Monday, October 10, 2011

Screens of the day 18 - Contrast

Wow, a "screens" post. I has been a while. Well, I can't delight your senses every day with a new video. And you have no idea what joke came to me for the title of this post which I thankfully managed to avoid!

So while polishing stuff and preparing for the end of my 3rd week of work on the 3D engine I though of some simple techniques to increase contrast. You already saw in one of my previous screenshots and in the videos that you can toggle cell borders on and off and how these cell borders look. Every single cell has a border if you turn them on. But how would it look if borders would only appear at an elevation change? like this:

Because this is experimentation and a what if scenarios, I did not go to the trouble of adding the vertical borders, only the horizontal. Adding these borders is not easy. First of all, the code is not that short because these borders, as simple as they look, are quite intensive on the GPU side. Also, the advanced filtering I am using to greatly increase the visual quality causes some artifacts at texture borders, so I ended up using a dirty little trick to compensate for this: instead of drawing textures from texture coordinates 0 to 1, I draw them with a offset of 0.03. This is enough to confuse the GPU into not causing these artifacts, but I have no idea if this works on other video cards.

Let's see these borders from the isometric viewpoint:

I think it helps a little to have wall borders and to disable floor borders:

Since it is a little bit hard to tell what the end result will be because of the lack of vertical borders, I'll Photoshop them in. And by Photoshop I mean use Microsoft Paint:

Here is a bird's eye view:

Then I though that borders are not enough. What if we add some little arrows?

Later I'll combine these borders with horizontal ones and also recreate toggleable half-height walls.

But what do you think? Which border scheme works best? Do you have any better ideas on how to highlight cells and improve contrast? Drawing borders with a specific color that is not black is harder than drawing them with black, so I prefer to use black.

I await feedback! Ask a friend! Or your pet.


  1. I think you should try to achieve something like this...

    in comparison to

  2. How are you getting so much work done? So many posts!

  3. To Anonymous:

    Absolutely smashing idea!!!

    Implemented using coloring. Maybe in the future I can use real lighting!

    Thank you very much!!!