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Nov 27, 2011Fase posted a message on Why Do People Think Minecraft is Good for Architecture?Posted in: DiscussionQuote from CatmandoIt's mediocre. And that's all Minecraft architecture will ever be if it continues the way it has. That's all I have to say for now. Discuss.
A TV is not two black wool in a wall... unless you play Minecraft. A castle is not a big rectangle made of very misshapen and disorganized grey rocks... unless you play Minecraft. Detailing a house does not mean putting giant 1 by 1 meter colored blocks in the floor and a table in the corner... unless you play Minecraft. And an arch sure as hell does not look like this...
...unless you play Minecraft.
Having been around for more than two years I've read more than my fair share of compliments about "beautiful" and "amazing" Minecraft builds. They usually amount to a jumbled mass of grey quadrilaterals.
I recall one post where a guy complimented someone's nether base, saying it had a "rustic" feel and was nicely done. It was a cobblestone room with a netherrack floor and ceiling and random holes cut out of the walls. Just take a second to imagine this: holes about as tall as a small child and three times as wide cut out of the walls with bloodstained rock above and below it. Yes. Rustic indeed.
And consider the scale of what Minecraft architects work with: meter-sized blocks. These blocks aren't even resizeable, either. You just have to put down these huge blocks, over and over. So not only is your building very likely going to be tedious to build, it's also going to be very un-detailed. Of course you can use smaller blocks like slabs and buttons and such to decorate, but these can only go so far. There are, what, four or five kinds of slabs? Great variety there. Now how about something half the size of a slab? Maybe if you're smart you can put down a few slabs and then replace one with a staircase. But that's missing the point. You're decreasing the availability of decoration because now just to get a quarter block on, say, the floor, the whole floor must be slabs. And remember, there's only, what, four or five slab types?
Yes, you can use mods to get a greater variety of materials and block shapes to work with. Good job. You literally edited the game itself just to decorate more. Missing the point again.
Now, let's compare with a game that I've seen virtually unanimously condemned by the Minecraft community: Roblox. If you've been around on the forum a while you may've heard mention of it, of its terrible community and terrible developers and terrible gameplay.
Thing is, its building is leagues beyond Minecraft. The average block size is about one fifth the height of one's avatar and can be sized down to one thousandth that size on each axis. It can also be resize to more than two thousand times as big as the default size on each axis. And everything in between. And consider the colors available for a block. There's 64 on that game, plus hidden colors... there's one-quarter that amount for Minecraft's wool. And don't even get me started about texture possibilities.
And then the forms. In that game, there's the normal cuboid, unbeveled, but there's also beveled cuboids, and spheres, and cylinders, and ellipsoids, and several shapes extended into the third axis to make forms, like triangles (to make "wedges" and "cornerwedges"), trapezoids, and so on. There's shapes I can't even name which are possible. Soon enough, even prisms and pyramids with all sorts of regular polygonal bases will be added as well. Now what the hell does Minecraft have?
I don't want this to sound like some advertisement for Roblox (I don't even play it), nor is it intended to be. I just want to make a point that the architectural possibilities of Minecraft are surprisingly low compared to other games available. Even comparing it to Lego, Minecraft fails utterly. Lego has 16 kinds of arch blocks. Minecraft has... zero. Heh, just try and make a nice curve like, say, a half-circle in Minecraft. It's very difficult to make an arch look nice up close, and you probably have to consult MS Paint or some kind of chart to be able to make an accurate one.
If you want practical examples of Minecraft's architectural limitations failing, take a look at this picture I grabbed off google images. It was among the first results in the search "minecraft castle":
A quick look at this proves it to be a pretty generic Minecraft castle. A big square cobble wall with towers in each corner. In the middle is a courtyard. For bonus points, a keep in the center (this picture did not receive bonus points). A gate in the front, replete with an open portcullis.
Unfortunately, that's seriously all there is to this thing. The terrain is bland as hell. Actually, it's worse than hell, since nether terrain is pretty awesome, to be honest. For decoration, there's two trees and some torches and... crenellations? I guess that's decoration, though I've never seen merlons or crenels that are three feet wide and tall.
To be generous, I took the really big parts of a castle from the wikipedia article into consideration. Going down the checklist, we have... no motte, no bailey, no keep, a curtain wall, no gatehoues, and no moat. Great score there. I'm not going to blame Minecraft for this since all these features are possible (though often very tedious to build), I'm just going to blame the creator of that castle.
But how about the stuff in other features? Where's the battlements? Maybe you could consider the crenellations battlements, but that's very barebones—it's like a house with nothing but a bed and chest in it. Hoardings? No, and not possible. How about machicolations? Nope, and they wouldn't be possible either. Loopholes? None, and they wouldn't be possible either. I mean, you could try and put a few three-foot-wide holes in your walls to shoot arrows out of, but I guarantee you it won't work very well.
