Hound Redux

Discuss and unveil current Marathon projects.

Hound Redux

Post Jun 1st '18, 19:59

So, I promised quite awhile back to try and recreate the Hound, a monster that was originally planned to be a part of Marathon, but got cut. There are only a small number of photos left of what it was supposed to have looked like, and from those I plan on trying to draw out a full set of usable sprites so that ravenshining can add the Hound back into Marathon Redux.

Well, I first promised to work on that back in late March, and it's now June, so I figure I might as well share what I have so far. I figured it would be better to do that in a separate thread from the main Redux thread, as this won't be a part of the scenario for quite some time.

The first thing I did was to construct a color table to use in the sprites. I focused on duplicating color palettes that were already used by other monsters in M1 - such as the Hunter - that seemed to have been used in the few remaining images of the Hound. The result was this:

colors.jpg
The current color table for the Hound


That was back in March. After finishing the color table... I kind of stopped working on the project for a long time. Then, finally, this last week or so, I got around (belatedly) to creating the actual basis for the sprites. For a while I debated what the best process for this was, but I eventually decided that, rather than try to draw nice HD models and then use those to create smaller sprites, I would instead just go directly to creating the sprites.

My work process goes like this: first, I draw black lines on top of a blue background, like so:

Spoiler:
movingSide1.jpg
The outline of a moving Hound
movingSide1.jpg (48.4 KiB) Viewed 586 times


Drawing it at the same size as the final sprite (in this case, 175 pixels wide by 123 pixels tall) makes the process faster, as I can be more rough with the creation and focus on the shape of the final product. This particular outline was directly based off of one of the surviving images of the original Hound.

Once I have one such outline, I can then use it as a basis for creating more outlines like it:

Spoiler:
hounds.png
A Hound in the Idle state (left), first attacking sprite (middle), and second attacking sprite (right)


In this case, I started by basing the left-most drawing directly off of another surviving image of the Hound. I then copied it and modified the copy to create the middle drawing, and then copied that to create the drawing on the right. After I had the outlines, I just filled in some basic colors from the color table on a lower layer just so I'd have a better feel for how the drawing looked.

Currently, my plan is to complete the outlines for every sprite I need (62 of them in all), and then paint/shade them to create the final versions - once fully shaded, they should look a lot prettier than they do right now. I have a small spreadsheet I created to track my progress:

Hound Progress 1 June 2018.png
Progress on Hound Sprites, 1 June 2018


Yes, I know that I only have 4 of the outlines done at the moment, but the creation process is actually easier, faster, and more fun than I had originally anticipated - the long delay has really just been due to laziness (oops :unsure: ). So, for example, the rightmost sprite in the image I above was actually made entirely today. Currently I'm focusing on finishing off the sprites for the side view, and then I'll work on the Idle sprites for all the other angles - since the Hound is basically symmetrical, I figure 5 angles is plenty, and the other 3 will just be horizontal mirrors.

I'll post more updates in future as I make more progress.

P.S. I'm sure the sprites won't look amazing even when completed, but I figure that as long as they fit in decently with the other M1 sprites (which are much easier to emulate than the M2 sprites), then that's good enough.
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PerseusSpartacus
Somewhere in the 19th Century...

Post Jun 1st '18, 20:29

I like this idea a lot and if you and Lia would like to do it I would love to see Hounds in Eternal too.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Jun 1st '18, 21:16

Glad to see you're on it!

I think the Hunters are the current low bar most unlikely to be raised as far as quality goes, so if your sprites look anything like these it should blend in just fine. All you'd need to do is apply some shading over top those outlines!

Image

How to you plan to depect them moving? Like an inchworm, or a sidewinder?
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Jun 1st '18, 23:39

Pfhorrest wrote:I like this idea a lot and if you and Lia would like to do it I would love to see Hounds in Eternal too.


That would be very cool.

ravenshining wrote:I think the Hunters are the current low bar most unlikely to be raised as far as quality goes, so if your sprites look anything like these it should blend in just fine. All you'd need to do is apply some shading over top those outlines!


Precisely. Like I said, right now I'm focusing on creating the shapes - that's stage 1. Then, stage 2 will be going back and painting over the shapes to create nice-looking sprites.

ravenshining wrote:How to you plan to depect them moving? Like an inchworm, or a sidewinder?


Well, I picture it moving like an inchworm, but also using its front arms simultaneously to pull itself along:

Spoiler:
houndMoving.jpg
A Hound dragging itself along
houndMoving.jpg (52.92 KiB) Viewed 565 times


I figured that if I gave it a sidewinder animation it would be too similar to a Hydralisk from StarCraft. Then again, if you want Hounds to move relatively fast (which I think they should; certainly faster than a Fighter), a sidewinder motion might make a little more sense. We probably should discuss gameplay ideas a little bit before I settle on a particular way of moving. What are your thoughts on how the Hounds should operate?
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PerseusSpartacus
Somewhere in the 19th Century...

