Home » MODDING HQ 1.13 » v1.13 General Development Talk » Who wants a new STI Editor?
Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #329995] Sat, 25 January 2014 18:18 Go to next message
Tox

 
Messages:249
Registered:February 2000
Location: www.webcodesign.de
Find the campaign on IndieGogo: Jagged Alliance 2 STI Editor



Hello guys,

long time since I've been here, nice to see this place still exists. Smile

Some of you might have already seen the screenshot I posted on BP's facebook wall. For those who haven't:
http://www.webcodesign.de/JA2STI/JA2STI_Alpha.png

That is an alpha version of a new STI editor. A while back I wanted to mod a few graphics of v1.13, but I ran into some trouble with the old STI-Edit and couldn't really finish what I had in mind. So I looked up the STI file format specs and began writing the editor. But at the moment I'm just starting my graduation project and my study financing has run out (turning 30 disqualified me), so I have other things to worry about than the editor. Sad That got me wondering if it could be an idea to turn this into a crowdfunded project. I realize this is basically 'just' another STI editor, so why pay for it's development? Here's some ideas of what I could develop if I had the financial backup.


  • Drawing functionality like STI-Edit, but better and more.
    • Finer control over line thickness
    • Square tool
    • Rounded rectangle tool
    • Star tool
    • Trapezoid tool
    • Triangle tool
    • Spiral tool
    • Brushes like Photoshop uses, loaded from simple PNG files, naturally they can be colored
    • A layer system like Photoshop, along with a file format to contain it for later edits
    • Layers can be exported as / imported from simple text script files OR as SVGs
    • Vector based shapes, loaded from text files with drawing instructions or SVGs
    • Isometric drawing tools (plane, cube, curve, line, polygon, circle, ...)
    • Isometric guides (for actual tile dimensions)
  • Image enhancement tools
    • Sharpening with very fine controls (amount, direction, different modes, ...)
    • Contrast, brightness and gamma adjustment
    • Color adjustment (saturation, hue, brightness)
  • Support for editing STIs within SLF packages
  • Integration of a JSD editor
  • Palette editor, similar to my JA2PAL tool, but more sophisticated.
    • Color selection through the HSB model (hue, saturation, brightness) giving a finer control over colors
    • Edit STI palettes as well as the general JA2 palette (skin, hair, etc.)
    • Import and export (PAL and ACT)
  • Read support for JA1 STIs
  • Read/write support for BMP, PNG, STI (8bit, 16bit)
  • Clipboard import/export
  • With enough funding even a model editor could be possible Wink

This is just the first list of ideas that come to mind. I'd like to hear what you guys think. What features would you like to see in a STI Editor? What's troubling you with the old STI-Edit? Would you be willing to chip in to help me make this editor?

Looking forward to your replies!

Tox, Lord of the Bytes Wink

[Updated on: Thu, 20 February 2014 11:59] by Moderator


JA2STI Creator
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #329999] Sat, 25 January 2014 19:12 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Shanga

 
Messages:3529
Registered:January 2000
Location: Danubia
I would gladly donate to finally have a graphics tool that does it all. A payed modding project might raise some eyebrows, true, but I think it's a viable way of getting tools above a certain level. Simply too many awesome modding ideas hit that ceiling where they were so ambitious they "killed" their own creator because he ran out of time & money.

But be aware that until people (most of them) aren't 100% certain you will deliver the finished product, they will not be keen to donate anything.

[Updated on: Sat, 25 January 2014 19:18] by Moderator



Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330006] Sat, 25 January 2014 19:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Off_Topic

 
Messages:1019
Registered:January 2009
Do you have a ballpark figure to complete the Editor Tox?


Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330008] Sat, 25 January 2014 19:50 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tox

 
Messages:249
Registered:February 2000
Location: www.webcodesign.de
You mean for a release date? Hard to say as it depends on the final list of features to implement. Of what I've listed a lot is already implemented and many other things are already developed for other applications, so I can refactor them. For now I'd prefer to see what the most desired features are and then compile a schedule with milestones etc.

JA2STI Creator
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330009] Sat, 25 January 2014 19:51 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Shanga

 
Messages:3529
Registered:January 2000
Location: Danubia
Off_Topic
Do you have a ballpark figure to complete the Editor Tox?


