Thoughts on Typhon's Volcano Island remake

Thoughts on Typhon's Volcano Island remake

Postby Alayan » 22 Sep 2021, 22:01

I've been made aware of this remake and I'm going to comment on it from a perspective of updating the main game for the 2.0. It's easier for me to pick on issues than to notice all the small things that were wrong before and have been improved. Some of the issues existed in the original and are simply stated here as further improvements.

- I appreciate the design choice of adding land mass to the left of the starting line, it makes the island less tiny.
- The vegetation (changed trees and new trees) is very much improved over the original. That must have been a lot of work, but the result is great.
- The vegetation moving with the wind is cool too.
- I appreciate the ground zipper when entering the underground area, it speeds up a bit the track.
- I don't appreciate so much the zipper on the jump as it completely bypasses the small track area with water and the section going back up. It does solve the infinite-respawn AI bug though and a speed boost adds its fun. What about reducing the zipper's power (this can be configured in the track's files, GP Island has a custom ground zipper strength for example) and slightly redesigning the ground to extend the underwater/going up area? The steepness of the "going up" area can be reduced somewhat compared to the original to avoid the very rare cases of the kart losing meaningful speed on landing.
- The heat-deformation effects above the lava are great.
- The lava itself is better looking. The rocky areas with fumes/lava sparks in the middle of molten lava are a bit strange however. Some darker spots on the surface from lava cooling down could be visually interesting, too.
- I notice the lava levels have been reduced a bit compared to the original. That's good but I have a few nitpicks. The tires go onto the lava as if it was solid and there is a noticeable margin (about half Gavroche's width) between touching the lava and the auto-rescue. The transition between the lava lakes and the stone blocks is perfect straight lines. Irregular spots of solidified lava on the road rock along the transition border would be interesting.
- To some degree that's a weakness of STK as a whole, but I'm thinking a sound effect when touching lava and getting rescued would make this a lot more lively. We are far from having per-kart "it hurts" sounds however and one sound for everyone may not feel right.
- Performance-wise, I'm losing a few FPS compared to the original but it's not that much. It doesn't appear to be too demanding compared to STK's most demanding tracks.
- The white lines on the border of the road have not changed from the original. This means they still suffer from having abrupt angle in curves instead of being smoother.
- For the most part, the rock near the track is the same as it is in the original, with the clear straight lines on the place it joins the ground and the smooth surfaces.
- It's possible to drive underwater on the coastline. There is no splash effect when entering water, the rescue plane is located too far away from the shoreline and the particle dust effect of driving on sand continue to be displayed when underwater.
- I don't like the additional banana in the middle of the crossroad soon after the start, you can only see it very shortly before reaching this area. This area is already tricky after the start when there are many karts and they don't pick the same path.
- I don't like the new sets of banana during the first long turn for the same reason (late visibility). The 1.0 bananas on the track were placed on purpose in locations where you have a bit of time to see them even if you don't know the track by heart. It's also arguable that it's more fun to pick up powerups than to eat a banana, so bananas should be used sparingly within a track.
- There are red light effects at the very end of the tunnel. I guess it's the torches burning just outside while the sun is shining, but I find it strange-looking, especially as only within-the-tunnel rocks look like they reflect this light.
- The grass road transition could be made to look more natural
- The road and sand textures are stille the old ones who unfortunately lack some quality and get blurry up close even at medium resolutions. I know finding good quality replacement textures is not easy but I'm still putting it in the list.
- I'm not too hot about the new rocks on the track. Gameplay wise, I don't feel it adds very much. More importantly, stylistically I think it's not consistent. On Volcano Island, the road appears to be well taken care of, with good asphalt, no potholes and so on. The random rocks on the road don't look like the result of a recent volcanic event and appear inconsistent with the general state of good road quality.
- The Wilbert on the side of the road with the "security" vest is gigantic compared to the kart character, there is a proportion issue.
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Re: Thoughts on Typhon's Volcano Island remake

Postby eltomito » 22 Sep 2021, 22:33

Alayan {l Wrote}:- I'm not too hot about the new rocks on the track. Gameplay wise, I don't feel it adds very much. More importantly, stylistically I think it's not consistent. On Volcano Island, the road appears to be well taken care of, with good asphalt, no potholes and so on. The random rocks on the road don't look like the result of a recent volcanic event and appear inconsistent with the general state of good road quality.