Post Jun 2nd '18, 00:31

I believe the original idea was for the hounds to be fast-moving, but unable to climb stairs, acting like piranhas at the bottom of a map. If I use them in that capacity, I'll probably use them to populate areas like the abysses in Defend THIS! and Shake Before Using.

The one screenshot kind of contradicts that idea, however, but they're certainly a melee monster. If they can climb stairs, I'll add them to Hunter encounters on non-vacuum levels, as a melee compliment to the Hunter's ranged effectiveness.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Jun 2nd '18, 00:44

I always imagined them with the forearm-inchworm motion Perseus describes, and accompanying Hunters like real hounds do real hunters. But fast, yes.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Jun 2nd '18, 01:11

Here are some colour table images for your reference. Feel free to use more colours than are in any one palette, I'll just add them to the CLUTs of whatever collection I shoehorn them into.

Hunter - note that pure green is self-illuminated:
huntercluts.png
huntercluts.png (1.86 KiB) Viewed 555 times


Looker - note that red on clut1 and purple on clut2 are self-illuminated:
tickcluts.png
tickcluts.png (1.27 KiB) Viewed 555 times


Wasp - no self-illumination:
waspcluts.png
waspcluts.png (916 Bytes) Viewed 555 times


And just for reference, behold the colours of the Hound's natural environment:
pfhorwallclut.png
pfhorwallclut.png (602 Bytes) Viewed 555 times
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Jun 2nd '18, 01:47

Thanks, the references might help, especially since I now know roughly which color palettes you recommend (you are the project lead, after all). ;)

Made yet another attack sprite tonight. I'll definitely go back and tweak all of these soon (some of the shapes warp awkwardly between one sprite and the next), but I figured as a proof of concept, I'd make an animated GIF for your entertainment. Behold, the ravenous Hound:

Spoiler:
output_iAexTb.gif
output_iAexTb.gif (18.35 KiB) Viewed 550 times


Also, I had an interesting idea for the Hound: see, there aren't that many melee enemies in Marathon; as far as I can tell, there's really just Fighters and Hulks. The former are cannon-fodder, and the latter are bullet-sponges. Hounds can be somewhat differentiated from those two simply by being fast, but I think what would be really interesting is if they also could not be stunned by bullets, much like Juggernauts. I believe this is done by setting a monster's 'External Velocity Scale' (under 'Physical Constants') to 0.0000. Basically, this would make it so that the only way to truly stop a Hound that's coming after you is to kill it; you can't simply lock it in place with an Assault Rifle. This would also unfortunately make it so you couldn't toss it around with explosions, and might also make a new player think that Hounds are immune to damage, but maybe those are worthwhile trade-offs?
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PerseusSpartacus
Somewhere in the 19th Century...

Post Jun 2nd '18, 02:27

IIRC, you define the flinch animation sequence as -1 to get that behaviour; I don't think it has anything to do with the external velocity scale.

Anyway, looks good to me and I like some of the ideas being bandied about here a lot. I might want to use them in Chronicles too if I ever figure out how to get ShapeFusion to load my damn shapes file. (Alternately, I can hopefully edit my shapes in Anvil once I get Basilisk II running.)
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Jun 2nd '18, 02:31

Make sure you're using the latest SVN version of shapefusion. Editing shapes with anvil... good luck.
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Wrkncacnter

Post Jun 2nd '18, 02:52

Awww, it's so cute! Is something I probably won't be saying once I actually fight it.

Hmm, giving a small, rather topheavy enemy 0 external velocity scale is a bit weird. Maybe we could add some slime, make it look like it's sticking to the ground like a slug.

The way you've drawn it, it looks like it's pushing upward against its target. I might play around with the Claws damage type, give it a strong vertical component, so while you can't bounce them, they will bounce you!

Oooh, here's another idea - maybe this thing is venemous! Way back when I first played Marathon, it glitched out when I first stumbled over a Looker on Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire!, causing the screen to go black for what felt like ages, but was probably only a few seconds. Thinking this was normal, I was from that point on absolutely terrified of Lookers, thinking they would blind me - and blind me on a level where one can so easily trip and fall into pits of deadly incandescence. I could give the Claws damage type a long, black fader, to recreate this effect deliberately!

The Man wrote:IIRC, you define the flinch animation sequence as -1 to get that behaviour; I don't think it has anything to do with the external velocity scale…

…(Alternately, I can hopefully edit my shapes in Anvil once I get Basilisk II running.)


Defining the flinch animation to -1 stops flinching, but causes the "skating monster" bug. Giving the monster an external velocity scale of 0 circumvents that bug.

Wrkncacnter wrote:Make sure you're using the latest SVN version of shapefusion. Editing shapes with anvil... good luck.


It's not SO bad. I actually prefer the 1.0.3 version it when I'm setting up colour tables, or HACKVIL when creating new sequences - ShapeFusion doesn't auto-fix colours or auto-generate new frames like Anvil does. Just gotta be mindful of it's bugs, like not decreasing frames unless you set views to one, and not using bitmaps larger than 128*128 until you're working in ShapeFusion.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Jun 2nd '18, 06:29

Huh. I think this is the first I’ve heard of the “skating monster” bug; it’s possible I’ve simply never disabled flinching for any monster without an external velocity scale of 0.