I think he means a ballpark figure as in how much money you think you'll need. Cause if remember right most crowd-funding projects ask you for a financial goal.

[Updated on: Sat, 25 January 2014 19:52] by Moderator



Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330010] Sat, 25 January 2014 20:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tox

 
Messages:249
Registered:February 2000
Location: www.webcodesign.de
In that case you're thinking too far ahead, for now I want to determine what features the editor should have at least and if there is a general willingness to contribute to such a project. Based on that I would define the financial goal.

JA2STI Creator
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330011] Sat, 25 January 2014 20:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tox

 
Messages:249
Registered:February 2000
Location: www.webcodesign.de
Here are a few more screenshots of already implemented features

Loading 16bit STIs larger than 640x480
http://www.webcodesign.de/JA2STI/JA2STIAlpha_0015_800x600STI16bit.jpg

Zooming in/out
Min. zoom:
http://www.webcodesign.de/JA2STI/JA2STIAlpha_0013_MinZoom16bit.jpg

Max. zoom:
http://www.webcodesign.de/JA2STI/JA2STIAlpha_0012_MaxZoom16bit.jpg

Loading / saving of palettes
Original palette:
http://www.webcodesign.de/JA2STI/JA2STIAlpha_0010_OriginalPalette.jpg

Totally different palette loaded:
http://www.webcodesign.de/JA2STI/JA2STIAlpha_0009_AnotherPalette.jpg

Display original colors or game colors (for animations)
Display as if it was in-game:
http://www.webcodesign.de/JA2STI/JA2STIAlpha_0008_UseJA2ColorsOn.jpg

Display original colors:
http://www.webcodesign.de/JA2STI/JA2STIAlpha_0007_UseJA2ColorsOff.jpg

Need to see it without transparency? No problem.
http://www.webcodesign.de/JA2STI/JA2STIAlpha_0004_STIBackgroundTransparency.jpg

JA2STI Creator
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330013] Sat, 25 January 2014 21:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Khor1255

 
Messages:1828
Registered:August 2003
Location: Pleasantville, NJ
This is very cool. Why the name change Toxic?
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330014] Sat, 25 January 2014 21:06 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tox

 
Messages:249
Registered:February 2000
Location: www.webcodesign.de
'cause everyone in real life calls me 'Tox' instead of 'Toxic' Wink

JA2STI Creator
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330015] Sat, 25 January 2014 21:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tox

 
Messages:249
Registered:February 2000
Location: www.webcodesign.de
Loading different types of STIs / playing back animations:
5FRw_Rq-b4c[/video]

Adjusting colors on the fly:
iMG_B250pEU[/video]
Note: the speed is drastically reduced by the screen recording tool.

Zooming:
-f63ynk9xIc[/video]

[Updated on: Sun, 26 January 2014 00:13] by Moderator


JA2STI Creator
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330070] Mon, 27 January 2014 06:12 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Hawkeye

 
Messages:1958
Registered:October 2005
Location: Australia
Anything more stable and less likely to corrupt palettes/graphics is fine by me. Think you've covered most of the bases in regard to animation playback and being able to handle larger resolutions/bitdepths. Would be nice to have some sort of visual indicator of how offsets are affecting sprites in game, as well as interaction with JSD structures but I know that's a huge ask and more of a JSD editor request than STI request.


Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330072] Mon, 27 January 2014 08:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Khor1255

 
Messages:1828
Registered:August 2003
Location: Pleasantville, NJ
A jsd layer would be brilliant.
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330078] Mon, 27 January 2014 12:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tox

 
Messages:249
Registered:February 2000
Location: www.webcodesign.de
Hawkeye
Would be nice to have some sort of visual indicator of how offsets are affecting sprites in game


What exactly do you mean by that? If you look at the screenshot from the first post, you can see indicators for the offsets on the left side and the bottom side of the viewport. These show you how much offset is used. The viewport itself adjusts automatically, so that the animations appear as if they were in-game. And you can use the indicators to adjust the offset for each image in an animation (kept in memory until you load the next animation or save the current).

JA2STI Creator
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330079] Mon, 27 January 2014 12:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tox

 
Messages:249
Registered:February 2000
Location: www.webcodesign.de
Khor1255
A jsd layer would be brilliant.


