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#1 2013-11-23 17:43:06

joshwithguitar
Member
Registered: 2013-07-28
Posts: 538

Visibility issues and Gamma

Some players with high gamma monitors can see even 4 tiles in which makes building houses that are sight proof a real pain. The general rule is: do not build a house that solely relies on people not knowing what is behind closed doors as high gamma players will just walk straight to the vault. I kind of wish there was a hard limit to vision through walls and doors (2 tiles?) with the rest being rendered as it currently is so you didn't have to think about this kind of thing when making a house.

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#2 2013-11-26 11:43:51

jasonrohrer
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Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Visibility issues and Gamma

I split this out into a separate thread so that we can discuss it further.

I'm aware of this issue, and it's certainly not ideal, because it gives more tech-savvy players a visual advantage.

HOWEVER, the murky, soft-edged shroud is SUCH an important visual aspect of the game.  Any "hardening up" of that shroud edge (which fixes the visibility issues) really detracts from the way the game looks.

I'm now investigating some kind of "under slip" that could be drawn back under the shroud to softly "darken it up", not near the edge, but closer to its core.

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#3 2013-11-26 16:24:24

jasonrohrer
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Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Visibility issues and Gamma

Okay, close to having this working...  will post some screens soon.

One thing:  to keep the soft visual edge of the shroud, it's necessary to have at least one-tile-deep visible behind walls.  So, you will still be able to see a dog behind a door (but only if you turn your gamma up), but no longer able to see a dog two spaces behind a door.

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#4 2013-11-27 11:44:52

jasonrohrer
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Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Visibility issues and Gamma

Old:
11088490216_2db972cfaf_o.png


Old with gamma ramped up:
11088490226_8a606fe544_o.png


New:
11088490396_e0ce246e68_o.png


New with gamma ramped up:
11088490506_5c2acd5395_o.png

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#5 2013-12-14 18:01:23

arakira
Member
Registered: 2013-12-01
Posts: 176

Re: Visibility issues and Gamma

Will there be some change to the way the shroud is drawn? It is pleasing aesthetically, but every time I scout into a house, I  find myself taking a screenshot at every corner, editing it with some image software to crank up levels in order to see one more tile further behind walls/doors/corners. I have quite a standard screen (a macbook pro), it is color calibrated with a spyder sensor, with brightness at maximum when I play, and I still need to do this, so I guess I'm not the only one using this technique?
Constantly going back and forth between the game and the editing software is quite painful, but helps a lot when robbing.
I was thinking, there could be some rendering "tricks" so that we can guess what's behind a wall without modifying the smoothness of the shroud? For example (I would love) some elements/pixels of a tile would be glowing in the shadow, e.g. a small cross for the wire bridge, a sunstar reflecting on an electric floor or the glowing red eye of a pitbull...
The general idea being that every player would have the same information onscreen, without requiring to battle with their monitors...

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#6 2013-12-14 23:22:43

ZenRose
Member
Registered: 2013-11-07
Posts: 45

Re: Visibility issues and Gamma

I think the gamma issue is a problem that is not yet solved.  I've been trying to come up with useful suggestions but I don't really know how the vision is implemented so there isn't that much that I can usefully say beyond the basic point of it still needs work.  By tweaking the images I've found that materially more information can be had about what is on the other side of walls.  This is a problem because:
a) it gives players in the know an unfair advantage, maxing out monitor settings should not be a key game play decision
b) it makes mazes, dead ends, and any obscured places have to be at least one square larger or further back to give similar obscurity.  This reduces the effective size of the house for many applications.

My general thoughts is that it would be best if adjusting the gamma didn't give additional information.  Given the way things are implemented is seems like this is unlikely to be possible.  The next best case would be if only the square that is partially visible already in the haze was able to be lit up but no information bleed from the squares beyond it happened.

I really love the shifting, murky shadows in this game.  I hope some solution can be found where they remain and gamma adjustment becomes less of a beneficial tactic.

