Discussion on future 3D modelling

Discuss modding questions and implementation details.
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NikitaTheTanner
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Discussion on future 3D modelling

Post by NikitaTheTanner » Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:28 pm

Hey, guys! Seeing as 3D models are already getting integrated into game and we get first resources to do that (many thanks to the Lacus!), I thought that it might be the time to discuss the best of going about model replacements.

This is a topic for a discussion to determine general guidelines of future model replacements. Of course, nothing here will be set in stone and everyone is free to do as they see fit, but to maximize our efficiency, I think we need some ground rules.

Why?

1) To work in cooperation - one person can't handle recreating all the assets in Daggefall or it would take too much time, we need to work together.

2) To create assets of matching style and quality - this one is going to be tricky, but we need to somehow balance everyone's work. Many modders are not professional 3D artists and texturers, including me, and it's hard to expect the same quality from a veteran and a noob. But I am afraid we don't have too many professionals working right now and need to combine forces of experienced and inexperienced modellers.

3) To streamline the process - ideally, we should have a team of modders working in the future with experienced Team Leader and a few juniors doing the basic work and learning new stuff.

I believe that discussing the best ways of going about 3D stuff is an important first step in starting the massive endeavour of creating a full 3D Daggerfall. Maybe, it's not what some people want and I understand. I myself love 2D and pixel art, it's a shame to lose some of Daggerfall's charm, but I think in the long run, it's the only efficient way of modernizing the game and bringing it up to the best standards and improving the moddability of the game.
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So, my general proposal would be to strive to the level of graphics of the Thief 2: The Metal Age. It's close in style to Daggerfall, models are really low poly - making them easier to produce and more performace friendly. At the very least, models should be at the level of Thief 1, below is a bit too much.
Spoiler!
ImageImageImageImage
But creating too high quality and high poly models, as well as HD textures might not be the best choice, at least not to start with. For menus and interface it's fine, but world models need to be of lower quality - they are easier to mass produce, save FPS and fit the style of the game more (this is only IMO).

Models and textures can always be improved later on, just like Morrowind still gets improvements, but we need to create some basic replacers first to set it as a new Vanilla. It might look underwhelming to some, but it would be a huge step forward! Plus, with modern lighting and shaders, even low poly models would look really sweet, as long as they are stylish.

So, what do you guys think? Do you agree or disagree? Or maybe you have other examples of games, we should take inspiration from, in terms of style and quality of models?

I can think of Morrowind, Hexen 2, Might and Magic 9, VtM: Redemption, Clive Barker's Undying, Nosferatu The Wrath of Malachi, LoK: Blood Omen 2. Maybe some others?

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jman0war
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Re: Discussion on future 3D modelling

Post by jman0war » Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:17 pm

Only if they looked like Daggerfall.
some of my Daggerfall work can be found here: http://www.thehungryartist.com/games.html

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LypyL
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Re: Discussion on future 3D modelling

Post by LypyL » Wed Mar 22, 2017 12:26 am

I agree with most of your points. There is a sweet spot where models & textures will look good and still look like they belong, and a lot of that comes to down style. Hopefully more artists / modelers will get involved in the near future.

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jman0war
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Re: Discussion on future 3D modelling

Post by jman0war » Wed Mar 22, 2017 1:05 am

i'd rather see a higher resolution 2d sprite than a 3d one from another game.

You can tell when higher resolution 2d is done by other artists.
Compare the artist styles of epicurius7's 2d sprites to my trees or Lutojar's amazing NPC portraits and StonyFrog's wall textures.
All done by different hands.
But it works because they all have the same asethetic.
They all try to "re-master Daggerfall art", and they all carry that hand-painted quality that gives them value.

If you cull Daggerfall content and replace it with something else you'll end up with a game that has an identity crisis.
Eventually a threshold may be reached whereby the non-Daggerfall content outnumbers or out-shines the Daggerfall content.
Then the Daggerfall content looks out of place and you no longer are re-mastering Daggerfall but instead are creating something "DF inspired". That's a big difference.


These are old conversations that took place on DaggerXL forums that are worth browsing.
Some of those posters seem to harbour open contempt for the artistic stylizations of Daggerfall.
"Cartoony" is one of the descriptors used.
Some of the posters there seem to have no interest in re-mastering DF at all, but instead making DF look like Oblivion or Mw:
LimLam » Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:58 am
I think town structures should be replaced with structures more like Morrowind and Oblivion.
I'd be happy if Interkarma releases a re-mastered DF that works with vanilla content.
Everthing else are Mods.
some of my Daggerfall work can be found here: http://www.thehungryartist.com/games.html

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NikitaTheTanner
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Re: Discussion on future 3D modelling

Post by NikitaTheTanner » Wed Mar 22, 2017 1:44 am

Well, of course I am talking about a mod. Original game is original game and it needs to be preserved as is. And there can also be many mods for original game, without changing the graphics. E.g. more quests, random encounters, etc.

