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Author Topic: Why nobody does not use Battleship Forever Ship Maker for ship sprites?  (Read 42451 times)

KlonTom

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Hello, im new here, but i have one thing to propose for modding community here.

There is such free indie game as Battleship Forever(http://www.wyrdysm.com/games.php), and this game has one most simple but in same time amazing spaceship battles ever done.

But what is more valuable for us is Ship Maker subprogram, which let us construct ships for this game.
Every ship in BF is constructed with small PNG parts with their own parameters, such as color or number of HP. So in this editor you actually constructing ship from "spare parts" and colour it as you wish. And after we make our ship we can make screenshot of it and after some redacting get one hella nice ship sprite for Starfarer.

So ye, this is mine little guide about how to get Starfarer ship sprite from BF Ship Maker.

1) Install BF (http://www.wyrdysm.com/games.php)
2) Go to BF forum for Custom Sprites (http://www.wyrdysm.com/phpBB3/viewforum.php?f=23)
I recommend parts from next threads
http://www.wyrdysm.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=5823
http://www.wyrdysm.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=3035
http://www.wyrdysm.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=5348
http://www.wyrdysm.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=5299
http://www.wyrdysm.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=4551
And unpack it in Custom Sprite directory of BF.
3) Now startup BF ShipMaker, you will see something like this

4) Go to Tools->Group arrange. This will pop up screen like this

As you see there is 4 group of parts, to switch between them you have to press ~ and use 1\2\3\4 keys for every group respectfully. But mine work flow goes around arranging needed parts in first group, and using rest three as storage for possibly usefull parts. So initially drag and drop all not used parts in first group to fourth group, just because they look bogus and we can use it only for getting some silhouette.
5) Look closely for sets of parts that you downloaded, and choose which one you like and will use in your ship. After this just drag and drop them from folder to a groups 2-4 in Ship Maker. There is pretty much unlimited storage, but it can become really complicated to orient in them if there is too much parts, as it shows only in rows by 3, and to scroll it up and down you have to use only mouses scroll wheel, which is pain in the ass.
You can multiply select parts in groups, by using Shift+click between two parts, to select everything in between. And to delete the parts that you dont need\dont like, select them\it and press delete. To move multyple parts between groups, select and just drag and drop them in different group.
6) Now drag and drop ,parts from 2-4 groups, that you gonna use in your ship to first group. Close Group Arrange window by pressing Esc, and lets start constructing our ship.
7) Now press Z to open your groups parts scroll window at side of your screen, now as you click part, its instantly goes for constructing, look for a place where you want it and using J I K L and Shift+ J I K L, position it as you want, and click to place it.
Now choose colour for it from palette to the left. First three colours will transfer their parameters to a parts which coloured by them even if you change it, so use them to define base colours of your ship. Rest 9 colours will just colour part in to their colour but not change it if you change palettes colour. To change colour right click over colour.
Now press M to mirror your part. It will mirror every unic part, so if your building non symmetric ship, dont use it.
And use A and Q keys to define "Depth" of part. Depth goes from 1 to N, where N is number of used parts and define order of parts. So part with Depth of 4 will show over parts with depth 5+ but will be under parts with depth 1 2 3.
Depth designated by parenting. Core of ship is always 0 depth, and will be UNDER every further parts. Next part will be 1 and 2 depth after mirroring, but we probably will need some depth storage for possible artistic parts over our "core" so instantly make em 5 and 6 depth. Now choose one of our first parts and place new part, it will be depth 3 because Depth 1 and 2 are taken by her parenting and mirrored parts.

And this way we build our ship little by little.





Go to Tools->Save sprites ini. This will save our current sprite config. I recommend you to to use different sprite configs for different ships\ships series to not discontinue its "style".

8) Now we want to a screenshot of our ship. But this pesky grid is no good for us, so go to tools->Change Background, and use earlier created bitmap where White bears In White Antarctica field in White snowfall chase Pale white Antarctica scientists in all White. Or just just fill some random bmp with white colour. Now its perfectly fine for us and we can screenshot it. Press F11. Press F9 and drag over your ship, to choose what needed to be screenshoted.



Also you can use this Change Background feature to load some ships picture to background and use it as silhouette for creating your ship.

9) Now go to \Battleships Forever\SMScreenshots\ where your screenshot is saved, and open it for example in Adobe Photoshop.

First of all rotate whole image 90* CCW and after use "magic wand" tool to select whole white trash pixels, that we dont need. Inverse selection, so only our precious ship was selected and copy it.

Create new file, which will be sized right for our copied ship, insert our ship and than delete "background" layer. Now you are free to edit as you want, ambient occlusion, radial blue, all this jazz. You want it you do it, i dont. Now save it as PNG. We got our basic sprite of ship.