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#7 2013-12-15 01:58:48

dalleck
Member
Registered: 2013-04-13
Posts: 250

Re: Visibility issues and Gamma

arakira wrote:

I was thinking, there could be some rendering "tricks" so that we can guess what's behind a wall without modifying the smoothness of the shroud? For example (I would love) some elements/pixels of a tile would be glowing in the shadow, e.g. a small cross for the wire bridge, a sunstar reflecting on an electric floor or the glowing red eye of a pitbull...
The general idea being that every player would have the same information onscreen, without requiring to battle with their monitors...

It is an interesting approach to embrace the 1-square visibility rather than remove it.  I also like the red pitbull eyes idea.


The rich aren't safe. Nobody is safe. -jere                   ...but the smell wafts out from the pit, obviously. - Jason Rohrer

And the more dickish they are, the more I feel like beating a house to destruction after finally figuring it out. -bey bey

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#8 2013-12-15 10:42:24

Simoon
Member
Registered: 2013-05-12
Posts: 31

Re: Visibility issues and Gamma

One door (or one wall) is not reliable. OK.
But are two doors (or two walls) enough to block the vision ?

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#9 2013-12-17 11:12:45

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Visibility issues and Gamma

Two are enough in v25, yes.

I agree that this is an issue, still.  In fact, it may have gotten a bit worse in v25, because before, EVERYONE could see past a 1-thick wall.  Now, that the shadows are darker, you really have to ramp your gamma to see what's back there.  So, where before, people were only ramping to see the furthest reaches (past 2-thick walls), now the most basic advantage (seeing behind a single wall) can only be had by the experts.

Some options:

1)  Simply skip drawing stuff that's not supposed to be visible.  Problem:  stuff will visually "pop" into existence when it becomes visible (under the shifting shroud, some dog will pop in).  Better, maybe:  fade stuff that is visible in and out to match the shroud's changes.  Shroud moves, dogs fade in.

2)  Draw a hard black "wall" behind vision-blocking things that fully covers what's back there.  Problem:  these black boxes are ugly and will also pop in and out as the vision changes.

3)  Tighten up the edge of the shroud to hide what's back there with the shroud itself.  Problem:  shroud is actually implemented as a low-res pixel map, which requires a lot of blurring to make it look fluid and non-blocky.  A tight edge isn't possible... well, actually, let me look into that (I could up the resolution of the pixel map and see what happens).

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#10 2013-12-17 12:01:58

ZenRose
Member
Registered: 2013-11-07
Posts: 45

Re: Visibility issues and Gamma

I like some of these options you've proposed.  It is interesting to know more about the history of how the design got to the point it  is currently at.

I like the idea of drawing boxes behind walls and other 100% vision blocking things.  Would using a grey square (or the actual empty floor texture) under the shroud where there is no direct line of sight pop less than solid black masking?

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#11 2013-12-17 13:10:51

arakira
Member
Registered: 2013-12-01
Posts: 176

Re: Visibility issues and Gamma

I think that tiles that are not visible should not be drawn at all... If they are drawn, even if they are very slightly drawn, one could use this tiny piece of information to reveal (using some image editing software) which tile it is.
Would it make sense to compute some kind of Bézier curve passing through every visible square tile which is next to an invisible tile (a curve passing through the "frontier" tiles), which would represent the limit of the shroud? So that each visible tile would be partially drawn, and that there would be no hard edge (just a quick idea, don't know if that would work with the game)

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#12 2013-12-25 12:15:19

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Visibility issues and Gamma

Okay, I finally solved this problem.

The way v26 works is that non-visible tiles fade out to fully transparent.  If the game thinks you can't see it, and it can't see you (i.e., it won't react to your presence or start chasing you), then you actually can't see it on the screen, no matter what you do to your gamma.

One exception is made for "connected" tiles that you could infer anyway from visible tiles on the edge of the shroud.  This ensures visual consistency of interconnecting walls and wires and prevents a wall or wire from looking "cut off" as it goes into the shroud.  This gives you no additional information about what's back there, because the part of the wall/wire that you can see (like, the top bar of a wall T junction) clearly tells you that the | bar of the T is back there in the shroud.  If you ramp up your gamma, you can indeed see the tip of the | bar under the shroud, but so what?

