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Reflex 0.36 Preview

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Upcoming changes in Reflex Alpha 0.36

  • Art style change
    As the following shots will make pretty clear, we've decided to change art style again. This time, we've opted for a stylized, deliberately low-poly, faceted, textureless look and it comes with a ton of advantages for both developers and players. Over the course of development, we've had as much praise for our minimalistic, dev-texture look as we have for the high detail art and we think the new theme finds a good balance between those two looks. As a bonus, it will also unify the standard/high-vis system into a single, clear, unique look.
     
    • Art development is much, much faster -- Our little art team can smash out a handful of new meshes faster than we could previously create a single asset. Unlike the previous style, it also doesn't require months of renderer programming to get it looking its best. It's ready to go right now. We've also got a whole lot of previously un-seen art that can be quickly updated to our new style and released.
       
    • More themes, more flexibility -- One of the original motivations behind the Teslapunk theme was to reduce the art workload. Building and supporting 3 unique themes to an AAA style was going to take years of development. Now that art flows much faster, we're able to create all the core assets required for a new theme in a month. Assets are also far more reusable between each or our environment themes (or entirely new, user created ones).
       
    • Better performance -- In the future, we will continue to tweak the Reflex engine with the new style in mind, creating a much leaner, faster renderer.
       
  • Unique meshes for each weapon
    • One of the most long awaited art updates -- we finally have unique meshes for each weapon! We've still got some tweaks in mind for them (especially when it comes to animation and effects) but we're going to be shipping the first pass of them with the next update.


       

     
  • More editor improvements
     
    • Lua-powered UI -- We've moved all the editor UI over to the new Lua system so players are now able to create custom widgets for map editing. This means no more external content browser. Instead, we now have a new Lua based content browser with thumbnails.
       
    • Scalable meshes -- Traditionally, scaling meshes is a bad idea because it effectively halves your texture resolution, making things look blurry and wrong. Since we're not actually using textures any more, you can now scale meshes all you want. This instantly makes meshes a whole lot more flexible.
       
    • Custom materials and colors for meshes -- Meshes can now have their material type and color changed dynamically to suit whatever look you want for your map.

 


 

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Edited by newborn

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Over the course of development, we've had as much praise for our minimalistic, dev-texture look as we have for the high detail art

From the exceptionally small sample sized circle jerk that doesn't actually care much about art in the first place.

Art development is much, much faster

Pretty much non existent! 

 

Seriously the whole "omg need brightstkins, game is too noisy can't see anything, unplayable" mind set is so pathetic. Really disappointed.

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From the exceptionally small sample sized circle jerk that doesn't actually care much about art in the first place.

Seriously the whole "omg need brightstkins, game is too noisy can't see anything, unplayable" mind set is so pathetic. Really disappointed.

​Yeah! Artsy games demand high poly counts!

Yeah! It's just a tiny fraction of people who prefer visual clarity!

People who want the game to be good are pathetic! I only play games personally confirmed by Total Biscuit to have 4k dirt textures!

 

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​Yeah! Artsy games demand high poly counts!

Yeah! It's just a tiny fraction of people who prefer visual clarity!

People who want the game to be good are pathetic! I only play games personally confirmed by Total Biscuit to have 4k dirt textures!

 

​Oh right, because we can't hit rails with out player models looking like the vegas strip at night, and it's seriously impacted the quality of game play.

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I love the weapon models/colours and that map is so cool. I'm all for any art style that allows for motherfucking lava dungeons or whatever that map is

The theme and aesthetic is always more important than hi res textures to me so I fully support this idea. Especially given all the other benefits that come along with it. The textureless gifs look like eye candy to me

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RIP textures 2015 - 2015. It's understandable that you don't want to waste months of development time tweaking textures, I'll miss them though.

>Those weapon meshes

>Better game performance for the future

>That Lua map editing UI

>The Reflex logo is now fitting to the theme again
 

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Edited by Stalast

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My heart aches a bit when i think of the wood and leather concept art which is now never going to see the light of the reflex engine, but this looks pretty neat. I always had a weak point for flat textures and because of the high poly meshes it doesn't even look bad. I just wonder what the new char is going to look like, please no pigs.

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IMO the low poly minimalistic art style is overdone and lazy. Choosing it because it takes less effort to produce assets is just... Lame.

Judging distance becomes a huge problem with low detail/flat textures.

Edit: That sounded really negative, I have faith the devs will make it work.

Edited by MAD_JIHAD

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The problem with this is that now that the textures are gone, you will have to compensate with brush made surfaces and detail, which requires more brushes and which ultimately coincides with the quest for higher performance. Textures with normal maps and etc would have been way more effective in the long run. I hope we can still use textures in the map editor though, it's going to be boring to design things visually if minimalism is the only art style available. 
 

Seriously the whole "omg need brightstkins, game is too noisy can't see anything, unplayable" mind set is so pathetic. Really disappointed.

​I'm sure there's no exaggeration there, but I also find it equally annoying that you just don't get it, then you're all so condescending and smug about it.

