Terrain elevation, hills and mountains with fake cliffs

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Re: Terrain elevation, hills and mountains with fake cliffs

Post by ssilk » Tue Apr 26, 2016 3:01 pm

SyncViews wrote:What about using a real height map? e.g. as seen in Railroad Tycoon 2, Sim City 3000 and many more similar games and RTS's (although most really recent ones use full 3D for units and buildings).
They will not come, cause it is simply not possible to display them with the current top-view of Factorio. Things "behind" should be hidden, but in truth it's just a graphical trick, that makes Factorio look a bit like pseudo-3D. But the truth is, that you even cannot rotate your view because of that. A whole city can lay in the sight-shadow of a hill and you'll never know about that. ;)
This is already a big problem in the current game design. :)
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Re: Terrain elevation, hills and mountains with fake cliffs

Post by mooklepticon » Tue Apr 26, 2016 3:04 pm

SyncViews wrote:What about using a real height map? e.g. as seen in Railroad Tycoon 2, Sim City 3000 and many more similar games and RTS's (although most really recent ones use full 3D for units and buildings).

Total Annihilation does height well and it has the same perspective as Factorio. It has a smaller tiled grid, tho.

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Re: Terrain elevation, hills and mountains with fake cliffs

Post by ssilk » Tue Apr 26, 2016 3:14 pm

We talked about "real height map"? Maybe we understood different things about that, but for me Total Anihilation does not use real height, it uses also graphical tricks on a flat map. See top of this thread, which explains, that this kind of trick would work also for Factorio.
But real height map means for me, that the terrain is rendered depending on height, which means tiles from a higher level can hide tiles from a lower.
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Re: Terrain elevation, hills and mountains with fake cliffs

Post by mooklepticon » Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:13 pm

ssilk wrote:We talked about "real height map"? Maybe we understood different things about that, but for me Total Anihilation does not use real height, it uses also graphical tricks on a flat map. See top of this thread, which explains, that this kind of trick would work also for Factorio.
But real height map means for me, that the terrain is rendered depending on height, which means tiles from a higher level can hide tiles from a lower.
TA uses a real height map on top of a visual height map, IIRC. It's been ~20 years since I played with the map editor, so I'm a bit rusty. This thread implies that there's a real height map. I can't verify it, though.

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Re: Terrain elevation, hills and mountains with fake cliffs

Post by ssilk » Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:08 pm

Interesting, indeed. :)
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Re: Terrain elevation, hills and mountains with fake cliffs

Post by SyncViews » Tue Apr 26, 2016 10:15 pm

Well so by that, I meant the 2D grid has a height value / z-axis thats not constrained to a tileset like AOEII or SC2000, but that is largely free to vary (each grid cell has a height value that represents say the top-left corner), with the tiles being stretched/scaled as needed. Your still working with a 2D grid, but certain things would take account of the tile heights (e.g. rendering to offset the sprites appropriately, building placement, vehicle acceleration, max slope for walking, tracks and belts, etc. Maybe even simple water physics allowing for hydro power.).

Thinking of another example, Stronghold has a pretty nice simple model. If a slope / difference in tile heights was greater than a certain amount, it was automatically considered a vertical cliff and mostly impassable (Was possible to build the stone wall stairs up cliffs). No need for manual cliff placement like I recall in AOEIII, or overly smooth cliffs with slightly stretched textures like in many other games.

True steep slopes/cliffs in one direction could be hard to see or even completely hide some tiles, most of the games though had 90 degree increment camera rotation, or for tileset slopes, the slope angle was just low enough to prevent this (I forget exactly how CnC Tiberium Sun and Red Alert 2 handled the facing away cliffs. They might have just made those hidden tiles impassable). Sprites are needed all 4 ways for rotation (or you just move the Sun around), but seems generally those assets for Factorio already exist or are easily available?.

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Re: Terrain elevation, hills and mountains with fake cliffs

Post by ssilk » Wed Apr 27, 2016 1:01 pm

Hm. The good question at this point (and I really looked into the games a bit) is, what does it bring to have more than 2 levels? What type of "must have gameplay" does Factorio miss, if you have so many levels?

My thoughts about this is: Nearly none. There are some strategic stuff missing, but Factorio isn't so much a strategy game...

