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BorgNorn Development Group   1 | 2
Annex

Annex
United Kingdom  


  7/29/2012

Hey all. Those who have seen me around for a while may know me as the guy who keeps trying to re-do the BorgNorn for C3/DS. (I was also involved in the original release.)

Well for this year's CCSF I want to get them done and done well, and so I am looking to form a small group of around 3 or 4 people in order to get things completed.

What I want to create is a full set of breed sprites, a new genome, a new metaroom and a whole slew of agents.

Now as I am a 3D artist by trade, ideally I would want to focus on that, but I want someone who can process the generated images into usable sprites (trim of the fuzzy edges and package them into files). Of course, I would be happy to take someone on if they are a 3D wizz too.

I need a real hotshot CAOS coder, as these scripts can be a real pain in the ass. I have some done, but I am sure they could be improved.

I need someone to take care of the genetics of the creatures.

Ideally, I also want these people to help contribute to ideas and concept generation.

So a recap of what I need:

Sprite Artist
CAOS Engineer
Genetics Engineer

If you are interested in being part of this project over the next couple of months and feel you have the skills to take on some of the outlined duties, let me know! A track record of producing strong content would be a real plus!
Alex

 
C-Rex
Lollipop Lord

C-Rex
United Kingdom  

 visit C-Rex's website: The Norn Nebula
  7/29/2012

I'm sort of skilled with genetics, and I've made quite a few genetic breeds myself. Let me know what you need done and I'll see if I can help you. :)

On a side note, I don't always have internet access, in case this affects the project.


⋆ The Norn Nebula ⋆

My YouTube Channel

 
Annex

Annex
United Kingdom  


  7/29/2012

Hey C-Rex,

I am not great shakes with the old genetics, so I need someone who has a good handle on the standard norn genome as a whole. I think what I am after is a new organ added to act as an "implant," and this implant will generate the chemicals that trigger and dictate teleportation, assimilation, shield generation and connection to the hive.
These are just my initial ideas. As I said, I am looking for people that know their field and can add concepts based on that knowledge.

If this is something you think you can do, let me know and we shall see if we can get something sorted.

Alex

 
Liam

Liam
Australia  

 visit Liam's website: Spellhold Studios
  7/29/2012

Find a way to make your renders sprite-compatible, without fuzzy edges. I doubt anybody would want to do the terribly tedious and often difficult job of individually fixing each frame--it would make much more sense to find a way to do it automatically. If you use 3dsMax there are a bunch of ways you can do this -- Moe might be able to give you some pointers.

Keep in mind if you are rendering the whole norn, the body data will have to be done as well.

Best of luck :)


- Liam / K'aeloree

Spellhold Studios, a Baldur's Gate II, Neverwinter Nights and Oblivion Modding Community

 
Ghosthande
Prodigal Sock

Ghosthande
United States  

 visit Ghosthande's website: Breeders Beware
  7/29/2012

Depending on the program he's using that may be easier said than done. Blender doesn't seem to give you the option of having non-fuzzy edges unless you don't apply any smoothing at all... which isn't always desirable because it can really mess up the textures and other details. But if his software allows it, then yeah, that's not an option you want to bypass if you can help it.


 
Annex

Annex
United Kingdom  


  7/30/2012

The main way it can be done, and I believe the way that Moe did it for the Apple Norns, is using a batch process in photoshop to remove the fuzzy edges (and remove any pure black from the core of the image).

In theory this is a very quick process when done correctly, and should leave you with a set of sprites that can be batch imported into the srpite editor with ease.
However, since I updated my software and operating system, I can no longer batch import my sprites into the Sprite Editor...the images become distorted and split.
Also, It doesn't work when I copy and paste individual frames from Photoshop to the Sprite Editor, so I have to copy from PS to Paint, and then into the editor.

Given these problems, it can take me hours to do a head sprite, despite the automation, and this is time I could be spending creating more artwork...hence the reason I am looking to delegate the task.

Hopefully, whoever takes the task on will be able to just do it all with a batch import, but I wont pretend there aren't things that could make the job a bit harder!

It might be worth noting that I would be willing to take someone on for this role without experience and give them some training in the area...as I said I do this for a job after all.
Alex

 
C-Rex
Lollipop Lord

C-Rex
United Kingdom  

 visit C-Rex's website: The Norn Nebula
  7/30/2012

@Annex: Sounds pretty complex, and I'm not sure I'd be able to get my head around it I'm afraid. Have you tried asking Grendel Man, he's good with genetics.

