[WIP] Classics

Discussion and information relevant to creating special missions, new ships, skins etc.

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[WIP] Classics

Post by Smivs » Wed Sep 10, 2014 11:23 am

The Classic Ships OXZ has now been released. Any discussion should now be directed to the release thread.

The introduction of Oolite v1.80 brought many changes, not least of which was the move from the original models and textures to the new Griff/Solo set. This was a popular and some would say overdue improvement, but the old 'Elite' shape ships have a heritage that many, including myself, think should not be lost.

I remember 'back in the day' dreaming of how good Elite would be if the ships were 'solid' and not just wireframe, and when I discovered Oolite my dreams seemed to have come true. However, it didn't take long for me to realise that the ships could be made to look even better, and this led me to develop Smivs'Shipset, which quickly evolved to use some of the new 'Materials' properties that had just been added to Oolite. Even with some excellent 'competition', the shipset OXP proved very popular, but with the introduction of the new improved default ships the demand for shipsets was going to change.

So I decided to 'retire' Smivs'Shipset. The final version will remain available as an OXP, but will not be updated. But to me and I suspect many others, Elite/Oolite is all about the old, angular ships that we came to love back in the '80s. Which is why I am now introducing the Classic Shipsets.

There will be two editions, Classic Gold and Classic Lite, and I intend to release 'Addition' and 'Replace' versions. Both will use Aegidian's original models (which are very close copies of the Elite models) and will be textured using Aegidian's original designs and colouring as inspiration for a bit of retro originality.

The Classic Gold set will be high resolution with the full range of Materials used. The textures will use 2048x2048px images giving a lot of detail, and they will have normal, full-colour emission and specular mapping, so will require simple shaders to look their best, and will be quite demanding on the computer, so a graphics card is probably a minimum requirement.

The Classic Light set will be much more light-weight and is intended for low-end computers, small screen sizes and consoles like the Pandora. This set will use 512x512px graphics which will have have an alpha-channel greyscale emission map, meaning they will be un-demanding on the computer, but will still feature basic lighting.

Although 'originality' is a main feature of these sets, the ships will have gun and engine sub-entities to round them off, and the navigation strobes will be carried over from Smivs'Shipset. Also, one other feature from Smivs'Shipset will be carried over to the Classic sets. If an NPC pilot uses an escape capsule, the ship will slowly shut down. The lights will go out, the engine glow will fade and finally the navigation strobes will stop and the ship will gently tumble in space, dark and dead.

I plan on tackling the ships in alphabetical order, and this thread will be used to keep you all up to date on progress. I have been experimenting with the Adder and the Anaconda over recent weeks to fine-tune the methods and techniques I will be using, and have modeled some new engines which are a big improvement over the old Smivs'Shipset ones.

The Adder is now ready, hence the timing of this post, and others will come along as I finish them. below are some screenshots of the Classic Gold Adder. Click on them for full size versions.

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Last edited by Smivs on Thu Mar 05, 2015 10:24 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: [WIP] Classic Shipsets

Post by Redspear » Thu Sep 11, 2014 3:02 am

Like what you've done with that texture 8)

I know that shaders can help to make surfaces look nicely bumpy and so on but, speaking personally, I often found that things very quickly reach a point where a good texture highlights the crude nature of the basic models.
The [wiki]Deepspace Ships[/wiki] being a classic example to my mind.

You're doing something about the engines (always a weak spot in the basic models) so that's good but again it can make the rest of the model look a little plain.
It's not my place to tell you what to do with your ship design but I'm a big fan of some of your textures (e.g. clippers) and think they might look even better on more 'evenly adjusted' models.

I appreciate that you're trying to stay true to the charm of the original polygons but, if I may, I'd suggest a little 'rounding of the edges' rather than necessarily the reworking that it sounds like you are trying to avoid.

c.f. [wiki]Re2dux Ships[/wiki] for an example of what I mean.

Image

All the models here are very close to the original shapes with just a few modelling details (usually, engines, cockpit and v. minor bodywork) and yet they very believably have all the detail they might need.
I missed the classic polygonal asp shape for example, and this set brings it back to life perfectly for me.

I'd be very interested to see what you might do with a similar approach.
Smivs wrote:I remember 'back in the day' dreaming of how good Elite would be if the ships were 'solid' and not just wireframe, and when I discovered Oolite my dreams seemed to have come true.
I remember seeing versions of Elite with 'solid' polygons and being disappointed. A few colours couldn't match what I'd imagined in my head to occupy those blank panels of the wireframe originals. Oolite however was a glorious find that I'm still thoroughly enjoying :D

Feel free to ignore, I may well be rambling...
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Re: [WIP] Classic Shipsets

Post by Pleb » Thu Sep 11, 2014 6:41 am

Redspear wrote:I remember seeing versions of Elite with 'solid' polygons and being disappointed. A few colours couldn't match what I'd imagined in my head to occupy those blank panels of the wireframe originals.
This will show my age here, and by that I mean how young I am, as the first version of Elite I played WAS the solid bright colours version!

