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IceBlinkEngine.com • View topic - Height System, incl. stairs and bridges

Height System, incl. stairs and bridges

Any documentation, tutorials, tips and tricks, or examples on how to use the IB2 Toolset

Height System, incl. stairs and bridges

Postby youngneil1 » Wed Apr 05, 2017 6:30 am

Starting with IB2 Beta v22 an optional system for height levels has been introduced.

You can find three new buttons for toggling

1) height paint mode ("height"),
2) stair paint mode ("stair") and
3) bridge paint mode ("bridge")

on the left hand button row of the area editor (where you also find "Paint Tile", etc.).

These buttons allow you to set a height level (yellow number in corner of a square when show grid is activated) and to paint corresponding height shadows automatically on top of your existing map. In case of the stair mode, a stylized stairway is also painted. In case of the bridge mode, extra green borders, rounded shadows ("tunnel") and light cones coming from underneath signify the sides of the bridge (only passable when one level lower than the bridge).

These elements (height level, stair, bridge) are not just optical fluff, but also affect player and mover AI movement on the adventure map ingame.

In detail for each mode:

1) height paint mode ("height")
The cornerstone of the system. When in this mode, a left click raises height level of the clicked tile by 1, while a right click lowers it by 1. Please note that two neighbouring tiles cannot have a height level difference of more than 2 (for orthognal neighbours, 3 for diagonal neighbours). You can override this limitation by setting the allowLevelDesignWithMoreThan2HeightLevelsDifference property of an area to true (shadows will not become longer despite greater height differencs between two tiles, though). Also please note that when you click a tile in INFO mode and look at its properties, you can turn the drawing of a stair symbol and the shadow casting of a tile to off (ia useful when you want to add some longer or differently shaped, handplaced shadows). You can make holes, also negative height levels are allowed. Height does not block line of sight automatically (you can, of course as always, make squares manually loS blocking ). Mover props (NPC, creatures) and party can only move onto squares that have the same height level as their current square. The only exception to this are stairs and bridge squares (the later when entered on their flank side, ie passing under). Additionally to the height shadows, a so called "rim light" is drawn. It's a highlighted thin line at the edge of squares that have different height levels. This makes recognizing hight differenes easier, especially in rather dark places. In the toolset, the rim light line becoems brighter the higher a tile is in relation to the average height level of an area. For the engine, I plan to make the brightness relative to current height level of the party (not implemented yet).

2) stair paint mode ("stair")
In stair paint mode a left click places a stair. If you left click again on a square that already has a stair on it, you rotate the existing stair by 90 degree. Stairs are shown as a few stylized steps in the center of the stair square. They cast somewhat triangular shadows (tempered?) at their flanks, indiciating the ground rising from bottom to top. You always place downwards pointing stairs, connecting the stair square with squares one level lower than the stair square. This is true for the flank sides and the bottom side of stair. The remaining top side only connects to same level ground. In other words: stairs can be climbed up from three sides if you come from no more than one level lower (and vice versa if you come from same height level and climb down). A good help is always the rim light (see above) - nobody can cross a rim light (exception green rim light for bridges and entrances to linked areas). You can build long stairs by placing two (or more) stairs, pointing in the same direction, next to each other on different height levels. You can also build stairs that are turned 90 degree towards neighbouring stairs. Basically, anything is possible here. Finally, with a right click you remove an existing stair. Oh, and mover AI can use stairs, too.

3) bridge paint mode ("bridge")
In bridge paint mode a left click places a bridge. If you left click again on a square that already has a bridge on it, you rotate the existing bridge by 90 degree. Bridges are shown as a extra green borders (green rim light), rounded flank shadows (tunnel effect) and light cones on the flanks. Depending on the side from which the palyer or a mover AI enters a bridge square, they are either drawn on top or completely vanish underneath. Bridges are special because they affect not only their own square but also the four orthogonally neighbouring squares (N,E,S,W). On all these squares other bridges and stairs are removed once you place a bridge. Furthermore, the height level of the neighbours on the side of the bridge is set to brigde height -1, while those neighbours at the top ends of the bridge have their height levels set to match that of the bridge. The four neighbour squares can also not have their height level, bridge state or stair state changed as long as the bridge in the centre exists (lock). You can remove a bridge with a right click, ending the aforementoned lock, too. All these limitations have the purpose of ensuring that the level archictecure remains playbale for the mover AI (and also works for player movement code). Finally, I would advise against placing triggers or any gameplay logic right on top of bridges (the code tries to support it, but their dual height nature makes bridge squares prone to bugs/mix ups).

Done :) .
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Re: Height System, incl. stairs and bridges

Postby Dorateen » Wed Apr 05, 2017 1:58 pm

Hi youngneil1,

This is great! I took the plunge and downloaded version 25 of the toolset. I set the useAllTileSystem to true and started to play with the new height system. I would like to share some observations.

As I mentioned before, I am averse to the step of loading existing maps to cut into tiles because of the file size bloat; each new folder created for an area is over 1 mb. However, it seems to me, I can place new tiles on the single image map, and proceed to use the height system. In other words, maybe it is not necessary to reload single image maps, a builder just has to paint new tiles in those areas wanting to take advantage of the heightmapping. I have been building this way since IceBlink 2, that is, using the toolset tiles in conjunction with the single image maps as a base.

I have not tested in game yet, but will report when I do, and share some screenshots.

Another neat thing, looks like I might use the "buttonized" tile I made yesterday along with the new height system. I would increase the height of square using the system, and then paint the raised tile. So far, it looks good in the toolset.

A couple of helpful tips, right clicking on a tile in height paint mode seems to revert back to the flat surface. Very easy to use. On the stair paint mode, clicking on the tile will scroll through the directions. Very nice.

In bridge paint mode, I haven't seen if it is possible once placing a bridge on the map, how do undo or revert back to the previous tile. Need to be careful with that.

Looking forward to working further with the system and getting some in game screenshots out there.

Thanks!
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Re: Height System, incl. stairs and bridges

Postby youngneil1 » Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:54 pm

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Re: Height System, incl. stairs and bridges

Postby youngneil1 » Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:58 am

Finished setting up the little tutorial in the first post :) .
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