Visual Diary: Adding Ground Detail

Every now and then, I plan on adding a visual diary showing a feature as it progresses. Today’s diary is about ground details.

 It's A Start

It’s A Start

I’ve added a simple ground plane under the city map. The ground in Daggerfall is composed of squares fitting perfectly under a block. The ground is tiled together in the same way blocks are tiled together to form a complete map.

The next step is texture it.

 Um Not Quite

Um, Not Quite

Even though I’ve written ground builders a few times in the past (the first was in Daggerfall Explorer), adding this feature into a new engine is bound to encounter bugs. I’ve not quite nailed it this attempt.


Textures Done

The ground textures are now being placed and aligned correctly across all maps.

 Needs Region Textures

Still Needs Region Processing

Daggerfall uses texture swaps for each region/climate type. You can play with these combinations in Daggerfall Explorer. Here is Sentinel using the default “temperate” texture set used while developing the ground plane.

At some point, I need to re-code the ability to swap in the correct texture. But for now I want to do something a little more interesting.

 New Flats

New Flats

In this screenshot, I’ve started adding flats. My first attempt isn’t that successful. They aren’t at the right height, size, or transparent. But they are standing in the right places, so it’s is a good start.

Another issue with these flats you can’t see in the screenshot is they always face the camera. If you fly into the air and look down, they’re lying flat on the ground! A quick change to the axis alignment will sort that out.


Working Flats

Flats are now correctly positioned, axis aligned, and alpha-enabled. I feel the scaling needs some work. At this time, it is unknown which numbers Daggerfall uses to scale flats. I will refine this as development progresses.

I’ve never been a huge fan of flat billboards in games, but they were a standard technique in days past and part of the Daggerfall landscape. Despite being antique tech, I feel some of the old charm has started to make its way back into the otherwise dreary maps in Daggerfall Scout.

The next step is to do some gardening and add the local plant life, such as trees, etc. These aren’t stored in the flats records along with everything else. I need to find them before I can draw them from the game files.

I hope you enjoyed this first visual diary.

Posted in Daggerfall Scout, Visual Diary.