Haven't done work on JSDs yet, but there's a format description out there, so that shouldn't be too hard. Wink

JA2STI Creator
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330081] Mon, 27 January 2014 14:06 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Hawkeye

 
Messages:1958
Registered:October 2005
Location: Australia
Tox
Hawkeye
Would be nice to have some sort of visual indicator of how offsets are affecting sprites in game


What exactly do you mean by that? If you look at the screenshot from the first post, you can see indicators for the offsets on the left side and the bottom side of the viewport. These show you how much offset is used. The viewport itself adjusts automatically, so that the animations appear as if they were in-game. And you can use the indicators to adjust the offset for each image in an animation (kept in memory until you load the next animation or save the current).


Yeah that's good for animations, which is like I say you've covered that base. But my request is sort of connected with JSD's again. Offsets even for static images can affect how the sprite is appearing in game and how they react with the JSD structures, or collision boxes by any other name in the industry.

Even an isometric grid or ground plane built to scale to the corresponding JSD tiles could be suitable to indicate how the sprite is positioned (via offsets) in game. I know I just seem to be forever adjusting these, and the whole JSD/Sti Offset dependency should have been connected in the first place in my opinion. Of course there's always some trickery involved with 2D sprites and faux 3D information, but some sort of visual indicator showing both would really help.


Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330082] Mon, 27 January 2014 14:28 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tox

 
Messages:249
Registered:February 2000
Location: www.webcodesign.de
ok, sounds like I gotta investigate that discrepancy in detail.

JA2STI Creator
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330083] Mon, 27 January 2014 15:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Maalstroom

 
Messages:341
Registered:December 2008
Location: en route to San Hermanos
Very nice tool, since Photoshop is lacking isometric brushes, the features you've mentioned are enough, when will it be available?
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330084] Mon, 27 January 2014 16:19 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tox

 
Messages:249
Registered:February 2000
Location: www.webcodesign.de
my target would be a time frame of 5-6 months because I can't work full time on it. I haven't checked yet, but I might be able to slip the editor production into my graduation project - if that is possible I can reduce the development time to 2-3 months. and then probably another month for beta testing and bug fixing.

JA2STI Creator
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330204] Thu, 30 January 2014 17:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tox

 
Messages:249
Registered:February 2000
Location: www.webcodesign.de
experiment with my rendering engine to recreate JA2's perspective:
http://www.webcodesign.de/JA2STI/JA2_Perspective_Experiment.png

and layered on top of a JA2 screenshot:
http://www.webcodesign.de/JA2STI/JA2_Perspective_Experiment_Over_Screenshot.png

not perfect yet, but close Very Happy

JA2STI Creator
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330208] Thu, 30 January 2014 19:30 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Slax

 
Messages:1445
Registered:July 2006
Location: People riding polar bears...
:bow: !!!

Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330219] Fri, 31 January 2014 13:16 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Maalstroom

 
Messages:341
Registered:December 2008
Location: en route to San Hermanos
Tox can you work a system to add multiple story buildings to the main engine? Smile
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330222] Fri, 31 January 2014 13:28 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tox

 
Messages:249
Registered:February 2000
Location: www.webcodesign.de
the engine you saw in the previous screenshots is NOT the engine JA2 uses but my very own. in it I might be able to make multi-story buildings but I never had a look at the code of the original engine, so I have no idea what's possible. in general multi-story buildings/objects are somewhat tricky in 2.5D AFAIK. and my engine is real 3D whereas the JA2 engine uses images (STIs) and draws them in an order that simulates 3D. multi-story buildings will most likely cause problems with the depth order of the files. but you can simulate them with some clever tricks using inaccessible tiles - unfortunately that approach makes it impossible to walk "behind" multi-story buildings/objects.

I am working on adding methods to draw STI files in my own engine, just like the JA2 engine does. maybe I'll discover a good trick in the process, but no promises!

JA2STI Creator
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330226] Fri, 31 January 2014 16:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tox

 
Messages:249
Registered:February 2000
Location: www.webcodesign.de
And more for you to see, file export:
PDTDD_Bq0sM[/video]

JA2STI Creator
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330228] Fri, 31 January 2014 16:54 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Shanga

 
Messages:3529
Registered:January 2000
Location: Danubia
Well Export is fine, but what we really need is batch importing. Cause you won't go editing a bazillion image sequences by hand too soon, but you might need to batch import a new edited animation exported from a 3D tool and save it as Animated STI (which is of course, a must-have).


Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330230] Fri, 31 January 2014 16:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tox

 
Messages:249
Registered:February 2000
Location: www.webcodesign.de
Yep, that's on my to-do list.

JA2STI Creator
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330233] Fri, 31 January 2014 18:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Maalstroom

 
Messages:341
Registered:December 2008
Location: en route to San Hermanos
tox I wonder how were things done in original x-com, it has a similar way of displaying objects and most definitely it doesn't have a 3d engine behind it.
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330235] Fri, 31 January 2014 19:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tox

 
Messages:249
Registered:February 2000
Location: www.webcodesign.de
try walking behind buildings, if you can't it's a simple fake with inaccessible tiles. if you can then they had a way to do it, probably keeping an internal z-value for objects, so they can be hidden when needed.

JA2STI Creator
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330239] Fri, 31 January 2014 21:21 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Maalstroom

 
Messages:341
Registered:December 2008
Location: en route to San Hermanos
better - here's a video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXY9ruBA344
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330247] Fri, 31 January 2014 23:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tox

 
Messages:249
Registered:February 2000
Location: www.webcodesign.de
this is essentially the same as JA2, you never see more than one level at the same time - in xcom:apoc you actually do.

JA2STI Creator
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330248] Sat, 01 February 2014 00:57 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Maalstroom

 
Messages:341
Registered:December 2008
Location: en route to San Hermanos
even if you see only one level at a time you know it is there, so if it can be implemented... would be a tremendous improvement
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330249] Sat, 01 February 2014 01:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tox

 
Messages:249
Registered:February 2000
Location: www.webcodesign.de
suggest it to the hardcore C++ guys who fiddled with the engine already, but I'd expect that it will take quite a lot of work to implement.

JA2STI Creator
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330250] Sat, 01 February 2014 01:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tox

 
Messages:249
Registered:February 2000
Location: www.webcodesign.de
alright, now STIs can be drawn with Pop Art Digitalis which will provide the base for image editing in the STI editor:
Fhe03GIaz3c[/video]

JA2STI Creator
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330268] Sun, 02 February 2014 02:54 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tox

 
Messages:249
Registered:February 2000
Location: www.webcodesign.de
Drawing a building using 3D walls and drawing STIs:
Xc7RMWvB5Ns[/video]

This is a test for isometric drawing tools. The building in the upper right, the dead queen and the floor tiles are drawn from STI files, the building in the lower left is drawn using isometric vector graphics.

[Updated on: Sun, 02 February 2014 02:58] by Moderator


JA2STI Creator
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330304] Tue, 04 February 2014 12:37 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tox

 
Messages:249
Registered:February 2000
Location: www.webcodesign.de
Hawkeye

Even an isometric grid or ground plane built to scale to the corresponding JSD tiles could be suitable to indicate how the sprite is positioned (via offsets) in game. I know I just seem to be forever adjusting these, and the whole JSD/Sti Offset dependency should have been connected in the first place in my opinion. Of course there's always some trickery involved with 2D sprites and faux 3D information, but some sort of visual indicator showing both would really help.


Can you point me to specific STIs that are affected by the JSD/STI offset "problem"? I still haven't figured out what the "unused" bytes (apparently they are not always that way) in the STI header are connected to, maybe there is a relationship.

JA2STI Creator
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330309] Tue, 04 February 2014 17:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Taro_M

 
Messages:296
Registered:November 2008
Will it be possible to utilize 3D models in some shape to create a base for animations? I id something like this using blender, it was only a simple animation of opening the doors, but it did work.

BTW: Where do I throw my money at?

[Updated on: Tue, 04 February 2014 17:28] by Moderator

Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330312] Tue, 04 February 2014 18:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tox

 
Messages:249
Registered:February 2000
Location: www.webcodesign.de
Adding a full 3D model system would take quite some effort, I think. However, I planned to investigate (at some further point) if there is a "simple" way to create my own model-system for use in my engine. Since the models in JA2 appear rather small I will not need that much detail. I think that could be something for a later perfection of the editor Wink

@throwing your money: Nowhere yet, I want to make a milestone schedule this evening, so I can get an overview of the time I need to invest. Based on that I can calculate my financial goal and start a crowdfunding project somewhere - anyone good suggestions for a platform that allows EU folks?

