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  • Readyroom Sprites

    The following is a LONG read, but you can have fun with it if you like.

    Supporting Members may now submit sprites to be displayed in the readyroom (and nowhere else) of any map in rotation on the server, CO or NS. The sprite will be displayed no differently than the TacticalGamer logos you may remember from our NS 2.x readyrooms or the tournament advertisements of today. The sprites can be floating (always facing the viewer) or fixed in one location, be it on a wall or in mid-air (note: fixed-location sprites are not visible from behind). Animations are allowed (and explained below), but sometimes the effect you want doesn't require animation, so it's your call.

    These sprites will remain in the maps when you're playing and when you're not. All players on the server will see them at all times.

    Regulars without memberships may also submit a sprite for display at the cost of 15,000 points. Simply follow the same procedure as Supporting Members. I'll manually take 15,000 points from you when I install your sprite on the server.

    With contributions from DON.MAC, I have created the below tutorial for anyone wanting to submit a sprite for display. Once you create the .spr file, you'll submit it to me and I will manage the necessary steps to have the sprite displayed per your specifications (where in which readyroom; floating or fixed).

    To create the sprite file is no trivial task, but it's not complicated if you have clear direction, which I will aim to provide below.

    First, you must create an 8-bit (256 color) Bitmap image file which contains the image you want displayed in the sprite. The width and height of this image, measured in pixels, must each be divisible by 8. Neither may be greater than 256 pixels*. To give you some perspective, the tournament advertisements and TG logos that you've seen in the readyroom before are 256 pixels wide and 64 pixels tall (256x64). Do understand that I can scale (larger or smaller) the size of your sprite when I display it in the readyroom, if it proves helpful in fitting it where you like.

    DON.MAC explains how to create the image(s) properly using Adobe Photoshop 8.0 (it's possible to build these in many graphics programs):

    Originally posted by DON.MAC
    Make a new file with the desired dimensions and the Color Mode set to 8 bit RGB Color.

    Create an image. Keep in mind: the gamma will be increased in game so your image will appear to be much brighter in the readyroom than it appears in Photoshop. One trick would be to increase your gamma in Windows to give you a better idea of what the image will look like in game. Trial and error may also be necessary.

    Save the image: File --> Save for Web --> PNG-8 format

    If you want to make an animated sprite, you need to have the same exact color palette for each frame. Click on the small right arrow button next to where the color palette is displayed and choose "Save Color Table". Then "Load Color Table". For each subsequent frame, BE SURE to load the same color table.

    If each of your frames contains different colors, you need to create a master color table template and load it for each frame. To make the appropriate color table template, make a sample/dummy frame that has all of the colors contained in all of your frames. Create a color table from this frame (you'll never include this BMP in the sprite, as its only purpose is to give you its color table, which has all the colors you use in your real frames) and then load it for each of the other frames.

    Save the image: File --> Save for Web --> PNG-8 format

    Open the PNG file in Photoshop and then save it as a BMP: File --> Save As --> BMP. The only color depth available should be 8 bit (256 colors). Save the file.

    Wyz and I found that compressing the BMPs when you save them, even if it's lossless, does not reduce the filesize of the final sprite. So, don't worry about compression options when you save the BMP files.
    Now you must turn your image (or images, if you're creating an animation) into a sprite file.

    To create a sprite file from one or more BMP files, I recommend the use of a program called Sprite Wizard. This is a humble executable (there is no installation; simply extract it and run it), and it's pretty easy to figure out, but I'll explain below:

    Sprite Wizard explains on its starting screen that its job is to compile into a sprite file the one or many BMP files which you have created. The program works by presenting the steps of this process to you one at a time (hence the name "Wizard").

    On Sprite Wizard's second screen, you're asked to add the BMP files you want displayed in your sprite. You can add one or many BMP files. If you add multiple BMPs on this screen (you're making an animation), you'll notice that Sprite Wizard will not allow you past this second screen unless all of the BMP files you have added use the exact same color palette. If you get an error saying one of the files "doesn't share the same palette... not loading", see DON's bold text above. Once you have your BMP file(s) added, proceed to the next screen.

