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Topic: Rivers and Bridges

chuckw
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Posted at: 2015-02-09, 14:06

This topic thread continues discussion of adding rivers and river crossings started in the New Immovables thread and [Bug Report # 1418305] (https://bugs.launchpad.net/widelands-media/+bug/1418305).


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chuckw
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Posted at: 2015-02-09, 14:24

To help consolidate the discussions in the Bug report and the New Immovables thread, I will present here the comments to date on rivers and bridges from those two venues:

Bug Report #1418305 Bug Description

A suggestion to add more realistic river graphics on the map was made by Astuur in the Graphics Forum (https://wl.widelands.org/forum/post/4677/)

"We have neither mountains nor rivers in the map. ... It might be different and more complicated with the rivers, because they need to be fishable and may at some time in the future carry rowing boats, footbridges or even wider bridges. I am not sure that immovables is the best approach here. Created as immovables, we may have some bolders above the waterline, that would show some water current as a first step.That should be easy. Again we need a different set for all the worlds, and all orientations. A different idea is to create a set of banks and middle-of-the-stream tiles as terrain types, but I unsure whether WL can accomodate them in the current form."

Graphics to indicate water movement such as rapids or whirlpools might be added as immovables.

In the same vein, animated waterfalls might be added to the map to add visual interest.

Chuck Wilder (chuckw20) wrote: #1

kapputnik made an attempt to introduce river graphics into the map editor (see forum post https://wl.widelands.org/forum/post/12378/).

His effort identified the obstacles currently faced in

1) creating the graphics,

2) positioning them on a map and

3) adapting them to terrain elevations on a map.

Ideally, creating and placing rivers by map makers should be as easy as "drawing" them with a tool like terrain.

Perhaps if rivers could be plotted in the Editor like roads in the game this could be achieved.

kaputtnik (franku) wrote: #2

Perhaps if rivers could be plotted in the Editor like roads in the game this could be achieved.

Yes, this comes in my mind too. A nice to have:

  1. select the graphic; while moving the mouse a shadow of this graphic follows the mouse so you could imagine where it is placed; after click the real graphic is set

  2. a function to flip the graphic clockwise. In that case there has to be e.g. only one graphic for rivercorners. A rightclick flips the corner clockwise about 90 degrees to get each direction you want the river flows.

About Waterfalls: I think this not easy to animate because of the direction the water has to fall. With the actual technic you have to make an animation for waterfalls in each possible cardinal direction.

SirVer (sirver) wrote: #3

Right now, Widelands only has two concepts: fields (nodes) and edges (roads). Where would these graphics be painted?

It sounds like they should be painted on the edges - but probably make the triangles they pass through also unwalkable. How can a river then be crossed?

Chuck Wilder (chuckw20) wrote: #4

I agree that it seems logical to paint the rivers on the edges like roads. It could eventually lead to supporting river traffic.

Perhaps, instead of "bridges" we allow mapmakers to specify fords (wading crossings) here and there along the river? Might that be possible, or are we still faced with the unwalkable restriction?

*From the New Immovables thread*

kapputnik - https://wl.widelands.org/forum/post/12378/

chuckw - https://wl.widelands.org/forum/post/12399/

kapputnik - https://wl.widelands.org/forum/post/12404/

DragonAtma - https://wl.widelands.org/forum/post/12407/

GunChleoc - https://wl.widelands.org/forum/post/12410/

kapputnik - https://wl.widelands.org/forum/post/12411/

Edited for content

Edited: 2015-02-09, 14:36

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DragonAtma
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Posted at: 2015-02-09, 16:42

If the game was restricted to fords, then it'd essentially be the same as if a current widelands map had a 2+ wide rivers (with fords being 1+ wide areas).

If bridges were allowed (but expensive), then there may be a new gameplay possibility (How many crossings will you build to streamline your economy?). That'd require new coding, however, since it'd be an exception to the "building is northwest of a flag".

Finally, Settlers 2 let you build sea lanes; that'd be another way of handling it, although there's the risk (especially with rivers 2-3 tiles wide) of them winding up very similar to if the river wasn't there. I imagine they would require the player to build rowboats/canoes/etc. (which, presumably, should be a lot cheaper than the current ships!).

My suggestion? Go with both bridges and sea lanes. Bridges would be more expensive (especially for wider rivers), but they'd automatically be busy roads, plus they'd allow the full "flag every two tiles" (while rowboats would be limited to one flag on each shore).


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kaputtnik
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Posted at: 2015-02-09, 21:05

DragonAtma, maybe i do not fully understand your point, but i think its too complicated. Maybe we should clarify, if bridges could be made while playing (which needs more worker and resources), or if they are placed in the mapeditor and are allways there while gameplaying. I think about the latter one.

My opinion is: We should think of more than rivers... as i showed here there are maybe more things than rivers which could make the game look nicer or would make additional tasks for players. Think also on canyons or steeper mountains. We should work out such things and afterwards thinking about how to implement this new features.

SirVer (sirver) wrote: #3

Right now, Widelands only has two concepts: fields (nodes) and edges (roads). Where would these graphics be painted?

It sounds like they should be painted on the edges - but probably make the triangles they pass through also unwalkable. How can a river then be crossed?

I think edges do not work for rivers. They would make it easy to place them on a map, but make it impossible for crossing, and so, for walkable bridges.