I like the idea of the Hound being venomous. In a couple of my levels you can get temporarily blinded by Hunter fire in some segments; they’re entirely red, and the purple of the Hunter fire effect basically turns the contrast to 0. (I guess the Juggernaut hard death sequence is another manifestation of the same thing.) It would certainly make the game more challenging if you had to avoid getting blinded.

And I thought I’d gotten the latest version of SF, but I have no idea if that’s the case. Where can I get the latest SVN version?
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Jun 2nd '18, 06:54

You need to download and compile the latest code from SVN, not the latest "version" that's six years old. You'll know you have the right (2018) version if you open a physics model and see this:
flags.png
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Jun 2nd '18, 08:04

Ah, yes, I very definitely haven’t done that, then. Thanks. I’ll give it a try tomorrow. Just… absolutely dead right now.
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Jun 7th '18, 20:05

nice project. I like that you are trying to reproduce things so it'll fit in with the original graphics.

This made me take another look at the Marathon home videos and you can actually see the hound in action for a split second at 0:47 while running a late beta version! It's just 2-3 frames at best, so don't get your hopes up. Interestingly this seems to be on Mars Needs Women and the infamous 3D-compass in the top left corner is actually turned off, which I haven't seen up till now, either. It has a special graphic much like the shutter of a mechanical camera :)

Picture: Image
Link to Marathon home video
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Bobwithkeycard
AMS-Tower

Post Jun 8th '18, 01:23

Nice catch! Here it is frame by frame. I tried to apply some corrections for colour and distortion, but not very well.

hound0.jpg

hound1.jpg

hound2.jpg

hound3.jpg

hound4.jpg

hound5.jpg
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Jun 8th '18, 17:28

Cool, neat find! It's unfortunate that we don't really see very much of the Hound in those shots - not much I can do with those little snippets. Still, I will definitely try to gain as much insight from those as possible. Thanks for the tip! [MSmile]
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PerseusSpartacus
Somewhere in the 19th Century...

Post Jun 8th '18, 18:59

you are probably right. Which original pics of the hound do you have so far, btw? Maybe you can post 'em just to double check that you have everything in the best possible quality available.

also: have you ever had the chance to listen to the original hound's sounds that were in the infamous leaked beta? There's a picture on the story page, but nothing else link
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Bobwithkeycard
AMS-Tower

Post Jun 10th '18, 00:11

Well, so far, these are the ones I've been working off of:

Spoiler:
Image
Image
Screen shot 2018-03-19 at 2.29.55 PM.png
Screen shot 2018-03-19 at 2.29.55 PM.png (106.29 KiB) Viewed 306 times

Image


The third image down is the one I've based most of my work on so far.
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PerseusSpartacus
Somewhere in the 19th Century...

Post Jun 14th '18, 08:26

ok, looks like you got everything..which sadly is..not much.
I remember a discussion going on over at the story forum about the hound's weird colors in first picture, especially the part around the mouth. In smaller pics it looked like a bullet wound inflicted by the Assault rifle. But the conclusion was that we were seeing a minor hound using a different clut. And it's got to be saliva around the mouth.

Now here's a thought: apparently the hound kills by stabbing their prey. Now imagine after doing so they just keep hanging around and start feeding on the corpse..oh what horrors.
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Bobwithkeycard
AMS-Tower

Post Jun 14th '18, 13:33

Well, unfortunately, I don't think that would be possible to implement given the limitations of the Aleph One engine - but if it were, it would definitely have to be included. [MSmile]

I think I'll save drawing the saliva for when I've moved on to properly shading every sprite; for now I'll just focus on the shape of the Hound itself.
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PerseusSpartacus
Somewhere in the 19th Century...

Post Jun 14th '18, 19:37

Actually, they kind of do that already. Ever notice how in single player, if you stick around for a bit in your dead body (from which you can still change perspective or even use Lua to jump and teleport) monsters will continue to try and attack it?

If you make animations for it, I could give them two attacks, claw or bite, from which it would choose randomly like a juggernaut. One of them could cause bleeding damage like in the video, the other could blind you like my bugged Hound.

Also, don't feel pressured to make all eight views. We could always do five-way views for the attack, which means you don't need back- and side- views, only front- and quarter- views.

EDIT: If you really want them to munch on your corpse, I could set the stab attack to have a longer range than the bite attack - say 1024 for the stab, 512 for the bite. Actually I'll probably do that anyway if we get a bite animation, it makes more sense.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Jun 15th '18, 09:56

munching corpses: guess using lua you could spawn a dummy bob monster on every corpse or even better echange it for this dummy monster on the fly. Tweaked in a certain way (invisible, small height, reasonable amount of health, using the corpse's sprite as a starting point) they could munch on it for a while until the invisible dummy dies itself and then continue elsewhere.
Might look pretty neat in a room filled with bobs and also keeps the lua code to a minimum
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Bobwithkeycard
AMS-Tower


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