I really like these new rocks extending into the road. To me, they are the greatest gameplay improvement over the original Volcano Island, because IMO they make it way more fun. Before, the whole long section of the road winding up the hill was just an exercise in staying as close to the right side of the road as possible and hoping the guy behind you doesn't cake you before you get to the straight road. Now you actually have to avoid the rocks, so there's other things to do, other things to worry about both for you and the others and I like that a lot better. Just my 2 cents!
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Re: Thoughts on Typhon's Volcano Island remake

Postby Typhon » 23 Sep 2021, 13:07

Hey Alayan,

thanks for this detailed feedback :)
I hope you'll excuse if I only go onto some of your points.
Details about what I changed can be found in the license file.

Alayan {l Wrote}:- I don't appreciate so much the zipper on the jump as it completely bypasses the small track area with water and the section going back up. It does solve the infinite-respawn AI bug though and a speed boost adds its fun. What about reducing the zipper's power (this can be configured in the track's files, GP Island has a custom ground zipper strength for example) and slightly redesigning the ground to extend the underwater/going up area? The steepness of the "going up" area can be reduced somewhat compared to the original to avoid the very rare cases of the kart losing meaningful speed on landing.

Well, that shouldn't be much of a problem. I just thought that a jump without boost is sort of lame, so I added one. I wasn't quite sure about the strength of it and if I change it, I would also change the strength of the zipper at the beginning of the tunnel. If I want to avoid that, I'd have to duplicate the texture and set it as a different material, but if you don't mind, I won't do this.

Alayan {l Wrote}:- I notice the lava levels have been reduced a bit compared to the original. That's good but I have a few nitpicks. The tires go onto the lava as if it was solid and there is a noticeable margin (about half Gavroche's width) between touching the lava and the auto-rescue. The transition between the lava lakes and the stone blocks is perfect straight lines. Irregular spots of solidified lava on the road rock along the transition border would be interesting.

That's a nice idea, I'll see what I can do, thanks ;)

Alayan {l Wrote}:- To some degree that's a weakness of STK as a whole, but I'm thinking a sound effect when touching lava and getting rescued would make this a lot more lively. We are far from having per-kart "it hurts" sounds however and one sound for everyone may not feel right.

Hmm… could be worth a try^^

Alayan {l Wrote}:- The white lines on the border of the road have not changed from the original. This means they still suffer from having abrupt angle in curves instead of being smoother.

So… what do you suggest?

Alayan {l Wrote}:- For the most part, the rock near the track is the same as it is in the original, with the clear straight lines on the place it joins the ground and the smooth surfaces.

I'm not quite sure what you mean, I changed both rock textures :think:

Alayan {l Wrote}:- It's possible to drive underwater on the coastline. There is no splash effect when entering water, the rescue plane is located too far away from the shoreline and the particle dust effect of driving on sand continue to be displayed when underwater.

There are just limited options to add particle effects for certain locations without spreading particle emitter everywhere:
1) Set a particle effect on collision, but that won't trigger on the flat coast transition on volcan island.
Or
2) Activate a particle effect when driving on a certain texture. However, since the underwater coast line has the same texture as the beach, it's not possible to set another one on the same texture. This'd be only possible with the duplicate tactic I mentioned above.

And the rescue plane is set that far away because of the egg hunt mode.

Alayan {l Wrote}:- I don't like the additional banana in the middle of the crossroad soon after the start, you can only see it very shortly before reaching this area. This area is already tricky after the start when there are many karts and they don't pick the same path.
- I don't like the new sets of banana during the first long turn for the same reason (late visibility). The 1.0 bananas on the track were placed on purpose in locations where you have a bit of time to see them even if you don't know the track by heart. It's also arguable that it's more fun to pick up powerups than to eat a banana, so bananas should be used sparingly within a track.

That can be fixed. Quite easy. No problem :cool:

Alayan {l Wrote}:- There are red light effects at the very end of the tunnel. I guess it's the torches burning just outside while the sun is shining, but I find it strange-looking, especially as only within-the-tunnel rocks look like they reflect this light.

Nope, that are the party flags, which are a media repo object (I don't know why they need a light effect either).

Alayan {l Wrote}:- The grass road transition could be made to look more natural

Again, no problem.

Alayan {l Wrote}:- The road and sand textures are still the old ones who unfortunately lack some quality and get blurry up close even at medium resolutions. I know finding good quality replacement textures is not easy but I'm still putting it in the list.

Yeah, I just was too lazy to replace the sand textures, because that would've meant to replace the road transition textures as well.

