Dynamic Parallax

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics' started by Lord Garak, Sep 8, 2017.

  1. Lord Garak

    Lord Garak Retinazer

    For a long time, I've thought the game was missing something visually. The backgrounds are very detailed and gorgeous, but somehow the scenery still looks somewhat plain, and empty. ESPECIALLY after you tear down all the trees and sit in your wood box surrounded by emptiness. Today I think I finally realized what the problem is.

    Terraria has a background, and a foreground, but no middle. There's just not enough parallax to create convincing scenery. I think this could be fixed. I'm going to be using the game Kingdom as an example of how this could be accomplished.

    Here is a short film I recorded displaying the concept of more dynamic parallax layers

    Now, in the film I venture to the outskirts of a dense forest. You can clearly see the distinction between the flat plains to my right, and the dark, detailed surroundings to my left. There are trees in the foreground, and you can see the sun in the background. You can also see the parallax I'm referring to. The game makes good use of shading, lighting, and multiple layers to help you visualize the forest (the trees getting taller and darker behind the player, the light level itself decreasing as you move in, etc.) The environmental sounds also change. These techniques could be harnessed to create dense scenery in Terraria too.

    Here comes the dynamic part. You can see as the video goes on my worker slave begins to mow down the trees. As he does, the environment changes. The parallax layers behind the areas where the deforestation is occurring slowly decay and create a smooth transition between areas; this ensures the layers are not accidentally mismatched onto an inappropriate scene. The player's actions directly affect the scenery. Again, why not in Terraria? Imagine the ways this could be applied:

    • Digging up crystals from the hallow underground causes them to also disappear from the nearby background

    • Digging the stone itself causes larger and larger holes in the background leading through the stone backwall to a dark abyss; perhaps animations of bats flying through?

    • A huge frozen lake with glacier chunks sliding into it from the mountains is visible in the background, but when you sponge up the lake in the foreground, it disappears

    • Destroying obsidian towers in the Underworld turns the same houses in the background nearby into rubble

    • An explosive trap goes off, causing chunks of rock to fall from the ceiling in the background

    The possibilities this could unlock are vast! However, the above concepts are more wishful thinking. The most practical and simple application of dynamic parallax is as shown in the video: the creation of better scenery for each biome, and the ability of the player to influence them to an extent.

    Some may say none of this is worth spending time on, and that we need more weapons, items, and bosses, but I say that is not true. The best game in the world is nothing without atmosphere. It can seal and improve simple tasks like walking and mining ten-fold.

    If anyone reads this, I hope you enjoy and please tell me what you think.

    Edit: 50 likes, wowie kazowie. Feel free to copy this banner into your signature if you would like to further support this suggestion:

    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018
  2. Jon Smitten

    Jon Smitten Dungeon Spirit

    This sounds like a lot more trouble than it's worth. But I wouldn't mind seeing this being implemented to some extent, if the devs got any ideas.
  3. Lord Garak

    Lord Garak Retinazer

    Even in small doses some dynamic parallax would do wonders; just adding forest elements like in the film for example. I'm not a programmer but I don't think something like that would take too much work beyond spriting and adding the layers in; although it might be harder than I think to create more parallax besides the background.
  4. Jon Smitten

    Jon Smitten Dungeon Spirit

    Some parts are easy. Others, like the player's actions triggering animations in the background, while still maintaining the seamlessness of it, need more thought to implement. Thus, I think your suggestion most likely won't be realised in full.
    Mackeye likes this.
  5. Lord Garak

    Lord Garak Retinazer

    And that's absolutely fine; in the extreme unlikelihood that this was ever realized, I under no means expect it all to be implemented. Those were merely examples to provide additional ways the concept could be applied beyond the basics. If all that happened was more parallax layers being added, and those layers decayed based on environmental factors, I would be content.
  6. JellyMantis

    JellyMantis Skeletron Prime

    I got some ideas too.
    • Flying enemies on the foreground show some in the background flying past
    • Less water in ocean means islands and statues less submerged, vice versa
    Mackeye, Oblivion?, neoselket and 2 others like this.
  7. Lumini

    Lumini Terrarian

    Good idea, keep it up!
  8. TrumpCard

    TrumpCard Terrarian

    I mean, Starbound does Parallax extremely well. I think Terraria could take a page or two from its book.
    Alucard3598 likes this.

    THE STRANGLER Steampunker

    or like rip out it's own page and replace it with a better page
    one that doesn't have any typos
    one that doesn't have any tears
    one that doesn't have any crying tears
    one that doesn't... something else
    we just need some better backrounds
    Ca595 and TrumpCard like this.
  10. UghZan11

    UghZan11 Skeletron Prime

    While the idea of player's actions affecting background doesn't seem THAT good to me(it just doesn't make sense IMO), I would really like some improvements to background, e.g.

    -Some additional layers for background, e.g ground with trees in Forest(that looks like actual dirt/stone with actual trees, just darker and not-interactable).Think of Underworld.
    -Maybe front layer? I could see some vines and grass in Jungle, or stalactites on Caverns.
    -Smooth transitions between biomes, like some Crimson trees in Forest when you are close to Crimson biome, or ruins in background when near of Dungeon.
    -Some planets and bigger Sun/Moon while in Space biome.
  11. ReusableLime20

    ReusableLime20 Slime Collector

    So, what I gathered was multiple background layers. Correct? It seems like a good idea, but maybe it should be reserved for Terraria 2 or Terraria Otherworld.
    TheOrangeNinjaYT likes this.
  12. Sans the skelleton

    Sans the skelleton Terrarian

    Not bad, but I have ideas:
    • When you chop trees(Everywhere), they disappear from background.
    • Maybe, some birds on background in forest?
  13. Lord Garak

    Lord Garak Retinazer

    That was present in most of the post
  14. Scarlet Hunter

    Scarlet Hunter Retinazer

    While a ton of work for the devs, this honestly sounds really cool.

    Probably won't be implemented in the core game, but considering the cool graphics in T:OW, maybe it would be good there?
  15. JellyMantis

    JellyMantis Skeletron Prime

    The front layer could be good, if not too obstructing
    --- Double Post Merged, Oct 15, 2017, Original Post Date: Oct 15, 2017 ---
    The birds are a good idea, but the trees have been said already
  16. ComixTheNoob

    ComixTheNoob King Slime

    Such a great idea here! This would really add depth to the game which will make people feel more immersed! Also would really have people looking at the background more! The problem is that this would be alot of work for the devs, but otherwise I like it!
    Lord Garak likes this.
  17. SilentStorm.

    SilentStorm. Steampunker

    Pun intended?
    Lord Garak and ComixTheNoob like this.
  18. why I keep destroying ruined houses and the others turn into rubble?! alo hallowed crystals when mined disappear from ground! that is likely a middleground or something?
  19. Crazzi Turtle

    Crazzi Turtle Steampunker

    This would be really nice to see. It would be nice to have the background images change. I feel like the background images don't have that much life to it, especially the jungle biome, thats just some grass walls, and if they did the same thing to the jungle like they did to hell, it would look more polished. Full Support
    Lord Garak likes this.
  20. GodlyCutlass

    GodlyCutlass Steampunker

    Interesting ideas, the devs really need to at least see this and think about it, it would definitely add more life and beauty to Terraria.
    Lord Garak likes this.