Anyway, the upshot is that one wall thickness is all that's needed to truly hide things, even the vault, and you can no longer see what's behind a door before opening it.  This is a vast improvement to the game.

And in terms of pop-out, visible objects that become obscured after you (or they) move fade out slowly into the shroud.... into the mystic chords of memory.  So, with your gamma ramped, you might be able to see them a bit longer than other people, but they still fade completely in a few seconds.

Old:
11551241895_48905d7282_o.png

Old gamma ramped up:
11551242045_64d7cebef8_o.png

New:
11551242135_e4561a5e3d_o.png

New gamma ramped up:
11551242145_13f9d01639_o.png


Note that the New image there is taken on exactly the same map.  Note the wooden T junction visible under the shroud, but the invisible vault and concrete T junction.  Because the concrete wall is not connected to the wooden wall, it can be faded out with no visual inconsistency (and seeing that part of the wooden wall doesn't tell you that the concrete wall is back there).

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#13 2013-12-25 17:01:47

arakira
Member
Registered: 2013-12-01
Posts: 176

Re: Visibility issues and Gamma

Very exciting, I hope to try this soon. I think it will make the defense of one's home easier, and will allow larger mazes. Not being able to see behind doors is also a really big change, you'll have to think twice before opening one...

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#14 2013-12-26 13:23:46

ZenRose
Member
Registered: 2013-11-07
Posts: 45

Re: Visibility issues and Gamma

I love the change.  It works really well and solves all the problems that were associated with being able to use gamma adjustment.  In fact I think it makes the gamma adjustment downright hazardous now as it can give a false sense of security because it looks like you are seeing empty tiles when there are not in your line of sight an so aren't fully filled in yet.

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#15 2013-12-26 16:00:32

jasonrohrer
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Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Visibility issues and Gamma

Yeah, on brighter monitors, it kinda gives the game a spookier feel....

What's around that corner?  Looks like nothing, but then step forward and something scary might fade into view.

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#16 2013-12-27 05:01:05

joshwithguitar
Member
Registered: 2013-07-28
Posts: 538

Re: Visibility issues and Gamma

Wow, this is a huge change, especially considering how close we are to the steam release now. I imagine a number of balancing issues might come up as this is a fairly substantial buff to house defences.

One thing that is probably too powerful now is dogs that have seen you hiding behind a closed door that kill you instantly as you step on the door. If there is a potential that a door has a seen dog behind it the only safe way to open it is either with a crowbar ($2400) or bashing the walls around it which can be similarly expensive.

I think there needs to be a much cheaper method of opening doors from one step away to counter this, perhaps make either clubs or bricks open them (neither makes a huge amount of sense though).

Also, the display is certainly different now and at times looks a little glitchy. You no longer get the sense of peaking around corners and things suddenly popping into vision can be a little jarring. There are some things that just look odd like walls around a timed opening and closing electric door quickly appearing and disappearing every time you move.

Overall I like the idea and think it will open up a number of interesting house building possibilities but am worried that it will take some tweaking to get the right feel and balance.

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#17 2013-12-27 08:03:29

arakira
Member
Registered: 2013-12-01
Posts: 176

Re: Visibility issues and Gamma

I really like the new version. It is almost useless to tweak the screenshots, so in my opinion it is a big step forward . The only time I got fooled was when a dog saw me from far away in the shadows and insta-killed me a bit further through a door. A dog can be almost invisible in the shadows at the other side of the screen, but you can see that there is a path fading and just hovering the mouse around will reveal the dog's presence, so I think it is not a problem.
It is true that the dog+door combo is quite powerful now, but it requires more space to build than a simple trapdoor trick, so the ratio (money needed to bruteforce it)/(space needed to build it) doesn't seem to high to me (though of course I haven't figured out all the new possibilities). And it allows new funny traps smile
I don't know if there is a relation but I found a glitch when walking on "laddered" trapdoors. The 3 trapdoors were vertically aligned inside a corridor; when walking on them from bottom to top, my character was displayed under the ladder. Even more strange was that I was followed by a dog, which "disappeared" under the trapdoors when crossing them and re-appeared just after them.

