Below is an example of a "pretty" link. The example below shows how the code should look:
How'd you get those textures into the game?
see lucius's sticky in the mods forum.
What's difficult about this is we are aiming for faithfulness to the original (arcade style), but more vivid and realistic (photo-realism). It's hard to get a good balance in there.
And the only suggestion we're able to give is, "Do what you think is best."
So I'd say we should just stay the course, do your thang and work with people's feedback. Maybe re-do it 3 or 4 times... But once it's perfect, you can take pride in it and move on.
I'm going to narrow down what I would want to see in all textures. This may or may not be what you all other folks want to see, but maybe it can start a discussion or spark an idea which lands somewhere.
Back when I played old games such as Daggerfall a large amount (when they were released), I always in some sense felt pity for the texture-designers and their limitations in terms of hight, width and color palette. I thought that if they have had the possibility they would have made it look photorealistic. I always imagined the stones in the dungeons being photorealistic rocks and imagined the non-seethrough water being very murry. The important word in the last sentience is imagined. As with all old games, they had to rely on the imagination of the player. This is something that unfortunately in much is lost today, as now we are presented with "this is how it is" (and annoying popups with help etc, but that's another discussion).
With regard to this underlying truth (as I see it), I must say that I today not would have wanted photorealistic textures, as then a lot of that imagination aspect would be lost. Neither do I want a cartoony stylization because that is not how I perceived the original texture. Though, since the original textures are the resolution they are, obviously it's hard to exactly guess what the texture really should have looked like if it was done larger.
My thought is that it probably would have looked the same but with more details applied to it. That you can really see that it's dirt between the rocks and not some blury mess. I'm going to go into more why I don't like the following texture and I mean no disrespect to the artist.
The above I would describe as the artist taking a direction which stylizes it towards the cartoony. I miss the details. I can't see the "concrete" between the bricks. I can't see the imperfections and cracks in the bricks. It's all smudged out. There are however hints of the crispness I would have wanted. At the bottom and on the left side of the top right brick, I see the small cracks / imperfections of the brick (although with smudged parts in between). If you give that kind of detail to the entire texture (also in the bricks, not just the sides), then you're golden IMO. I like the color palette for this texture, I just don't like the bluriness / lack of detail.
Back when I played old games such as Daggerfall a large amount (when they were released), I always in some sense felt pity for the texture-designers and their limitations in terms of hight, width and color palette. I thought that if they have had the possibility they would have made it look photorealistic. I always imagined the stones in the dungeons being photorealistic rocks and imagined the non-seethrough water being very murry.
I couldn't disagree more. If the designers wanted photorealism they could have used pictures.
The art of DF is highly stylized in form and look like hand-drawn illustrations; it's like one big canvas of Mark Jone's art.
The above I would describe as the artist taking a direction which stylizes it towards the cartoony.
I think most people would agree that "Cartoony" certainly is an unwanted stylization, but not all stylization is cartoony.
And in this context I suppose that is not a descriptor i would apply for the image you've linked.
I miss the details. I can't see the "concrete" between the bricks. I can't see the imperfections and cracks in the bricks. It's all smudged out. There are however hints of the crispness I would have wanted. At the bottom and on the left side of the top right brick, I see the small cracks / imperfections of the brick (although with smudged parts in between). If you give that kind of detail to the entire texture (also in the bricks, not just the sides), then you're golden IMO. I like the color palette for this texture, I just don't like the bluriness / lack of detail.
I agree that this texture is a mix-match of areas that show crisp detail vs areas that are blurry; and that is probably what the artist may try to improve upon.
But i agree with an earlier poster that suggested mortar would not have been in use during medieval times and i share their opinion that it shouldn't exist in this texture.
I think the mortar is too perfect and is making the bricks appear to be too perfectly cut-stone.
I wanted to get some more answers before I wrote again, but I just had to comment on the things jman0war wrote, since I found it amusing.