Maybe when we talk about bridges, landscapes, scenarios. That would benefit very much from this.

But Factorio would look wonderful!

When I look at how the map in Total Anihilation are rendered, quite impressive and it would really fit into the Factorio style. And I think it's really not so complex to implement that; the renderer needs to render level by level and just needs to increase the zoom for each level a bit. Then something, which renders the "gaps", so that the "steepness" looks nice in every case. Of course still much work, but doable and compared to the only two-fake levels it would be much, much cooler: You are not so limited to the available graphics, only two guys, that can do that. Instead put resources in a general handling of depth. High buildings could suddenly have also "pseudo-depth".

All in all you convinced me. :)
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Re: Terrain elevation, hills and mountains with fake cliffs

Post by SyncViews » Wed Apr 27, 2016 1:26 pm

I think it adds a fair bit to the gameplay, because you have somthing other than just water to prevent construction, and differnt parts of the game would be affected differently.

E.g. Id really need a decent flatish area to build my train station, and that might be hard to find near the start location, and force me to make more compromises.

Maybe the massive ore patch I want to supply my main base is in a steep valley, so i either have to try and wind the track down at a suitable gradient, or use other means to move that ore to another location.

And just generally track/road clearing is more interesting than drawing a frequently small number of straight lines.


And also as in RTS you have the natural defensive barrier. Biters could be buffed so trying to defend a mega factory in the middle of a flat desert is significantly harder when waves are attacking along the entire perimeter.

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Re: Terrain elevation, hills and mountains with fake cliffs

Post by tobsimon » Wed Apr 27, 2016 6:33 pm

As long as there are no watermills, there is no sense in implementing actual height in the game.

Sure, it would look better, and the problems it causes would all be solvable somehow. But it would be a huge amount of work development wise for comparatively little visual gain and nearly no gamplay gain over the much simpler alternative of fake cliffs.


Killavirus wrote:... if it were an option most people would just turn cliffs off, as it would just frustrate, rather than anything else. ...
I enjoy the challenge of adapting to the situation, that is why I play with much water and high landscape fragmentation. I suspect most players enjoy a challenge, what other reason is there to play the game?

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Re: Terrain elevation, hills and mountains with fake cliffs

Post by ssilk » Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:25 pm

tobsimon wrote:As long as there are no watermills, there is no sense in implementing actual height in the game.
Image
Sure, it would look better, and the problems it causes would all be solvable somehow. But it would be a huge amount of work development wise for comparatively little visual gain and nearly no gamplay gain over the much simpler alternative of fake cliffs.
Well, then you need to know this: The 2-levels from begon of this thread is already planned and needed. Needed for example for building bridges (I don't see any other way in Factorio). Needed to create more interesting maps. Several needs. So some type of terrain elevation will come very sure!

The question is what type. :)
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Re: Terrain elevation, hills and mountains with fake cliffs

Post by tobsimon » Wed Apr 27, 2016 9:22 pm

Soo my last comment was probably a little harsh ...

The gif is perfect :lol:

"already planned" - do you know some internals we don't? How soon?

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Re: Terrain elevation, hills and mountains with fake cliffs

Post by ssilk » Wed Apr 27, 2016 10:43 pm

All I know is "We plan to eventually do it like so". Whatever that means.
This article misses a list of links and if that would be there (like the other articles in this subboard), it might be visible, what the devs said. But it isn't and I'm really tired now ... search works not only for me, sorry. :)
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Re: Terrain elevation, hills and mountains with fake cliffs

Post by mattj256 » Thu Jun 16, 2016 2:40 am

I was just thinking about this today!

Military units at higher elevations should have an attack bonus (range and/or damage). And transportation units should have a higher acceleration when going downhill and a lower acceleration when going uphill. Both of these things would add strategic depth to an already amazing game.