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#18 2013-12-27 11:13:14

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Visibility issues and Gamma

Whoa!  Arakira, I've never seen this before, and the recent changes shouldn't have caused it.  I just tried v26, and I can't reproduce this behavior.

Can you send me a recordedGame file that shows it happening?  You can check which file is the right one by dropping them in playbackGame and launching the game to watch them.

If you find the recordedGame, send to:  jasonrohrer@fastmail.fm

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#19 2013-12-27 11:27:38

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Visibility issues and Gamma

Yes, Josh, I agree that the game doesn't look as "solid" now, and I'm not totally happy with it.

Maybe there's something halfway in between.... like, only applying the "hiding" to things that are really worth hiding, like mobiles, family, and the vault?  But always drawing all walls and structural (doors/windows) objects, no matter how "invisible" they are, logically?

I don't think that a dog suddenly appearing as you round the bend is as strange looking as a wall suddenly appearing!

On the other hand, not knowing ANYTHING about what's behind a solid wall is good in all cases (why should you know that a window is back there behind this wall?)  The problem is on the edges, where things are not logically visible, but can be clearly seen under the shroud edge.  Then, they look like they pop in when they become visible.

Maybe just drawing all tiles that happen to be next to a visible, non-vision blocking tile?  I'll experiment a bit more...

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#20 2013-12-27 14:10:46

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Visibility issues and Gamma

Okay, check out v27, just released.

It allows stuff to be seen around corners, so there's absolutely no pop in as you move around... but, if something's really behind a wall or door, it's invisible.

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#21 2013-12-27 18:26:59

arakira
Member
Registered: 2013-12-01
Posts: 176

Re: Visibility issues and Gamma

I have 4 candidate recordedGames for the ladder glitch, but they are quite big... it may take hours to watch them. Is there a way to move quickly forward in repla

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#22 2013-12-27 18:28:36

arakira
Member
Registered: 2013-12-01
Posts: 176

Re: Visibility issues and Gamma

(oops) in replay mode?

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#23 2013-12-27 23:31:38

Simoon
Member
Registered: 2013-05-12
Posts: 31

Re: Visibility issues and Gamma

jasonrohrer wrote:

Okay, check out v27, just released.

It allows stuff to be seen around corners, so there's absolutely no pop in as you move around... but, if something's really behind a wall or door, it's invisible.

I am affraid something really behind a closed door is not invisible anymore.
@Jason : I sent you a screenshot.

Edit : In this case and as mentioned by Josh, it was a door behind a door.
If it is only a matter of doors everything is fine smile

Last edited by Simoon (2013-12-28 07:06:12)

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#24 2013-12-28 06:26:36

joshwithguitar
Member
Registered: 2013-07-28
Posts: 538

Re: Visibility issues and Gamma

Good job Jason, I think in general v27 looks great and fixes most of the issues. It is a little odd that doors are visible behind closed doors, I guess they are counted as walls?
Also, high gamma can still be an advantage, I had someone rob my house and wondered how they did it and what they were doing until I turned up the gamma and watched the tape. They could now see through a corridor of mine and around a corner to  an electric floor and notice when my magic dance turned it on or off. This electric floor is completely invisible with normal gamma settings.

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#25 2013-12-28 07:33:07

arakira
Member
Registered: 2013-12-01
Posts: 176

Re: Visibility issues and Gamma

Ah, I guess it was me Josh smile
You have the corridor at angle about 30° with the pitbull on the far end, and the pit with the cripple cat at the beginning to block the other pitbulls, right?
Actually I could see the electric floor without tweaking the image, but it is quite faint and I agree that on a darker monitor it could be invisible...
(I was also helped by the fact that you didn't change much of your design since the last time I robbed the house, so I knew where to look at).
I can draw a draft if Jason is interested to see it.

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