To put it simply, this castle is extremely barebones. I mean, I tried to be generous and it still fell flat. But not all of it can be blamed on the creator. Minecraft is ill-suited for architecture!
But it's not just a castle as simple as that which fails examination. Consider "Castle Estel" by Revolve:
Let me first say I really like this castle. By Minecraft standards it's great. I don't want to offend Revolve or anyone else who likes it. Now, moving on.
At 0:07 we're introducted to the castle. At first glance it looks nice. The color scheme of orange sandstone and light blue wool was a nice choice and works well. We, the camera/audience, are standing on a bridge with a really nice ground texture. But as I looked around a little more, I was less and less impressed.
The dormers above the gatehouse are a nice touch, but are extremely simple. While the buttons did provide a tiny bit of texture to them, they still looked flat from where we are standing. The gate itself is almost entirely undecorated. I literally couldn't even see the buttons until we were right up by them at about 0:10. While this is an interesting effect, it also means that during most of the time that you are look at this gate, it will look entirely undecorated. Besides the buttons, the gate is nothing more than an arch, and from my introduction to this post I think you can guess my feelings about arches like that.
We move onwards, and up to 0:14 we get a glimpse of the main structure of Castle Estel. I think it's a marvelous view of a marvelous castle, but I don't get a good view of it. Moving on, in 0:15 and on we get a good view of the castle's facade. There's a layer of bay windows, and above that, a very long loggia, though it's hard to see from this distance and looks more like windows. Above that is the roof with a few dormers. In the center of that wall is a door, and above that a balcony. Bay windows surround the balcony on both sides. Above all this is a gable whose roof bisects the main roof. We zoom out a little and move over to get a better view of the two towers which surround the entire wall.
The problem with this wall is that there's nothing really ornate about it. In the original picture shown at the beginning of the video, we see ornate corbels holding up the bay windows, we see detailed buttresses on the ends of the towers and jutting upward to hold up the walls below the windows. None of this is replicable to any worthwhile degree in Minecraft. The buttresses would either be too big and moderately detailed or too small and awkward.
At 0:35, we skip back to the front of the structure. Here we're close enough to see the sparseness of detail. There are buttons as at the gatehouse on all of the bay windows and around the loggia. The loggia is well-done, but it's columniation is very bare besides the buttons, which really don't help much. Even the balustrade is very plain—it's just slabs. This isn't a bad thing for Minecraft, but in real life, I've never heard of a balustrade that's nothing but one-and-a-half-foot-tall ledges suspended between columns in an arcade. Even fences are better for balustrades, and fences generally look terrible.
Moving on, at about 0:51 and on we get a good look at the center of the castle, the keep. When I saw this the first time, I had a double-take. It was one of those moments where you have to tell your eyes to check again and make sure what you're seeing is what you're seeing. However, a good long look at this is necessary, because without it one will fail to notice the sheer repetition present in the design. It looks like a big tan wedding cake with blue icing. Except not the kind of cake where there's exceptionally elaborate frosting on the edges and sides depicting God knows what. Instead we have windows, some overly thick details using slabs and no doubt buttons. There's towers on each corner of the keep, but no buttresses or anything. I don't know much about Revolve's style, but I'm betting if he could've added buttresses he would've. Unfortunately, they probably would've looked awkward.
In the last shot of the castle, we get a picture from very far up via a map viewer. I think it's a great shot. Luckily for Revolve, it's far away enough that the kinds of details the building ought to have don't matter.
My point after all that examination may have been lost. Let me make it more clear again. Minecraft is very badly suited when it comes to actually making good architecture. Let's take a look at this picture:
Or maybe this:
Detail of that scale is impossible in Minecraft. I guarantee it. Detail of half that scale is impossible in Minecraft. Detail anywhere near that scale is impossible in Minecraft.
...And yet here we are in Minecraft, calling things like this impressive:
That looks to be a church of some kind, but I don't even see a whisper of a hint of detail. I don't even see anything nice about the church, much less impressive. It's not even big. It's not even big in real world terms, though if we want to talk about the real world, it would never get built anyway.
I want to get this point across, if it is at all possible. Architecture in Minecraft is—not—good. What you, the user, want to do about that is up to you. But please don't continue to pretend this looks good:
Voxels and hardcoded resolution limits considering ease of playability to a wider audience range as well as hardware computational limits of said population range demands an equally stunted resolute on architectural specifications in conjunction with a more liberal stance on the intended allure.
Nov 27, 2011Fase posted a message on [1.3.1] GLSL Shaders (DoF, Bump Mapping, Waving Wheat, Dynamic Shadows, and More!)Posted in: Minecraft ModsQuote from daxnitro
The mod is now in a working/playable state but lacks a few features: Notably, animation, entity ids, and specular/normal/height textures. It also has some of the same bugs I've had to solve before: Pig/saddle, fog, weird sky phenomenon. Once I get these things fixed (eta within a week), I'll post a version of the mod here.
