0.4’s Visuals

by ETR @ 11.11.07 (12:54)

Right, I think for a change, why not use this Blog for what it’s intended, instead of your average Warsow-community spam site 😀 . I’m going to jot down my thoughts on a subject which has recently received alot of attention. Mainly after our announcement concerning the recruiting of 3D artists, and maybe even earlier then that; the first announcements of the improved renderer features (bumpmapping, specularmapping, normalmapping, etc.) of the Qfusion engine, alot of people seemed to have reacted in fear, worried that Warsow’s concept might be forsaken, worried that Warsow will turn in a resource-hogging-plastified-a-la-doom3 version of the Warsow you know. I’ll start off by explaining why we even want the improved visuals;

First of all, looks do count, and I’m not saying current Warsow looks shit (however I know alot of people do), but it’s a fact that advanced renderer features will make Warsow more attractive to a larger part of the ‘casual gamer’ pool. This may be dismissed as ‘selling out’ or whatever, and I know this will be a controversial point. But at this stage in Warsow’s development, with the gameplay becoming more and more stable, and more and more towards what we are looking for, we can really start to look at the exterior. Also the amount of talent we have in the artist department of our team demands some more flexibility and experimenting.

Just like the people using picmip now, these settings and features won’t be forced upon anyone. Where people can choose to flatten the textures, dismissing the visual style of Warsow, people can also turn off the advanced visual effects. Other, seemingly smaller things such as improved (player)models shouldn’t need any explanation.

Secondly, visual identity and personality. Warsow’s concept of being cartoony isn’t dismissed by bump and specularmapping textures in maps, by having realtime reflections and whatnot. The goal is still to combine having a ‘cartoony’ game with lots of contrast and good visibility. With the new textures and visuals, the contrast between the players, models and the ‘background’ – the map – will be even bigger. Think of cartoons, where you have handdrawn backgrounds combined with the animated characters and moving objects, ‘popping out’ of the screen. This is the characteristic of a cartoony style which is maintained, even emphasized with the new visuals.

Right now, ‘colorful’ maps like wdm2 have little contrast. While many people see a wdm2-style maps as the Warsow style, I have to disagree. Bright colors, bad visibility, bad contrast, and the cel shading (in maps) is exactly what we don’t want. Think of handdrawn backgrounds, without sharp edges, no cel shading, with poppy, vibrant, high-contrast models, think of maps like wdm3 and wdm7. This will be emphasized with 0.4’s graphical effects too, currently we are toying around with cartoonifying some of the effects, such as the smoketrails of the rockets. They all help in making the distinction between moving, active object and the passive background.

So, we basically do take alot of care in choosing how exactly to apply and use the advanced renderer features (even taking alot of care to choose to use it; the possibility was there, the decision in how to use it took us some time). We actually have a fairly clear idea to what Warsow should look like, and why it should. It is far from a set-in-stone design, it’s more of a number of guidelines which change and evolve over time, with the same points leading; the concepts and ideas of visibility, cartooniness and low specifications.

We are still maintaining our own quality standards, and our own visual style and identity. A big part of the decision to go with these advanced features was figuring out how to be able to apply these techniques in line with Warsow’s visuals. This includes keeping the focus on visibility, with contrast being the keyword. This is not about colors of textures. I read people complaining about maps being ‘brown’, yeah, we have brown textures, just like we have grey ones and other boring colors :P. The reference to Q2 is easily made, as Q2 was all-brown, but believe that’s about all there is to compare. And remember, if you don’t like it, you can simply turn it off. And if you do, I really don’t think there’s alot left to complain about, as the difference in mapstyle atleast won’t be mindblowing at all, the maps will just be a tiny bit less pretty. Anyway the easiest would be to say to just wait and see, but I know that’s not satisfying to most of you, so I guess I could better say; have faith in Warsow ❗

Feel free to comment.



  1. 36:

    I think what most people want as far as visibility and contrast on maps is a clear-cut, easy to see where one wall ends and another begins style. Not a ‘passive’, ‘without sharp edges’, wishy-washy style (like dm3). Sure it may then be easy to see the enemy on a map that is a bland grey or brown colour but its harder to see you way around the map. Personally I have no problem at all with the contrast between map and enemy on dm2.

  2. hhhhhhhhhh:


  3. pownix:

    i dont know how to say that in english:
    veränderng ist leben, stillstand ist der tod.

    means warsow slowly dies if it doesnt change constantly(only a bit always^^)
    because theres nothing perfect, we’d all find something to change or improve.

    gogo warsow team!

  4. goochie:


  5. triple:

    i just hope that i still reach my 125 fps in 0.4 … as 0.3 came out i felt quite a big fps drop on my stoneage machine!

  6. soh-lokirulez:

    Pics or it isn’t true.

  7. goochie:

    tits or gtfo

  8. KuhJoe:

    dont listen to the “but the framerate will be slower” guys to much. they upgrade for crysis or get dad’s old computer for xmas and come back whining why warsow looks so aged.
    anyway im totaly confident in the devteam, 0.4 will be great \o/

  9. Psyborg:

    “Cartoony” is ok but it needs to be kept “mature”. I don’t want to play a game that looks “silly” or babyish, not that it can’t have funny/tongue-in-cheek elements ofc. I feel some of the recent visual changes have given the game a kind of “bubblegum” cluttered look (too many busy shaders etc on dm14, the simple items icons are a bit too much like boiled sweets). I liked the symbolism of the older simple items/weapon icons, although it did need some tweaking I agree.
    Yes you want to lure in casual gamers, but there’s also a fairly large number of VQ3ers/CPMAers/Q4ers/UTers etc who find the game’s visual style somewhat cheap and unserious and therefore don’t take the game seriously (not just cos it doesn’t have amazing grphx). It doesn’t have to lose the fun or “cyperpunk”, as I say, but it needs to reflect the fact it is also a game fit for professional competition; we don’t want to undermine the fact it is actually a brutal and skillful game (which IS what people want).

  10. met:

    etr model pls!

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