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Experiment..

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shiva

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This is not a wip, just a experiment. During the last couple weeks, I counted about 9 bugs in VP even I don't remember hearing about, one being that VP (from what can be figured out) will save a table with a bad or incorrect checksum under certain conditions. This renders the file inoperable, which is exactly the case with my latest table.

Totally gone, and can't be fixed. After a couple days of being mad as hell about it, and wishing I was using the other open source editor instead of this one, I decided that sometimes good things can happen from a bad thing if you find something positive. With me, it was boredom, I was bored with doing the same stuff, even though it's only been a year since I changed my style with Star Trek. Time for a new generation of style.

Since the pf and the plastics were already first generation anyway, I just threw everything out, and remade everything from scratch, with new techniques, concepts, and improvements over what I learned the last while since I did Kiss. Most of the last 2 weeks was just experiments, and most of the stuff was redone over and over till I was satisfied.

Whether anyone else is satisfied remains to be seen, but then a few people just don't get it anyway. Looking at the Ultracade stuff, it's apparent they need to come a long way, some of the tables are years behind as it is, and this is using a newer version of VP with a lot higher resolution. The thing is you can do things with VP, just because no one else has done it before doesn't mean it's not possible, it just means you have to spend a lot of time working on one little thing till you make it possible.

So, in my spare time, I decided to make a table of nothing but experiments. Everything new, everything first generation for me, and see what works and what doesn't. The small screenshot is what works for the left sling. The rest is either not started, or is too early in the process to be shown.

This is all done in photoshop, and all made from scratch, exculding the pf and plastics of course, the orginal images are somewhere under all that. Even so, there are new concepts and blending, most importantly, the fact that I no longer care to make the tables "real", as it's rather pointless when we use it on such a imperfect program. I'm not making "real" tables anymore, I'm making a computerized painted version of the table. People get so hung up on that, why make a "perfect" "realistic" table when you have the ability to make the table even better?

It's a very small screenshot, but what you see are several new ideas from me. Rounded rubbers with textures, a new transparency effect with lighting and shadows, new metals, a new image technique for small scale walls, as well as new graphics and odds and ends.

Rubbers and metal are images on a wall, not decals, and yes, it was a massive pain in the ass. As far as I know, I haven't seen another example of adding the kind of depth without using decals, especially with such small scale objects. VP not only has a far lesser resolution to the wall object in terms of images than decals, it also has far less color depth as well. It's ability to display a large amount of colors is limited, and colors within a color range blend in, so instead of a nice grey metal with light sourcing and detail streaking, you end up with a big white blob instead. Add to that VP will automatically shade a side whether you want it to do so or not, and it makes a lot of things harder to do. Most people just use decals, but I don't, I find they just cause different problems.

Though I am 60% successful, I have managed to get a texture to match the rounded rubbers and still defeat the auto shading, and though VP makes it fuzzy, done the same for the wire rail as well. There's only about 5 pixels in width to work with, (the side is turned off) yet I managed to get a depth in the image enough so far so it looks like a metal wire as opposed to a blob. I wish there was a trick to it, but it's a case of spending hours in Photoshop working on it till it looks right. The rubbers had the same problem, the lack of color depth especially.

The transparency I cooked up for ramps, but it works very nicely for anything that uses a clear plastic. The method I use also adds the shadows and the light sourcing from the surrounding objects as well as reflections, and is adjustable. This uses decals, but still allows me to use Lighting GI as well. Would be nice if the tops of the wall object can accept a transparency, then it would be real effective.

So here you go, a little screenshot of my work so far. As you know with me, things are subject to change, I'm just as likely to scrap everything and replace it with something else.
 

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scapino

Pinball Wizard
Looks great, shiva. I often thought about taking the purely graphical approach, but never got around to it. It looks like you are well on your way to doing it.

Kurt
 

shiva

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Thanks. I guess my tables have always been more graphical, just moving another step forward.

Little unhappy about VP's lack of depth, not much can do beyond that, but I am working on improving what I already have, so threw some color into the metal a bit, and minor stuff.

Not happy with the plastics and the initial quality. I got them from BoS, and they were a very bad scan, contrast was way off, and the colors were faded out or wrong so a lot of detail was missing. I managed to restore the missing color detail, but still have no idea what the actual colors are for the real machine. :)

I choose the left sling, as it's the worse plastic of the bunch, so if I can get that right, then the others will be easier to do. I guess it's pretty good really, at least I have the knowledge to be able to do that. What amazes me that for such a popular game, there's very little available, kind of wish I was smart enough to be able to choose a table with far better resources in the first place.