Some notes about compatibility: None of the shaders that were used before will be "plug-and-play" compatible with this version. However, all of the features and capabilities are still there and then some, so with a few modifications, everything that could be done before will still be possible. As for compatibility with the water shaders mod . . . they probably won't work together initially, but if the author of that and I put our heads together, I'm sure we can work something out. I'll see if I can contact him once this is closer to completion.
Let me give you guys an outline of the new pipeline (consider this deferred rendering 101).
With the previous version, the pipeline looked something like this:
Base Shaders --- Color ---| | | |- Depth -----> Final Shaders
Pretty straight forward right? The base shaders got all the base data (color, texture, normals, depth, etc..), rendered it, copied that rendered image and depth buffer to some textures, then passed those to the final shaders.
That's all fine and dandy, but when rendering specular highlights, the calculations had to be done for every face that was sent to the base shaders regardless of whether or not it would be visible. The final shaders had no way of accessing the normals of the objects, and the base shaders had no way of knowing what would actually be visible. Thus many unnecessary calculations were done, slowing down your GPU.
So. Here's what the pipeline looks like now (or could look like depending on the shaders you use):
GBuffer Shaders --- Color ------------|-------------------------------------------| | | | |- Normals ----------|-------------------------------------------| | | | |- Specular Map -----|-------------------------------------------| | | | |- Glow Map ---------|-------------------------------------------| | | | |- Depth ------------|-------------------------------------------| | | | |- Fire Shimmer Map -|-------------------------------------------| | | | |- Refraction Map ---|-------------------------------------------| | | | |- Shadow Map -------|-------------------------------------------| | | -> Compositing Shaders -- Composited Image ---> Final Shaders
This is a pretty crude ASCII approximation and I doubt anyone without prior knowledge of the subject will get it, but here's what it boils down to: Rather than doing things like specular highlight calculations for all faces, the complex calculations are done in the compositing shaders for only the things that are being shown on the screen. This means we can afford to do something useful with the resources we just freed up . . .
Which brings me to the next topic. I'd really like to kick off buffing the current lighting system by adding dynamic shadows for the celestial bodies. Let me explain how this would work. Every 4 frames or so, instead of rendering the current scene from your point of view, I would render it from the sun's point of view. Then, I would take the depth buffer of that rendering and pass it along to the shaders when the view is rendered from your point of view again (this depth buffer is the shadow map). Then, in the compositing shaders, for every fragment that's visible to the you, I would reference the shadow map and figure out whether or not the sun could also "see" that same fragment. If not, it's in the shade. Otherwise, it's sunny. This will have a pretty noticeable effect on your framerate. If the shadow map is calculated every 4 frames, your FPS will be about 75% of what it was before. What do you guys think? Would you be willing to give up 25-50% of your framerate for sweet looking shadows? This will be configurable of course.
Which would you guys want more (after I post the mod)? That particle fire I posted in the YouTube video earlier or shadows (which will really only be for people with graphics cards that don't suck.)?
My vote's for the shadows.
Will the sun/shadows be able to take clouds into account?
Nov 26, 2011Posted in: 1.0 Update Discussion
No its not.
I play on far render on a computer less than half as powerful as the OP, which runs XP Pro 32bit, no problems whatsoever. I'm probably not the only one.
OP even responded with his own w7.64bit vs xp.32bit game fps findings. No significant differences. In theory and synthetically 64bit is much more powerful but in application, its not always a big deal.
That was a great lecture you wrote up but...
No its not simply a 32bit issue.
To stay on topic: Mods can also easily crash your game, what do you have installed? At the very least, post a crash log of your client crashing even if you play minecraft completely vanilla.
Nov 25, 2011Wow there sure is a lot of sillyness in this thread.Posted in: 1.0 Update Discussion
Been running Minecraft on Far, Fancy and max FPS since alpha days on an e8400, 4850, 2gb, xp machine without any problems.
Upgrading to W7 isn't at all necessary. Games don't look significantly better in dx11, most people won't ever use more than a few gigs of ram, no mentions of an SSD so even TRIM won't help, security issues can be prevented with common sense, desktop graphics acceleration is very nice but aero isnt.
Having said all that...
Downgrading to XP when you already had W7 installed is like buying a ferrari then replacing the wheels with bicycle wheels. You can always turn things off in W7 that you don't like and get a better third-party program for things like the image viewer.