    This third screen is only relevant if you're creating an animation (proceed to *** below if you're not creating an animation). It allows you to add, remove, and re-sequence the BMPs in the sprite. It's simple enough to figure out, but UNDERSTAND THE FOLLOWING: when I put your animated sprite on the server, I'm going to "play" it at 1 FPS (one frame per second). So, if you have four frames in your animation and want each displayed for three seconds, be sure on this screen to include each of the four corresponding BMP files three times in a row (f1.bmp| f1.bmp| f1.bmp| f2.bmp| f2.bmp| f2.bmp| f3.bmp| f3.bmp| f3.bmp).

    My experiments with Sprite Wizard have shown that it reliably supports around 20 frames in the entire animation. Here's the deal, though: it'll let you add 3000 BMPs on this third screen if you decide to. Not until you try to save the compiled sprite file to disk, after you've slaaaaaaaaaaved over adding and sequencing the frames, will it actually error. This is bad. The error's not clean, either ("Access violation at address #######. Read of address #######."), and I've found that, afterwards, Sprite Wizard sometimes crashes (losing all of your work) and sometimes allows you to go "back" to modify your frames. I don't know if it crashes because there are too many frames or because the filesize of the compiled sprite is more than it can handle. Bottom line? Be prepared to start over a few times if you're going to push the limits (>~20) when it comes to frames in your sprite animation.

    ***Proceed to the next screen when you're ready.***

    The fourth screen allows you to specify a Transparency Mode. If you want to get fancy, go nuts with Google educating yourself about Half-Life transparency mode options. Otherwise, I recommend the "Normal" option. After selecting your transparency mode, proceed to the next screen.

    Sprite Wizard's fifth and final screen allows you to specify two "Options", view your compiled sprite (animated, if that's your design -- see FPS note which follows), and to "Finish" by saving the created sprite (.spr) file to disk. If you got fancy with the Transparency Mode screen (fourth screen), I'll leave you to educate yourself about what the "Alphatest Transparency" option means on this fifth screen. Otherwise, make sure it IS selected. The value of the "Frames Per Second" option is irrelevant to you, as it's moot for non-animated sprites and I override the value to one frame per second when I install animated sprites on the server (you can set it to "5 FPS" if you need to slow down the animation a bit when it's played on this final screen, though, if you like).

    When you click on the final screen's "Finish" button, a "Save As" dialog window will appear. Specify the location and filename of your new sprite. Once the file has been saved, you can get a pretty good idea of what it will look like on the server by viewing it in SprView. Again, the gamma on the server will be much greater, so you actually WANT your creation too dark in this SprView. To observe the animation at 1 FPS, choose the "Speed" option from the "View" menu. I also recommend you choose "Zoom in" from the "View" menu, as it simply makes everything easier to see.

    Once you create a sprite (.spr) file with which you're satisfied, you've got to get it to me. I prefer you host it somewhere so that I can quickly and easily download it when I'm installing it on the server. In any case, you MUST - MUST - MUST then send me a PM with the following information (I'll ignore submissions which omit any of this information):

    1. In WHAT map's readyroom do you want the sprite displayed?
    2. WHERE in this readyroom do you want the sprite displayed?
    3. HOW do you want the sprite displayed?
    ---- Floating? (always facing the viewer, regardless of where the viewer moves in the readyroom)
    ---- Fixed location? (like the "Join Marines"/"Join Aliens" sprites; not visible from behind)
    4. Do you have any special instructions for me regarding scaling?

    Some good examples:
    I want my sprite displayed in ns_lost's "secret room". I want it displayed over the fourth mug shot on the left, and I want it applied to the wall so that it looks like my photo is actually part of the map, just like the mug shot my sprite will cover. Please scale the sprite so that it fits perfectly (or as close as you can get it) over the default mug shot.
    I want my sprite displayed in co_faceoff's readyroom. I want it displayed high in the air, floating. Please scale it so that it's really big up there.
    I want my sprite displayed in co_sava's "goat room". The sprite simply says "T_BEAR WAS HERE!", so it needs to be afixed to one of the gold bars on the right.
    I want my sprite in ns_nancy's readyroom. It says "T_BEAR Cafe", so just put it anywhere on the wall behind the bar, near those tall boxes."
    Some bad examples:
    Just put it on the wall in core.
    I want it on one of ns_tanith's stairs.
    Can I have it somewhere in co_core's readyroom?
    Here is an exemplary submission paranoid PM'd me:
    Originally posted by Wyzcrak
    Originally posted by ----paranoid----
    I zipped 2 screenshots and a text file showing where i wanted my sprite

    http://members.tacticalgamer.com/~pa...aranoidspr.rar
    It's installed.

