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WIP GOF Eras - HD Character Portraits and Models

Discussion in 'TheBlackKnight's Mods and Guides' started by TheBlackKnight, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. TheBlackKnight

    TheBlackKnight Corsaire Flibustier Storm Modder

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    Libertatia
    All,

    Next project in progress and quite ambitious.
    In an effort to greatly improve on the game experience and update the graphics to modern systems I am reworking the models and graphics for many of the heros/characters to bring their textures up to FULL HD standards using the baseline off of MK's Eras work and the Russian mod.
    I got this idea after I was tired of comparing the great Humphrey Douglas model in comparison with some of the others.

    Progress continues on the portraits, all hero portraits are getting a major overhaul.
    There is a HUGE difference in face complexity now, almost like comparing the game way back in 2009 or even before in Age of Pirates / Sea Dogs 2.

    Portrait backgrounds were overhauled too when required.
    MKs loading backgrounds were used when I can to try and match, but sometimes they just don't don't fit right with the character.

    I needed to do portraits first to start baseline improvements for the models and give something for me to actually compare to without constantly being in game.

    Some baseline game original model textures are real junk and some are just hard to work with, but I will get there.

    Most are requiring some internet research to find better reference source material for period textures and clothes while still keep with the game design and flair of adventure.

    Now you can even see the "hairs" and skin imperfections on the faces!
    Incredible detail that comes at a cost. Many of the textures are HUGE, and I am in the process of reducing them to make them more manageable.

    Individual portraits/models are running around 1.2 GB before reduction to in game usage at 2048X2048.
    Yes, these models do look like this IN GAME at a much higher quality.
    Borderline lifelike and definitely not cartoonish.....

    Final MOD will have all portraits/models set for HD widescreen designed for resolutions of 1680X1050 and above.
    This is why some portraits look "thin" in the preview below.
    All sizes and battle interface will be included.
    No new game is required, just drop in and keep playing.

    I run my game at 2560X1600 with unique modified core files (engine.ini, camera.ini, etc) and there is a BIG difference in 16:10 widescreen mode when it comes to the portraits.

    Without aspect correction, portraits stretch significantly based on the original graphics settings limitations for standard resolutions .

    SIDE NOTE:
    I have actually successfully operated the game at 4k resolution (3840X2160) which is quite a treat, but the text extremely tiny because the GUI does not scale AT ALL and you need reading glasses to play the game unless you change font.ini settings.
    The other major problem is this game is very poorly optimized and performance suffers greatly when in sea battles with more than ten ships at this resolution, as everything is consistently rendered in real time to based on distance without any modification to scale quality or dithering.
    This is a byproduct of the old Storm Engine 2.8.
    Recommendation stick to a reduced 16:9 or 16:10 resolution if your computer can handle it.

    The best resolutions that I have found that give increased quality to performance without really modifying aspect ratio on a high end gaming computer are:

    1680X1050
    1920X1080
    1920X1200
    2560X1440

    2560X1600 is pushing the limit on large battles right now.

    Anyway, enough of that, onto the portraits and models!

    Preview (very low quality resolution):

    faces.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2014
  2. modernknight1

    modernknight1 Field Marshall of Hot Tubs Banned

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    I'm going to start calling you TBK just as folks around here started calling me MK four years ago.

    So TBK I must admit that I was inconsistent with some of the resolutions when I converted portraits. I think some of this had to do with sleep deprivation and me trying to work as fast as possible to get things done. I often work late into the night.

    With a few people like you on the team we could really take this mod to the next level. The one thing I do really like about many of my own portraits are the historical paintings in the background. Some of mine as you've seen are very high resolution as well. I plan to improve several of the actual character's textures as well with Patch1.

    Because I am traveling and skiing, I just got my ASUS G73 on steroids back together after a near complete tear down and rebuild - and everything works! So I played the game for the first time in two weeks last night. Needless to say patch1 will be delayed because of this and more likely will come out on around the New Year.

    This is good work along with some of the other enhancements you've recently done. Welcome to the Storm Modders group Mate. Its especially cool to have another retired Army Officer here.

