types of palm trees can anyone need?) On strongpoints, is there anyway I can make these like a house, but with a 'transparent middle' so that they merge better into the background except for the gun ports. Does that make sense?

Did the ranks insignia seem OK? Are they the right size?

New flags OK? I noticed that you seem to prefer darker reds so happy to chage if necessary.

Cheers.

Re: Re-equipped Italians (on a page about the Japanese)???

Posted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 3:54 pm
by Guest
Paolo Sforza wrote:Sean,

The Italians were re-equipped in early 1944, but what with I have no absolutely idea. I'd imagine Shermans, etc. I can probably find out though.

The Allied conceded precious little in the way of heavy weapons to the new Italian Army during WWII, and I presume tanks were definitevely out of the question for them.

Re: Re-equipped Italians (on a page about the Japanese)???

Posted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 3:56 pm
by Luca Morandini
Paolo Sforza wrote:Sean,

The Italians were re-equipped in early 1944, but what with I have no absolutely idea. I'd imagine Shermans, etc. I can probably find out though.



The Allied conceded precious little in the way of heavy weapons to the new Italian Army during WWII, and I presume tanks were definitevely out of the question for them.


Sorry for the previous message with the wrong quoting.

Italians 1944-45 on Allied Side

Posted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 5:13 am
by daehttub_2000
I don't think it would be historically accurate to have an allied Italian force.

The Allies used the Italians largely as labor for logistics support for the allied forces. The terrain and the fighting (especially around Monte Cassino) often required mules and manual carrying of supplies and wounded. Not a very mechanized friendly war -- which is why the Germans were able to hold out for so long despite being vastly outnumbered in armor, planes, artillery, men, etc.

It would be interesting to try to represent a brief abortive attempt by the Italians to resist the Germans after the "suprise" Italian surrender to the Allies. However, the Germans quickly smashed any resistance. Italy was just too poor of a country to properly equip it's army. The Italian tanks really need to be fixed. The main guns on the M14 was the 47mm and the early versions of the tanks could actually be penetrated by rifle fire. At the start of the desert campaign, the Italian tanks were incapable of knocking out the Matilda tank.

Sean, I'll try to get around to updating the armor penetration stats based on the websites I've found (and correct for the "effective" armor thickness taking into account the angle of the armor).

Re: Italians 1944-45 on Allied Side

Posted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 7:32 am
by Sean OConnor
daehttub_2000 wrote:Sean, I'll try to get around to updating the armor penetration stats based on the websites I've found (and correct for the "effective" armor thickness taking into account the angle of the armor).


You don't need to calculate the "effective" armour thickness as in the text files you specify the angle that the armour is at (eg 30@60 means 30mm of armour at 60 degrees) and the game uses this angle to calculate the armour thickness.

Re: Japanese Graphics...

Posted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 9:07 am
by Sean OConnor
Paolo Sforza wrote:That's fine Sean, I made the assumption about .GIF as the flag file was a 72bpi gif?


I had to convert my .bmp file to a .gif file just so that I could display it on these forums as it doesn't seem as if they allow you to link to a .bmp file.

Re: Japanese Ranks, Insignia and Various Flags.

Posted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 9:51 am
by Sean OConnor
Paolo Sforza wrote:Available on

http://www.sforza.150m.com/


Thanks Paolo! I've extended the .bmp file so that each nationality can have its own set of rank insignia (although for now I've just copied the existing ones into each slot and added your Japanese ones at the end for future use).

Japanese units, graphics data and other info now available..

Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 12:27 am
by Paolo Sforza
...for review.

Sean (and anyone else who like to comment),

The stuff I've been working on over the past few days in now available on www.sforza.150m.com

I'd really like people's comments.

Further files and data will be posted (as a separate zip) later in the week.

Cheers.

Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 9:18 am
by Sean OConnor
Excellent work Paolo! I've extracted the Japanese surnames and added the rank insignia to the new ranks.bmp file. Keep this stuff coming and I'll work on adding jungle scenarios and add the ability to play as Japanese.

BTW some of your turret graphics weren't centered and this is quite important. I've updated the Rotate.exe program so that it shows you a magnified copy of your bitmap and draws the center line for you. You can then use the arrow keys to move the bitmap around to get it centered.

Also, I can create the .txt files for your tanks and infantry units but is this something you want to do yourself? I'll have to create new weapons for the grenade discharger and suicide mine but that's no problem.

Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 12:54 pm
by Paolo Sforza
Thanks Sean.

On the turrets then I'm kind of glad that there was a glitch, as I got quite perplexed as to how to do offset turrets (most Japanese tanks seem to have turrets that weren't on the centre lines of the hull). The options seem to me that they trace a circle (and look odd) around the right point on the hull or rotate (and look better) around the wrong spot on the hull. Advice please!? And thanks for any sort of zoom on the facilties - anything that helps these aging eyes is appreciated!

I'll correct turrets as soon as I understand the requirement. I now understand that non-rotating superstructures aren't needed as separate sprites (as per the Elephant in the graphics folder).

I'd like to create the .txt files (these are ones like DLLs I think), but need to understand the options and what the commands mean. Is there a key?
Behaviours are down to you - I haven't a clue about AI logic. Been in IT for 27 years, but kept my distance from getting the things to 'think'!

