Author Topic: Chicago-Themed Terrain  (Read 4082 times)

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Offline Liebatron

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Chicago-Themed Terrain
« on: November 13, 2020, 08:38:21 AM »
Today I started making a Chicago Elevated Rail terrain set, and I wanted to put a level I made with it out here! It's not super complicated, but I had fun making it!

I'll be busy with other stuff for a couple days, but I'm pretty happy with how the train cars themselves came out in this pack. The ones here are the 2400/2600 series Chicago El rolling stock; I think next I want to make some sprites for the 4000-series cars; they ran from 1914 through the 50s mostly, but weren't completely retired until 1973. The 4000-series cars are my favorite Chicago El rolling stock. Everyone should have a favorite Chicago Elevated Rail rolling stock production line. But anyway, Lemmings! Or in this case Lix! Let me know if anyone wants to see more Chicago terrain stuff!

Offline Proxima

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Re: Chicago-Themed Terrain
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2020, 08:48:35 AM »
Looks awesome! :thumbsup:

Offline Liebatron

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Re: Chicago-Themed Terrain
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2020, 10:45:00 AM »
Thanks! I was going to go to bed because I have to drive tomorrow, but instead of doing that, I did the logical thing and made revisions to a level right after posting it...

There's stars and a moon now! No other changes. I know you probably can't really see stars at night in Chicago, but we can pretend.

Offline Simon

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Re: Chicago-Themed Terrain
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2020, 12:37:59 AM »
This is a lovely idea for a set, great work!

When you're happy with the set, we can discuss including it in the Lix standard download.

The scale of these tiles (in comparison with the lixes) is so that it it still looks reasonable; any smaller and the lixes would look gigantic in comparison. The benefit of this scale is that we can have entire buildings as single tiles. Looking forward to how you continue with the set!

Are you going to create some solid terrain pieces to serve as ground under the grass/road, or to put in midair? In a pinch, one can put earth from other tilesets below the train landscape.

-- Simon

Offline Liebatron

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Re: Chicago-Themed Terrain
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2020, 12:18:12 AM »
Thank you! I'm glad you like it!

Also, I'm home again! I have some stone ground tiles with grass on them, but it's still pretty bare bones right now. I have a couple ideas for floating blocks and the like, but I'm not sure exactly how I want to implement those yet... I'm thinking making 'floating buildings' would be cool, but I might add some clouds too.

I also want to add some gadgets, but I'm not entirely sure what the rules are for those. I've got a working exit, hatch, I think I've got water figured out, and I found the gadget parameter help file, but for some reason one of the traps I'm trying to make won't render in the game. The file for it is larger than most traps, and I wonder if it's because I've overrun a size limitation of some sort? Is there a limit to how many frames you can add, how large they can be, or how large the animation png can be?

EDIT: Nevermind! The trap is working! I took out some non-moving frames at the end of the animation, so I'm guessing I just hit a frame limit.

Offline Simon

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Re: Chicago-Themed Terrain
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2020, 12:29:28 AM »
IIRC: Either 2048 or 4096 is the limit, and the limit depends on the graphics card, too. For compatibility, we shouldn't make graphics larger than 2048.

I should write these things in the help files, too.

In hindsight, I don't know how good it was to have the game read all animation frames from the same image. At least sticking all frames into the same image makes the animation much easier to edit.

-- Simon

Offline Forestidia86

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Re: Chicago-Themed Terrain
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2020, 05:38:19 PM »
I like your set, it looks great and atmospheric.

I've solved the level and attached a replay if you're interested.

The exit train looks quite similiar to the normal terrain trains, which confused me a bit.

(Just if someone has problems playing, the content of the zip needs to be put in ...\images\Liebatron.)
« Last Edit: November 16, 2020, 05:48:06 PM by Forestidia86 »

Offline Liebatron

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Re: Chicago-Themed Terrain
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2020, 02:54:24 PM »
That's good to know, I think my largest animation image is 1681x59, so it sounds like that'll be comfortably inside the limit.

Also Forestidia, thanks! I'm glad you liked it! I've changed a lot of the object names, so I had to fix some stuff, but I did check out the replay. I liked what you did to get on the platform; you wield bridges like a surgeon wields a scalpel. That was pretty neat to watch.

