RoundSquare tileset

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Hans Lemurson
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RoundSquare tileset

Postby Hans Lemurson » Sat Jun 30, 2018 12:40 am

Playing a Longturn game recently, I found out two important things:
  • Viewing a map this large requires a 30x30 tileset.
  • Trident makes my eyes bleed :evil:
So I embarked on an epic quest of graphics editing, and lost a weekend or two in the seductive "Save changes, Reload tileset, Make new changes" production loop. Textures were remixed, pixels were tweaked, graphics transplanted, borders modified, layers were reverse-engineered, and countless changes were undone and redone. Everything was done with the purpose: Does this make the screen easier to read?

The result is a modified version of Trident with the rough edges smoothed, and some terrain graphics simplified, to reduce "Visual Clutter".
See if you can spot the difference!
Image
(can you tell the difference between beauty and ugliness?)
Image
Roundsquare: Download today!


UPDATE NOTES:
July 1st, 2018: Version 0.2 I modified some graphics. Improved unit ranks, provided better contrast for Derricks against Oil resource, and trimmed down some worker job graphics (roads, rails).

July 29th, 2018: Version 0.3: I added pip-based tile yields, added new dot-based HP bars, modified the Unit Rank icons, and made the "out of moves" icon align beneath them. Here's a new "Before/After" picture:
["BEFORE" Picture removed for space and redundancy.]
Image
Which one makes you want to play Freeciv? :)

July 30th, 2018: Version 0.31: I fixed an error from improperly incorporating the extra unit graphics from the LongTurn ruleset.

August 8th, 2018: Version 0.4: I changed the "City Occupancy" flag to be more uniform and visually distinct.
Also added a secondary set of graphics for total food yield instead of assumed surplus. To use alternate graphics, follow Instructions in THIS POST


September 12th, 2018: Version 0.42: I tweaked some terrain graphics, and modified the Fanatic to look like a plausible rifle age warrior.

November 21st, 2018: Version 0.43: I made silk a nice Teal color, and turned pollution into Rainbow Barf.

TO INSTALL: Download the latest version (v0.43) and unzip it in the "/Freeciv-2.5-???/data" folder, to make it part of that Freeciv install.
Alternately, locate your "/UserName/AppData/Roaming/.freeciv/2.5" folder, and unzip the file into there to make it available to all Freeciv installs.
Attachments
RoundSquare v0.43.zip
Latest Version
(185.65 KiB) Downloaded 10 times
RoundSquare v0.42.zip
(185.75 KiB) Downloaded 16 times
RoundSquare v0.4.zip
(179.44 KiB) Downloaded 12 times
Freeciv Terrain Sample Trident.png
Ugly, jagged, and visually distracting
Freeciv Terrain Sample RoundSquare.png
Clear and crisp! (Early revisions)
Last edited by Hans Lemurson on Wed Nov 21, 2018 9:39 am, edited 8 times in total.
Wishes he could convert Civ2's scenarios to FreeCiv...
But instead, he made his own tileset variants, RoundSquare and Sextant-enHANSed, and refuses to play on anything else. Check them out!

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Arbogast
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Re: RoundSquare tileset

Postby Arbogast » Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:54 am

I don't play the Trident set, so, my comment may fall into a minority.
I prefer by far the "Ugly, jagged, and visually distracting", it looks more "realistic".
Hans Lemurson's "RoundSquare Tileset" is too clean, reminds me of a crossword puzzle. Although it is a remarkable job.

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XYZ
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Re: RoundSquare tileset

Postby XYZ » Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:53 am

I like it! You turned on the lights! Each time someone sent me a trident screenshot I lost orientation and coudnt compare my amplio map to theirs because it was so messy (besides that the map is turned around). Also, the pheasant and the buffalo look just too similar in original trident; you fixed that. I prefer your cleanliness over sending a unit to the wrong square, so good job!
Last edited by XYZ on Sat Jun 30, 2018 12:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Hans Lemurson
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Re: RoundSquare tileset

Postby Hans Lemurson » Sat Jun 30, 2018 10:48 am

Arbogast wrote:I don't play the Trident set, so, my comment may fall into a minority.
I prefer by far the "Ugly, jagged, and visually distracting", it looks more "realistic".
Hans Lemurson's "RoundSquare Tileset" is too clean, reminds me of a crossword puzzle. Although it is a remarkable job.