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Re: Terrain elevation, hills and mountains with fake cliffs

Post by Hoeloe » Thu Jul 07, 2016 12:06 pm

Just registered for this post: Did nobody of you ever played Transport Tycoon?
Cosmetic cliffs would be a nice idea, but I never liked the "3D" hills of C&C.
(BTW: OpenTTD is aviable for free: https://www.openttd.org/en/)

I only see one problem. TTD is completly build up in a isometric grid.
TTD

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Re: Terrain elevation, hills and mountains with fake cliffs

Post by Lucius » Fri Jul 08, 2016 12:25 pm

That would be an awesome update, but unfortunately Factorio is not built in an isometric grid, it's "front view"!
Fake elevations like Transport Tycoon seem quite impossible to implement now, and front-view cliffs are not good looking... AT ALL! (see images in the first post)

But Isometric cliffs are totally possible in "front view" grid! So please, PLEASE DO THAT! :mrgreen:

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Re: Terrain elevation, hills and mountains with fake cliffs

Post by Hoeloe » Mon Jul 11, 2016 9:47 am

Just realized that the 2nd picture of C&C is actually front view. But you're right, those cliffs look bad.
I don't know how isometric cliffs would look in front view, but you need to consider that the 1st picture of C&C (Tiberian Sun?) also has some sort of a flat isometric grid. We will see if the Devs have any ideas.

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Re: Terrain elevation, hills and mountains with fake cliffs

Post by aubergine18 » Tue Aug 30, 2016 12:12 pm

Nice example of cliffs in this open source tileset (isometric, sadly, but gives a good idea what it could look like in factorio):

http://opengameart.org/content/grassland-tileset

Image

Note also the mine entrance - cliffs could give access to underground surfaces, new ores/resources, etc.
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Re: Terrain elevation, hills and mountains with fake cliffs

Post by mageman1842 » Wed Aug 31, 2016 2:41 am

Any way to add rivers and oceans? Would be interesting to dam up a river and flood the bitters. Also have power that isn't a jump from steam to solar. Granted since the power is running 24/7 there needs to be a balance like having thousands of brick or concrete and ton of steel, plus some copper. might also need higher quality circuits. With this could be swimming bitters, but those would only evolve if the player killed bases this way too many times. A drawback would be that once the dam is in place it can not be upgraded and the disassembly even with robots should take a long time.

With oceans have it be that the water can not be used unless it's been desalinated. This would also add salt as a resource. The research for this should be buried into the mid to endgame.

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Re: Terrain elevation, hills and mountains with fake cliffs

Post by n00dles » Sat Sep 03, 2016 10:25 am

the possibility's on that topic are countless,

i'am also for c&c fake cliffs to break up the 10000 tiles long main bus bases. it would literally have a "deep" impact on the game play.

would also like to see wind turbines as a gap fill between steam & solar energy.
a second or third tier for the offshore pumps could also be a thing.. perhaps oil deposits on water.
please don't let us climb cliffs! give us a mid ~ end gam'ish jet pack which uses rocket fuel and has to be equip in a weapon slot, so you can't shoot stuff mid air. :P place & pick up should also be disabled.

seems like it isn't an easy task to make that happen or otherwise there would be an mod for that..
i would bet there is demand for cliffs and hills, but nobody did it yet.

btw. @mageman1842 what will you do with salt in factorio? put it with fish in an assembler and get sushi (sashimi to be precise) on a belt? :ugeek: :lol:

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Re: Terrain elevation, hills and mountains with fake cliffs

Post by mageman1842 » Sat Sep 03, 2016 2:54 pm

n00dles wrote:the possibility's on that topic are countless,

i'am also for c&c fake cliffs to break up the 10000 tiles long main bus bases. it would literally have a "deep" impact on the game play.

would also like to see wind turbines as a gap fill between steam & solar energy.
a second or third tier for the offshore pumps could also be a thing.. perhaps oil deposits on water.
please don't let us climb cliffs! give us a mid ~ end gam'ish jet pack which uses rocket fuel and has to be equip in a weapon slot, so you can't shoot stuff mid air. :P place & pick up should also be disabled.

seems like it isn't an easy task to make that happen or otherwise there would be an mod for that..
i would bet there is demand for cliffs and hills, but nobody did it yet.

btw. @mageman1842 what will you do with salt in factorio? put it with fish in an assembler and get sushi (sashimi to be precise) on a belt? :ugeek: :lol:
lookup Arumba's, Let's play with Bob's mods. He had to electrically separate salt from water to do one of the recipes. Since there are no oceans in game, fresh water was used. if large bodies of water were designated as salt water and smaller as fresh it would help out there. Another person wants to change his robots into hired mercs. you have to provide them rations and ammo so having a factory make sushi to feed them would be a big help to him.

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