⋆ The Norn Nebula ⋆

My YouTube Channel

 
Liam

Liam
Australia  

 visit Liam's website: Spellhold Studios
  7/30/2012

In Photoshop, make sure you save your bmp files at 24 bit and with flip row order ticked. That should solve the issue you're having, I think. :)

- Liam / K'aeloree

Spellhold Studios, a Baldur's Gate II, Neverwinter Nights and Oblivion Modding Community

 
mip

mip
United Kingdom  

 visit mip's website: Exploring the Ark
  7/30/2012

Regarding your Photoshop problems with Sprite Builder, I think I might be able to help fix your problem!

When I first started messing with sprites for C3, I saved in default 24 bit bitmap (.bmp) as I had read this was the correct format for C3 sprites. However, when I imported or copied the files into Sprite Builder, they came out looking like striped negatives. The way to fix this, at least for me, is to tick 'Flip Row Order' when saving the 24 bit bitmap. You can set up macros/actions that save in this way and then batch save files.

I hope that helps! :)

I'm still in the process of learning C3 genetics so I don't think I'd be good enough to help make a breed like this, but I would be happy to beta test the genetics and check for errors if you want.



Exploring the Ark
A journal for C3/DS - updated last: 5 May 2013

 
Annex

Annex
United Kingdom  


  7/30/2012

Awesome...thanks to both Liam and mip...one problem solved at least! Should make sprite work a piece of cake then. I would still be after someone to do the work, however, as there is just so much to do I need help to get the project completed.

@C-Rex: I may give Grendel Man a try if he comes recommended. Thanks for the tip.

 
Annex

Annex
United Kingdom  


  7/31/2012

As uptake seems to be a bit slow, I thought I would add a quick post detailing where I am with the project at the moment.

At the moment, I have done the most work on scripting. I have taken the approach of altering the creature scripts as taken from the bootstrap file. For example, I altered how BN react to being hit by generating a shield.

I have also altered how BorgNorn sleep. At the moment they stand and enter a "Regeneration Cycle" instead of sleeping. When I have the CAOS for the Alcoves done, they will teleport into an alcove to regenerate.

The biggest script alteration is to how BN react to high drives. If a BN is lonely, they locate another creature and teleport to it's location. I have made similar changes to other drives. I have been working really hard to make this script error free, but at the moment it seems to throw an error for around every 50 norn hours. I am note sure if it is possible to get this script error free, but I am interested in someone having a go.

At the moment, I haven't done any work on the assimilation script, so this needs writing in it's entirety.

The bulk of the coding will be for writing the scripts for supporting agents made for the breed (critters and tools and the like).

I terms of getting artwork done, this is the area that I have done the least work on, but as it is by far my strongest area I am happy I can get plenty of content produced to a high standard pretty quickly.

I have done work on the alcoves and they look pretty good, but I haven't got a consistent art style fixed yet, so these may change.

So that's pretty much where I am at. I am confident that this project can be completed in a couple of months if I can join forces with a couple of hard working peeps. I have tried many times to finish this project on my own, but have never managed it. It's just too much for one person.

I hope there are people who fancy the challenge and can get passionate about the project.

Alex

 
Ettina

Ettina



  7/31/2012

I'd be willing to help, but you have several gengineers already so I'm not sure what help I'd be.

By the way, I don't care if anyone steals my ideas for their own work, as long as you don't try to stop me from making my own stuff. Many ideas I mention are things I don't have the time or skill to actually do.
 
Annex

Annex
United Kingdom  


  7/31/2012

@Ettina: Would you fancy trying your hand at working with the sprites?

You would need access to Adobe Photoshop and, if you don't know how to do it already, a willingness for learning new skills.

What you would be doing is taking sets of images supplied by me and packaging them into c16 files fit for the game, with a bit of preparation in PS before hand.

This would involve taking the first image of the set and recording a batch process where you first remove the fuzzy edge from the edge of the sprite, and then make sure the core of the sprite contains no pure black.
You then run this batch process on the rest of the image files (Photoshop would do this automatically) and then import them into Sprite Builder.