You are absolutely right that there is an artistry in Trident that makes the terrain look more "natural" which I have nearly entirely removed. All of that effort to disguise the grid and make the land look partly realistic...gone.

When playing with Trident, there were three things that bothered me:
-The speckles (probably due to color palette limitation at the time of its creation)
-What the hell is up with those Pheasants and Buffalos?
-Tile boundaries are not clearly visible (a deliberate effort on the part of the artist).

I first set out to smooth the speckled grasslands, but found that the grassland texture was part of everything, and so to create a consistent smoother aesthetic, I would have to touch nearly EVERY TILE IN THE SET. I then realized that if I was going to edit everything, I might as well fix some things.

My first changes were actually swapping in scaled versions of the Pheasant and Buffalo from Amplio. I made some tweaks to the irrigation and farmland graphics too, because I thought they looked messy and inelegant. I tweaked some resources to look better when a tile was mined, and then took a break for a while.

Re-doing the borders was a challenging process because I didn't have the original layers that they were made from. I did some clever cutting and pasting and was able to create blank borderless tiles, which I experimented with for making my own. I eventually settled on the rounded corner aesthetic as looking nice and clean without any jagged pixels, but still showing boundaries and delineations. Swamps actually use a different tile border that seemed too thick and was too obvious about tile boundaries, but I felt it looked right on the swamps.

All of the flatland textures I smoothed and blurred to eliminate all traces of distracting speckle. I didn't want any confusion between foreground and background. Maps can get VERY busy with 30pixel tiles, and being able to spot the important information quickly is important, since otherwise reading the map becomes mentally taxing, which is a problem I face sometimes.

Eventually I realized that the coastal borders were still using speckled grass, and I did not have the ability to blur that without creating graphical errors and smoothing out things that ought not be smoothed. I tried to select and modify just the grass, but it was a losing battle, and eventually just had to give up and replace the intricate and fancy coastlines with something that was within my capabilities to produce. So I made these curvy shapes. I tried making straight edges, but it didn't look quite right since flat coast also has to be applied to corners and small islands. Trident did a very good job of disguising the fact that its coastline always cuts across to the corners at tile boundaries. I needed to do the same thing, but I realized I could do that AND create a theme for my tileset. All squares are bulbous and round and this makes it easier to count tiles.

I then faced the dilemma of Hills, Forests, and Mountains. These had been carefully crafted to link to one another left to right to form smooth belts and chains. It looked nice, but as I tried making my own variants of these, I realized that the thing most pleasing to my eyes was the isolated graphics. So I eliminated all neighbor-interaction graphics for these tiles, and changed the tiles to "show the square" more. The forest I actually just stole from Sextant (which itself is double-sized Trident) and then carefully scaled it down. With the trees so small now, they fade into the background and don't interfere with the visual interpretation of foreground objects like Units.

And so, many of the artistic flourishes of the Trident tileset were systematically eliminated until I was left with something that is "Clean and reminds me of a crossword puzzle".
Wishes he could convert Civ2's scenarios to FreeCiv...
But instead, he made his own tileset variants, RoundSquare and Sextant-enHANSed, and refuses to play on anything else. Check them out!

Hans Lemurson
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Re: RoundSquare tileset

Postby Hans Lemurson » Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:52 pm

I have been experimenting with adding Pip-Based tile yield graphics to replace the food/production/trade numerals. I have also done a lot of tweaking of the HP bars to make them easier to read more precisely.
Image
I like the granularity the HP bars provide, but I worry that they might take up too much room on in the limited 30x30 real estate. What are your thoughts?
Wishes he could convert Civ2's scenarios to FreeCiv...
But instead, he made his own tileset variants, RoundSquare and Sextant-enHANSed, and refuses to play on anything else. Check them out!

Wahazar
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Re: RoundSquare tileset

Postby Wahazar » Thu Jul 26, 2018 10:00 pm

This new trident tileset looks like chessboard, but it is what I expect from overhead trident set. If I would like to have realistic tileset, I would use isometric one.