    I moved it a bit higher than you specified, as I'd prefer to avoid folks walking through these things if I can.

    Let me know if you're satisfied.

    http://members.tacticalgamer.com/~wy...paranoidb1.png
    Note that the contents of the rar gives me everything I need. It's not fancy. It's quick, easy, and it gets me what I need to help you out getting the sprite on the server. The above is what a perfect submission can look like, and it shows how I'll work with you to make sure you're happy with how things turn out.

    Now.. apply all of the following to the entirety of the post before this point. If anything about the following doesn't satisfy me, your sprite will never make it to a readyroom:
    1. Keep it clean. Make innocent fun of your friends if you like, even if it's silly, but don't offend anyone.

    2. Create a sprite of any dimension (see technical restrictions above*), but know that I might use scaling to make it bigger or smaller if what you give me is toooooo small or tooooo big. I'm allowing this only in the readyrooms so as to not interfere with gameplay. None of us, though, wants things to get too out of control, readyroom or not.

    3. Max filesize: 285KB (animation or not)

    4. One sprite per person (including all maps). This may change in the future. It may not.

    5. The time consuming part of this for ME is placing your sprite in the readyroom. I have to determine the exact X, Y, and Z coordinates, and angles, of your sprite's placement. This is time consuming for me! Don't plan on changing the location of your sprite too often (this will cost points-spenders another 15,000 points). If you want to give me a new sprite file to display at the same location (replacing the sprite that's there), that's fine (this will cost points-spenders 5,000 points).

    6. This is supposed to make the server more interesting, not annoying. I'll use discretion to not allow any one readyroom to get too cluttered. If you ask for space in a popular readyroom, you might have to make a second choice for placement. I'm more likely to allow wall-mounted sprites in crowding readyrooms than I am to allow floating sprites in crowding readyrooms.

    7. This is not a trivial thing to enable on the server. It may come and go at any point in the future.
    Last edited by Wyzcrak; 05-07-2005, 06:08 PM.
    Steam Community? Add me. | Free Remote, Encrypted Backup

    Darkilla: In short, NS is pretty much really fast chess. With guns. Apophis: I haven't seen anyone say that SM's are better than non-SMs. Nordbomber: This is THE first server I've seen where either side can comeback from out of seemingly nowhere with the right teamwork. en4rcment: I have NEVER experienced the type of gameplay that I have found here. Nightly I am amazed at the personalities and gaming talent. Zephyr: Apophis is clearly a highly sophisticated self-aware AI construct that runs on a highly modified toaster oven in Wyzcrak's basement.

  • #2
    Re: Readyroom Sprites

    Great idea! Definately will attract more peole to the community... Cant wait to see what people come up with.

    BTW... for those that cant gain access to a copy of Photoshop, you might try using GIMPshop. It's a free "clone" if you will, that does prety much everything Photoshop does. (Besides burn a hole in your wallet) It's available for download from http://plasticbugs.com/index.php?p=241
    birdie_in_Texas:ok..i feel stupid here..what is "NS"..? Wyzcrak:Natural Selection. Don't feel at a loss for not knowing the acronym. Feel at a loss for not having experienced the game.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Readyroom Sprites

      Edit: Included example submission in first post.
      Steam Community? Add me. | Free Remote, Encrypted Backup

      Darkilla: In short, NS is pretty much really fast chess. With guns. Apophis: I haven't seen anyone say that SM's are better than non-SMs. Nordbomber: This is THE first server I've seen where either side can comeback from out of seemingly nowhere with the right teamwork. en4rcment: I have NEVER experienced the type of gameplay that I have found here. Nightly I am amazed at the personalities and gaming talent. Zephyr: Apophis is clearly a highly sophisticated self-aware AI construct that runs on a highly modified toaster oven in Wyzcrak's basement.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Readyroom Sprites