Personally Kurt, I would stick with what you do using a render program and a decal to display it. Hand drawing in Photoshop, and then combating VP's various flaws is not for the impatient, and requires extreme patience (my ex-wife would call it anal instead) and the willingness to keeping reloading the same damn image 75 to 100 times a shot.
 

kristian

Pinball Wizard
I did this stuff already years ago...

I dunno what method you use...but I took a snapshot of the whole screen and started building and adding graphics with Photoshop to the "source image"....using mainly lasso tool (and distort option). When the playfield looked ready I started cutting and inserting decal pieces to the background (backdrop)....it's time consuming but not that difficult when you already have the size correct on your screen....you just have to make the decals 2-4 pixels smaller than the source "piece".

Check Phoenix, Black Knight, Solar Fire, etc....all graphics in these tables have been build that way...!!!

Of course when you're doing a original table you have to draw everything by hand...which is much more challenging....but it should work the same way....but I guess that's how you work too.
 

StevOz

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Looks almost surreal to me in the best possible way, very nice and with walls too, rather tricky. 8 ball deluxe is that. ;)
 

shiva

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My method is very simple. Just take a image of the table, hopefully if available a seperate pf and plastics image, and make everything else.

Yes, it's the way I do all my tables. Chalk it up to a bit of artistic freedom involved as well here.

The method you described may be the best for other people, but to me it makes the table generic and not as challenging, especially with discovering new things. The entire object with this is not to do the same thing over again, but to try out nothing but new things, and see what works.

It's hard to explain, as I make my tables not as how they actually are in real life, but how I remembered them when I played them 20 years ago. Maybe through rose colored glasses, but I prefere to do them that way. Maybe that's why people don't get it, because they remember the game differently than I.

I'm avoiding decals if I have to, I usually do, because I like the options available with using walls, whether I actually do them or not. Angle independence, GI effects, better overall flexibility, and you never know, you can stubble apon something that needs that. It works for me.

It's a bit of time though, but well worth it. Once it's worked out, then future use will take a fraction of the time. Already have built a couple actions, so I can make transparent plastics like you see in the screenshot in any shape size color in less than a minute, if you have the basic shape already done of course. Once I settle on the rubbers, same thing. It's just working it out for the first time, and being satisfied with it, which I guess I have problems with, but it makes me unique as well.
 

shiva

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Re: RE: Experiment..

StevOz said:
Looks almost surreal to me in the best possible way, very nice and with walls too, rather tricky. 8 ball deluxe is that. ;)
Saw this when I posted...

See? He gets it. ;)
 

Shockman

appropriate at this time
RE: Re: RE: Experiment..

I think we all accept 'garbage in, garbage out' as an axiom.
The technique is not new. Custom textures for each piece is great, and worth the time. The metal textures look great, and the clear plastic looks pretty good too. Is it a dithered pattern?
 

scapino

Pinball Wizard
RE: Re: RE: Experiment..

Shiva...

The way I was thinking of doing it was still modeling and lighting in 3d, but having textures "burnt" onto the objects (with the lighting and reflections) as part of the texture. Then taking all these burnt textures and mapping them onto the actual VP objects. I still want to try that one of these days....

Kurt
 

kristian

Pinball Wizard
Re: RE: Re: RE: Experiment..

scapino said:
Heck... I'm still working on Creature! :)

Kurt

Yeah...I know...but that's such a huge project.....Dolly would be relaxing to do....to get a break from Creature.....just a walk in the park for you...!!! ;)

Just kidding.....you of course do what you want mate.....I just can't stop thinking how awesome "Scapinozed" Dolly would be...!!!
 

shiva

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Sorry Kurt, not really understanding what you mean by burnt. Sort of like what I just did, transfere the light and shadows directly onto the transparent plastic image? I thought that's exactly what a render does, it's automatic. Maybe a bit tired today, so not understanding, but the action I made will do that automatically, pick up lights and shadows, and make a decal. That what you mean?

Haven't really had time to learn the render I have, but come to think of it FP doesn't do it as the closest example. You can't add textures to rubbers, and transparent walls are solid color as well.

Shockman, I can use any base pattern I want for the effect, it's built in already and is selectable as part of the routine. I guess you can also use a pattern as a overlay layer on top, and have the script do it as well. It's just a scanline type effect I use for this one, and the color you set for it is the overall color you get as a base. The basic idea itself is "old", but it is different because of the technique and the final image you get
 

scapino

Pinball Wizard
What I'm talking about is a shortcut a lot of graphics peeps use in 3d. Instead of waiting forever to render a frame (raytracing), you ray trace once, and have the 3d software re-apply the newly rendered textures (lighting and reflections) to the 3d objects, replacing thier original texture/materials. Now you dont have to render any more when you move around the scene. The shadows/lighting and reflections are "baked" onto the objects. I was thinking of doing this in Truespace, and taking these newly created textures, and applying them in the standard way to the VP objects.