I couldn't disagree more. If the designers wanted photorealism they could have used pictures.♦
Do you realize that you just said that you disagree to how I perceived the game 14 years ago...
In my defence, I was 12 for god sake...
You also missed the point (written in the next part), which was that I don't want complete photorealism anymore since nowadays I see it more or less as you do.
but not all stylization is cartoony
And in this context I suppose that is not a descriptor i would apply for the image you've linked.
Still missing the point.
and that is probably what the artist may try to improve upon
The entire post was a response to what was said on page 13, that most of the textures are going to be redone but there were some questioning as to how this should be done and I gave my view on this question with some backstory. The post ended in how I think the textures should be done and to that part you agreed.
Now, one thing you have to realize is that textures aren't always designed at the native resolution at which they are to be used. In some cases, developers work them at double size only to be told they have to scale them down for space constraints. There's lots of little oddities with the game's textures - specks of orange on rocks, stains, and strange lattice patterns that probably had greater semblance to something when the textures were being made, but then became blurred and incoherent when the textures were scaled down. Assuming that the Daggerfall artists were as rushed as everybody else on the project, then they took little to no time to make these details distinct.
Which brings me to my next point. I don't think they were ever trying to make the game's textures photorealistic or grungy per se. When textures are subject to lower resolutions and limited palettes, what do artists sacrifice? Not necessarily "visual noise" - scratch marks, dirt, all that photorealistic overlay stuff. It is not these pseudo-photorealistic details that were lost or even considered to begin with, but actual features of the texture are. How do you make a fine crack more noticeable at low resolutions? Chances are you'd deepen it and make the color of the crack darker. Artists have to maximize the amount of details they can get out of their limited work area.
Look at old games like Monkey Island 2, where the characters' proportions and clothing are designed to be slightly stockier and flowing, in order to make them more distinct. Maybe the runes on the walls in the Mages' Guild were supposed to be arranged in a circle or something, but that wouldn't look too great at a low res so they went with larger symbols and a simpler, horizontal orientation. Of course, we'll never truly know what and what wasn't in the artists' heads at the time (Mark Jones stopped replying to my emails!), so it's a lot of guesswork.
What I'm saying is that I don't think, given the chance, Bethesda's artists would have made the textures grungier. Maybe they would have had a lot more visual interest and a lot more features, such as hinges and intricate wood trim patterns, but I doubt that given a higher resolution to work with they would've merely sacrificed all their additional pixels for noise.
Pictures don't tile. And the games that try to be the most realistic don't use pictures. It wouldn't have helped at all, imo.
As for cartooniness, I think that's silly. It's from 1996. You can't get realism in a game with as much scope as DF on 1996 computers, and it was even high-end back then. It's a side effect or a conscious decision to give up realism in certain textures because of technology constraints. What the image is of also takes up space, and limited palettes make for smaller file sizes and for cartooniness.
We could also just see if we can track down any original texturemakermen.
Monkey Island was made to be silly. Of course it's not going to look realistic. SoMI and DF are completely different games.
* Professional artists never do the art for a game at the game-native resolution. Usually they do the textures in at least 2048x2048 or 4096x4096 pixels when designing. It's a lot easier to add detail and remove blemishes in large images, and they can always be downscaled to the appropriate size. Fable for PC benefited from this as the texture resolution was increased compared to the X-box version. The devs didn't have to do anything other than chucking in the original textures. I believe the resolution was four times that of the X-box version.
* Look at Morrowind and Oblivion. They are nowhere near realistic in appearance. The developers could have used photo-realistic textures, but they chose not to. The reason for this is that photo-realistic textures rarely look good in games simply because the environment is not realistic enough. The more "real" looking the textures are, the more they stand out in a polygon world.
* I do not agree that Daggerfall is cartoonish. It's painterly. The Monkey Island games have a cartoon feel. Again, look at Morrowind and Oblivion. Stone and grass looks like stone and grass, but they look nowhere near realistic. This is a design decision and not a limitation.
fixed a glaring contradiction