But I am talking about 3D re-implementation. It would allow much more customization and mods in the future. Will it preserve the original spirit? Hopefully. Will it preserve the original look? Most likely not, even if heavily stylized.

There is no way, that something like that would be for everyone. Some people just love everything about the original game, but maybe want it slightly improved. And that's cool.

But I am mostly in love with game's atmosphere and huge potential that it has. I see that it can be much more than a forgotten and buggy gem, or a piece of history to preserve. I would love to keep the ambiance of the original game and perhaps even improve on it, but I would also love to take the game into completely new directions and see what it can do. I imagine many great things can come of it.

As for higher resolution 2D sprites, sure, I wouldn't mind that too. But that's a question of efficiency. High Resolution 2D would take much more time and professionalism than low poly 3D, unless it's done by a computer filter. Plus, it would require one artist to do the majority of the assets, otherwise, it would be unfinished, just like Lutojar's magnificent series of portraits. 3D models can be done by any number of people and overall, I think 3D is much more versatile.

I am curious to talk to people who are interested in it, to see what their thoughts are on how to do it, rather than discuss the necessity of it. It's always going to be debatable and it really is impossible to convince one another, if both have different results in mind.

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Arctus
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Re: Discussion on future 3D modelling

Post by Arctus » Wed Mar 22, 2017 1:48 am

I certainly agree that things like this should be optional mods, but I have high hopes that this sort of mod could garner a fair amount of attention and get pretty cool.

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Interkarma
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Re: Discussion on future 3D modelling

Post by Interkarma » Wed Mar 22, 2017 1:59 am

jman0war wrote: I'd be happy if Interkarma releases a re-mastered DF that works with vanilla content.
Everthing else are Mods.
Yes, that's my focus also. I aim to rebuild classic only with all vanilla assets, some light quality of life enhancements, and a modding scaffold. For anyone that's not seen it, my Mission Statement covers this in more detail.

I'm not involved in the modding systems or mods themselves, this is all driven by community members. I just build core game systems, any mods are literally created by other people and has no bearing on my work towards base game.

I do enjoy seeing everything you guys create however, and I love showing it off where I can. Keep up the awesome work everyone! :)

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Biboran
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Re: Discussion on future 3D modelling

Post by Biboran » Wed Mar 22, 2017 11:16 am

Yeah, I also fan of Thief 1-2 and Hexen graphics and I think daggerfall will look with that awesome :lol:
I also wanna see dagerfall with less random and more properly hand-maded stuff and more detailed world, to look like it was not 1996, but 1999 game.
But such overhaoul requere a big team with same vision and I think we has no enogh people for such stuff at now and all had their visions of game :(

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NikitaTheTanner
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Re: Discussion on future 3D modelling

Post by NikitaTheTanner » Wed Mar 22, 2017 2:12 pm

But such overhaoul requere a big team with same vision and I think we has no enogh people for such stuff at now and all had their visions of game
That's true, but I believe that we can achieve good results if we start talking about our plans, discussing them and working together. Sure, some sacrifices will be made, and we won't get a 100% result we are looking for, but working together will allow us to achieve much more.

Plus, I believe once the project reaches a more stable and playable version much more modders will join in. TES modding scene is full of capable creators, and Daggerfall style games are also getting quite popular recently. I mean, it's almost Minecraft in Elder Scrolls, but with less mining and more questing (joke, but you get the point).

So, what we need to do is to get the ball rolling. I am sure it will get momentum as we do. Plus, everyone can improve on their skills to get better results. So, it's a win-win situation.

Many thanks to Interkarma for all the work that he does, and for keeping it Open-source, it's only possible thanks to him.

Narf the Mouse
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Re: Discussion on future 3D modelling

Post by Narf the Mouse » Wed Mar 22, 2017 2:29 pm

For questions like "Remaster the graphics or replace them with high-quality models?" or "Keep the combat the same, except for bugfixes, or make it more like Oblivion/Skyrim (physics-based, more or less)?", my answer is...

...Yes.

But as for what to start with, remastering the graphics and bugfix. 100% vanilla Daggerfall, but improved.

And, as stated already, modders can implement anything else. :)

Just makes more sense that way. Lay the foundation sort of thing. :)
Previous experience tells me it's very easy to misunderstand the tone, intent, or meaning of what I've posted. If you have questions, ask.

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