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XYZ
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Re: RoundSquare tileset

Postby XYZ » Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:50 am

adding Pip-Based tile...granularity the HP bars provide


I like it!

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vodot
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Re: RoundSquare tileset

Postby vodot » Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:50 pm

Hans, even though I am a "seamlessly-and-beautifully-connected-mountain-ranges" kinda guy, I think your tileset is gorgeous! Awesome work!

Here's an ask- I like the coastline ripples so much, I want more! Have you thought about adding another concentric ripple or two to the coastline?

Here's a (much bigger) ask: Do it in Hex!! ;)

Hans Lemurson
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Re: RoundSquare tileset

Postby Hans Lemurson » Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:01 am

Wahazar wrote:This new trident tileset looks like chessboard, but it is what I expect from overhead trident set. If I would like to have realistic tileset, I would use isometric one.
Yeah, I started out with Trident because I just needed to see more map at once to properly judge strategic situations. And when you're viewing the map from that level of zoom, "realism" is not your primary concern.

XYZ wrote:
adding Pip-Based tile...granularity the HP bars provide


I like it!

I'm actually liking my Yield-Pips more and more as I use them. They give a much better visceral feedback for the quality of terrain. Build a railroad through that mine and you get to see more dots appear! Build a road on the plains and you make a yellow dot! Irrigate it and you make a bad red dot go away. Add up all your green dots, subtract all your red dots (then add 2 for the city center) and that's your food surplus!

I spent a whole day experimenting with HP bars, and eventually settled on one that uses 2x1 dots instead of 2x2 in order to save space. Discrete HP dots just makes the whole thing feel more "wargamey", and I like it. It makes the battles 15% more dramatic too, since you are better able to see each hit-point disappear, rather than just watching a bar slowly shift. How much is a slight shift of the bar? It's not really clear. But watching your dots vanish? You KNOW what that means.

The consistent princple here is: "More dots are good!"

vodot wrote:Hans, even though I am a "seamlessly-and-beautifully-connected-mountain-ranges" kinda guy, I think your tileset is gorgeous! Awesome work!

Here's an ask- I like the coastline ripples so much, I want more! Have you thought about adding another concentric ripple or two to the coastline?

Here's a (much bigger) ask: Do it in Hex!! ;)

My constant criteria is "Is this easy on the eyes? Can I tell at a glance what I'm dealing with?" I initially wanted to preserve the connected tiles, have nice rolling hills and broad forests, but I found that it was just better without them. Being able to see the tiles as discrete units let me relax a bit more when viewing the map, since I didn't have to use a continually discerning eye. The grid is a little too visually intensive for my tastes, especially with what it does to city's worked tiles.

I tried adding another layer of coastline ripples in an earlier iteration, but it ended up just looking kinda tacky when it interacted with the regular wavy-pattern of the water. Maybe I could make it look good, but it didn't seem worth the effort.

I do have ambitions of doing my own Hexagonal tileset. The existing ones seem designed by people with no understanding of geometry. One bit of trouble though is that with squares (since you can mostly ignore diagonals) you only have to deal with 2^4 = 16 border tile graphics, but with Hexagons...unless you figure out a very clever scheme, you're dealing with 2^6 = 64 border tile graphics. :( Per Terrain. :cry:
Wishes he could convert Civ2's scenarios to FreeCiv...
But instead, he made his own tileset variants, RoundSquare and Sextant-enHANSed, and refuses to play on anything else. Check them out!

Hans Lemurson
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Posts: 85
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:25 pm

Re: RoundSquare tileset

Postby Hans Lemurson » Sun Jul 29, 2018 10:42 pm

Ok, version 0.3 is available for download.
Burn the old graphics folder and make way for the future! :)

Here's that same scene with the slightly slimmer HP bars of the new version.
Image
The HP dots are still distinct, but the bar doesn't overlap with the Yield-Pips any more.

How do people feel about the red-pips on the 1-food tiles?
-Is it confusing?
-Does it show "this tile costs 1 food surplus to work"?
-Did you not really notice?
-Would you prefer simple green-pips that just show the total food output rather than the surplus?
Wishes he could convert Civ2's scenarios to FreeCiv...
But instead, he made his own tileset variants, RoundSquare and Sextant-enHANSed, and refuses to play on anything else. Check them out!