I would provide a video tutorial on the process so you would know what you are doing, and be available if you had any questions.
I will not pretend this is an exciting job, but it is an essential one to giving the project a professional finish.
You would also be able to act as a tester in the group, as all members would be responsible for helping route out any bugs.

So...what thinks thee?

 
Jessica

Jessica
United States  

 visit Jessica's website: Discover Albia
  7/31/2012

Oh, spriting! I'm working on my C1 Grendel project, and have found out all about the wonderful land of Paint, Photo Shop, bitmaps, pure black, pure white, and everything in between. I actually found that saving in 16 bit worked the best for me... I haven't noticed any changes in the way they're rendered in C1, but I imagine things are much different for C3/DS!

I hesitate to volunteer myself, just because I know I've got a pretty big list of things I want to finish up in the coming months. But if you're in need of more help and volunteers seem a bit scarce, I would be happy to lend a hand if need be!

This thread also finally set off the light bulb for batch processing... Speaking of which, how do you go about setting up the action for replacing pure black? Thanks!


Discover Albia

 
Annex

Annex
United Kingdom  


  7/31/2012

The way I process sprites is as follows:

I open my first image and use the magic selection to select all the black around the sprite. I make sure I click right in the corner when I do this, just in case the sprite changes a lot during the animation.

I then go to select>expand and expand the selection by 1 pixel and then fill the selection with pure black. This removes the fuzzy edges from Anti-Aliased renders.

I then invert the selection (Crtl+I) to select the sprite itself, and go into adjustments>levels. This will bring up a tool with a graph type thing at the top. Below thatis a bar called "Output Levels." I take the black tab of this tool and drag it very slightly to the right. This should remove the pure black from inside the sprite.

As I am not at my work computer at the moment, I can't get on to check this is 100% accurate at the moment, but I think this should do it. If not, you need to play with the input levels...one of them will work!

I will see how things go in terms of volunteers...as I have had no one voice interest for the coding yet, I may end up having to do that myself. This could be problematic, as it is the second largest task after creating the artwork, but we shall see what happens!

If anyone is interested in the coding, but doesn't want to take on the full job, I may look at splitting the role in half and getting two people to work together on it.

Thoughts anyone?

Alex

 
mip

mip
United Kingdom  

 visit mip's website: Exploring the Ark
  8/1/2012

I can do the batch edits on the sprites. [nsmile] I've not de-fuzzed sprite edges before or removed 100% black from pictures but heck, you've just written up how to do that and the rest of the process is basically automated.


Exploring the Ark
A journal for C3/DS - updated last: 5 May 2013

 
Annex

Annex
United Kingdom  


  8/1/2012

@mip: Awesometown. Good to have you on board. I am away from my work PC at the moment (Olympics and all that), so I will have to wait until Monday to get you all the existing files to start testing, and it may take me a bit to get some sprites for you.

I will also get some sort of group set up somewhere for file sharing and the like.

One post filled, some interest in the genetics. Anyone for CAOS?

 
mip

mip
United Kingdom  

 visit mip's website: Exploring the Ark
  8/1/2012

Ahh, I wish I was away from my work PC... [nlaugh]

No problem! I have a separate PC (TV PC!) that is perfect for testing stuff on without doing crazy things to my normal C3 worlds. As far as the sprite work goes, I'm planning to do the bulk of it on weekends.



Exploring the Ark
A journal for C3/DS - updated last: 5 May 2013

 
Ettina

Ettina



  8/1/2012

Um, the sprites thing sounds like it would be beyond me, sorry.

By the way, I don't care if anyone steals my ideas for their own work, as long as you don't try to stop me from making my own stuff. Many ideas I mention are things I don't have the time or skill to actually do.
 
Annex

Annex
United Kingdom  


  8/1/2012

@Ettina: Not a problem, mip has stepped into the breach and has taken on the sprite work.

If you want to be involved in testing at a later date I will keep in contact.

 
Liam

Liam
Australia  

 visit Liam's website: Spellhold Studios
  8/1/2012

If you use 3dsMax, you can solve the true-black-inside-rendered-objects problem by upping your ambient environment light just slightly. That'll save you from having to fix it in post. :)

- Liam / K'aeloree

Spellhold Studios, a Baldur's Gate II, Neverwinter Nights and Oblivion Modding Community

 
Annex

Annex
United Kingdom  


  8/2/2012

Yup, that would sort it. To be honest, I never really have problems with pure black on sprites as I light pretty much everything with HDRI light probes these days.