Just so you know, on my 'to do' list is...

More Japanese AFVs (the tankette and an armoured car probably as everything else was made in such small numbers - although maybe if someone has a request).

Graphics for Japanese infantry and artillery plus associated data (also latter for AFVs).

United States Marine Corps stuff (although not my area of expertise). Have you thought about whether you want to do the amphibious stuuf or have they already landed when the game kicks in?

Maybe some Far East Commonwealth stuff - Chindits? Gurkhas? Auzzies? Kiwis? (if there are any differences that I can ascertain at this level, in which case the last three would be useful Europe/North Africa too).

Far East terrain and buildings (I'm already planting rice - ie. paddy fields). Oh yes! I think I saw somewhere that winter draws on for the European Theatre. Will the same happen for the Far East - snow in the north China and Japan, monsoon in SE & E Asia (ie. flooded/dried paddy fields)? By the way, this is the Winter Monsoon which effects SE Asia/Australia and is in Dec-Mar (so Q1 of each year).

How was the palm tree?

Newspaper headlines for events in the East.

Chinese forces (which I think will combine the Kuomintang and Communists as the former had some interesting, if weak AFVs, and the latter were mainly guerrillas). I'm looking forward to this area, as it is unusual.

This will take some time (three weeks all in all, or so), but I will do it as spare time allows. Some is already in production and there is fair amount of research data already gathered so it's just a matter of getting on a doing the thing. 'Sforza' means 'effort' - well, sort of.

Looking forward to seeing how the grenade discharger and lunge mine turn out - nasty stuff for the USMC to face. By the way, the latter is really a composite of lunge mines, satchel charges, AT mines and AT grenades (and could contain up to 9 kg of TNT where 1.5kg could penetrate a Sherman's side!). While this was largely suicide stuff for the whole team (they had to get very close), the way it worked was too drive off or suppress any infantry support, then blind the tanks with smoke grenades, and finally blow the tanks by direct assault (including jemmying open the hatches and grenading - fearsome stuff). It seemed to work best at Kakazu Ridge on Okinawa where such teams destroyed 18 Shermans and 4 M4A1 Flametanks out of a total of 30 vehicles. This might help you decide on appropriate behaviour logic.

That's it, for now. I await the advice on turrets and information on the .txt files.

I'll post to this forum when more stuff on the website (sorry about the pop-ups by the way, but it is free!).

Another call to others to critique the stuff - several heads are better than one. A reminder to people that the stuff in question is on www.sforza.150m.com

Cheers.

Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 1:03 pm
by Sean OConnor
Paolo Sforza wrote:On the turrets then I'm kind of glad that there was a glitch, as I got quite perplexed as to how to do offset turrets (most Japanese tanks seem to have turrets that weren't on the centre lines of the hull). The options seem to me that they trace a circle (and look odd) around the right point on the hull or rotate (and look better) around the wrong spot on the hull. Advice please!?

I'll correct turrets as soon as I understand the requirement. I now understand that non-rotating superstructures aren't needed as separate sprites (as per the Elephant in the graphics folder).

I'd like to create the .txt files (these are ones like DLLs I think), but need to understand the options and what the commands mean. Is there a key?


The way to offset the turret forwards on the tank is to use the line in the text file:

GraphicsTurretPixelsForward=3

which will shift the turret forward 3 pixels relative to the hull. You must center the turret graphic within its own .bmp file though or it will seem to fly all over the place when the turret rotates.

I'm assuming that you meant that the turret was forward on a Japanese tank? Or did you mean that it was to the left/right? If so, I'll have to add that functionality to the game but it won't be hard to do, so just let me know.

BTW the text files that are used to describe the tanks (stored in the folder Data/Tanks) really are just text files which can be opened with Notepad. They aren't anything like DLLs, which are compiled code which you can't view. Just try double clicking on any of the .txt files within Data\Tanks and you'll see how it works!

I await the advice on turrets and information on the .txt files.


I added a section in the Help file which lets you know what all the lines in a .txt file mean. Click on Help | Rules in the game and then click on the "Modifying the game" link towards the bottom.

Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 2:36 pm
by Paolo Sforza
This is great Sean,

No you're right I didn't mean Dynamic Link Libraries (I have DLLs on the brain the moment!), I meant they (the .txt) just look like plain text config files. Du-h! Thanks for pointing me to the link - I will look at help.

On turrets - sorry, yes, it's not only offset front to back (or vice versa), but also left to right (again, vice versa). Typical huh? Nice to know there is a way of doing this. By-the-way, does it matter whether the hulls or turrets are an even or odd number of pixels wide? I know the sprite is 40X40 - I mean the viewable area. What I'm trying to get at is what is the axis of rotation - the point between the 20 and 21 pixel across and the same down? So if a turret is odd pixels wide, won't it look odd when rotating about any axis? Ditto for hulls rotating if odd wide or long.
I never thought ever be considering the point between pixels!

Cheers.

Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 3:54 pm
by Sean OConnor
It's all done with maths so I don't think it matters if the .bmp file is an even number of pixels across. Even if it did though it won't matter as we're only talking about a single pixel.

I'll edit the program to accept a "TurretPixelsLeft=" entry in the text files too.