Teddy’s Tales: A Matter of Perspective

Time for another guest post by Teddy, this time on the Housing system! :D

A long time ago, I was working on the Housing systems to keep myself occupied while waiting for some new graphic assets from Vilya and Fred. After a few days I got the graphics I was waiting for, and I left Housing behind to continue working on the story. Now I find myself in a similar situation as back then, and so I decided to go back to tinkering on the Housing systems!

Firing up the old prototype I had made, I remember a grim realization we had made about it: we’d have to scrap the squares.

Take a gander at this perfectly neat and nice 20x20 grid:

Looks like an excellent foundation for a cocobolo desk, right? Well… if the game was viewed directly from above, that might be so. However...

On a 1:1 grid of squares, this is how furniture will look when rotated. The vertical desk on the bottom looks thinner and longer than the horizontal desk, even though they have the exact same surface area: 20x40 pixels! Our brain decodes the drawn perspective on the furniture and decides we’re viewing them at an angle, and when viewed at an angle, surfaces become distorted. The protests of our brain is indeed correct!

Needless to say, the picture above just doesn’t cut it (and trust me - rotating the desks in game felt even worse), so I did some experimenting. First I tried a ratio of 24:15, or 1:0.615, resulting in the exact opposite visual effect:

I was surprised at first, as that is a ratio I’ve used with great results when composing particle effects surrounding players, monsters and NPCs. A short moment later, I remembered that the character sprites are made to be viewed as if they were basically from the side, while our environments are made at a slightly more elevated angle. Mixing perspectives like that might sound weird, but it actually makes both NPCs and the environment look a lot better, and thankfully does not cause any alarm in our brains!

With this in mind, I went for a new ratio of 20:15, or 1:0.75

Behold! The brain is now content, and both desks are perceived to be of a similar size! After finding this superior grid size, I reworked the prototype and added a bunch of things, currently resulting in this award winning home decoration software:

The housing system is still some ways from being done - especially when it comes to user interface and ease of use. We also want to have a solid amount of furniture available, as well as other related game systems to support it (including, of course, being able to visit one another’s houses in online play).

When all is done, we think this addition will make many creative players very happy! Please look forward to it!

The housing system will be made available for player testing during the subsystem fiesta, which we plan to have after we’re finished with Tai Ming.
Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home

1 comment:

  1. Finally somewhere to hang my beautiful sky fortress painting!