JA2STI Creator
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330322] Tue, 04 February 2014 19:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Shanga

 
Messages:3529
Registered:January 2000
Location: Danubia
Taro

BTW: Where do I throw my money at?


Keep hold of your money for a while, we're working on a donation system dedicated to help modders and coders directly without the need of crowdfunding campaign (ofc any modder is free to pursue this avenue, but as far as I know a lot of the money will be lost that way in taxes and comissions).

[Updated on: Tue, 04 February 2014 19:40] by Moderator



Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330377] Thu, 06 February 2014 21:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Flugente

 
Messages:3476
Registered:April 2009
Location: Germany
This seems like a mighty fine software you are creating there, especially if it can also handle JSD-related tasks :thumbsup:. Since you mentioned it... what would be your time estimation for a model editor?

I have somewhat mixed opinions on the whole 'money'-aspect. Not on this specific project - I realize this is much bigger than the usual small-scale projects around here - but more as a fear... if popular stuff were made for money, would people still volunteer for free?
@Shanga: In that regard, what does
Shanga
Keep hold of your money for a while, we're working on a donation system dedicated to help modders and coders directly without the need of crowdfunding campaign (ofc any modder is free to pursue this avenue, but as far as I know a lot of the money will be lost that way in taxes and comissions).
mean exactly? In case of a long elaborate answer, a separate thread might be in order, so this does not get cluttered.


Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330380] Thu, 06 February 2014 23:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tox

 
Messages:249
Registered:February 2000
Location: www.webcodesign.de
Thanks, that's nice to hear Smile

I wouldn't dare to make an estimate for a model editor at the moment, my isometric engine implementation is still in a very early state. It is based on a generative arts engine I have written: Pop Art Digitalis. It uses scripts as input for drawing instructions and forms the base of the engine. That engine is 2D and I am currently adding 3D features, which can be scripted, too. Based on that I should be able to develop a model system. But, I haven't developed a 3D engine before, I find it hard to make an estimate for such a potentially complex system. I think developing the STI Editor will give me a lot more insight into the whole subject, eventually enabling me to make an estimate. For now I'll consider a model editor a feature for version 2.0.

As for the money issue: to me there are two things to consider here.
a) I think it is fair that developers try to get their development time paid, especially if the program is supposed to be freeware (which, btw, applies to my editor).

b) Natural selection Wink
I don't think someone would have a chance to get funding for a simple Hit Chance Calculator. That is stuff you do for fun (and learning) while you still live at your parent's and go to school. I doubt there'd be many people to fund it nor the need from the developer's side.
But if the program is more complex the situation changes. The time needed to develop (and debug!) increases drastically, so it will eventually take a long while until completion. If the project is not canceled along the way, that is... I hope people will realize that it's a good deed to finance such a development because it has two important effects IMHO. It helps to support the community as a whole (modders have a better tool to make even cooler things). And it gives the developer the possibilities and responsibilities to do the project in a shorter time span. And with the responsibilities comes the deadline, so there is an actual chance the project will be finished. Wink

@Shanga's comment: I think it's a bit early to go into details, but that's up to Shanga.

JA2STI Creator
Re: Who wants a new STI Editor?[message #330435] Sat, 08 February 2014 15:03 Go to previous messageGo to previous message
Hawkeye

 
Messages:1958
Registered:October 2005
Location: Australia

Quote:
Can you point me to specific STIs that are affected by the JSD/STI offset "problem"? I still haven't figured out what the "unused" bytes (apparently they are not always that way) in the STI header are connected to, maybe there is a relationship.



There's no specific sti that has the offset problem, but it is a common issue when creating new art and jsd's. A visual representation of the jsd structures in an Sti program (or a vise versa) would make things a hell of a lot easier to produce accurate jsd blocks that fit a graphic more accurately. Even just a 40x 20 pixel cube system that moves with the offset may help.

I'll do you a mock-up picture if that doesn't make sense.


Previous Topic: [Question\Request] Possibility to bring Mike back from dead
Next Topic: Data extraction xml => xls 7435 + 7609
Goto Forum:
  


Current Time: Fri Nov 22 13:19:16 EET 2019

Total time taken to generate the page: 0.01672 seconds