[Addressed] Strife dialogue scaling

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Re: Strife dialogue scaling

Postby Graf Zahl » Fri Jul 26, 2019 2:07 pm

Roughly two years ago there was a phase where things seemed to go rather well with the maps for a while and I also contributed a bit of work to that.

Then the project leader whom I won't name here had the fantastic idea of handing over each of the episodes to a single person in charge and among qualified people also chose one who everybody thought was a total miscast and amply warned about it, just to be ignored. The end result: All momentum was lost because the people actually working on the maps were shut out and that one person managed to alienate all the other people having taken over the episodes. And a certain project leader stood by the wayside and let the entire drama unfold without taking action.

That was enough for me to stop contributing and following further development. A project without decent leadership cannot end up anything better than garbage.
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Re: Strife dialogue scaling

Postby dpJudas » Fri Jul 26, 2019 2:14 pm

I think projects like FreeDoom fail because there's never any overall agreement on what it should be. The community does have people that can clearly create it all from scratch (i.e. Square). Without a consensus you just get random assets that don't fit together. Even contributing random assets from other mods wouldn't get the job done.

If the image from Xeotroid is representative of how Freedoom looks like, then I'm sorry to say I myself could create better graphics than that. And I really can't make pretty graphics. :)
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Re: Strife dialogue scaling

Postby Graf Zahl » Fri Jul 26, 2019 2:38 pm

The fonts really look that shitty - and a large part of the textures isn't really much better.

But for deciding "what it should be" you need a leader - someone who outlines what the final product is supposed to be and guide the contributors to that goal, that includes insuring that no double work is done and that, if people want to contribute, are pointed to the assets that need most work.

What we get is a project where nobody guides and everybody chooses their pet assets to work on, screw whether they are already done. And thus stuff gets replaced all over again multiple times while other things in desperate need of a workover aren't done - and consistency is nowhere to be seen.

Paraphrasing a line from a movie: "There aren't bad creators, only bad leaders."

The most important person on a project is the producer, not the lead developer - and tbh, with GZDoom it's that part that can be most stressful because it's walking a fine line between advancing the engine and keeping it all together - and in retrospect I regretted all occurences where I shut out my producer persona when dealing with external contributions.

This has also been a major problem with ZDoom, because with Randi's long stretches of absence there was no producer present most of the time.
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Re: Strife dialogue scaling

Postby Xeotroid » Fri Jul 26, 2019 2:47 pm

dpJudas wrote:If the image from Xeotroid is representative of how Freedoom looks like, then I'm sorry to say I myself could create better graphics than that. And I really can't make pretty graphics. :)

Strangely, the textures look nice. Sure, they're obviously Doom rip-offs, but they are nicely done. Some sprites, like the trees, are nice too. But that clashes with the other sprites like the enemies and weapons. This looks quite nice, maybe the palette is a bit dull, even though it's the same as Doom's:

This, though...:


Obviously it's a different scene, but the contrast in spritework quality (and that zombieman replacement isn't even animated here, it looks like it's sort of floating in-game) is jarring nonetheless.
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Re: Strife dialogue scaling

Postby Graf Zahl » Fri Jul 26, 2019 2:55 pm

Overall the textures are also quite hit and miss - there's good ones, there's ok ones and there's also some bad ones - inconsistency's the name of the game.

The less said about the enemy sprites, the better, though - even if it's understandably the most demanding chunk of work.
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Re: Strife dialogue scaling

Postby Enjay » Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:24 pm

Graf Zahl wrote:The less said about the enemy sprites, the better, though - even if it's understandably the most demanding chunk of work.


Some are really good, some less so. Some need finishing. Others really are just place holders. But the lack of direction is obvious. There is no theme to speak of.

Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Inconsistency and variable quality is apparent in the other sprited items too: some look garish and comical; some look dark and grungy; some look... well, honestly, simply not that great regardless of style.

However, as you say, sprites are the biggest chunk of work and it is understandable that it has been the area where fewest people have stepped up.


And regarding your comments on leading the project, and particularly on decisions, I know this philosophy isn't an exact fit for a collaborative project like FreeDoom, but a wise man once told me that "a committee should always consist of an odd number of people, and three is too many". ;)
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Re: Strife dialogue scaling

Postby Graf Zahl » Fri Jul 26, 2019 4:00 pm

Enjay wrote:And regarding your comments on leading the project, and particularly on decisions, I know this philosophy isn't an exact fit for a collaborative project like FreeDoom, but a wise man once told me that "a committee should always consist of an odd number of people, and three is too many". ;)


LOL. But in the end, even a collaborative project needs guidance. In fact, it needs better guidance than any other kind of project to ensure that the end result isn't a mess.
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Re: Strife dialogue scaling

Postby Graf Zahl » Sat Jul 27, 2019 2:36 am

I did a bit of layout tweaking here which makes it look better with the VGA font, so I think this issue can be closed now.
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Re: Strife dialogue scaling

Postby Gez » Sat Jul 27, 2019 8:11 am

I lost interest in Freedoom when they decided to make it a vanilla-compatibility project, tossing away all the existing maps that used Boom effects (like translucent textures on windows, or dynamic colormap changes) in order to replace them with nerfed version. I know it has annoyed some of the mappers, too. And the project lost all momentum shortly afterward.
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Re: Strife dialogue scaling

Postby Xeotroid » Sat Jul 27, 2019 8:16 am

Nice, the VGA font looks really good in the dialogues when colored and is so much more readable. Though, there's currently only a CVAR to be set through console, no setting in HUD/Misc. options. The dlg_musicvolume variable is also nowhere to be found outside of the console, even though it could be a useful slider in the sound settings.

The idea for a translucent backdrop for the dialogue (in addition to player choices) is still here too, though, since the bright golden colour isn't that dissimilar from the bright skin tone of the characters... or the golden background in this case:



Just a montage again (with correct translucency this time), I have no idea how difficult it would be to implement, but the player choices background shape already changes size based on the number/length of the strings, and the width is already set for the text.
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Re: Strife dialogue scaling

Postby InsanityBringer » Sat Jul 27, 2019 11:02 am

interestingly enough, the very first screenshot ever of strife dialog in zd has such a box around the text, so I'm guessing it was pulled at some point? I wonder why. It might look a bit ugly if the text is spilling out of the portrait, perhaps.
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Re: Strife dialogue scaling

Postby Graf Zahl » Sat Jul 27, 2019 12:26 pm

No idea, it was only retained for dialogues without a backdrop picture.
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Re: Strife dialogue scaling

Postby Xeotroid » Sat Jul 27, 2019 4:17 pm

I'm sorry to bother further about this, but could the dlg_vgafont functionality apply to subtitles too? They suffer from the same problem as the dialogue otherwise.
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Re: Strife dialogue scaling

Postby Graf Zahl » Sat Jul 27, 2019 4:27 pm

That should be a separate option - for the subtitles and the log display.
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