[MUD-Dev] Graphic MUDS/Ultima Online

Adam Wiggins nightfall at user2.inficad.com
Sun Aug 3 18:04:54 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

[Jeff K:]
> >Well, there's a couple of other approaches. When we started out, the 
> >choice was basically between tileset graphics or pseudo-3d engines, 
> >and tileset seemed to offer greater flexibility and variety. Now that 
> >3d hardware acceleration is the industry norm, I imagine choosing 
> >anything other than a full 3d engine for a mass-market product would 
> >be far riskier.
> Well, terhe are at elast 2 otjher advantages to tilesets...
> (1) Extremely low bandwidth download.  if yo uare going to serve maps from
> teh sverer this can be a major advantage.

I'd disagree with this, actually.  Bitmap art, even given good compression,
is large.  256 color isn't too bad, but you can barely get away with that
anymore - I'd say 15/16 bit is the minimum entry point right now, and 24
bit is certainly not far off.  Combine this with the fact that the bitmaps
themselves are very limited - every frame of animation is essentially a new
picture, and if you want to be able to show the object from a variety of
angles you have to actually draw each angle.  Plus, bitmaps stay pretty
much the same no matter where they are viewed.  Realtime 3d has low animation
costs, can be viewed from any angle, can be lit in a variety of different
ways, and can be re-textured to effect clothing changes or wounds.
The meshes themselves are only a collection of points, which is very
small - only the textures take up any real space.
Of course, when all is said and done, realtime 3d still looks 3d.  It
rarely can equal the beauty of a good fantasy painting.  There are many
things which are also pretty much impossible to create in 3D - I've never
seen a descent looking 3D landscape, realtime or rendered.  Organic shapes
just don't take well to polygons, and it's difficult to get the rich colors
of a fantasy world in 3D.

> (2) Easier for non-traiend to build.  if you want to at some point supoprto
> user-drafted maps, this might be an issue.

Very true, however I'd say this is more a function of bitmap art being
only two dimensions to deal with, which makes building maps basically
like laying down tiles on your kitchen floor.  Composition (in terms of
object placement) in three dimensions is always much more difficult - humans
like to think in 2D.

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