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panzermartin

Improving the look of CM Normandy

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I would be happy if CM:N could provide:

  • a good representation and variety of typical norman buildings,
  • more mixing of uniforms (especially on the german side) than CMSF,
  • a wider amount of postures for soldiers (I really don't like those "stuffed" tank crews!! :D)
  • hit holes on vehicles.

This last is a very nice feature in TOW. Actually, the whole environment in TOW is really well done and I would like if CM could somehow resemble that style. It would add to immersion, IMHO.

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...

Else, medieval towngates...

Nice idea! This thread may be about Normandy, but I take the chance to post this pic:

11631801.jpg

(maybe Battlefront takes some inspiration from it, when it's time to do the graphics for CMx2 WWII "Hürtgen/Bulge and into the Reich". Small chances, I know, but it would be too cool to see the gate of my own hometown in CM, for not to try it...)

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When all things get worked out, tweaked, patched, patched again etc; My fav theater The Russian Front will be something to behold I believe! I'm trying not to think about what the Eastern Front will be as I get excited, patience must prevail.

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This is a good point also:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tacwar

Finally, I hope Battlefront can find a way visually to allow players to better see the map terrain elevations better either through shading..

I expect to see a lot more overcast maps in Normandy. The bad thing is that elevation shading is almost gone when clouds gather over CMSF maps. Maybe a kind of secondary ambient lighting is needed to give maps solid shadows, perhaps combined with a hazy effect to distingiush overlapping rolling hills better.

Yes Ali Baba, I agree that cloudy days would make elevation shading difficult. That is why in my original post I went on to suggest adding a toggable terrain grid to the map - something like modders have already done in previous CM games. However, my suggestion is to make the terrain grid an IN GAME toggable option that you can switch on and off like the objective flags. (thus avoiding swapping mods all the time). I would only use it for planning purposes not for watching the replays. You can visit this link to see an image of what I mean by terrain grid:

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=48203

Cheers

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One suggestion I forgot, is smoother fade out/in of distant graphics, eg trees not popping out from nowhere but better gradually shifting from transparent to solid bitmaps. Patches have brought a huge improvement in stabilizing the 3d world but still there is some room for improvement. Also making long range graphics slightly more blueish/faded will enhance the feeling of distance and depth of field.

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A TOW screenie with some interesting objects: Hanged clothes, barns, piles of wood and yes, dead cows!

2-1.jpg

I'm looking at curved roads and trees that don't dissappear in the distance!

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From what I've read, most of the Normandy fields went unharvested throughout 1944. What the engine should handle is destruction of the crops by vehicles, scything MGs, HE blast and fire.

And that cow isn't dead, it's just resting.

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"...that is not dead which can eternal lie yet with strange aeons even death may die" H. P. Lovercraff

...

Destruction of the crops sounds good, but maybe could take to much resources. The inclusion of hay stacks depends on the 'deadline' of CMx2:'Normandy'. I have read here, that it would include 'Market Garden', which took place in the second half of September 1944 (17-25).

But at this time, there started also the Battle of the Hürtgen Forest, which lasted till February 1945 (with 'some' interuption during The Bulge).

The logical solution would be to exclude both hay stacks and Market Garden. The first because it belongs to another grafical setting time and the second, because it belongs to another 'narative chapter' of the story.

The battle for Normandy continued for more than two months, with campaigns to establish a foothold on France, and concluded with the close of the Falaise pocket, the subsequent liberation of Paris on 25 August 1944, and the German retreat across the Seine which was completed on 30 August 1944 (wikipedia)

Market Garden had 'thematically' nothing to do with 'Normandy' or the Liberation of France. It 'belongs' from a narrative point of view to the next 'chapter', when the allies try to enter Germany - they fail miserably with first Marked Garden and then on the Westwall (Siegfried Line). That gives the Germans back the initative and they counterattack in the Ardennes.

The whole chapter closes only in February 1945 with the clearing of the last resistance in the Hürtgen.