But Starfarer is counting every pixel for designate how big ship is, and we have to change our ships image size accordingly to size of ship in game. I will use table of sizes from    
Fight For Universe: Sector Xplo http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=2091.0 topic:

1 pixel = 1 meter.
* Fighter, approximate long axis is 10~15 meters.
* Bomber, approximate long axis is 20~30 meters.
* Gunship, approximate long axis is 35~50 meters.
* Corvette, approximate long axis is 55~90 meters.
* Frigate, approximate long axis is 100~160 meters.
* Destroyer, approximate long axis is 180~230 meters.
* Cruiser, approximate long axis is 240~340 meters.
* Battlecruiser, approximate long axis is 360~540 meters.
* Battleship, approximate long axis is 560~960 meters.
* Dreadnought, approximate long axis is 1,080~1,860 meters.
* Mothership, approximate long axis is 2,200~5,200 meters.
* Titan, approximate long axis is 8,000~16,000 meters.
* Flagship, approximate long axis is 86,000~126,000 meters.
* Arkship, approximate long axis is 2,240,000~8,860,000 meters.


So with help of your graphical redactor tools, resize your ships images height to an needed size, and voila we have our handmade ship sprite ready to get rigged in Trylobot's ship editor http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=375.0.

So yeah, something like this... I hope this will help somebody, and will let your community to create more and better mods.

Also there is plenty sprites of superior ships at BF forum itself http://www.wyrdysm.com/phpBB3/viewforum.php?f=2&sid=fae510afd3629cbf7b6e74b6a9d9262b, but id highly recommend you guys to create yours ships from scratch, as its much more FUN to play after.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2012, 04:27:58 PM by KlonTom »
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cp252

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Because it doesn't fit the art style. QED.
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KlonTom

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Because it doesn't fit the art style. QED.

But you can reap apart the ships that are currently in Starfarer to get themed set of sprites and once again use them in Ship maker

Also mods like
http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=431.0
http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=162.0
http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=1219.0
http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=852.0
http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=642.0
http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=2012.0
http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=1827.0
Are hardly in starfarers style. They totally overhauled style.

And mods like
http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=1576.0
http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=1885.0
http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=1558.0
Are in opposite way too similar to stock ships, and you can see in most cases where and how they where remirored or repainted.

So my guess was, that it would be great new way of creating things, in new way.
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Psiyon

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Yeah, the ships created with this tool aren't going to fit Starfarer's art style, but most people aren't going to care. In my opinion, I'd rather see people new to making ship sprites using this tool than making generic kitbashes.

Good work on the tutorial though, hopefully some people find it useful.
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armoredcookie

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It's pretty hard to duplicate the starfarer art style, being as it's generally done pixel by pixel with tremendous care.
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KlonTom

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Btw i dont fully understand this "art style" thing. I mean, its modding, and you want to make something that every kickassian would appreciated from time it was created, to dark times when all what was awesome will be lost. Something grand. Something awesome. Something new.
And I dont think that you can create something awesome with help of it. Its already was created, just look at those kick ass sprites:

http://www.wyrdysm.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5932
http://www.wyrdysm.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=6452
http://www.wyrdysm.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5769
http://www.wyrdysm.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5988
http://www.wyrdysm.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5915

And there was many many others.
And even if its arent fit in to game, or you "see" you ship differently, more detailed, you can always draw them over in picture editor how you like it.
Starfarers stock ship are god level designed masterpieces, draw pixel by pixel to end skyhigh result. But I dont think that if you will chose to go different way from their style, you will end bad or ugly way. You will end in your way, and probably somebody will not like it, damn there will be for sure somebody who dont liked it, but there will be also at least one who will like it, yourself.
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Archduke Astro

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So yes, this is mine little guide about how to get Starfarer ship sprite from BF Ship Maker.

Thank you very much for that exceptionally comprehensive & well-written guide. :)

Because it doesn't fit the art style. QED.

Right on schedule. I knew there would be someone along shortly to trumpet that from the roof-tops, as if warning the town that the Mongol hordes were attacking.

Oh, by the way? "QED", my ass; you haven't actually "demonstrated" anything.

Yeah, the ships created with this tool aren't going to fit Starfarer's art style, but most people aren't going to care. In my opinion, I'd rather see people new to making ship sprites using this tool than making generic kitbashes.

I could not care less about the fact that every single sprite that every single modder produces is NOT 100% identical to art style used in the game's official sprites. Some people are seriously hung up about that, and want everything to slavishly mimic the official art, but every community has its fanatics and fringe lunatics. :D

I'm all in favor of anything which makes it easier for people to deal with the tedium of sprite creation and get new hulls into the game. Hulls which serve as vehicles to carry a modder's ideas out of his head and into the community for players to enjoy them. The kitbashing trend is starting to grate upon me, and some sort of an alternative aesthetic is certainly welcome. If the newest alternative takes the path of coming via the Battleships Forever ship-building tool, I'm okay with that.

