Graphic Files

What are Nova's limits?

As a member of the official Stargate: Nova Team, my job is to create the HUDs for the different governments and races. I recently had the great idea of making the Alteran HUD as Alteran-like as possible. The Alterans, a very powerful, yet small, race in Stargate, use crystal-like screens with the image embedded inside rather than the flat-panel screens we are used to. This, however has led to a problem: the target ship looks a little out of place when compared to the rest of the HUD. Can Nova handle pictures with a transparency, or does it automatically make the transparency white or black?

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I don't think it can handle transparency. I'd say that you could just modify the scan images themselves, except that it would look even weirder when you were on another ship and the scan was below crystal.

What I would recommend is modifying the image so that it seems as if there is a border or edge to the crystal around the scan, so that it seems to fit.

EDIT: are you guys using the Prometheus model from sci-fi meshes?

This post has been edited by Crusader Alpha : 19 July 2007 - 10:39 AM

Yes we are.

I'll try the border idea. Thanks.

This post has been edited by scienceguy8 : 19 July 2007 - 01:15 PM

The model of Prometheus from scifi-meshes i've downloaded yes, but all the current renders have been taken from bridge commander including the side shots, and photoshoped to fit

This post has been edited by Lostpinky : 19 July 2007 - 10:13 PM

If you were willing to put literally hours and hours and hours and hours and hours of extra work into it, you could do this:

  1. Make a copy of every ship in the game
  2. Duplicate all the shäns, buy pics etc, but make the second set of ships have a target pict with the crystal design overlaid
  3. Set a bit (say b100) when you buy the crystalline ship and !b100 on ship retire.
  4. Make the original ships appear on test !b100 and the second set appear on b100

Most likely not worth all the extra effort, but it's there as an option if you want it. Personally I'd be too lazy to bother with all that.

This post has been edited by Archon : 20 July 2007 - 02:21 AM

I thought of that, but it seemed like a huge amount of work for a conveniency feature. I would only recommend that much work if it adds a serious gameplay element.

Perhaps the HUD could fade to the background color of the target image (in this case black)

That way, it looks a little more natural. I dono...

Just a quick note: unless the WinNova engine was altered between 1.0.6 and 1.0.A, that interface will cause Nova to crash on Windows.
Get the size right: 194 pixels by 767.

Trust me, I was the first plug-in developer to suffer from that. (well, publicly at least 😉 )

This post has been edited by Pace : 24 July 2007 - 04:50 AM

The only thing I know about transparency is that as spin's opacity is determined by the brightness of the background it's on. The whiter, the more transparent.

@shady-tradesman, on Jul 25 2007, 11:37 AM, said in Graphic Files:

The only thing I know about transparency is that as spin's opacity is determined by the brightness of the background it's on. The whiter, the more transparent.

The games actually only support 1-bit transparency in sprites; white areas in the mask show the corresponding section of the sprite, while black areas hide it. You can’t use shades of grey to produce partial transparency the way you can in many graphics programmes.

I’ve seen one or two plug-ins for the older games that managed something like what scienceguy8 is looking for with alpha channels in the target images, but it was always slightly dodgy, and I don’t know off-hand whether it’s still possible in EV Nova.

You could always try something imaginative. With Internet Explorer not supporting alpha transparency in all but the new version, 7.0, us website designers have made many workarounds. Slicing images, and using noise in GIFs (which IE supports but they also use a 1 bit alpha channel). I'm pretty sure you could adapt those for use in nova. You can use noise in the mask for a partailly transparent look, but I don't think it would be the most appealing.

You can also work around transparencies not working by slicing images somewhat. One was I think slicing could be used can be demonstrated by taking this thread's situation. If he takes the area of the interface where the target image will show up, slices it, and makes a new target image with that area as a background, it can simulate the look of transparency, while the only transparency that is happening is happening in photoshop before compression.

Not sure if that would really work, but it's a theory.

You can make parts of the ship transparent using the shän resource. Polycon EV does that with the Phalog gunship by making the transparent parts of the ship running lights that are always on. However, this is only possible with ship sprites, not target pics.

Here's what I would do.

Check to see if all ship target pictures are the same dimensions.
Open the interface graphic as one layer, and open a screenshot of the interface graphic targeting a ship on another layer.
Make the screenshot layer 50% transparent (for ease of use)
Make sure they overlap perfectly
Use the magic wand tool (reccomended) to select the black in the target picture or use the rec. marquee tool to select the whole target image exactly.
Edit-> Crop
Hide the screenshot layer

This will create a background that you can make the targeting pictures on. depending on what effect you want, you can blend them together in different ways. In theory, when you create a new target image like this, it should appear seamlessly as transparent on your HUD.

One idea for a way to blend these images is thus:

Take the new background part.
open a ship target as a new layer on top of the ship part.
Convert the ship target layer into greyscale
Invert colors (so now the background is white)
use levels tool to adjust how dark the grey of the actual targeting image is.
change blending mode on ship target layer to multiply
Export, import, test.

This post has been edited by shady tradesman : 25 July 2007 - 12:45 PM

@david-arthur, on Jul 26 2007, 04:53 AM, said in Graphic Files:

I've seen one or two plug-ins for the older games that managed something like what scienceguy8 is looking for with alpha channels in the target images, but it was always slightly dodgy, and I don't know off-hand whether it's still possible in EV Nova.

You're not thinking of EVOSI (EVO Systems Interface?) are you? I don't think any EV supported transparent PICTs - EVOSI simply made the targets such that they blended in with the interface. Since EV/O only allowed one interface it wasn't a problem and there was no need for any transparency.

This post has been edited by Guy : 25 July 2007 - 03:12 PM

@guy, on Jul 25 2007, 04:11 PM, said in Graphic Files:

You're not thinking of EVOSI (EVO Systems Interface?) are you? I don't think any EV supported transparent PICTs - EVOSI simply made the targets such that they blended in with the interface. Since EV/O only allowed one interface it wasn't a problem and there was no need for any transparency.

No, I’m not — the plug-in I’m thinking of was very hacky, but seemed to somehow manage transparency.

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