Evolution of a render

As I’ve been developing the 10CC train set, I’ve gone through three different render “standards”. Hopefully, I won’t do too many more, as every time I change the standard I have to rerender everything!
This was my initial render style, as I posted earlier. At this point I was still thinking very pixelly – chunky stripes and distinct outlines.

My first redo involved antialiasing the sprites and filtering the textures (I individually unfilter textures which need to look noisy, such as hopper loads). I also changed the material properties so, rather than using a flat specularity, the main texture was used as a spec map. This meant dark details didn’t get washed out so much, but it did tend to make light liveries look shiny and dark liveries look matte.

The eagle-eyed will also note a change in the model here – the nose has been shortened to reveal the coupler more. The original Chief model had the nose extend out past the end of the “vehicle”, which looked fine on a lead engine, but produced clipping when it was against another vehicle (and was particularly egregious, obviously, when two Chiefs were coupled nose-to-nose).

My second – and hopefully last! – redo introduced a dedicated spec map, which allowed the darker liveries to also look shiny. I also added an additional light in the scene directly above the model, lighting the roof more evenly. This brings the back side of the model forward and makes it look a lot more “solid”, as well as showing truer colours on the top of objects – I first realised I needed this light when rendering flat-topped containers, which looked very strange with their tops much darker than their sides.

It’s going well. :) I’ll be moving on to ground tiles and the beginnings of the base set when I’m done with the trains.

3 thoughts on “Evolution of a render

  1. Hi,

    I checked your blog and seen how you want to do NewGRFs differently than before. I seen this post with pictures of your proposed engines, wagons, etc. And I beg to disagree with some of your decisions.

    OpenTTD is a nice game, but a lot of its potential isn’t used by current NewGRF sets. You can start the game in 1700… But you can’t build the “wagonways” even if it was present in our history centuries before that. And all I see is an attempt to reduce the number of options when people don’t use some of them. Without ever asking a simple question: Why do people ignore most of these options?

    We both remember Locomotion and we remember how it simplified the gameplay, and how it wasn’t good enough. If you remove options OpenTTD would take the same direction.

    You can ask people why they ignore some locomotives? Because the reason for their existence isn’t modeled by OpenTTD.

    In reality: A lot of tracks would have weight limit, and they can severely limit which locomotives you can use at any given track. And building and maintaining a stronger track isn’t always profitable. Also stronger engine isn’t profitable if you don’t need its power.

    You can play with maintenance costs. You can add weight limits for tracks and bridges…

    Hey, I think you can also play with station and stop types. Some of them could have a “high maintenance” costs, while others could service shorter / lighter trains only. I think it should be doable to adjust maintenance costs for a station based on weight limits for the tracks, etc.

    What would happen? Most industries would have a small station attached to them, and a small loco would pull a few wagons to a nearby bigger station where you can assemble (load) a longer train. And even then: the longer train can be a 3 tiles long train on a side line… Or a 4-5 tiles long train with a “lighter” mainline locomotive… Or a long train with a heavier locomotive.

    If these locos would be useful in very different scenarios only then you would have niches for 4 diesel and 4 electric locomotive, plus any “express” loco for high speed trains, plus any multiple unit trains.

    If we could have metro stations (under streets) and some EMUs would be compatible with both mainline and metro use, then we would see a niche for several different vehicles and the gameplay would be more varied.

  2. Thanks for the feedback. :) The train GRF has been available for a couple of months now (it’s on the in-game download as “Pineapple Trains”), so you can check it out if you want to see how it actually plays.

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