It's pretty hard to duplicate the starfarer art style, being as it's generally done pixel by pixel with tremendous care.

Agreed in full, mate.

Let's take it a step further. I'd like to see much more energy applied to balancing mods rather than waxing, polishing and detailing them with chrome bumpers for purely visual appeal. Right now there are some stupidly over-powered mods on this forum which are pleasing to the eye, but the creative concept for the mod resembles something scribbled by a five-year-old kid who drank a bottle of Red Bull. ::) Reallocating that same energy which had gone into making things pixel-perfect and instead using it to eliminate hyper-testosteroned gameplay fail would be much more beneficial.

In the end, it's what a modder DOES with his or her finished sprites that's most important; not the sprites for their own sake.
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Soridan

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"Doesn't fit the art style" hahaha, oh wait, you're serious? ;D
By that logic quite a few mods should scratch all their efforts so far.

Not to mention that modding is inherently about changing stuff.
Some mods only tweak stats, others go for a total conversion (including graphics, hud, etc.), lots go for a middle ground.

I see nothing wrong with ships having a different feel to them (strictly talking about mods, vanilla should have a pretty good reason lore-wise to pull it off), besides the end result of the Ship Maker can be drawn/filtered/autismed(yes-I-used-it-as-a-verb-get-over-it) over to hell and back if one desires to make them more similiar to the feel of vanilla Starfarer.

tl;dr: that's a crap excuse.

That aside - holy crap, those sprites on the provided links look really nice! o_O
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Temjin

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These sprites are FANTASTIC. Looks like a great tool for us to use.

Agreed on the above point regarding balance though. I rarely use mods since most of them are HILARIOUSLY unbalanced.
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K-64

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Not to be ungrateful for such a thing, but I don't suppose there could be a screenshot of some of the ships made by this ingame? I would like to see how they look compared to the vanilla ships, just to see the difference in "tech look" as it were. Though it does look like quite the useful tool I must say
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Temjin

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Re: Why nobody does not use Battleship Forever Ship Maker for ship sprites?
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2012, 02:35:38 PM »

Not to be ungrateful for such a thing, but I don't suppose there could be a screenshot of some of the ships made by this ingame? I would like to see how they look compared to the vanilla ships, just to see the difference in "tech look" as it were. Though it does look like quite the useful tool I must say

Look at the links further up in the thread.
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K-64

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Re: Why nobody does not use Battleship Forever Ship Maker for ship sprites?
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2012, 02:44:48 PM »

Didn't see links for screens of the ships in battle, for example.  :P
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Psiyon

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Re: Why nobody does not use Battleship Forever Ship Maker for ship sprites?
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2012, 02:48:11 PM »


I could not care less about the fact that every single sprite that every single modder produces is NOT 100% identical to art style used in the game's official sprites. Some people are seriously hung up about that, and want everything to slavishly mimic the official art, but every community has its fanatics and fringe lunatics. :D

So true; man, feel lucky you never had to deal with Homeworld 2's modding community. If you did so much as make a ship that deviated from the standard designs, they'd lynch you.


...

In the end, it's what a modder DOES with his or her finished sprites that's most important; not the sprites for their own sake.
Couldn't have said it better myself.
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Upgradecap

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Re: Why nobody does not use Battleship Forever Ship Maker for ship sprites?
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2012, 02:50:54 PM »

Some of those sprites in the links to look good for a new faction in trying to make (too lazy to make my own ships :P)
Are they free to use?
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KlonTom

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Re: Why nobody does not use Battleship Forever Ship Maker for ship sprites?
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2012, 03:29:32 PM »

Some of those sprites in the links to look good for a new faction in trying to make (too lazy to make my own ships :P)
Are they free to use?

Are you about whole section of custom community made ships, which made from custom community made sprites, for free indie game,  which community is long time dead?
Well, as far i know there where no problems with that at a time when it was alive, so there will be no problems now.

Didn't see links for screens of the ships in battle, for example.  :P

I showed how to make ship sprite. "How to make ship sprite into ship" guides was already nicely done before me.

Not to be ungrateful for such a thing, but I don't suppose there could be a screenshot of some of the ships made by this ingame? I would like to see how they look compared to the vanilla ships, just to see the difference in "tech look" as it were. Though it does look like quite the useful tool I must say

I leaved in the end of guide link to a forum where BF modding community dwelled for last 4 years, and after its death there is many remnants of the past. Whole fleets from past.
Also in mine third post is links for some "recent" topics out there.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2012, 03:40:21 PM by KlonTom »
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