Alayan {l Wrote}:- I'm not too hot about the new rocks on the track. Gameplay wise, I don't feel it adds very much. More importantly, stylistically I think it's not consistent. On Volcano Island, the road appears to be well taken care of, with good asphalt, no potholes and so on. The random rocks on the road don't look like the result of a recent volcanic event and appear inconsistent with the general state of good road quality.

Hmm, that cries for complete new road textures, doesn't it?^^

Alayan {l Wrote}:- The Wilbert on the side of the road with the "security" vest is gigantic compared to the kart character, there is a proportion issue.

Hmm, that's quite easy to fix as well.

I hope I explained this quite comprehensible ;)
Best regards,
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Re: Thoughts on Typhon's Volcano Island remake

Postby Alayan » 23 Sep 2021, 18:42

Typhon {l Wrote}:
Alayan {l Wrote}:- The white lines on the border of the road have not changed from the original. This means they still suffer from having abrupt angle in curves instead of being smoother.

So… what do you suggest?

I don't know if the white lines are painted on top separately or are just part of the main road texture (I'm guessing it might be the latter). In any case, the solutions lies in increasing the polycount of the relevant geometry model so that one current segment is replaced by two or three segments. This will allow to approximate much more closely a true smooth curve, so that it's not easily noticeable it isn't one.

Typhon {l Wrote}:
Alayan {l Wrote}:- For the most part, the rock near the track is the same as it is in the original, with the clear straight lines on the place it joins the ground and the smooth surfaces.

I'm not quite sure what you mean, I changed both rock textures :think:

I meant the geometry of the surface near the road. Imagine you had the mountain without the road, you'd have a different geometry. When making the road, part of rocks would have had to be cut. So instead of the surfaces all neatly converging towards the border of the road, some rock plane would have angles as if there would be rock over the road, but then it would be cut away to make room for the road. I think that could be an enhancement to visuals and atmosphere.

Typhon {l Wrote}:
Alayan {l Wrote}:- It's possible to drive underwater on the coastline. There is no splash effect when entering water, the rescue plane is located too far away from the shoreline and the particle dust effect of driving on sand continue to be displayed when underwater.

There are just limited options to add particle effects for certain locations without spreading particle emitter everywhere:
1) Set a particle effect on collision, but that won't trigger on the flat coast transition on volcan island.
Or
2) Activate a particle effect when driving on a certain texture. However, since the underwater coast line has the same texture as the beach, it's not possible to set another one on the same texture. This'd be only possible with the duplicate tactic I mentioned above.

And the rescue plane is set that far away because of the egg hunt mode.

My suggestion was just to add a splash effect to the sea and move the rescue plane early so the whole "driving underwater" doesn't happen.

I would rather scrap the underwater egg from egg hunt mode if that's needed.

Typhon {l Wrote}:
Alayan {l Wrote}:- There are red light effects at the very end of the tunnel. I guess it's the torches burning just outside while the sun is shining, but I find it strange-looking, especially as only within-the-tunnel rocks look like they reflect this light.

Nope, that are the party flags, which are a media repo object (I don't know why they need a light effect either).

Ah. That is a bit strange.


Typhon {l Wrote}:
Alayan {l Wrote}:- I'm not too hot about the new rocks on the track. Gameplay wise, I don't feel it adds very much. More importantly, stylistically I think it's not consistent. On Volcano Island, the road appears to be well taken care of, with good asphalt, no potholes and so on. The random rocks on the road don't look like the result of a recent volcanic event and appear inconsistent with the general state of good road quality.

Hmm, that cries for complete new road textures, doesn't it?^^

I guess opinions are divergent on this one. Yes it would call for a new road texture to be stylistically consistent if the rocks are kept, and the general "where do the rocks come from".

But there is also the gameplay question of keeping them. Eltomito says he likes them because he found these curves to be too much about just sticking to the right. Wax told me on the other hand he finds "it only helps noobs that drive in the middle of the road and come complain that the track is boring". After completing a few races on this updated version, my own feeling is that it mostly adds another element that has to be learned by heart (in the major curves, you see the rocks on the interior too late so you have to know beforehand where they are to stick to the interior as much as possible). It's slightly more difficult but I'm not sure in a good way at least as-is.

I'd rather have a small downscaling (the version in the game was upscaled from Fabio's original but maybe too much relative to the optimal point, debatable of course) or "lava splashes" to avoid in the underground part if we are to go wild to make the track less monotonous. Or less regular curves even.
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Re: Thoughts on Typhon's Volcano Island remake

Postby Heuchi1 » 23 Sep 2021, 21:43

Alayan {l Wrote}:
Typhon {l Wrote}:
Alayan {l Wrote}:- I'm not too hot about the new rocks on the track. Gameplay wise, I don't feel it adds very much. More importantly, stylistically I think it's not consistent. On Volcano Island, the road appears to be well taken care of, with good asphalt, no potholes and so on. The random rocks on the road don't look like the result of a recent volcanic event and appear inconsistent with the general state of good road quality.