    MK
     
    Captain Blade likes this.
  3. TheBlackKnight

    TheBlackKnight Corsaire Flibustier Storm Modder

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    Glad to join and be a part of the storm modder group.
    I have been a part of Pirates Ahoy! since 2005 I believe?, but I lost my account and signed up again.

    Most people do just call me "TBK" for obvious reasons.

    I was just "tinkering" before on the flags to start finding all the files again, not my best work by far IMHO, but now most of the original tinkering (personal nations, national flags, identification flags, icons, some weapons, etc, this list goes on and on) have been fully tweaked (but I never posted updates yet....)

    I have been a game modder for years, but now with a purpose and proper tools to do the work.

    Yes, I am a retired combat Corps of Engineers (USACE) officer, 21 years to whom "moved out" this year.

    I was a mustang prior service though, so my days as an officer were numbered especially during drawdown.

    Senior military don't like officers expressing their opinions (even those that are combat valor decorated) and I was happy to take my full retired pay and fade out with honor and dignity.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2013
  4. TheBlackKnight

    TheBlackKnight Corsaire Flibustier Storm Modder

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    All,

    A few new portraits and models have been added for continued progress now, see photo above.
    I have a lot of models I am working simultaneously so progress continues to be slow.

    UPGRADED Portraits and Models Added:

    face_1 - Blaze Devlin FIXED with new blue ascot.
    face_36 - Nickolas Dyke (formally from stock and GOF, as he is a different character in Eras and a generic pirate)
    face_221 - Peter Blood Russian Version
    face_234 - Ned Ogle "The One Eyed Gunner" Russian Version
    face_239 -GOF Eras HERO Version Fran├žois l'Olonnais (He is "Charles de Mor" in POTEHO)
    face_230 - Jeremy Pitt Russian Version

    I will be redoing Anne (face_236) and Julian (face_412) to fix perspective and scale as I continue the march.

    Lots of attention to detail here, just do a comparison between Peter Blood in your game and the photo above, and you will be able to see the differences clearly.

    Still need to add more clothing changes and reproduce eyes to some models.

    I have added other character upgrades from quests including Donna Anna, Isabella, Jackman, Fran├žois l'Olonnais (French Quest), Miquel de Valdez, Roc the Brazalian, and so on.

    Its becoming a big list...
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2014
  5. TheBlackKnight

    TheBlackKnight Corsaire Flibustier Storm Modder

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    All,

    I had a chance to work on some of the updated hi res portraits over the weekend.
    You can start to see the difference now, between original models, upgraded models, and POTEHO models, as the baseline quality really varies.
    I do my best to enhance everything, but the sometimes the original models are really low quality and hard to work with properly.
    See above photo for the added portraits.

    Changes include:

    face_412 - John Julian FIXED
    face_235 - Anne FIXED
    face_199 - Donna Anna ADDED
    face_208 - Isabella Triepolo ADDED
    face_209 - Roc the Brazilian ADDED
    face_210 - Quest Francois O'lonnais ADDED
    face_323 - Miguel de Valdez ADDED
    face_334 - Beltrop ADJUSTED
    face_996 - Tavis Greaves ENHANCED
    face_299 - Layton Dexter ENHANCED

    I probably will be adding some more quest characters to the list by the end of the week.
    Once I finish with the primary quest characters, I will go back to heroes, finish them, and call it a day.
    I may do battle interface portraits for everyone else because that is a whole easier to finish, and complements the upcoming Enhanced GUI Updates.
    Priority still goes finishing the HD Inventory and Items Pack, which still has a lot of work to do.
     
    Pieter Boelen likes this.
  6. Hylie Pistof

    Hylie Pistof Curmudgeon Staff Member QA Tester Storm Modder

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    Some of those faces look like POTC faces too.
     
  7. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    Nice work, mate!

    And indeed there are definitely some 2003 PotC models in there. :shock
     
  8. Officerpuppy

    Officerpuppy Buccaneer Staff Member

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    They look amazing, keep it up :onya
     
  9. Captain Horatio

    Captain Horatio Landlubber

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    All I wanted was hats! No mod whatsoever gives me a nice character with a hat. This one is still not released, and I was so happy when I saw that Eras mod, but the bastard removed it from everywhere in the internet. Make something to tempt people and then act like that, is beyond me...
     

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