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IMO the low poly minimalistic art style is overdone and lazy. Choosing it because it takes less effort to produce assets is just... Lame.

Judging distance becomes a huge problem with low detail/flat textures.

Edit: That sounded really negative, I have faith the devs will make it work.

​Ultimately, if the decision comes down to "1) Produce low-poly art assets at a pace that matches the rest of development and allow a lot more time to be spent on gameplay, features and polish or 2) chase a modern AAA realistic/psuedo realistic until we ran out of money and had to scrap the project", it becomes a pretty easy one to make. And that's exactly where things were heading. 

We're going to make the most of it though. We've been toying with a few ideas about how to make the worlds feel far more dynamic and alive in ways you simply can't do with big-money-studio style art. Those features are still a while off yet though so for now they'll have to stay enigmatic.

As for judging distances, I think it actually works better with this style. We're using a lot of meshes in our experiments and having actual geometry (as opposed to faking it with normal maps etc) gives more than enough of a sense of depth.

 

 

The problem with this is that now that the textures are gone, you will have to compensate with brush made surfaces and detail, which requires more brushes and which ultimately coincides with the quest for higher performance. Textures with normal maps and etc would have been way more effective in the long run. I hope we can still use textures in the map editor though, it's going to be boring to design things visually if minimalism is the only art style available. 

GPUs are not going to be too worried about the number of brushes / meshes we have. From memory, b0_reflex is something like 27k brushes and although it takes a while to load, I haven't seen or heard of any noticeable performance drops from too many brushes. On the other hand, lots of texture lookups can really quickly bring a card to its knees.

And nope, no textures is the editor either (at least as time goes on). It's much more difficult to intelligently optimise the engine when you need to also still support a handful of legacy textures people are using. The scenes we've been building already have a TON more detail than even full textured maps did though -- if I was going to choose which looked more boring, it wouldn't be the the minimalism with lots of meshes, it would be the blocky, flat (but textured) look that maps have now.

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​I'm sure there's no exaggeration there, but I also find it equally annoying that you just don't get it, then you're all so condescending and smug about it.

​You're right, I don't get it. First of all I'll just say I'm more than happy for the optionality of the most visually clean experience possible. I personally play on the lowest settings, and I even set offset_view_z to 1000 so as to effectively disable the IC shaft, because I find it distracting. But I don't think that should be the games over arching art theme.

But the main reason I made my super condescending and smug comment is because, the level of play and consistency people are used to, does not necessitate those features. But people act like it does, and they also act like the old art direction would hurt the game, even though all the textures so far have translated very well into that low picmip aesthetic.

People don't register players and movement in a split second because of how it violently contrasts the lego room around them. It's just more comfortable, one might say a crutch. People would be able to flick rail a needle out of a haystack if that's what the game came down to. But that's irrelevant because visibility wasn't really shaping up to be a problem in the first place.

So I don't really have a problem with those options, I even prefer to play with them, but I'm not a fan of it being the general art direction. And it's annoying to see people act like they can't perform other wise.

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IMO the low poly minimalistic art style is overdone and lazy. Choosing it because it takes less effort to produce assets is just... Lame.

Judging distance becomes a huge problem with low detail/flat textures.

Edit: That sounded really negative, I have faith the devs will make it work.

​If you look at the floor you can see there are tiles which will make it easy to perceive distance. People have been getting on fine with the pixelated smears of r_picmip 7 for years so I don't think we'll have many issues.

 

I have to say that I'm a little disappointed by the new weapon models though. The concept art was amazing, these give the game too much of a light and fluffy feel IMO. A bit of a let down to say the least...

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​If you look at the floor you can see there are tiles which will make it easy to perceive distance. People have been getting on fine with the pixelated smears of r_picmip 7 for years so I don't think we'll have many issues.

 

I have to say that I'm a little disappointed by the new weapon models though. The concept art was amazing, these give the game too much of a light and fluffy feel IMO. A bit of a let down to say the least...

​The weapons look unfinished, but i suppose you mean the comic look of them. This can go either way, i think sounds will decide how well the guns feel. Shouldn't be that hard to get that right, just play Warsow and do the exact opposite of what they did.

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lol @ the art style change. Understandable, but still lol. I hope you still try to make it look good, which you are, judging by the webm. TF2 should be a major inspiration, they don't have lots of textures or complex models either. Battlefield heroes?

 

If you want to actually keep r_high_vis around, I would like it to give us proper bright skin models. Outlines just don't cut it, tbh. There's also no point in adding any detail to the enemy model beyond what Keel looked like btw, the game is just too fast to concern any of it. Think about silhouettes instead and again, look at tf2.

 

If you can get something like this working, that would be incredible. If you want to go for that style, map creators should also be able to import .obj files.

 

> People have been getting on fine with the pixelated smears of r_picmip 7 for years so I don't think we'll have many issues.

The game should not try to appeal to the quake/afps audience ffs. It's way too small, a handful of people. If I want to play a dead game I can fire up ql or cpma. This means that you can't just make the game good enough *for them*, the modern gamer should also want to play it.

Edited by Mizzu

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