I'm not sure what to do about the graphical similarity you mentioned though.. I really really like the idea of the Lix boarding the train, getting off the train, etc... Just... Interactive trains. But at the same time they are really similar to the non-backgrounded trains. I'm trying to make it so everything that can be walked in front of has at least some sort of animation, even if it's just a flashing light. The pattern I'm trying to use to denote lethality is "If it has a red light on it, it kills you", but I'm not sure that'll be obvious enough to avoid confusion. We'll find out soon though!

I'm not sure I want to call it done yet, but I've got an updated tile set and a couple more levels with them. Again, not super serious puzzles, the new ones especially are mostly just here to show the new terrain set! This is what's new:

Terrain:

-CTA 4000-Series Railcar
-4 buildings (some design/layout differences, but they're mostly just recolors of the second building I made), and corresponding modular building pieces
-Fire escapes
-Phone booth
-Some floating building foundations
-Modular rail station pieces

-Sewer pipes (I like these in theory, but I'm not sure happy with how they came out... I don't really know what to do though. I feel like generally speaking they just have too much red. I feel like I'll just have to recolor them from scratch at some point.)

-Decorative details; specifically a basketball hoop, cars, meters, a fruit cart, shrubs, trees, street lights.
-Basic rectangular stone shapes and a wedge piece
-Basic vertical, horizontal, and diagonal steel beams

Hatches and Exits:

There's hatches for both types of train cars now! When the level starts, the train doors open, and Lix start getting off the train.
There's also exits for both types of train cars!

Sidenote, I have a white-window and a black-window version of the CTA 4000 car; for most of the gadgets I only made a black-window version... I like how the white-window variant looks, but I'm debating whether it should be included in the final tile set.. And whether it should have a complete set of animations and whatnot. I really like the train animations, but I also don't want to clutter up the gadget selection screens.

Traps:

The traps are a bit unusual... I wanted to make a trap where a Lix would get crushed by a moving train, but I had to do some interesting stuff to account for how wide the trap would need to be. Since the animation moves the Lix to the animated location as soon as they enter the trigger area, I realized if I made it like a normal trap, I would end up with this weird thing where a Lix would get teleported to the middle of a train before being crushed. Theoretically I could just make a bunch of small traps representing different starting frames for the same animation, but that would massively clutter the trap selection window. Sooo I tried two things as :lix-frown::lix-frown:ke how that works, but I'm not sure if I should keep it as water or try to achieve the same result another way... Maybe I'll try making a fire variant?

Second, I made a version of the animation that has crossing gate, and the trap is only triggered when the Lix gets to the middle of the crossing gate. But then it was awkward to use because the only time you could use it was when it was wedged between two objects in a gap. I figured a tile-able trap animation would allow for longer trains, which would allow it to be used more flexibly... In order to make that happen without having crossing gates every car length though, I separated the railcar animation from the crossing gate animation entirely and set the trigger area for the traincar trap to zero. Since the railcar trap was technically no longer lethal, I went ahead and changed the indicator light on it from red to green.

So now, the set has two railcar 'traps' which are technically just scenery, but they're meant to be used in conjunction with the 'crossing gate' trap (Which is full of flashing red lights). And technically you can use the crossing gate trap by itself, but then you'll just see a Lix appear to be crushed under the wheels of an invisible train.

And finally there's one new trap involving an expired parking meter...

Offline Forestidia86

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Re: Chicago-Themed Terrain
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2020, 10:05:24 PM »
I've solved your other levels as well.

Offline Liebatron

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Re: Chicago-Themed Terrain
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2020, 11:10:33 AM »
Thanks for playing them, Forestidia!:D I liked your solutions; particularly your solution for Going Down Town with the single massive bridge.

So I think I'm happy with where the pieces are now :lix-grin:! If there's anything that should be included but isn't, let me know! Like; "A complete set should ideally have this shape", or "I need a piece that fits in with these and turns Lix around", or "You forgot to include the rolling stock from my favorite Chicago Transit Authority Elevated Railcar Production Line."

Also, Simon and anyone else who's involved in Lix development, I wanted to get your thoughts on the traps! Specifically the 'water' traps which are actually moving trains... I would prefer to make them normal (non-water) traps where the animation is more flexibly placed, but in order to do that as it is now, I'd need to make a bunch of 8-pixel traps, each representing a single frame of the train's animation, which would add a lot of clutter to the trap directory. I'm thinking for now the 'water' variant is the best alternative, but I'm not sure if that breaks any style conventions you want to maintain for Lix terrain sets. If it does, let me know and I can either take the 'water' traps out, or figure something else out for that.