Maybe I'll try it for my next table after Creature.

Kurt
 

shiva

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Ah, okay. Haven't come to shortcuts yet. I'm only at something called HyperNURBs, and the only thing I have done is animate a slug (it's actually a blob, but what else are you gonna call it?)

Bit hard to get your brain wrapped around the 3 dimensions, when you are so use to something else.
 

shiva

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Been goofing around with other things, catching up on some movies, and collecting Babylon 5 episodes, but decided to play a bit with the experiment.

I finally stopped being lazy, bite the bullet, and started correcting the pf that I couldn't be bothered to do before. Turned out to be a lot of extra work, and still a lot of detail to be re-drawn in that I erased, but so far so good. Part of all this is looking at adding extra depth and playing with details within the image, to give a higher gloss and almost 3 dimension quality beyond the orginal artwork.

You will notice that with the bonus balls, but I had to clean them up quite a bit. I may do that with the scroll work, the actual artwork was a bunch of light grey dots to add depth, but it was pretty flat. Guess we will see.

Other changes are to set up for possible things down the road. I've had a lot of strange ideas over the last few months, so it's time to see what works, and what doesn't. Other stuff is minor, changes to the graphics, added wires and little feet to a couple posts, something I always seem to do, though they don't actually have feet. I'm pretty sure the "accuracy police" won't beat down my door and beat me to death with their pocket protectors.

Decided to add new wood edges, and redrew in some stuff, like the staffs, because the orginals were too blurred to be useful. Lots of stuff like that is already in there as well. The main image has been changed quite a bit from the last pic, colors were changed, and I replaced all the text with new ones. There's new plunger wood as well etc etc.

Considering it all, didn't take a lot of extra time, but the guns and the explosion by the targets will be fun...

Looking at the orginal image now, would have prefered a better quality image, but we work with what we got.
 

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kristian

Pinball Wizard
@Shiva....any chance of releasing unlocked version of KISS? The table is really nice and beautiful.... but annoyingly easy...the slope is way too low.....I simply can't comprehend why authors ruin fantastic tables by locking them...

I usually just play with the slope and flipper settings... there's also 7-digit rom that could be implemented...!!!
 

shiva

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sorry, no. You can access the script though, so you can code your changes, just use the init. It's vp, not vpm, so 7 digit scoring are already in there. Adjustable table angle is planned in game mode, it's on the list.

I've made it clear my tables are to be locked. I'm sorry that some people have to pay for the actions of others, but it's either that or I won't release tables at all.
 

Shockman

appropriate at this time
I made a graphic, table size of a simi transparent blue tinted glass, being for mmpac. My plan was to use it on wall tops but it did not work. for side walls and decals it works great though, but it makes the table take 20 minutes or so to pre-render. It looks like the plastic you have over the slings, but it's not worth the wait. I am going to use the same graphic pattern (dithered with various shades of blue and transparent color) cutout for decals and see how that works. So yes, it would work for overlays, but it takes too much time to render. I was hoping that it would work just mapped to the top of a wall, but the transparent color is not transparent.
 

shiva

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Yeap. Top walls have no transparency, but you can make the side wall transparent without using graphics, just doesn't look that great.

For decals, though you don't see it, the bottom clear plastic underneath the metal bracket is actually 5 decals, not 1. VP will render the transparent color as well as every other color in the image, so I just sliced the image into 8 pieces, and then glued them back in. There's a 6th piece, but not needed, you would never see it. My table renders about the same as without the decal, a lot less to render. VP will render a larger image slower than 2 images half it's size together

The other main reason with decals is not just render time, but also it has a bug that can cause your table to have problems. It also has problems if you overlap it with another decal, or if it cuts into a object on the same height. It also has certain problems if it's overlapping other objects, but you can fudge it a bit to correct that.
 

shiva

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Next up for screenshots will be more pf work. Decided the yellow lasso had to go, so hello Mr. Paintbrush tool.

Also, I may show the new light lens technique I stumbled apon. Dead easy as well, no screwing around with brushes, and works right on the orginal image, so no extra graphics work, or decals in the table. Even the black letters came out well, yet the light can be adjusted for blacks. Sort of like FP, but mine actually works. As a by product, it adds more depth to the image as well, which considering I am known for my depth with my tables, is a good thing.

Be playing with that one at the very least. It may be better than the method I wanted to try out for pf lighting. We will see, but interesting effect for such little effort.
 

shiva

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Just a note, due to present circumstances, I decided not to update this thread anymore. I'm a bit sour about things at the moment, I don't think people can blame me, so I have stopped working on this. I think it will be for the best to not post stuff I am working on presently other than my forum anyway.

Don't like deleting a thread, so if a admin can lock this, appreicate it.
 
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