I don't know if I would ever stop putting a quick post fix in, however, as it takes so little effort and ensures zero headaches.

 
Bifrost

Bifrost
Norway  


  8/3/2012

I don't know if you've started with any graphics or genetics yet, but in case you haven't, let me drop a tiny suggestion. I did some thinking about the entire borg creatures concept, and decided I think this is something that fits with what we've been told about banshee society and thoughts. Should the banshee ever come across the borg norns (now thinking of the previous light DS version, or the C2 version), I'm almost certain they would attempt to acquire the technology, and either apply it on themselves or on their strongest creations yet - the banshee grendels. And that lead me to the thought of:

*drumroll*

Banshee borg grendels.

Just a thought...

 
sam999

sam999


 visit sam999's website: Speculative Evolution
  8/6/2012

Two questions?

1. Are the borg sprites going to be a basic norn 'shopped into being covered in biomechanical equipment, or just biomechanical equipment which is somehow overlaid over the original sprites of the assimilated creature? Either way, what is a gaius going to look like if assimilated?

2. Anyone lined up for the fanfic regarding the lone shee's encounter with a borg cube yet? If not, should I do it?

 
Annex

Annex
United Kingdom  


  8/6/2012

I will be creating a full set of breed sprites in 3D for the BorgNorn.

I toyed with the idea of using clothing to give the visual "assimilation" look, but the system in game is just not robust enough, so full sprite set it is. At the moment, I am thinking along the lines of making them look like a cross between bats and hairless cats with cybernetic augmentation.

I would be glad to have you on board for the back story. PM me an email address and I will get you all the existing files so you can have a play while you write.

As an update for everyone else, I think I have a very solid and workable version of the BorgNorn scripts written now.
Assimilation, teleportation, shields and regeneration are all working, and I haven't encountered any errors on my existing builds...so hurrah!

I have a solid design concept for the metaroom, and I'm going to make a test version to see how the layout all works before making the room in 3D.

I am still in need of a good genetic engineer to take on the challenge. At the moment all my BN are far too nice, and aren't that fond of crowds...not really what I am after!

 
mip

mip
United Kingdom  

 visit mip's website: Exploring the Ark
  8/6/2012



Pictured is my first test of the current alpha of the borg norns (excuse the low quality picture, I'm on my TV PC)! Picard started in the new v2 Biodome and were he a normal norn, he should have had no way to get to the Ark without me... but of course such limitations are nothing to borg and he simply teleported out! As you can see, he has just finished his regeneration cycle in this picture.

I'm almost surprised at how enjoyable this breed is even in this early state! I think a genetic engineer could have a fun and interesting time regulating the new genes and tweaking normal genes to help this breed fit the behaviours and themes of the borg. Although I'm only helping out with getting the sprites into the game, I'm really looking forward to working on this project. :)



Exploring the Ark
A journal for C3/DS - updated last: 5 May 2013

 
Annex

Annex
United Kingdom  


  8/7/2012



A quick preview of the work I have done this morning on making the head model for the BorgNorn. The babies will start with no/minimal implants, and they well gain more as they age.

I know that not much of the finer detail will transfer to the sprites, but I might want to render out a trailer or something to go with the release.

 
Annex

Annex
United Kingdom  


  8/7/2012



And an early sprite test. Now to start adding some implants to it!

 
Annex

Annex
United Kingdom  


  8/7/2012

And because I've not said it yet...Resistance Is Futile.


 
Bifrost

Bifrost
Norway  


  8/7/2012

Awesome!
 
mip

mip
United Kingdom  

 visit mip's website: Exploring the Ark
  8/7/2012  1

Wow, your progress shots look amazing!

Have you decided what appearance slot the borg norns are going to assimilate? [ngrin]



Exploring the Ark
A journal for C3/DS - updated last: 5 May 2013

 
Yomegami
Sanely Insane

Yomegami
United States  
Manager


 visit Yomegami's website: The Realm
  8/7/2012

^I was just about to ask that. I think the best slot would be Geat Q, since the one breed in that slot (CAtoDS Primrose Norns) have a better-done version available in a different slot. Most of the Norn slots have official breeds in them, and the ones that don't mostly have at least one quality breed in them. Grendel and Ettin slots should be saved for the grendels and ettins - there's enough norns in them as it is.