"The Ardennes Offensive was completely halted by mid-January, and in early February, American forces attacked through the Hürtgen Forest for the final time. On February 10, the Schwammenauel dam was taken by American forces, although the Germans had opened the floodgates of the dam the day before and thus the Rur Valley was flooded, halting the U.S. push for the Rhine across the river for two further weeks, until the attackers finally managed to cross the river on February 23rd when the waters had receded." (wikipedia)

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From a practical point of view (creation of different graphics for landscape and buildings) CMx2 'Westfront' should be cut in three parts. That would also more fit to the 'story' told in a consistent way:

1. CMx2:"Normandy" (June 1944 - August 1944). The Western Allies get a beachhead in Europe, hold and expand it: -> D-Day, Normandy, Liberation of France (french summer setting)

2. CMx2:"Westwall Assult" (September 1944 - February 1945). The Germans manage to stall the enemy advance on the german border and pull a counter-offensive -> Market Garden, Aachen, Hürtgen, Bulge, Reichswald (autumn/winter setting)

3. CMx2:"Into the Reich" (March 1945 - May 1945), While the Germans have played all their aces and are hammered from the East, the Allies take their 'piece of cake' --> Rhine Crossing, Rhur Pocket, Thuringia (german spring)

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Back to buildings, there are some ideas I want to share:

Details that can break up flat walls and offer some visual interest like tents and half opened windows:

N1.jpg

Shop facades with some lamps, signs etc:

N3.jpg

The painted posters/signs on walls can be a great aesthetic detail:

N2.jpg

Some more complex constructions:

N4.jpg

I dont want to cause migraine to the art team as some poster said and these are not requests only some ideas for reference and ispiration.

CM normandy can retain the brilliant randomizer of buildings but instead of the many balconies sets we can have lamp posts, signs, different roofs with chimneys, so a combo of all these can provide a decent variety in map making.

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Has anyone mentioned "depth of field" effects yet? (apologies for not reading whole thread). By "depth of field", I mean more distant objects (units, terrain) are made slightly out of focus compared to objects closer to the camera. It's an option in "Empire Total War" which I think would be great for CM too.

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Yes I did. Previous page. I've been asking fro something like that since CMBB. No need to overdone it like in Company of Heroes, just a slight fade out of objects and colors (distant being cooler hues).

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Ali-baba,

CM normandy can retain the brilliant randomizer of buildings but instead of the many balconies sets we can have lamp posts, signs, different roofs with chimneys, so a combo of all these can provide a decent variety in map making.

Well, that's just the problem... you've shown many different screenshots from many different games. The variety comes not from within the game itself but from across the spectrum of several genres of games. In other words, the variety you've shown here is the product of hundreds of millions of Dollars worth of artwork created by hundreds of artists over many years. Needless to say, we'll always come up short in that comparison :D

That being said, CM:Normandy will definitely have a lot more variety and detail to its buildings than in CM:SF. That was yet another reason we chose to do an arid setting first... a lot easier to do! Since the CMx2 is something that continually evolves we chose to put the bulk of our efforts into making CM:SF a solid base for which to work off of for years to come. A much better strategy than what can best be described as the Duke Nukem Forever syndrome where the game never gets released because there's always something that can be added to make it better.

Steve

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Don't get me wrong, I'm not showing these to compare them to CM, but mostly to highlight some proposals and hopefully help the BFC artists. Some of my suggestions have little to do with extra work but more with color balance issues and pure aesthetics for example.

I know there is no comparison but CMSF is already not bad in terms of constructing an interesting town for instance. I'm not asking purely for quantity but for some smart and effective solutions, like extending the randomizer ,say on roofs. Random roofs+random facades+random details like tents/lamps/signs and you can have lots of possibilities with few sets from each category.

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Yup, I know :D We are definitely making some significant changes, some of which you've pointed out already. I just can't say exactly what will make it in because some of it is still on a Wish List.

My post was more or less pointing out how difficult it is to have variety within a map and also variety from map to map. Usually you have to make a choice between one or the other. It's like comparing Close Combat's maps to Steel Panthers'. The Close Combat ones looked so much better, but you got what was in the box and not a map more (at least not officially). We're all in favor of variety of maps so we're going to do what we can to increase the variety within them knowing that there's a whole range of options that aren't available to us.

Steve

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