If you've already checked your cpu, gpu, ram then the next place to look is testing your harddrive for errors. Although if it was that you would probably see more problems coming up than just in minecraft. And if minecraft is the only program that gives you problems then its obviously a software issue. It could be some of the overlooked files that is the culprit, so try the 'ol delete all minecraft files except saves, redownload and play. If its still giving problems than it could also be that your savefile is corrupt, but if it happens on all your maps than that can't be it either.
Also 5 seconds of googling found me this
Q. I have a Nvidia/ATI card and everything else runs fine except Minecraft. Huh?
Nov 24, 2011Fase posted a message on A tool for merging Alpha/Beta/1.0+ maps (mcmerge v0.8.0 experimental)Wish I knew about this tool before I started trying to 'smooth out' chucky areas on my own.Posted in: Minecraft Tools
Is there any hope in getting this to be an MCEdit filter, for ease of use reasons?
I've been playing on the same map since Alpha-something, so going back to delete chunks for the contour trace, 'reloading' the original world for merging, then doing that over again 4-5 times seems less fun/tedius than, say, finding areas of the map i wanted 'merged', selecting a large enough area, then hitting the filter button.
Nov 23, 2011Don't torches melt snow and ice? Blanket the area with torches preventing snow/ice -> grassplain. Then add trees and water -> subtropic forest?Posted in: Suggestions
Not exactly the most 'green' way of terraforming but the basics [heat] is there so...lol
Actually the biggest problem is if you wanted a snowy/icy biome since we don't have a vanilla way of tossing down ice/snow. Maybe this is where Snow Golems can come in handy?
It doesn't even have to be literately ALL the blocks or thousands of blocks replaced in that biome to make it change. Like changing a grassland into a forest could just be: plant [a lot] of pine saplings; The only real change would be slightly darker green grass, but its still a change.
I didn't really lay out the 'rules' of each biome mostly because there isn't firm knowledge of the biomes. The old biome datas like this is kind of thrown out the window with the new terrain/biome generation. Only the devs or code readers can say what biomes exist now, so I kinda left it to them to figure out. I just used the swamp examples because they're a big/obvious issue everyone can relate to.
Unless it really is just desert/snowy/swampy/ocean/forest/mountainy/grassland
Nov 22, 2011Problem:Posted in: Suggestions
People complain about x biome because of y reason.
Swamp biome is ugly and brown.
I don't like snowy biomes because it breaks stuff.
I don't like snowy biomes because it freezes all my water.
Swamp biome is brown and ugly
Why is the swamp biome purple?
Please remove swamps.
Petition to change swamp visuals.
From playing the game its obvious that each biome has specific characteristics which make it that biome. Duh.
So why is it that if we 'build' that biomeA into the characteristics of a different biomeB, the biomeA doesn't just change?
I don't like this swamp biome here. Obviously swamps are trees with lots of vines, submerged land and an overabundance of water. What I will do is remove all vines, raise the land above sea level, maybe even cut down all the trees. Now the area is low rolling grass hills. The area is effectively now a savanna/grass plain. Why is the 'purple swamp overlay' still here?
Keep the world/biome generator as is. Implement a biome changing algorithm based on characteristics of a biome.
Example (keeping with the swamp example above):
0. Original Biome: 200vines, 5000 dirt blocks, 0 grass blocks, 300 water blocks, 50 lily pads, 20 trees -> algorithm keeps it as swamp
1. Player comes by, doesn't like the swamp. piles 4 layers of dirt effectively creating grass layer 1 block above water, removes all lily pads and vines but replants all trees
2. It is sunset. Player goes to bed.
3. [Time turns to midnight] algorithm starts up:
a.Scans biome: 0 vines, 4000 dirt, 1000 grass blocks, 50 water blocks, 0 lily pads, 20 trees -> algorithm no longer sees it as swamp
b. Biome code changed to...savanaish-forestish; no more purple overlay, grass is more green, leaves more green.
4. Player wakes up. No more brown foliage and browngreen water.
Obviously the algorithms will need to be more complex than counting block types to find the 50% mark, but that's the jist of it.
Non-gamebreaking, non-intrusive way to changing biomes; It gives players more control over their minecraft environment, gameplay style. No longer will you have to 'break the fourth wall' and have a program edit biome data.
This possibly even creates the 'need' to balance environmental factors when gathering resources:
-remove too many trees without replanting -> next night all trees are gone because forest biome turned into savanna
-converted too much of a river into buildable dirt -> biome changes into a desert
but more positively:
-in a large desert biome, plant a number saplings, create small pond -> part of desert biome converts to forest, suddenly awesome oasis
Nov 22, 2011Fase posted a message on Minecraft Biome Extractor - Add Biome Support to Your MapperPosted in: Minecraft ToolsQuote from Donkey Kong
I've not done any work on the 1.0 release. I'll look into it when I get a chance. I think the code has been broken for a while now.
Awesome, can't wait!
Then I can finally see how much of my beautiful biomes were changed into ugly swamps
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