Hmm, that cries for complete new road textures, doesn't it?^^

I guess opinions are divergent on this one. Yes it would call for a new road texture to be stylistically consistent if the rocks are kept, and the general "where do the rocks come from".

But there is also the gameplay question of keeping them. Eltomito says he likes them because he found these curves to be too much about just sticking to the right. Wax told me on the other hand he finds "it only helps noobs that drive in the middle of the road and come complain that the track is boring". After completing a few races on this updated version, my own feeling is that it mostly adds another element that has to be learned by heart (in the major curves, you see the rocks on the interior too late so you have to know beforehand where they are to stick to the interior as much as possible). It's slightly more difficult but I'm not sure in a good way at least as-is.


I just wanted to say, I also don't like these rocks. One just too easily realizes, that they only have the single purpose of adding some "problems" which you "simply" must memorize. I think the track would be a lot more elegant without them.
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Re: Thoughts on Typhon's Volcano Island remake

Postby theodorepringle » 24 Sep 2021, 02:23

Typhon {l Wrote}:And the rescue plane is set that far away because of the egg hunt mode.


It would be nice if it were possible to disable the autorescue triggers specifically for Egg Hunt.

Alayan {l Wrote}:But there is also the gameplay question of keeping them. Eltomito says he likes them because he found these curves to be too much about just sticking to the right. Wax told me on the other hand he finds "it only helps noobs that drive in the middle of the road and come complain that the track is boring". After completing a few races on this updated version, my own feeling is that it mostly adds another element that has to be learned by heart (in the major curves, you see the rocks on the interior too late so you have to know beforehand where they are to stick to the interior as much as possible). It's slightly more difficult but I'm not sure in a good way at least as-is.

I'd rather have a small downscaling (the version in the game was upscaled from Fabio's original but maybe too much relative to the optimal point, debatable of course) or "lava splashes" to avoid in the underground part if we are to go wild to make the track less monotonous. Or less regular curves even.


I don't really like the rocks very much, they don't add much to gameplay and it's annoying that you can't see them coming ahead of time. I agree with the downscaling idea.
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Re: Thoughts on Typhon's Volcano Island remake

Postby tempAnon093 » 25 Sep 2021, 02:35

Typhon {l Wrote}: I just thought that a jump without boost is sort of lame, so I added one. I wasn't quite sure about the strength of it and if I change it

I definitely think splashing into the water as part of the normal track makes it more exciting, so I think changing the jump to make people enter the water is a good thing if possible.

Also, I realize this would be extremely low priority but with Kiki painting, I like to put a small plane in front of the blank canvas so it looks like Kiki has started painting on it. :)
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Re: Thoughts on Typhon's Volcano Island remake

Postby Bird » 25 Sep 2021, 06:17

The jump, which has a zipper in the new version, is the interesting thing here. I think it was better before. There was a challenge to find the right moment to release the drift, maybe do a small uplift through pressing the drift button in mid-air, trying to fly as far as possible. I remember having a good load of fun with exactly that, trying to optimise the jump.

Everything else: Looks better (on the second-lowest graphic settings, probably noticed only half of the improvements), drives better. But please consider of keeping the track size (in Megabytes) as efficent as possible, because playing them online smoothly becomes a problem ...
I must admit that the obviously grown track did play smoothly right from the start on a local game with 25 AI karts however.
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Re: Thoughts on Typhon's Volcano Island remake

Postby eltomito » 26 Sep 2021, 17:49

What about a warning road sign before every boulder in the road?
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Re: Thoughts on Typhon's Volcano Island remake

Postby Typhon » 27 Sep 2021, 10:00

Well, first things first…

Due to this feedback, I'm now working on:

1)
replacing the sand and road textures
Bildschirmfoto_2021-09-27_10-51-15.png


2)
making better rocks

3)
adding splash and lava effects

4)
anything that'll come to my mind while doing all this
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Re: Thoughts on Typhon's Volcano Island remake

Postby eltomito » 27 Sep 2021, 22:51

When I suggested the boulder warming sign, I meant something like this...
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Re: Thoughts on Typhon's Volcano Island remake

Postby mrkubax10 » 30 Sep 2021, 17:21

That would be nice
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