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Textures!
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Adhesive_Boy
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2004 9:55 am
   Subject: Textures!
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Yes, textures! Those 256-color, 64x64 images that visually make up the walls and doors (and possibly ceilings in floors) in the flat virtual world of Wolfenstein.

Now, to pose the questions: How does each texture reflect a different theme/setting? How often/where should the portrait/symbol images be placed? Which textures do or don't go together?

Yet again, I'll wait to contribute something

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2004 10:40 am
   Subject: Re: Textures!
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Textures create atmosphere.. so they're probably the most important part of "aesthetic" side of level creation. In Wolfenstein and SoD, there's a very big variety of textures that allow to create many different themes. Just watch all the six episodes - every one of them has a different set of textures. Also, there's a really big choice in various decorations - swastika flags, banners, etc. - so it's very easy to create really interesting rooms, it's all about imagination. Now I won't concentrate on placing single textures, but more on adding decorations to the rooms.

I prefer symethrical placement of banners and so on; if you placed a swastika on one side of the room, then place it in the same block on the second wall. Don't place the decorations randomly; do it wisely. Play around with setting wall decorations next to certain objects, like plants, vases and so on. The best thing is to practice.. here, I created two theoretical rooms with good and bad placement of textures and objects (in my opinion, of course). Enjoy.



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:29 pm
   Subject: Re: Textures!
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I agree with Martin's approach, as this was pretty much the style ID used in placing textures. Placing textures so that two sides (or all sides) can be seen was used a bit (particularly in Episode 6 and in SoD), but sparingly as too much of it just looks kind of tacky.

An occasional single block with, say, an eagle pattern on it placed so that all sides can be seen in a room can look good, as it kind of suggests a pillar or support block with an ornate design. This too was used every now and then in Wolf / Spear. This approach also looks pretty good with floor / ceiling textures, btw. Again, though, I personally am not found of the look when it's overused.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2004 9:28 pm
   Subject: Re: Textures!
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Interesting topic... Without falling into the trap of saying that one thing is more important than another in regard to level design, wall texture choices have an immeasurable effect on the final product. My own approach begins with hollowing out a 64x64 block of solid gray brick, so the walls are the first thing I concentrate on.

a) Placement of portraits/symbols
Ian and Martin have made interesting points... symmetry is key. It's hard (though not always impossible) to justify placing a swastika banner on one side of a doorway and a eagle alcove immediately across from it. I agree that placing decorations behind objects can be a problem, though objects such as beds, baskets, wells are generally OK. Larger objects like suits of armor and spear racks are no-no's in front of portraits/symbols.

As for the placement of a portrait/symbol in such a way that it can be seen from multiple sides, it works well with some designs and not with others. Red swastika banners, stained glass Hitlers and red brick eagles are acceptable. I agree with Ian that such an approach should not be used in excess (even though it looked really cool in Episode 6).

Large square rooms and indentations that house keys and artifacts are ideal places for placing portraits/symbols. Personally, I am a huge proponent of decorating doorways with symmetrical accents (perhaps to a monotonous fault). However, such a tendency only works well when the doorway is three spaces wide (i.e. two flanking decorations and the door itself)


b) Varying textures of the same family
I know this is old hat for almost everyone, but randomly alternating the use of Gray Stone 1 and Gray Stone 2, etc. within a room is a nice routine that may go overlooked by some. Shaking up walls that have multiple versions (Gray Stone, Blue Stone, Cobblestone, Brown Marble, etc.) makes those textures seem more elaborate, if only to those who spend time examining the walls of the rooms they're blasting through. Other textures like the Multicolor brick and Grey Stone w/Less Slime are good choices when sprinkling in accents at random.


c) Using textures as visual clues for the player
Flagging secret passages with decorations is nothing new and works well because it makes sense. It works so well that placing a secret to the side of one now and then is almost required at some point in an episode. Just as Tom Hall used green and brown barrels in Ep6L3 as clues to show the paths to the keys and elevator, various decorated textures can be used to reward the observant and clever player. I've tried this technique in some of my own levels, but have perhaps done so too subtly because I think it may be hard to detect unless the player is consciously looking for it.


d) Texture Compatibility
I think Brian covered the compatibility of textures with various ceiling colors thoroughly and correctly in his guide. The times I deviated from his recommendations were intentional attempts to prevent monotony and try something bold (even if it looked somewhat odd). I think I may be too big of a fan of the credo that you can break the rules if you are aware that you are breaking the rules.

As for using textures with each other within the same room, variety and experimentaion reign again. The best instances of such an opportunity are making a large room out of one texture and placing a square block of another in the center of a room. Another is using a different texture for a three space doorway, such as using a Wood w/Iron Cross texture to flank a doorway in a gray brick room.

Of course, determining which textures look good together is a matter of personal taste. I've always loved the Cinder Block + Blue Wall (w/ swastika or skull embossing) combo. Also, all of the "Episode 1 Textures" work well with each other and tend not to clash.


e) Frequency of Placement
Again, this is all personal preference. It can easily be overdone, but I think more care should be taken not to underuse the various accent textures at your disposal. Having anything less than three spaces in between accents is generally not a good idea, especially in long hallways. But then again, rules were meant to be broken and should be if the desired effect deserves to see the light of day.


f) Number of Different Textures in one level
This is something I've flip-flopped on quite a bit. I think levels made of only one family of textures can get boring, but they do have their place and are, in my opinion, favorable to levels that overuse the texture library in a single 64x64 space. Cave levels and sewer tunnels are examples of this approach. For me, level designing naturally breaks down into segments for all but the occaisonal "throw the rules out" level... that is, the path to the silver key, the path to the gold key, the path to the elevator, etc. Such a breakdown is ideal for using a different texture group for each. Needless to say, the abstract concept of "atmosphere" comes into play here as well.


-Gary
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2004 1:10 pm
   Subject: Re: Textures!
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Well, I am new here. Dunno if I qualify with my mapping skills, but...
Hope this project is not dead, like WolfMP.

Haven't written in English for some time, hope you'll be able to understand what I mean Smile

So, some ideas. First about placing decorations behind objects. I believe that it is a good idea when the object is small, like someone has already said. Personally I love flags/banners behind those green plants - preferably directly behind them or with one empty block.

It also looks quite intersting to place two or three blocks of blue stone in a line with 1-3 blocks of space between them in a red brick room. The spaces may be filled with plants (preferably at least the middle one should be green). If you place these plants a banner on the red wall behind the plants looks pretty interesting. It works pretty well with other texture combinations (maybe it'll be a good idea to have a table of good-looking combinations of textures?), but this is my favourite one.

And the last thing - niches in the side walls of long corridors. I think that having 1 or 2 blocks niche with a nice decoration at the end and a green plant Smile in front of it looks better than plain decorations placed on the walls. And you can place a guard in one of a serie of such niches to surprise the player. But both of these ways should be used, not to be boring.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2004 9:32 am
   Subject: Re: Textures!
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This is personally jmo but I think that the treasure objects look best when surrounded by steel textures. It gives it more of a hidden vault feeling. Having treasure just lying around in an officer's quarters or a dungeon doesn't make to much sense. If you put a steel textured room as the place for treasures in secret rooms it looks like it was all purposefully hidden there. As I said, JMO.

Also symmettry is a bad idea when you are making a dungeon/sewer area. You want things to look random, but once again JMO.

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