However I do like Smivs ships as they remind us of Oolites humble beginnings. I think it's great that Smivs is doing them up but still keeping the retro look and feel to them. Good work Smivs! :D

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Re: [WIP] Classic Shipsets

Post by Smivs » Thu Sep 11, 2014 7:03 am

Thanks for the feedback, Redspear. I do hear what you are saying and the temptation is certainly there to 'tinker'.
This was always going to be a difficult project to balance, as the ethos behind it is to be as 'original' as possible but with an end product that is acceptable in terms of peoples' expectations from the graphics in a 'modern' game.
Yes, I could tweak the models, but then the 'where do I stop?' issue comes into play, and I think the charm of these is their simplicity. This was also my thinking behind keeping Aegidian's original texture designs and colours rather than, say, recycling my old shipset textures. I am adding small extra details to the textures to modernise them, but am keeping this to a minimum to retain the original look but in a way that I hope fits in with Oolite today.
Likewise with the engines. The originals didn't have any at all which won't do today, so the engines are necessary. However I deliberately made them as simple and uncomplicated as possible to continue the 'feel' the ships have.

My thinking behind these designs:-
The ships are built in orbit and the hulls consist of 1m thick Duralium plates. This is the thickness needed to offer protection against radiation and micro-meteorites. Manoevreing and welding together these huge slabs of metal in zero-G is non-trivial and therefore it is all but impossible to construct fine or complex forms. A spaceship is by its nature an expensive item, yet thousands are needed due to the high rates of loss, so an over-riding principle has to be 'Keep it simple, keep it quick, keep it cheap'. Also by building a large enough hull, all the equipment can be fitted internally where it is safe, so there is little to see on the outside except the hull plating - very little in the way of pipework, conduits etc.

@pleb. Thanks. Glad you like them. :)
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Re: [WIP] Classic Shipsets

Post by spara » Thu Sep 11, 2014 1:27 pm

Overall lovely classic look. Nice job. The only nitpick I have is the same as Redspear's, the engine exhausts are a bit too dominant to my taste. They are definitely needed, but something subtler might work better with these classic designs. Just some low cylinder shaped exhaust might work better. For example like in Orisis:

Image

Anyway, very nice anyway you decide go with it.

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Re: [WIP] Classic Shipsets

Post by Smivs » Thu Sep 11, 2014 2:44 pm

spara wrote:...the engine exhausts are a bit too dominant to my taste. They are definitely needed, but something subtler might work better with these classic designs. Just some low cylinder shaped exhaust might work better.
Ha, I've actually modeled three engines, all in a similar style, in small, medium and large sizes. These are the medium ones - I used the small one at first and it looked too small so I up-sized it. The original Smivs'Shipset Adder had cylindrical engines and they looked a bit boring.
I have yet to try the engines on other ships (except the Anaconda which uses the large variety), so I'll see how they fit as I go along. As they are sub-ents they can be easily changed at any point if I come up with something more appropriate.
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Re: [WIP] Classic Shipsets

Post by Smivs » Mon Sep 15, 2014 1:27 pm

The original Oolite Anaconda...

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Now revised for the Classic Gold shipset- see below.
Click for full-size.
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<Smivs goes in search of an Asp...>
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Re: [WIP] Classic Shipsets

Post by Ranthe » Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:15 am

Nice!

Though I'd have to say that one thing that endeared me to the original Smiv's Shipset was the presence of cargo bay doors... :-)
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Re: [WIP] Classic Shipsets

Post by Smivs » Tue Sep 16, 2014 10:19 am

Hi Ranthe, I was wondering what you would make of this one.
As I am following Giles' designs fairly strictly, I'm afraid the cargo doors had to go, but the Anaconda is one of the few with a recognisable door, where it 'should be' according to some, at the back. :)
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Re: [WIP] Classic Shipsets

Post by dertien » Tue Sep 16, 2014 11:47 am

Looking very 'retro' and classy Smivs, I like it !
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Re: [WIP] Classic Shipsets

Post by Smivs » Tue Sep 16, 2014 1:04 pm

Thank you :)
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Re: [WIP] Classic Shipsets

Post by Redspear » Tue Sep 16, 2014 5:53 pm

I do like your respectful remakes of the original textures.

Hopeful that there'll be room for a Starsky and Hutch-ish Cobra Mk I :-P
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Re: [WIP] Classic Shipsets

Post by Smivs » Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:14 pm

Redspear wrote: Hopeful that there'll be room for a Starsky and Hutch-ish Cobra Mk I :-P
Ha, yes there certainly will. It will be out-shone only by the Moray Medical Boat. :D
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Re: [WIP] Classic Shipsets

Post by Smivs » Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:18 am

A couple of quiet days have allowed me to be productive, and the Asp Mk II is now basically done. :)
Just a reminder, the original Oolite Asp Mk II looks like this...

Image

..and revised for the Classic Gold shipset (Click for full-size)....

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So, on to the Boa...
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Re: [WIP] Classic Shipsets

Post by maik » Thu Sep 18, 2014 7:29 pm

Thanks for starting this shipset, I really like it, even more than your previous one :)

Edited to fix late night typos
Last edited by maik on Fri Sep 19, 2014 5:14 am, edited 2 times in total.

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