Anyway, I'm still not sure if this is something I want to get involved with or not, but what you've done so far looks very nice (though it reminds me of a demonic chihuahua). Personally, I think the mouth looks a little too long and therefore a little odd, but that's a minor nitpick.


~ The Realm ~
D.L. Yomegami's Creatures Blog


 
sam999

sam999


 visit sam999's website: Speculative Evolution
  8/7/2012

I vote for grendel slot E as the slot for borg norn sprites.

Clashes with PL Bengal Norns but I'm pretty sure they were lost when the Gameware Forums went down.

And anyway, I'd prefer to have borg norns in my game myself.

P.S. How do borg norn tails look? Most norn tails have a little teardrop-shaped tuft of fur but since borg norns seem to be bald how do their tails appear?

P.P.S. I like borg norn mouths just the way they are. Perfect mix between creepy and cute in my view.

Sorry Grendel Man.

 
Ghosthande
Prodigal Sock

Ghosthande
United States  

 visit Ghosthande's website: Breeders Beware
  8/7/2012

Their mouths look good to me, I just might suggest adding a tongue and some teeth... it's a little strange not seeing anything in there. They're like demonic chihuahua muppets. :P


 
Annex

Annex
United Kingdom  


  8/7/2012

Hey all, thanks for the feedback! Always good to have.

I am quite happy with how the general shape and proportions are looking. I suspect those who find them a little odd looking might find them more normal when I add teeth and tongue, and when I rig the ears so I can pose and animate them.

As for the slot, I haven't given it any though yet, so suggestions are useful. It may be that I release two versions that fill different slots so people can pick which one the want it to occupy.

And the tails...this has been bugging me for a while. I want the BN hairless, but I don't think a hairless tail would work. I may try it and see though!

On a final note, I think I am going to alter how the BN deals with Assimilation. I think a drone out in the world can inject another norn with nanites and incapacitate them. Then a robot probe comes and transports the unconscious norn to the hive where full assimilation takes place. This is closer to the films etc. and gives norns time to escape their fate. What do people think of this plan?

Alex

 
sam999

sam999


 visit sam999's website: Speculative Evolution
  8/7/2012

Annex wrote:
Hey all, thanks for the feedback! Always good to have.

You're welcome.

Annex wrote:
I am quite happy with how the general shape and proportions are looking. I suspect those who find them a little odd looking might find them more normal when I add teeth and tongue, and when I rig the ears so I can pose and animate them.

Agreed. I'm also presently surprised that borg norns may have expressive faces. Even if the normal borg norns don't use them then at least realistic hybrids will be easier.

Annex wrote:
As for the slot, I haven't given it any though yet, so suggestions are useful. It may be that I release two versions that fill different slots so people can pick which one the want it to occupy.

Grendel E and geat Q apparently are the main ideas.

Annex wrote:
And the tails...this has been bugging me for a while. I want the BN hairless, but I don't think a hairless tail would work. I may try it and see though!

While it may seem odd, it works. Look at baby Deep Norns for an example. Maybe adults could have the flesh-and-blood tail end half-finished with a skeletal implant made of black plastic and metal tipping the tail.

Annex wrote:
On a final note, I think I am going to alter how the BN deals with Assimilation. I think a drone out in the world can inject another norn with nanites and incapacitate them. Then a robot probe comes and transports the unconscious norn to the hive where full assimilation takes place. This is closer to the films etc. and gives norns time to escape their fate. What do people think of this plan?

I think it sounds pretty good, but wonder what the robot probe will look like.

Other ideas/questions I had.

1. What's the deal with the queen/gender in borg norns? My advice would be to leave her out, just drones of both genders. She's probably aboard the main borg cube somewhere not dealing with the assimilation of a bunch of bio-engineered pets of the shee, or at least would really mess up gender in half-borg hybrids.

2. Can we have a "rogue borg" egg-agent which is a norn with borg norn sprites but a chichi genome? So we can have bio-mechanical creatures without assimilation and/or violence?

3. What's the borg cube metaroom like? I could use a map/few screenshots for my attempts at writing a story in which the Lone Shee is bumbling about in it and spilling tea on the equipment....

 

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