        Bump for our new SMs.
        Steam Community? Add me. | Free Remote, Encrypted Backup

        Darkilla: In short, NS is pretty much really fast chess. With guns. Apophis: I haven't seen anyone say that SM's are better than non-SMs. Nordbomber: This is THE first server I've seen where either side can comeback from out of seemingly nowhere with the right teamwork. en4rcment: I have NEVER experienced the type of gameplay that I have found here. Nightly I am amazed at the personalities and gaming talent. Zephyr: Apophis is clearly a highly sophisticated self-aware AI construct that runs on a highly modified toaster oven in Wyzcrak's basement.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Readyroom Sprites

          This should me made a sticky :D.
          Like the server? Become a regular! TGNS Required Reading
          Answers to every server question? Yes! TGNS FAQ

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Readyroom Sprites

            I personally think that the floating ones will make it look much cluttered than just having them on walls. If there is a readyroom who's walls are covered in sprites it will look kind of like grafiti and it will be interesting, but the floating ones are more 'eh' for me.

            The ones that are on the wall, does it handle it like a decal one would spray on? Or is it actually a sprite that is slightly off the wall?
            remi.D

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            • #7
              Re: Readyroom Sprites

              Originally posted by blu.knight
              I personally think that the floating ones will make it look much cluttered than just having them on walls. If there is a readyroom who's walls are covered in sprites it will look kind of like grafiti and it will be interesting, but the floating ones are more 'eh' for me.

              The ones that are on the wall, does it handle it like a decal one would spray on? Or is it actually a sprite that is slightly off the wall?

              It's actually a sprite that is fixed on the wall (or really close to it) that you can't see from behind. I would be cool to see readyrooms covered with good looking sprites from regs\SMs. IMO, it adds personality and community to the game, and would be neat to look at as well. The only way to get a significant amount of sprites in a single map would be to have everyone make one for one map that we play a lot (ie... tanith, veil, eclipse) although I would pick veil personally.

              Although this wouldn't work with floating ones as it gets really cluttered and the whole process is time consuming for wyzcrak. There is also a number of people that probably wouldn't like this idea as it could start looking kind of trashy and take away the atmosphere of the map.
              Like the server? Become a regular! TGNS Required Reading
              Answers to every server question? Yes! TGNS FAQ

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Readyroom Sprites

                If the sprites aren't all square that would also be good to make it look more unique.

                Wyz, can you grab the xyz data from sprays? Because if you could do that you could use that to place the sprites. That way you would just have the person go on the server, spray their decal somewhere, and then say a command so it knows to grab the data.

                But yeah, floating ones will make it look cluttered. On wall ones will be awesome.
                remi.D

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                • #9
                  Re: Readyroom Sprites

                  Originally posted by blu.knight
                  Wyz, can you grab the xyz data from sprays? Because if you could do that you could use that to place the sprites. That way you would just have the person go on the server, spray their decal somewhere, and then say a command so it knows to grab the data.
                  I've looked before for a plugin to let me do this. I'll look again.

                  Any other nerds who want to help me look are welcome to. :)
                  Steam Community? Add me. | Free Remote, Encrypted Backup

                  Darkilla: In short, NS is pretty much really fast chess. With guns. Apophis: I haven't seen anyone say that SM's are better than non-SMs. Nordbomber: This is THE first server I've seen where either side can comeback from out of seemingly nowhere with the right teamwork. en4rcment: I have NEVER experienced the type of gameplay that I have found here. Nightly I am amazed at the personalities and gaming talent. Zephyr: Apophis is clearly a highly sophisticated self-aware AI construct that runs on a highly modified toaster oven in Wyzcrak's basement.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Readyroom Sprites

                    I doubt you will be able to find one, you would need to fashion it yourself. I would reccomend looking into the plugin that makes a person's name appear when you look at their spray... That will probably have some hints of how to do it.

                    I could look into it a little bit later.
                    remi.D

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Readyroom Sprites

                      My personal recoomendation, load up the old won listen server and use status to give you the xyz. Another viable option would be decompiling, adding a decal, and checking the xyz of the decal in hammer.

                      A good question would be if newer ns versions still run in won if you try to.

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