Terrains do have some restrictions for things like rivers, bridges or coastmodeling. They couldn't get transparency, must be 64x64 pixel great, they dither (and therefor are splitted into triangles) and must be color indexed.
Except indexing and scale the other things make it impossible to use them as river, bridges or similar. On the other side, terrains have a great pro: They are painted height-related.

Immovables do not care of terrainheight. They are painted as they are. Same goes for bobs.


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tuggyne
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Posted at: 2015-02-09, 21:17

DragonAtma wrote:

If the game was restricted to fords, then it'd essentially be the same as if a current widelands map had a 2+ wide rivers (with fords being 1+ wide areas).

If bridges were allowed (but expensive), then there may be a new gameplay possibility (How many crossings will you build to streamline your economy?). That'd require new coding, however, since it'd be an exception to the "building is northwest of a flag".

Finally, Settlers 2 let you build sea lanes; that'd be another way of handling it, although there's the risk (especially with rivers 2-3 tiles wide) of them winding up very similar to if the river wasn't there. I imagine they would require the player to build rowboats/canoes/etc. (which, presumably, should be a lot cheaper than the current ships!).

My suggestion? Go with both bridges and sea lanes. Bridges would be more expensive (especially for wider rivers), but they'd automatically be busy roads, plus they'd allow the full "flag every two tiles" (while rowboats would be limited to one flag on each shore).

In the long run, bridges seem interesting, but in the medium term rowboats are far easier and can probably get things good enough to leave bridges until the rest of the game matures considerably more. Bridges don't really have enough bang for the coding buck at present, seems to me.


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DragonAtma
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Posted at: 2015-02-09, 21:38

kaputtnik wrote:

DragonAtma, maybe i do not fully understand your point, but i think its too complicated. Maybe we should clarify, if bridges could be made while playing (which needs more worker and resources), or if they are placed in the mapeditor and are allways there while gameplaying. I think about the latter one.

I meant having the player build bridges during the game (using workers and resources).

Edited: 2015-02-09, 21:39
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kaputtnik
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Posted at: 2015-02-11, 09:45

DragonAtma wrote:

I meant having the player build bridges during the game (using workers and resources).

What do the others think? Should bridges be build during gameplay or while creating a map?

I tried to make a ford-terrain for testing:

ford.jpg

Because roads allways are painted on the triangleedges, the road is allways on the edge of the ford terrain.


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einstein13
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Posted at: 2015-02-11, 11:46

Hmm... But why do we need not-edge bridge? Usually we build bridges across the river, not along face-wink.png

I can see 2 types:

  • rivers as immovable
  • rivers as terrain type

In imovable:

  • bridges set on the editor
  • bridges built, but how?

In terrain type:

  • bridges build by players
  • bridges build on the editor
  • bridges as ship-passable or not?
  • rivers as ship-passable or not?

Should the bridge be set forever? Maybe it should be a possibility to destroy it by soldiers? face-smile.png

Then: Should the bridge be a new type of building? Then we can provide bridges on the fields, not borders of map-triangles. But new building is quite surrealistic face-smile.png "Stairs?" "Lift?" for the bridge? face-smile.png Secondly: how can we merge this with economies. This is looong way to implement the idea.

My opinion: I like new terrain-type (river), and ship-passable, but the bridge is not ship-passable. That will bring new efford of fighting with enemy economy. You close the rivers for ships to stop enemy's economy.) The costs of the bridge should be very high. Maybe using some tribe-specific wares like marble column, cristal, etc.?

Also there is an idea to upgrade the road manually: as default there is casual road , but after upgrade (f.e. additional roof above the bridge) it will be a hard-roaded (with donkey, etc. next to the carrier).


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GunChleoc
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Posted at: 2015-02-11, 12:17

einstein13 wrote:

Hmm... But why do we need not-edge bridge? Usually we build bridges across the river, not along face-wink.png

This is actually an implementation issue: Roads are painted on edges, and terrain is painted on triangles. So, you can't make a road go across the middle of a ford, unless you make the ford 2 tiles wide.


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chuckw
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Posted at: 2015-02-11, 16:18

Please excuse me while I brainstorm a bit. face-smile.png This is just a list of random thoughts in response to the discussion to date.

1.) Real rivers are a combination of road ("sea lane", "channel"?) and terrain, so why not approach them as the hybrids they are? We've learned they would have to be painted 2 triangles wide to accommodate the "channel" between them for ship passage.

2.) The "channel" would serve as a road for ships/boats and presumably function as ship movement does now in open water.

3.) Rivers would be a distinct terrain type with its own tool. Terrain graphics could be created to depict a river bed with shoreline in various orientations including bends and fords. The graphic tiles would then impose the minimum 2-tile width on the mapmaker.

4.) What about rivers greater than 2 tiles wide?

5.) In addition to fords, should river crossings by boat (i.e. rowboat, ferries) be restricted to certain areas (like ports) along a river or be made "buildable" anywhere?

6.) Elevation changes are a challenge, but how would a real river behave in such conditions? There would be waterfalls and rapids that are not navigable. The responsibility of logical river placement must be placed on the map maker.

7.) Rivers by definition are moving water. Should the direction of the current be considered in the game engine as affecting traffic in any way?

8.) Rivers and fords would be generated only in the map editor. To do so in the game would mean the player engineers it as a canal and I don't think we should consider that at this time.

9.) Is it logical to make bridges "buildable" only at fords? The game engine would not have to be altered to accommodate conditions not present originally in the map. The bridge graphics could just overlay the ford on the map.


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