Also just generally speaking, let me know what you guys think of the set!:)

The terrain set is attached as Chicago.zip; it goes under \images\Liebatron

I'm also uploading a short level pack to go with it as "Liebatron.zip"! It's got 16 levels in 4 difficulty levels ranging from "Just Ducky!" to "Riveting". If you guys play any of those levels, let me know what you think of those too!
« Last Edit: November 29, 2020, 06:37:44 AM by Liebatron »

Offline Simon

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Re: Chicago-Themed Terrain
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2020, 11:50:06 AM »
Excellent progress! The set looks versatile for multi-layered terrain now, the screenshot of Over and Under makes it all look natural and un-forced.

The sheer number of trains and locomotives characterizes the set and clearly shows its point. Lovely level of detail. I have played the DOS adaption of 1830 and easily recognize the William Mason locomotives.

The "Now for PC" sign contains copyrighted Lemmings graphics, this will be tricky when it comes to including the set in the Lix main download. Would you be up to redesign this sign? Strictly, the drowning lemming also looks to be the Lemmings 1 drowner sprite. (All other lemmings appear to be fan art, including the forum smileys, so they're all fine.)

I'll look at the trap and the implementation ideas in more detail. I'll reply these days specifically about the trap. I agree that bloating the trap browser is a problem. Until now, I've always kept the trap technicalities simple, even though that made some designs hard to realize.

-- Simon

Offline Liebatron

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Re: Chicago-Themed Terrain
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2020, 01:03:59 AM »
Thanks for looking at the tiles!

I haven't heard of 1830, but now I kind of want to check that out. I hadn't heard of the William Mason specifically, but it looks like it's a standard American 4-4-0, and I drew these by looking at pictures of The General and The Jupiter, also standard American 4-4-0 configurations, so I think it's cool that the design was so immediately recognizable! I based the recolors and slight shape variants primarily on those, the Judy K from Cedar Point, some random loco from a local scenic rail line in Pennsylvania, and a well-known Detroit & Lima loco (that I have in N-Scale!)

I drew the Forney types while looking at pictures of Forney type locos operating on the Chicago El and New York El from the 1800s prior to electrification.

I can redesign those two signs to take out the Lemmings graphics, also! I might just see about replacing them with Lix.

Offline Liebatron

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Re: Chicago-Themed Terrain
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2020, 08:44:54 PM »
Whooooooaaaaa....
So I just checked out 1830, and it's almost identical to this board game:
https://www.amazon.com/Eagle-Gryphon-Games-Railways-World-Strategy/dp/B002I61OOU

Now I know where they got the idea for the board game... Like.. Down to the hexagonal piece distribution. I think I'm through stock trading for the first round, but now it wants me to "Enter word at page 54, line 8, position 5", which... I'm pretty confused about that. I don't think it's going to let me build track or buy trains unless I can either guess the secret word or google it successfully. But I'll get back to that later.

More on topic; I'm back in a place with internet and I'm uploading a revised terrain set! I added 2 more versions of the RS3 and the Forney type loco. I changed the two signs also, I took the Lemmings graphics out and put in Lix graphics, and I also changed the name of one of the signs. None of the name-changed pieces are solution-breaking when absent, but if you want versions that aren't missing pieces in weird places, I'm reuploading the levels too.

Offline Forestidia86

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Re: Chicago-Themed Terrain
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2020, 05:28:24 PM »
I've played the new levels apart from the ones I've solved before and the no skill level.

Remarks (click to show/hide)

Offline Simon

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Re: Chicago-Themed Terrain
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2020, 07:25:05 PM »
DOS 1830: Try hitting Enter on the copyright check (without entering a word from the manual). Any success?

Youtube video with 1830 rules (17 minutes)

Gist of 1830 rules (click to show/hide)



The tileset is getting massive! It's becoming more and more a city with trains.

Certainly, change the tile names as much as you like. It's best to have good, concise tile names when we publish the set in the main Lix download. It's completely OK if some levels need changing during these early days.

Eventually, I should also go over the naming myself. I promise that, in case I suggest changes, I'll write a Bash/sed script to automatically rename the tiles in all levels, and I'll offer you to send me levels to run through that script.

-- Simon